Foggy Fishing Port ~ Newport, OR

rv travels
Marina with RV park in background

Culture shock has set in as we move from our snuggly little camp site in Florence to a large paved RV park in Newport.  When plans change in the middle of peak season this is what you deal with, but we are not complaining as the Port of Newport RV Park sits right on Yaquina (Ya-KWIN-a) Bay with a lovely marina and the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge, all to be seen right outside our window. Other items in the plus column are great shower and laundry facilities, mighty friendly staff, surprisingly quiet park, and the Rogue Brewery rubs elbows with the marina, should you be interested in craft beers.

Welcome to the Dungeness crab capital of the world – Newport!  This city of roughly 10,000 residents boasts a historic working waterfront with one of the largest and most productive commercial fishing fleets on the West Coast.  We were given a tip for a great place to eat on the waterfront, owned and operated by some of the fishermen’s wives, Local Ocean Seafood.  The food was as good as promised, but for us, besides the bustling marina, a few interesting shops, and some neat murals painted on the sides of several buildings, we found the area to be somewhat garish, with the tourist trappings of a wax museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not tossed in among what could be a cool little bayfront.  Although  Newport may be a tad bit touristy and busy for us and may not make the ‘definitely got to come back here’ list, it does have some things going for it (more on that in a minute) so definitely check it out if you are in the area.

Sailor’s knot
Colorful fishing net spool
Ocean mural on the bay
Looking forlorn…missing out
Part of the fleet

Newport averages 156 sunny days, below the national average of 205, and I would venture to say that with those sunny days comes a little (or a lot) of fog. Unless I am driving or determined to get a clear photo of something, I don’t mind the fog.  In fact, when walking or hiking, I love the fog.  Fog gets a bad wrap, depicted as menacing in many fairy tales (don’t go into the scary, foggy forest) but I find it quite magical and mysterious.  In Newport there are many opportunities to walk along the windswept beaches in the fog, with the only sound being the distant foghorn guiding the seafarers safely home.  Being blanketed in pure whiteness is like a metaphor for living in the present; look behind you and there is nothing; look ahead the same.  Stillness and the feeling that right here is all there is settles in over me.

In and around the city we found plenty to keep us busy and would recommend the following:

Base of Yaquina Bay Bridge

1)  Historic Yaquina Bay Bridge

Oregonians love their bridges, and rightly so, as they have some of the finest we have seen.  The historic Yaquina Bay Bridge spans the Yaquina Bay with a length of 3223 feet and she is quite the looker.  This Art Deco beauty, completed on September 16, 1936, is one of 14 designed by Oregon bridge engineer Conde McCullough along Oregon’s Hwy. 101.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her in various lighting, she is that lovely!

Art Deco beauty – Yaquina Bay Bridge

2)  Lighthouses

If you like lighthouses you are in for a treat, as there are two of them, and a little  mystery surrounds them we have read.

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was built in 1871 and decommissioned a mere 3 years later and is believed to be the oldest building in Newport.  She fell into total disrepair as she sat empty but was lovingly restored as a navigational aid in late 1996, now being operated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

This sweet little lighthouse sits 161 feet above sea level with a 51 foot tower and when originally built, had a 5th order Fresnel lens.  It is the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached.

Stories seem to differ about why she was taken out of service after 3 short years. The most likely reason seems to be that her beam was blocked by Yaquina Head so a new lighthouse was built there instead.  Perhaps poor planning on someone’s part?

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, the “new and improved” lighthouse, was first lit in August, 1873 and is still an active beam, although her light was automated in 1966.  Her first-order Fresnel lens, visible 20 miles out to sea, is still stationed in the tower for all to see.  This 93-foot tower is the tallest on the Oregon coast but because the award for tallest lighthouse is measured from ocean to tip of tower, Yaquina Head does not garner the grand prize, only sitting 162 feet above sea level.   Cape Blanco embraces that honor with a clifftop of 245 feet.

