Our next stop was along the central coast of Oregon, not too long of a drive but longer than our last one. The coast of Oregon has an endless amount of rocky beaches and coast and many interesting lighthouses and the town of Newport is a great location from which to explore some of those.
The last time we stayed in this area we stayed in a marina in the town of Waldport a little further north and really enjoyed it. This time we decided to try the marina in Newport. Both of these marinas offer dry camping at cheaper rates than the Oregon State Parks.
The marina is also walking distance from the Rogue Brewery, so good beer was in our future. And we were the only RV in the dry camping area of with a lovely view of the small boat harbor and the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Check out my review of the Port of Newport RV Park and Marina here.
The forecast was for rain for days on end, so we decided to stay put for a week and hope for at least a couple of breaks in the weather to explore the area. We also knew that having a view over the water is the best when you are cooped up inside.
Newport is on Yaquina Bay and has a working harbor and wharf in the heart of the little town that overlooks the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge with its art deco touches. In between rainy periods we snuck a few brief visits to the town to enjoy the various views.
The first couple of days offered no relief from a driving rain. Then on a not so rainy rainy day we headed to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. If we only got to explore one place in Central Oregon, this would be it.
Outstanding Natural Areas (Hector always gets a kick out of that) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and designated as protected areas. A beautiful lighthouse, tidepools teeming with life, beaches, nesting peregrine falcons and other nesting birds are some of the treasures found at Yaquina Bay. We were fortunate two years ago to see many of these.
It was a cloudy, moody day, somehow fitting for the Yaquina Head Light, the beautiful lighthouse on the point. We toured the lighthouse on our last visit, and it was one of the most imaginative lighthouse tours we have taken with the ranger in period costume and in character.
The ocean waves were huge and imposing. Ever changing with no two waves alike.
The tidepool area is really rocky and tricky footing for older doggies, so we did not bring Angel this time.
During the next rainy period we headed to the Rogue Brewery. We first sampled Rogue beer in Astoria, but Newport is where their main brewery is located. We went on a bit of a self-guided tour around the restaurant and accessible brewery area, but they do offer a guided tour as well.
Rogue Brewery has two farms in Oregon where they grow almost all of the ingredients in their beer and they hand craft their own barrels with native Oregon oak in another facility in Newport. Pretty cool.
Next, we visited nearby Historic Nye Beach. This beach and town perched alongside a cliff became a popular vacation destination even before there were roads leading there, and it remains so. It has also become a haven for artists.
Art organizations located there include the Oregon Coast Council of the Arts whose mission is to celebrate, promote and develop community arts, the Yaquina Arts Center featuring the work of local artists, the Newport Performing Arts and Visual Arts Centers and Writers On the Edge.
On the lone sunny day of the week, we returned to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The ighthouse was striking on a clear day, although I must admit that cloudy days still seemed more fitting.
The day before we left, the Newport Aquarium had its Sea of Lights kickoff weekend for the holidays with lots of lights and other festive touches decorating its exterior.
This evening event provided access to much of the aquarium and we saw shark, jellyfish, rays, anemones, corals, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea urchins, freshwater and saltwalter fish, crabs and lobsters and I also played in their touch tidepools. All for $2.00 plus a donation of two cans of food per person, such a deal!
The highlights of the evening for the kids were Santa’s workshop, with the usual Santa lap time and Scuba Santa, when the very talented Santa Claus dove into one of the aquariums and read a short story via a microphone to the kids (and adults) who were gathered in front of the aquarium. SO cute!
The aquarium was more impressive than we expected, even though a few areas such as the aviary were closed. And the event was lovely. AND the weather cooperated; even though the forecast was for rain, it did not rain until much later that evening.
Then all too soon , it was time to head south once again and explore one more area of the Oregon Coast before crossing the border into California.