The rocky and rugged Oregon Coast is not only one of the more breathtaking features of the state — it also supplies the region with some of its favorite culinary spoils. Fishers pack Dungeness crab, Netarts Bay oysters, and purple sea urchin on ice and ship them off to Portland restaurants, where they end up as tasting menu courses, sushi options, or raw bar offerings. Even things outside of the world of seafood, like Oregon-grown wasabi and some of the region’s award-winning cheeses, are cultivated or created on the Oregon Coast, before landing in specialty markets and kitchens.
In the summers, Oregonians flock to the coast to cool off during heat waves, driving down U.S. Highway 101 in search of sandy beaches and tidal pools. They peer into the frothy Devil’s Churn or gaze from the viewpoint of Cape Perpetua. While towns like Cannon Beach and Seaside often end up mobbed with crowds in the summers, Newport — a few hours south — is arguably one of the coast’s best food and tourist destinations. The city is home to family friendly hits like the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Bayfront, as well as the adult amusement park that is the flagship Rogue Brewery location. Its streets are lined with several exceptional restaurants and cafes, a lovely farmers market, and fantastic seafood counters. Here, find a guide to 24 food-filled hours in Newport, from the first bowl of Dungeness crab soup to the last bite of salmon candy on the way out of town. For more restaurants on the Oregon Coast, check out our map.
What to Know Before You Go
How to get there: While you could take a bus — or, for the particularly athletic, bike there — it’s really best to drive to Newport, even if it means renting a car. Typically, the fastest way there from Portland is to take Interstate 5 to Corvallis, before turning onto U.S. Highway 20. For something a little more scenic, start by driving out U.S. Highway 26, switching on to Route 6 when you hit Banks. From there, you drive through the Tillamook State Forest (prime foraging territory, for those who partake), before you hit the town of Tillamook and U.S. Highway 101. You can pop by the Tillamook Cheese Factory or Nevor Shellfish Farm, or just enjoy the coastal drive south. Along that stretch of 101, there are plenty of great scenic stops and beaches to hit, if interested: the cave trail into Tunnel Beach; the photo op that is Cape Foulweather; Otter Rock, home to the Devil’s Punchbowl and fantastic tide pooling. The final stop before you hit Newport proper should be the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, the tallest in the state.
Where to stay: Bookish nerds and lovers of the quaint will adore the Sylvia Beach Hotel, in Newport’s Nye Beach neighborhood — each of the hotel’s rooms is named for a different author, with decor to match. For those who’d rather spend their time crabbing and shopping as opposed to beach trawling, the Embarcadero on the Bayfront offers condos with views, as well as a pool, sauna, crab docks, and boat rentals. For those who are in it for beach access, a number of nice condominium options are perched above Agate Beach, including Little Creek Cove and Starfish Point. And for something truly out of the ordinary, the Newport Belle — a multi-story paddlewheel boat docked in Newport’s South Beach Marina — is something like a floating bed-and-breakfast, with kayak rentals, happy hour, and sunset views from the sunroom and deck.
What to bring: It depends on your commitment. It’s best to bring a cooler, so you can transport seafood home with you; those who are really committed can even try foraging for shellfish or crabbing in the morning, before heading out (you’ll need a license before you go). Unless you’re also planning on bringing a wetsuit, a swimsuit will likely not be necessary, but bring a beach-friendly blanket for a sunset picnic. The one thing that’s non-negotiable is layers — the weather can get cold or hot unexpectedly, and random rain spurts are not exactly unusual.
Noon, day one: You’ve just arrived in Newport, and you’re probably hungry. Start with lunch at Local Ocean Seafoods on the Bayfront, a two-story seafood restaurant and fish market with views of the boats and the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Owner Laura Anderson, who grew up in a small boat fishing family, is emphatic about the restaurant’s sustainable sourcing and hyper-locality; Amber Morris, who helps source the market’s fish, often labels the catch in the case by the first name of the fisher, and seeks out Newport-based boats for sourcing whenever possible. At the restaurant, chef Enrique Sanchez-Rodriguez takes the market’s seafood and transforms it into a creative, eclectic selection of dishes.