Tours offered at the lighthouse are conducted by volunteers in period dress and I must say, they do her history proud.  Through them we learned that many of the original buildings were destroyed in 1984 instead of being restored and the original 2-story lightkeeper’s quarters was replaced by a 1-story structure.

There is a superb Interpretive Center operated by the non-profit Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses which we believe is a must-see.

Sea stacks off Cobble Beach

3)  Road Trip

Within a few short miles north or south of Newport is some stunning coastline which should not be missed. Cobble Beach sits at the base of Yaquina Head Lighthouse and has some great sea stacks, noisy sea lions, and a cobbled-stone beach (as the name implies).  Just down the hill is Quarry Cove, a real stunner, with a gentle beach popular with paddleboarders.

Quarry Cove

Historic Nye Beach is a burb of Newport and her first resort area, dating back to 1866.

Nye Beach

Sitting oceanfront with interesting galleries, boutique shops and restaurants, you have easy access to the beach dubbed “The Most Romantic Beach” by Sunset magazine.  We are going to go back and stick our toes in the sand before we leave the area to see if we can feel the love.

Head a few miles north and make a quick stop at Devil’s Punchbowl State Park for some interesting rock formations.

Devil’s Punchbowl

Press on just a little further (few miles at most) and Cape Foulweather, not living up to her name this day (yeah, picture time), provides more eye-popping shoreline.  Just north of the cape is Depoe Bay, nice for off-shore views and whale-watching we are told, but far too touristy for our tastes.

Cape Foulweather coastline

South Beach State Park, just a mile south from where we are staying, has some nice walking/biking paths and a great stretch of beach begging you to take a walk in the fog or put a kite in the air.  Although we have not been, we are told Beverly Beach State Park, 7 miles north of Newport, is a great area to explore as well.

4)  All Things Fishy

Hovering on the fringes of our RV park, within walking distance, are NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) Pacific Fleet, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the Hatfield Marine Science Center, or walk over to the public pier and watch the locals drop their crab traps into the water.  We did not see anyone pull up an empty trap, which is why this foggy fishing port may be called the Dungeness crab capital of the world.

Mirror image

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35 thoughts on “Foggy Fishing Port ~ Newport, OR

  • I visited Newport in July of 2010, and was disappointed by the crowds. I hadn’t been in six years. We always tried to get there by June. The Oregon coast has become more touristy since we first “discovered” it, but I still would love to go back, but in May or June or better yet, I’d love to spend a winter there.

    I loved the bustle of the port of Newport–boats coming in and out with their catches. I have pictures of them unloading huge crabs and boiling them right on the dock.

    We camped in the marina before the made it a fancy RV park. I camped there in 2010, and the put my in a less than desirable area because I was in a small trailer.

    I’m enjoying your blog. Did you miss the coast guard house while in Newport?

    When you get to the Tillamook area, try to get there on a weekend and go to Pacific City to watch the Dorymen slide on and off the beach, watch the kids run up the dune, and do have lunch at Pelican Brewery. If you care to see Jack’s blog on this area, this is a good start.

    So many things to do on the coast–I think I could spend years there. Thanks for sharing your adventures and for the memories.

    • Thanks for stopping by! We are still in Newport for a few more days and are planning a visit to the Coast Guard house. We too enjoyed walking around the port but found the rest to be a bit too touristy. Thanks also for the tips on the Tillamook area. We are planning a quick trip back to the midwest to visit folks and will leave our rig in Portland. When we return we will visit the Tillamook area. I will be checking your blog post for more info on this area. We are loving Oregon!

