Sunrise. Sunset. Even at high noon. There’s a soft siren song playing, “Put on your walking shoes. Come down to the beach. Take a stroll and relax.”
We found this alluring call especially noticeable in Newport because the town has been blessed with a wide, flat shoreline that extends for miles. This natural feature made it easy to take long, uninterrupted walks whether we decided to go all the way from Beverly Beach to Yaquina Head or Agate Beach down to Yaquina Bay. Typically, we only passed a handful of other people and maybe a golden retriever. We even had a some stretches of beach all to ourselves, except for a few shorebirds scurrying about on the sand or a flock of pelicans flying above in search of a fresh fish dinner.
The rhythm of our footsteps was accompanied by the gentle repetition of waves breaking on the shore. This sound was hypnotic, like a soothing mantra encouraging us to breathe deeply as you soak in the colors and quiet beauty of the Pacific Ocean, one step at a time.
Newport gives visitors the chance to enjoy the ocean from different perspectives. People admire Devil’s Punchbowl, where the surf churns in a giant natural blender. They’re able to jump the waves either with their feet down on the beach or aboard a charter boat in hopes of catching a salmon or tuna. They can also learn many of the ocean’s secrets up close at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
This unique attraction is filled with fascinating encounters. We were able to try our hand at feeding an octopus, watch comical sea otters playing in a pool and walk through a massive glass tunnel staring nose-to-nose with sharks and other deep-sea fish swimming overhead.
Yet, it was the jellyfish that we and many others seemed to find the most mesmerizing. Maybe it was their diaphanous bodies that were so intriguing or the way they appeared to propel themselves effortlessly. All of us stood entranced by these parachute-like creatures suspended in their silent underwater world.
A place’s name often incorporates its geographic location or a special regional attribute. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area’s name does both by perfectly describing where and what it is.
The focal point of this 100-acre park in Newport is the 19th century lighthouse that has been guiding ships along the rugged Oregon coast for about 150 years. In addition to the 93-foot tower are a number of historical and educational exhibits.
There’s so much more to Yaquina Head that can only be appreciated by following one of the five trails and taking time to study what’s in this exceptional spot. Our binoculars helped us spy the cormorant and murre rookeries on the rocks below, plus whales from a resident pod passing by. There was also a nearly two-mile long marine garden that gave us the opportunity to explore tidepools teeming with colorful anemones, starfish and sea urchins.
Spending a day filled with discovery was the best way to savor this area’s serene beauty and all that it had to offer.