More Lighthouses & Thanks For All The Fish – Newport, OR

Sometimes you just gotta stop & smell the beach. South Beach State Park, OR
Sometimes you just gotta stop & smell the beach. Playing on a fine day at South Beach State Park

By our normal standards we are “speeding” through the central coast spending a mere 5 days in each spot before we land at our jobs in Bandon on July 1st. It’s all part of our “stop and smell the beach” strategy which is a an integral part of the way we’ve travelled for the past 2 years. We like to sloooow down, truly enjoy a spot and drive no more than 50-150 miles to the next one. As long as you pick the right weather/season to do it in, why not?

 Ultra-low tide at our beach-site
Cool textures at ultra-low tide

All that to say that 5 days is really not enough to see a place. We first came to Newport two years ago and stayed north of town at Beverly Beach State Park, which is a decent spot but IMHO not nearly as nice as South Beach State Park where we’re staying now. During that last visit we managed to knock off the tallest of Oregon’s lighthouses at Yaquina Head and delve into old-town. All very enjoyable. This time around we focused on the other venerable lighthouse in the area, Yaquina Bay (yes, the names are close enough to thoroughly confuse you)….and fish…lots and lots of fish. And we were honored by simply stunning weather our first few days here to accompany that purpose. Not bad, eh?

The Shortest-Lived Lighthouse Of Them All

The shortest-lived lighthouse on the coast

The shortest-lived lighthouse on the coast

Yaquina Bay is unlike any other lighthouse you’ll ever see. Built ontop of a bluff overlooking the bay, it resembles a vintage house more than anything else, with only a stout little lighthouse structure on the roof to top it off. And, by lighthouse standards, it was a total flop. Lit in 1871, it was shut down a mere 3 years later and replaced by the much better-located Yaquina Head 3 miles further north. A case of rather poor placement…duh! The house was repurposed a few times, languished for years and was almost razed, but was ultimately saved by the Lincoln County Historical Society and fully restored in 1974. These days it stands as the oldest structure in Newport and is a wonderful spot to visit and explore some history. Rooms are lovingly re-done in period furnishings and the location is rather pretty, looking over the beach, bay and towards the jetty’s. And like all old houses, it has its very own ghost…..oooooo. Plus (bonus) it’s FREE to visit. It may not have lasted long, but it’s endured to tell its story.

Fish, Fish…And More Fish Thank You

I loooove photographing jellyfish!
I loooove photographing jellyfish!

Nestled right next to the port of Newport lies a rather neat undersea adventure. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the largest on the coast and ranked one of the top 10 aquariums in the US. It sits on 23 acres of well-groomed land and features a selection of low-tide, sea and deep-sea wonders including two long “walk-through” tanks which have you completely surrounded by fish. I’ve been utterly spoiled by aquariums from my years of living next to Monterey Bay, CA (without a doubt one of the most amazing aquariums in the world), but I was still able to be impressed by Newport’s smaller, yet still very diverse version. It costs a bit to get in ($18.95/person), but it’s a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. A thoroughly enjoyable outing!

Paul heads in for a "full-on" dip w/ Polly
Paul heads in for a “full-on” dip w/ Polly
A brilliant day on the coast
A brilliant day on the coast

Other than these few trips we really haven’t managed much except for walking, biking & lounging at our beach site. And when I said the weather has been good I wasn’t kidding. It got so warm and lovely a few days back that hubby threw off the shirt and went swimming with pooch in the ocean, his very first “full on” dip on the OR coast. Sadly the clouds & rain dropped in 2 nights ago, obscuring the “super moon” (which I would very much have liked to see) and giving us a standard interlude of Oregon moisture, as I like to call it. The downpour also managed to expose a small leak in our RV, this time in our front window seal (why bother with leak pressure-testing, when all you have to do is take your RV to Oregon?). We expertly debugged and temporarily plugged the hole (thanks to the technological brilliance of duct-tape) until we buy the right “stuff” to permanently seal it…and given the 2nd steady downpour we got last night I can confirm the kludge worked. A true “mobile RV Repair” success!

We’ll be back to sunshine again soon, but by then we’ll be another 40 miles down the coast in Florence. See you there!

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. mary says

    I love your blog (it keeps me sane until I can do the same thing you are) and I learned a new word today too :) kludge

  2. says

    Leak? that is a bad word. Steve managed to have our leak issues fixed while in SC and so far has been holding well despite the pounding heavy rains we are also having here in VA.
    Here too, the super moon was invisible we had rain and thunderstorms that night. :)
    We breeze thru Newport the last time, now we have something to look forward to.