  • luann- we are here at home and dreaming along with you of paths already traveled. charlies brother and wife live in florence, they settled there after many years traveling, some with us and some by themselves exploring and looking for a place to settle, she loves the ocean and fog as she was born and raised in and around san fransisco, after they got married they lived in that area for years also.rick loves the mountains because of his raising in wy. they both now love florence, but not the rain from november until march or april. we plan to visit them as soon as we can. rick and charlie are very good friends and brothers and I consider paulette a sister instead of a sister in law. we also have some really good friends we met in yellowstone while we worked at grant in the campground–they also live in florence when they aren’t traveling. we have held onto that friendship and try to see each other as much as is possible. have a good time with your exploring and keep us posted– hugs to you two — hope to see ya around the mountain one day

    • Kay & Charlie, glad to hear that you enjoy following our travels. If you ever find us in a place where you have some tips to offer, feel free. Hope all is well with the two of you in TX and that you are enjoying some cooler weather. Take care and look forward to seeing you again some day. Love to you both!

  • I love Newport for a bit more of that tourist sort of thing, but it can get a bit much. I understand there’s been a pretty hefty influx of tourists drawn to see the tsunami wharf (of all things)! I tend to like the town better during the off season. Have a great visit back East and come on back soon to see the rest of the coast. Cannon Beach is pretty nice, too. A bit more of an artist colony and very dog friendly… but so many of the towns depend on the tourist trade for survival that they seem to be getting more and more of that influence.

  • Sounds interesting, but I do prefer more sun than you are talking about. Growing up in a beach town, I have had as much fog as I’ll ever need. Your post was still great, as were the pictures. I love the bridges and the lighthouses.

  • We LOVED everything about that area. We did the taster at Rogue Brewery. We also ate there. The BEST halibut we have ever had.
    We enjoyed both lighthouses. Looks like you two are have a wonderful time!

    • We are having a blast! Although we are looking forward to a visit with the folks, we don’t enjoy the thought of leaving this cooler weather and beautiful surroundings.

    • I knew you would approve of the pup, although sadly he is not mine. He was looking so sad I would have loved to release him from his post and take him for a stroll.

  • Hey guys, at the farmer’s market in Bandon this morning someone told us that the farmer’s market in Newport is very very nice. Not sure when it is but maybe you can check it out.

    • Thanks for the tip. We read that it is tomorrow so we will be heading that way. Hope all is well on your end and that Paul’s back continues to improve.

  • I spent one summer there LuAnn. I did get a little weary of the fog and the commercialism, but there are also so many interesting sights there which from your lovely photographs you are discovering for yourself, keep enjoying! 🙂

  • Crab capital of the world alone makes it a very inviting place to go. Love your picture of fishg nets. And that bridge looks better thn the Golden Gate. Ooops

  • WOW! what a travelog you are you are writing. i hope this comes out as a book sometime.
    I love the fog too. the mystery, the beauty, and perfect for photography. afraid, heck, fog is only a cloud laying on the ground that couldn’t make it up into the sky.
    who is taking these magnificent pictures? the close-ups of the sailor’s knot and the fishing spool are wonderful.

    miss you both

    • I love your description of the fog – perfect! I am now relegated to taking most of the pictures since I got a new Canon S100 point-and-shoot. Terry is getting quite lazy in his retirement (lol)! Thanks David and we miss you both as well. Hope your birthday is fabulous!

  • Another big fog fan here. Your “blanketed in whiteness” metaphor for staying in the present is divine! I long for the quiet, white- blanketed mist-ical, mist-erious winter mornings vs. the blazing, brazen, bright and brash summer here at SESB. Remember e.e. cummings poem? Something about “The fog comes in on little cat feet, sits silently on its haunches watching the harbor and moves on”
    (Paraphrasing) or in the case of our little Squinky, “the cat comes in on little fog feet”. Ok, now I’m rambling. Miss ya, wish I was there.

  • Ooops- that was Carl Sandburg, not e.e. cummings. Apologies all around:
    The fog comes
    on little cat feet.
    It sits looking
    over harbor and city
    on silent haunches
    and then moves on.

  • Spending the majority of my young life in Oregon, reading your adventures and seeing the gorgeous photos really takes me back and make me miss Oregon!!! Thank you for this taste of home 🙂 Hugs ~

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