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Newport, Oregon has a beautiful location on the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay. The sea, the beauty, and the great food began bringing in tourists over a century ago. Today there are many historic places of interest, top-notch museums, and of course natural beauty.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a major highlight. The Aquarium showcases marine life such as sea lions, otters, a giant octopus, and much more; over 190 species find their home here! Getting the chance to feed certain species is a visitor favorite. More than just an ocean world however, there are nature trails to lead you throughout the exhibits en route to discover various landscapes. Special exhibits change often so check with the calendar on their website for current exhibitions, educational programs, and ticket information.
A similar attraction to the aquarium, but presented from a research viewpoint is the Hatfield Marine Science Center , also located in South Beach. Admission is free (donations gladly accepted), and there are many interesting exhibits.
Visiting Newport without checking out a lighthouse would be a shame as Newport has two lovely lighthouses. The Yaquina Head lighthouse is a major attraction on the Pacific Coast and the tallest in Oregon. The Yaquina Bay lighthouse, in service for only three years, is known for its ghost stories and hauntings. For more information on both: http://www.yaquinalights.org/
The Oregon Coast HIstory Museum is located just off Hwy 101 and offers two museums which chronicle the history of Newport and Lincoln County.
Newport's historic bayfront is a blend of working fish plants/packing houses and modern tourist facilities. There are many shops, pubs (including the historic Barge Inn) and attractions. Mariner Square contains Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Undersea Gardens and the Wax Works. Don't miss the sea lions off of Port Dock 1, where you can get within 15' of the noisy critters! There are fishing excursions and a bay cruise as well, all leaving from the bayfront.
Across Yaquina Bay in South Beach, there is Aquarium Village - chock full of fun and interesting antique and specialty shops. Several glass blowers are located in South Beach, and the new NOAA facility under construction is due to be completed in 2012.
The beach is a major attraction in itself and is wide, flat, safe and uncrowded. South Beach State Park is a great place to camp, picnic, and hike. The South Jetty is a popular place to watch pelicans, as well as the boats which come and go. There are equestrian trails leading to the beach from the South Jetty, with plenty of free trailer parking. Nye Beach is another historic favorite: http://www.nyebeach.org/
Enjoy your stay in Newport :-)