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Not THAT South Beach: Newport's South Beach Mix of Oregon Coast Whimsical to Atmospheric

Published 05/31/23 at 7:02 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Not THAT South Beach: Newport's South Beach Mix of Oregon Coast Whimsical to Atmospheric

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(Newport, Oregon) - Everyone loves South Beach, they just don't know it yet. No, not that South Beach. The one on the Oregon coast. The deceptively tiny-but-atmospheric place is not always a popular destination in and of itself, except for the draw of the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Hatfield Marine Science Center. Yes, everyone knows those attractions. (Above: Aquarium Village, all photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

But what if there was a lot more to the place than you imagined? Like, say, it was perhaps bigger than you realized? Or maybe it had a whole other side after dark?

Newport's South Beach is more than a tourism afterthought as you leave southwards towards destinations like Seal Rock and or Driftwood Beach. There's a big bay, a walkway out into the water, some mighty science vessels, a major beach attraction sometimes overlooked, and some colorful secrets packed with layers of humor both obvious and inadvertent.

Looking not too far from the aquarium, a curiosity named Aquarium Village makes for some of the more individualistic good times on the Oregon coast – at least visually. Essentially a small plaza that looks like a miniature block, it's like walking into a surreal fairy tale, but coastie-style.

Whimsical, even trippy colors abound, changing every few years but always remaining bright, brilliant and with a touch of the off-kilter. A collection of eclectic shops, it also hosts, well, dinos of a sort.

Also on the kooky side: wacky figures depicting various stages of piracy, some with holes cut out where you can take your picture inside. Then there's this dude, who looks rather remarkably like Julian of Trailer Park Boys. You just need to put a rum 'n coke in his hand and give him a black shirt.

Back within Yaquina Bay, it's also home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and some ultra-cool research ships.

One of the more outstanding and even impressive features of South Beach is the crabbing pier that juts way out. It's also perfect for stroll.

Even better, hit this Oregon coast wonder at night, when some serious atmosphere takes place all around you. The water laps slowly, soothingly at the structure. Lights of the bay glow like something out of this world. It's an amazingly romantic spot after dark, but it's used for crabbing even then.

If you're lucky, you'll get to watch one of the fishing vessels coming in at night, where the head-on lights look downright ethereal, even angelic.

Back on Hwy. 101 in South Beach, there appears to be a large boat stranded on the hillside. Like something out of the show LOST, this sizable curiosity has been there for about a decade.

South Beach State Park is the sprawling natural wonder here, encompassing not just loads of beach but some estuary fun and a large grounds with plenty of camping.

There's also the south jetty here, which signals the edges of Newport. Do not hang out on those rocks no matter the conditions, but in calmer days you can get close to them and even see the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse from here.

Hotels in Newport - Where to eat - Newport Maps and Virtual Tours - Hotels in Waldport - Where to eat - Waldport, Seal Rock Maps and Virtual Tours



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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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