    • libertatemamo says

      I never like to see leaks either. Seems it’s always a bit of a struggle in these big multi-slide RV’s. Always something moving…or shaking loose…or opening up. Based on 2 days of solid downpour we’ve got our leak “plugged” for the moment, but I hope to get it more permanently sealed soon.

  3. says

    Once again a wonderful report. We’ll be heading to the Coast in late July, but it will be northern part. Probably won’t make it very far south. But then again, who knows? W are footloose and fancy free.

    • libertatemamo says

      You’re going to a LOVELY spot at Nehalem Bay. I dare say it’s now one of our favorite parks on the coast.

  4. Pat says

    I love the Oregon coast and will return later this summer. I spent last summer along the coast and love that you only have to drive a short distance to the next wonderful campsite. Have you spent the winter on the coast?

    • libertatemamo says

      Maybe we’ll see ya on your coast trip this summer? We’ve never braved the winter here. We’ve met several volunteers who do…they volunteer ALL year in the OR state parks. I’m not sure I could handle that much rain in an RV, but it would certainly be an interesting experience.

  5. keepinontruckin says

    Next stop, Honeyman? Stayed there recently and loved it! Able to hike the dunes from campsite. Checked out Washburn, but it seemed small and tight in comparison. Heceta Head was still “under wraps” when we were there, will have to go back now that it’s open!

    • libertatemamo says

      Aaaaalmost. We were stumped between Harbor Vista (County Park) and Honeyman, and decided on Harbor Vista instead based on a bunch of good reviews we heard of the place. I think, having now stayed here for a few days, we’d choose to go to the State Park the next time around.

  6. says

    I love the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, no lens in place but awesome museum. Looking forward to a post from the recently reopened Heceta Head Lighthouse (our very first hosting gig)! We stopped there in the beginning of May but it wasn’t open for tours just yet , we had to take pictures from behind a fence.
    We prefer South Beach too, for such a large campground it’s amazingly quiet, even at peak summer craziness. And the beach is full of neat finds, we always find a few fossils there.
    I’ve never seen or heard anyone else use “kludge” besides us, we use it all the time but usually have to explain what it means… :)
    Love your blog!

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup, we’re hoping to make it back to Haceta Head. We visited the lighthouse (pre-renovation) a few years back, but I’d love to see what they’ve done with it during the renovations.

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s so much fun collecting agates on the beaches here. I gather winter is the best agate-collection period, although I’ve found a few on our summer travels too.

  7. says

    If I remember correctly, Rogue Brewery (Dead Guy Ale) is right across from the Aquarium… They have a cool gift shop/restaurant and tour, and great samplers. Maybe next time :)) Oregon is calling thanks to your photos…going to have to do the big loop next summer, instead of working!!!
    thanks for taking us along,
    Box Canyon Mark, summering in Lovely Ouray, Colorado.

    • libertatemamo says

      You have an excellent memory. Rogue Brewery was, in fact, taunting us the entire way out of the Aquarium. We are doing a short-term liver detox at the moment so sadly did not partake, but it’s reason enough to come back to the area and explore again.

  8. keepinontruckin says

    Agree that the Newport Aquarium can’t compare with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but for a state the size of Oregon it’s pretty impressive. Our favorite section is actually the Puffin aviary, especially when the males are wearing their mating plumage. They all but land on your shoulder in there!

    • libertatemamo says

      I too enjoyed the Puffin aviary a lot. They’re such a unique-looking bird. Between the Puffin’s and the jellyfish I was very photo-happy.

  9. says

    We stayed at both Beverly Beach and South Beach and completely agree that South Beach is sooo much nicer. Did you happen to notice that there are some sand dunes on the beach below the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse? We arrived too late in the day to tour the lighthouse, so we took the stairs from the parking lot down to the beach. Imagine our surprise when we discovered some very cool windswept sand dunes. Definitely something to check out next time you are in the area.

    • libertatemamo says

      So with you on the campground ratings! And YES we did notice those dunes. It’s actually quite pretty around the lighthouse. Much nicer than I originally thought.

  10. says

    Glad you are continuing to enjoy your coastal trip. So nice that sun and warmth came around for a few days at least.

    Leaky window…not good. At least you found the leak. We have a leak also but now only with heavy rain from certain directions. We’ve had it to the factory, had the rubber removed and replaced, everything caulked three times and still the water gets in somewhere, sometimes!!

    Hoping you have more warm weather!

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, leaks are a royal pain in the bum! We’re happy this was an easy “find” because (as you can attest) so many leaks are really hard to locate. Water just seems to “travel” in an RV. If you ever get really serious about locating that leak of yours find a shop that does pressure-testing. That should discover any and all leaks in your RV.

  11. says

    I don’t know why this ended up in my spam folder but I just now found it. It was a great walk down memory lane for me. Thanks for bringing some beauty and smiles into my life. :)

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