Any meal at Local Ocean should start with a bowl of the roasted garlic and Dungeness crab soup, a thick bisque with a delicate flavor lightly complemented by the use of a nutty parmesan. From there, options are relatively endless — a slab of black cod over a pile of al dente vegetables and yakisoba, togarashi-rubbed Albacore tuna with roasted corn and mangoes, or moqueca de peixe, a mildly sweet, Brazilian coconut-based stew teeming with rockfish, scallops, crab, and prawns. For something lighter or simpler, a cup of soup and the Chinook salmon crostini make for a satisfying lunch.
2 p.m.: Local Ocean is conveniently located at the end of the Bayfront, which means you’re in the ideal spot for some window-shopping and strolling. Check out the sea lions sun-bathing on the docks, or pop in one of the nearby galleries or gift shops for some local art. For something sweet, pop in the Newport Candy Shoppe, a decades-old spot for saltwater taffy, fudge, and kettle corn.
4 p.m.: You’re at the beach, after all; it’s time to head to the actual beach. Take a lengthy stroll or bike ride around the mouth of the bay, through Yaquina Bay State Park, and down Elizabeth Street, before landing in Historic Nye Beach. The Nye Beach Book House can be a fun place to waste an afternoon, strolling through the home-turned-bookstore’s aisles. For those looking for a happy hour spot ahead of dinner, tapas bar Zurita offers inexpensive glass pours and fun sangrias, served alongside croquettes and tortilla Española. For something a little more casual, Nana’s Irish Pub is a local favorite, with Guinness on tap and plenty of Irish coffee. All of that being said, spending a few hours just walking on the beach is hard to beat.
6 p.m.: For dinner, you don’t have to go too far — Sorella in Nye Beach offers a nice selection of house-made pastas and cocktails just a few blocks from the sand. Chef Justin Wills, known for his fine dining spot Restaurant Beck in Depoe Bay, keeps things far more casual at this Newport trattoria, but the food is just as special as its sibling’s. Begin with a people-pleasing, garlicky Caesar, or a fun seasonal option like burrata with Oregon heirloom tomatoes and grilled peaches. From there, it’s best to opt for one of the restaurant’s pastas, whether it’s a light tagliatelle with Manila clams and red chile flake, or a hearty casarecce in a rich veal, pork, and beef Bolognese. Dessert is a must, particularly for gelatos in flavors like salted caramel rum or cardamom chocolate. After dinner, catch the sunset along the water, or from the benches perched above Nye Beach.
9 a.m., day two: Cheerful craftsman-turned-cafe La Maison is where locals in the know go for breakfast, spending leisurely mornings sipping on mimosas and pondering a pastry ahead of their three-egg omelets. Start with a pot of tea and a baked good from the case, like a flaky-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside morning bun. From there, it’s hard to go wrong; anything with artichokes is strong, including delicate crepes drizzled in artichoke sauce with thin slices of ham, or the eggs sardou with a lemony hollandaise and house-baked English muffins. If you’re popping by La Maison on a Saturday, you can walk a block north to hit the Newport farmers market, which runs from March through October.
11 a.m.: After packing your suitcase, it’s time to pack your cooler. You have a few options when it comes to approach here. Option one: You return to the Bayfront to visit Local Ocean’s seafood counter, as well as the Chelsea Rose, a fishing boat docked on the Bayfront selling whole fish and crab, when in season. In operation for more than 100 years, this family-owned fishing boat sells hook-and-line-caught seafood like tuna, halibut, salmon, and rockfish, as well as whole live Dungeness when available. If you forgot the cooler, the Chelsea Rose also sells its own line of canned fish, including smoked salmon and jalapeno Albacore. If hunger strikes, finish your trip with a bang on the waterfront deck of Clearwater, feasting on whole Dungeness crab, ginger sambal oyster shooters, and bay shrimp ceviche.
Option two: The South Beach Fish Market, across the bridge, is another old-school Newport institution, offering wild Chinook salmon filets, Oregon Albacore, and whole Dungeness crab, which cook in giant pots outside the entrance. Those craving fish and chips can order a takeout container of wild-caught fried halibut or oysters; the restaurant’s menu is also stocked with fan favorites like shrimp cocktail and clam chowder. However, the one must-buy at the South Beach Fish Market is the salmon candy: teriyaki-brined, hickory-smoked, and brown-sugar-glazed wild Chinook salmon. It’s the ideal snack for the drive home.