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Newport is a wonderful place to bring a family. There are a variety of attractions to appeal to all ages!
A popular attraction here is the Oregon Coast Aquarium where you could easily spend the entire afternoon. It’s best to allow several hours to really see the exhibits here. Nearly next door to the aquarium is the Hatfield Marine Science Center. There are many interesting marine displays here, including a resident octopus and several touch tanks. Admission is free, with a suggested $5 donation.
The bayfront offers shops, galleries, and restaurants. Ripley's Believe It or Not and the Waxworks are here too, as well as the Undersea Gardens. This is still a working bayfront with fish plants and docks where fresh-caught seafood is unloaded from the boats. You'll hear the sea lions anywhere along the bayfront, and to see them up close, go onto the wooden Port Dock 1, near the east end of the bayfront. You will be about 15 feet above them, which will delight most everybody!
For a different type of aquatic life, head upriver a few miles to the Oregon Oyster Farms. It's fun to learn about how oysters are grown.
Newport has two lighthouses. The oldest is Yaquina Bay lighthouse, located on the north side of the Yaquina Bay. It wasonly in service for a short time, as it proved ineffective at warning ships. It is reputed to be haunted! The other lighthouse is Yaquina Head, located at the north end of town. It's the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. Both lighthouses are open for tours.
For local history, stop by the Oregon Coast HIstory Center, and explore Newport and Lincoln County's past in a beautifully restored 1895 house. http://www.oregoncoast.history.museum/
The award-winning Rogue Ale Brewery is headquarted in Newport, and offers daily 3:00 pm tours of the Brewer's on the Bay on the bayfront.
If the weather is fine, you can try your hand at crabbing on either side of the bay. A popular spot is the South Beach Pier. Crab rings are available for rent.
Or, just enjoy the beautiful beach! Newport has miles of clean, safe, uncrowded beach. Buy a kite at The Kite Company, http://thekitecompany.com/ , and take it out onto the sand for hours of fun. Although the water is usually too cold for serious swimming, many children (and adults too) enjoy wading in the warmer shallow water.
Beachcombing is another popular fun thing to do as a family, and you never know what you might find. Agate Beach, on the north end of Newport, was named for the agates that may still be found there. Yaquina Head has a small black pebble beach, accessible via a long stairway.
One option for a day with the family is to start in the morning with a Sea Life Cruise with Marine Discovery Tours, the official cruise company for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, then go to the aquarium in the afternoon This friendly cruising company is owned by a family who has a passion for sharing "their backyard" - the Pacific ocean, Yaquina Bay and River. The aquarium-style programs are delivered by a naturalist on the boat, who introduces fun volunteer activities for the kids like crabbing demonstrations, plankton net pulls and driving the boat with the captain. Seeing gray whales is always exciting. Parents will appreciate the safety and comfort of the boat as it does not go out into the ocean if seas are rough, instead exploring the calm bay waters. Tours are reasonably priced and popular, so a call ahead to reserve tickets is a good thing.
There are many great places for families to stay here, with many of the hotels being oceanfront or ocean view, and in all price ranges :-)