The Aquarium itself is a worthwhile destination. Underwater tunnels pass through a huge tank of sharks, rays, and other large fish. Otters and sea lions frolic in their pools. Tiny sea dwellers quietly go about their business in the indoor jewel tanks. Christmastime or not, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a fun and educational family adventure.
|South Jetty near South Beach State Park|
If weather permits, stop at nearby South Beach State Park before the Sea of Lights opens. This park offers beach access, restrooms, and hiking trails. The one-mile paved trail to the South Jetty climbs and descends in a few places as it passes through the dunes, but otherwise it is smooth and accessible. Year-round reservable camping is available in the adjacent campground, which features cozy yurts and plentiful RV sites.
The most easily-accessed beach in Newport is at the Nye Beach turnaround, where visitors will also find coastal shopping while they wait out Oregon downpours. More shopping is available on the historic Bayfront. While you are there, stop beside the harbor for photos of Newport's commercial fishing fleet. Click here for a map of the Newport area.