Thursday, June 29, 2006

Daytrip to Newport and Depoe Bay, Oregon

It takes almost an entire day to thoroughly explore Oregon’s seaside towns Newport and Depoe Bay, but it’s worth the time and effort. This was one of the first places our Oregon relatives took us when my wife and I first began visiting Oregon. You can experience it all in this area, from quaint fishing villages and whale watching, to lighthouses and unbelievable views of the Oregon coast.

Start your trip by taking Interstate 5 to Albany, exiting at the Albany/City center/Covalis ramp, and following the signs for Highway 20 west to Newport. It can be a little confusing (for me anyway) so watch carefully for the signs. This road is very scenic…and winding. You may want to take a couple of motion sickness pills before you leave if you are prone to getting car sick. You’ll enjoy spectacular views as you pass through little country towns such as Philomath (pronounced “fill-low-muth”) and Ellmaker State Park.

Begin your day in Newport with a boat ride to look for whales. We lucked out and made the choice to go with Marine Discovery Tours (>. For a reasonable price, $30 per person, we enjoyed a two hour ride aboard “The Discovery,” a deluxe 65 foot boat with seating for 49 landlubbers. Even though it wasn’t officially whale watching season, we saw a number of whale spouts, cresting backs, and tails. Our on-board naturalist Kevin not only entertained us with plenty of jokes, but educated us about the ocean. Once again, don’t forget the travel sickness pills; the ocean can be a little bumpy at times. For lunch, you can’t beat stopping in at the original Mo’s restaurant on Bay Boulevard or the Mo’s annex right across the street. We’re partial to the Mo’s annex because it sits on the bay side of the street. Through its huge windows, you can watch the seals play while you’re downing a bowl of their famous clam chowder.

Next stop is Yaquina Head Lighthouse on highway 101 between Newport and Depoe Bay. Having never seen a lighthouse (except in magazines), this one fit the picture in my head perfectly. It recently underwent an extensive restoration, so now is a good time to visit. While you’re there, visit the interpretive center at the entrance to the state park and the Quarry Cove, a man-made system of tide pools. The day we went, we had fun watching some of the local seal population sunbathe on the rocks.

Finally, head on over to Depoe Bay. The beautiful bay that fronts the main street is probably one of the top whale watching spots in Oregon. If nothing else, sit on the sea wall, drink in the view of the massive Pacific Ocean, and watch the water spouts that shoot up from the rocks as the waves come in. Don’t leave without getting some saltwater taffy at any one of the numerous shops on the main drag.

With little daylight left, we had to skip Lincoln City and head back to our base in Salem. We’ll have to check it out on another trip. In Lincoln City, follow the signs to Salem (highway 18) then take highway 22 all the way to downtown Salem.


Megan said...

Purdy Oregon Coast pictures. You'll have to alert me if you come out to Idaho (it's more Inland Northwest, but that's close enough, right?).

What a great idea for a blog. Now I can check out possible vacation spots. ;)

Linda said...


Ah yes I agree as a die-hard Texan still here in the good ole heat of Texas summer that the Northwest Coast line in the state of Oregon is a wonderful place to go.

There are some wonderful B&B's you will have to try that we have found to be quite charming with wonderful host and hostess.

In Depoe Bay don't forget to eat at the Oceanus Resturant, a quaint little place right on at the water's edge. We ate there several years ago and found it to be very good food. But you might want to make reservations we got lucky and hit it at the right hour before the crowd hit.

Great hearing from you. Nice job on your blog.