Photos and Story by Maxine Sommers

Thinking about a fabulous vacation? Why not drive to Newport, Oregon, via Oregon’s coastal scenic highways? The area has sights to overwhelm a visitor’s senses, as their eyes fill with the glorious raw beauty of the area.  Newport has been a popular vacation destination since way back in 1856.  It seems that times have not changed much because the city continues to offer visitors a wide assortment of interesting vacation activities. Estimates run from 2.5 to 3.5 million people a year come to enjoy the beach with its attractions, spectacular views and exceptional sea food.

To begin counting the benefits of the community, Yaquina Bay, with the whole grand expanse of the bay area, presents an opportunity for boating, canoeing, sailing, fishing, crabbing, clamming, and kite flying. Don’t forget hang gliding, which is not a sport for sissies but is a mind-blowing thrill since you  and your glider will soar through the air like a magnificent bird. Awesome!

Sail boating is popular in the bay since there is almost always a breeze to fill the sails. For the folks that enjoy more adventure the Pacific Ocean is always there with its giant rolling waves to entice the braver souls who wants to surf in the BIG waves. Let’s not forget boogie boarding; Scary, even to watch!

Last but not least, whale watching is a popular pastime for everyone.  Boarding a whale-watching boat and venturing out into the ocean is a grand experience by itself but all the more thrilling when a magnificent whale is sighted blowing a 12’ tall geyser of water up into the air. You will hear the words “spy hopping” which is when the whale brings its head out of the water, usually with its eyes just above the surface. “Breaching” is when the whale rises straight out of the water (often half his length or more) and then falls to its side, making a gigantic splash … always a WOW! moment.  After looking at all of the area first hand, Newport also offers the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Hatfield Marine Science Center where you can learn more about marine life.

On the tastier side of Newport, consider planning a visit during the last weekend in February, when the city hosts the “Newport Seafood & Wine Festival.” Get ready for fun and excitement as the festival springs to life with hundreds of people talking, tasting wine and eating, eating, eating. This is the west coast’s premier seafood & wine event.  Here’s your chance to taste-test your way through it all … you will not go home hungry.  Call the Newport Chamber of Commerce for the full schedule, (541-265-8801) Bon Appétit!

If you would like to tour the area and not drive your own car, NorthWest EcoExcursions with owners, Tracie Driver and Linda Osborne, will solve that dilemma. They help visitors experience nature up close. Their first goal is to make sure their clients enjoy themselves … their brochure states: “bring your dog or your kids!” They do know how to fulfill their client’s every wish while at the same time respecting Mother Nature’s intriguing secrets.

All guides have either a post graduate education or a 10+ year’s ranger history and are equipped to take you on any of the following excursions: Native Medicinal Plants &  History, Kayaking, Drift Creek Falls, Beginner 1-Mile Loop Hike and Whale Watching.  For Multi-Day Adventures consider: Mount St. Helen’s Native Heritage & Geologic Tour or the Sustainable Wine & Historic Lighthouse Tour. Last but not least, the Pirates, Goonies & Shipwrecks Tour. This fantastic journey is offered only on Halloween and promises the shipwrecked martyrs of ancient technology will tell their stories as you travel the rugged coast … spooky is the name of the game for this exciting adventure as the ghosts call from their watery graves! Whooo OOO!

For further information call: 541-765-2598 or use their website:

Having traveled with NorthWest EcoExcursions in their comfortable van, I can promise you they will provide a wonderful adventure you will never forget.  As a bonus for you, ask the driver to stop at the Rockfish Bakery in Lincoln City for cinnamon sweet rolls (they are called: “Sticky Buns” in Texas!) … this warm delectable creation must be made by angels since they are out of this world….divine! Picture yourself with hot cinnamon and brown sugar glaze dripping down your fingers as you take your first luscious bite. Oh my goodness, Just Heavenly! Be sure to ask for a BIG bag to take extras home with you.

For more information about traveling the Oregon coast, contact the Oregon Coast Visitors Association at or 541-574-2679.