Otter Rock is located north of Newport on the Oregon Coast. (Photo by El Guo)

As the sweltering summer sun intensifies, the soothing sound of waves crashing against the sandy shores and the cool, salty breeze becomes near impossible to resist. 

From hikes amongst the headlands of the rocky Oregon coast to the immersive shark tunnel at the aquarium, Newport holds activities to fill your last days of summer break before fall term inevitably arrives. 

And it’s just under 50 miles away. 

Hatfield Visitor Center

Located in Hatfield Marine Science Center is Oregon State University’s marine research laboratory and coastal campus, the Hatfield Visitor Center. The center offers guests a wide array of exhibits centered around research conducted by OSU students and scientists, the coastal environment and several marine species.

Exhibits include a tide pool touch tank, tsunami wave tank simulator, coastal erosion simulator, information on sustainable fisheries, and more. 

Most famously, though, is the giant Pacific octopus that greets visitors when they enter and serves as the center’s mascot. 

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: $5; purchase tickets online ahead of time or at the door

Address: 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365

The Oregon Coast Aquarium

With nine exhibits both indoors and outdoors, the Oregon Coast Aquarium hosts several marine organisms: from fish and invertebrates, to marine mammals and birds. They even have non-marine animals, which they call “ambassador animals,” such as an opossum. 

Exhibits include tide pool touch tanks, sea otters, moon jelly tanks and the Passages of the Deep tunnel, where visitors can walk through the tank housing sharks and halibut.

The aquarium additionally has a cafe, open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a coffee shop, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for visitors to purchase drinks and food.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: $25.95 for adults; purchase tickets online ahead of time or at the door

Address: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Road, Newport, OR 97365

The Farmer’s Market

Open on Saturdays from March to December, the Newport Farmer’s Market is home to over 60 vendors to check out. You can find everything from seasonal produce, eggs, meat, handcrafted jewelry, art, to plants.

Hours: Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Dec. 16
Admission: Free

Address: The corner of Highway 101 and Angle Street, Newport, OR 97365

Newport Historic Bayfront

Located on the Yaquina Bay, the historic bayfront has everything from fine dining, hotels, and kitschy beach-themed shops to a real, working port that also is home to the barking California sea lions. 

Some shops and restaurants include:

  • Bayscapes Gallery & Coffee Shop
  • The Barge Inn Tavern
  • Manatees Apparel
  • Mo’s Seafood and Chowder
  • Inca’s Alpaca Bayfront

Hours: Store and restaurant hours vary

Admission: Free

Address: 250300 SW Bay Blvd., Newport, OR 97365

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

With 95 acres of land to explore, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is not short of activities. 

Named for the 93-foot tall headland, Yaquina Head has trails, Cobble Beach’s tidepools, beaches, an interpretive center and Oregon’s tallest lighthouse. Observing seals, birding and whalewatching are also possible.

Hours: Trails, beaches and restrooms open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Interpretive Center open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Prices vary on vehicle size; personal passenger vehicle: $7 for a 3-day pass. Check website for additional information

Address: 315 NW Lighthouse Drive, Newport, OR 97365 (Fee station)

South Beach State Park

No trip to the coast is complete without a walk on the beach and at least touching the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. South Beach State Park provides both of those activities.

Located by the famous Yaquina Bay Bridge, South Beach State Park stretches several miles and provides pristine sandy beaches and trails to explore. The park additionally offers a playground, horse-shoe pits, a disc golf course and an equestrian trail. 

Camping is allowed in tents and RVs, along with on-site yurts with reservations that must be made six months in advance.There are electric sites with water, flush toilets, showers, firewood for sale and RV dump sites.

Hours: All day
Admission: Free for day visits but camping reservations and yurts vary

Address: 5580 SW Coastal Hwy., Newport, OR 97365

Orange Media Network

Orange Media Network is a student media organization at Oregon State University with more than 400 students creating content for television, radio, podcasts, the student newspaper and various magazines. Follow Orange Media Network on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Emma Coke is a news reporter for The Daily Barometer at Oregon State University