The South Beach Marina at the Port of Newport is not the largest marina on the Oregon coast (or even in Newport), but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in variety. A pretty harbor is backdropped by the Yaquina Bay Bridge framed against open sky and the rippling blue of Yaquina Bay. A nostalgic paddleboat converted into a unique and luxuriant floating inn rests adjacent the walkway, which ends at picnic tables in wind-reducing enclosures providing a perfect vantage of harbor, bridge, and bay.
Not interested in lunching or lounging? It’s still worth heading to the picnic area – from there you can view Newport’s division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet at dock just east. Three of these impressive vessels, huge and bedecked with research and monitoring equipment, were moored when my husband and I visited on a drizzly November day. Akin to the fictional NUMA of Clive Cussler novels, you may find yourself looking for a real-life version of the outstandingly heroic Dirk Pitt.
There are many locations in Newport’s South Beach area where you can view the Yaquina Bay Bridge. This cascade of arches comprising the northernmost of the major McCullough coastal bridges runs almost parallel to the South Beach Marina walkway, at an optimal distance for views and photos. The Newport Bella Bed & Breakfast riverboat is just a dock ramp away, and other fishing, sailing, and pleasure boats bob pleasantly in their berths nearby.
This area is best for a stroll, but there are no benches along the sidewalk. If you require seating, the shortest route from parking to picnic tables is 75 steps.