It takes almost an entire day to thoroughly explore Newport and Depoe Bay, but it’s worth the time and effort. These were a couple of the first places our Oregon relatives took us when my wife and I first began visiting the state. You can experience it all in this seaside area, from quaint fishing villages, whale watching, and lighthouses to 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, as well as being very scenic, is very winding. You may want to take a couple of motion sickness pills before you leave if such things make you queasy. In any case, you’ll enjoy spectacular views as you pass through Ellmaker State Park and little country towns such as Philomath (pronounced “fill-low-muth”).
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 also educated us about the ocean. Once again, don’t forget the motion 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 at 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 down a bowl of their famous clam chowder.