The coast you remember
Vans fill a traveling and lodging niche somewhere between cars and RVs; they are large enough to live in, and are perfect for exploring coastal towns like Newport. Some people who have vans use them to travel to the beach on their weekends or vacations, and then return home when the trip is over. Other van owners have moved out of traditional houses and apartments all together, and have taken up full-time residence in their vans. Regardless of where van owners find themselves on this temporary to permanent spectrum, most agree that van ownership has given them a sense of freedom and excitement that is unique, and that van living is a lifestyle unlike any other.
You’ll notice a variety of vans driving along the Oregon Coast and parked next to the many beaches in Newport, but did you know that van culture has also become a nationwide sensation? The concept of van living has changed dramatically during the last 20 years; from SNL’s Chris Farley “living in a van down by the river” due to economic hardship in the mid-1990s, to modern times when van living is now a romanticized quest for simpler living. Over the last fifteen years, van culture has been documented and shared through blog posts, YouTube videos, and Instagram photos, with hashtags like #vanlife. Organizations, clubs and groups that celebrate van culture have also become very popular, with some that are all inclusive and others that cater to specific makes and models of camper or modified vans.
Frequently, van owners customize the interiors of their vans to maximize all available space and utilize resources that are readily available. Meira and Louie Cole bought a 1988 Ford E350 4WD high top van almost three years ago, and although they don’t live in the van and they spend most of their time in Newport, they often travel up and down the Pacific Coast to where the surfing is the best. When they bought their van, they installed a rebuilt engine that runs on biodiesel that Louie makes, and added a propane on demand hot water shower. They also built a back bench seat that folds into a bed, storage shelves and surfboard racks, and even equipped the van with a solar panel that charges their electric cooler.
Meira explains how the van enables them to go into very rural places where there are no nearby stores, lodging or restaurants, like Baja, California, “As intrepid explorers, the van allows us to take everything we need to go beyond the limits of other people all in the name of surf.” Living in a van can also be difficult, and often challenging because of the lack of many basic functions that are included in traditional homes or even most RVs. Because of the extra work and effort it takes van owners to perform simple things like using the bathroom, cooking, or having clean laundry, Meira adds, “It takes a certain person to cruise a van. You have to be able to rough it.”
Other van owners, like Daniel Hasselschwert of Ossie’s Surf Shop, decided to live in a van and stop paying rent entirely. Two decades ago, Hasselschwert lived in a van for more than three years, because when he wasn’t teaching school in Corvallis, he was in Newport surfing, and paying rent was unnecessary. He eventually moved to Newport, changed occupations, and didn’t own a van for a long time, but really missed his van, or “rolling dorm room” as he refers to it. Hasselschwert’s most recent van reflects the changes in his life, and he says that “Customizing them (vans) is the fun part; when life changes, so does the van.”
Hasselschwert’s current van is a Volkswagen 1986 Syncro Vanagon 4WD, and is a rare find, as only around 40,000 were produced and distributed worldwide. Since acquiring the Syncro, Hasselschwert has added a dome on top and an outside rack, which he plans to expand further now that he has a young son. He explains that because the Syncro is 4WD, it can go off road to some of the hardest to reach surfing spots, or through the snow if he wants to go snow camping. Hasselschwert says, “You can take this van almost anywhere, you can also park it anyplace that you can park a car, and you can leave anytime you want.”
Van owners Ashley and Patrick Ward talk about the same freedom, “It makes it so we can be more spontaneous; we keep the van stocked so we can hit the road whenever we want.” The Wards own a 1980 Volkswagen Riviera, and take a lot of local and regional trips. Ashley explains that, “The van was pretty grungy when we bought it, but we transformed the interior by pulling out the old pressboard and installing cabinets and tongue-and-groove pine interior.” Patrick had worked as a Volkswagen tech for over ten years, and had owned a series of vans that he toured around in with a rock band when he was younger, so owning a van was second nature to him.
Ashley wasn’t so sure about owning a van when Patrick introduced the idea to her, but she quickly fell in love with the project when she posted Instagram photos or their van and people began to respond in record numbers. Ashley soon found herself in a community of likeminded van owners, and says, “Vans are cool. This has been a great project that we like to do together, from making it our own, to taking it on trips. We always look forward to running into cool people with cool vans.” The Wards are not part of any organization that meets with their vans, but they say that they are intrigued by the concept and might want to try it in the future.
Van owners are diverse and unique individuals, but they share some common traits and likes. They love customizing their vans to make them their own, the freedom to come and go as they please, and the ability to return to a simpler living situation, if only for the weekend. Owning a van as a hobby or lifestyle might be the next phase for your trips to Newport; there is already a van community here that is waiting to welcome you.
It all starts with a slight tug that quickly turns into an epic struggle…Fish On! Before you know it, you’re trying to catch your breath while inspecting the fresh catch thrashing about on the end of your line! After landing this delicacy from the deep, the only question is deciding which hearty greens and fine wine will fully complement your evening meal.
Everyone knows that Newport is the premier spot on the Oregon Coast for fresh seafood, but it’s also home to many sport fishing charter boats with experienced crew ready to embark on daily deep sea angling excursions. Tuna, salmon, halibut, cod, and a variety of rockfish are available, and local charter captains will skillfully guide you to where these fish can be found. Sport fishing trips are affordable and frequently available, so you will have no difficulty scheduling a day out on the ocean.
Local charters will have all of the equipment you will need for your fishing trip, and some will allow you to use your own rod if you choose, but be prepared to bring some other essential items. In addition to the charter fee you will need an Oregon fishing license; if you don’t already have one, daily licenses may be purchased with most charter packages. To insure a comfortable experience, dress in layers, complete with a rain jacket, hat and gloves. Many charters offer food and drinks, but if yours doesn’t, bring a thermos of coffee or tea, a canteen of water and some snacks or a picnic lunch. Also bring a little cash to tip the captain and crew and to pay for the fish cleaning services at the end of your trip, and be sure leave a cooler with ice in your car to transport your fresh fish.
Most likely, you will check-in and mingle somewhere near the docks of the Port of Newport early in the morning of your scheduled adventure. The captain and crew will invite you on board, and will discuss safety, fishing and boating regulations, how to use your gear, and the procedures for catching and handling your fish. The boat will then motor across Yaquina Bay and under the impressive Yaquina Bay Bridge that looms overhead, through the channel of the jetty and out into the Pacific Ocean. Some charters offer crabbing options, and your boat may drop crab pots to be retrieved later on the way back into the docks.
Once on the open ocean, the captain will navigate a course to where various schools of sport fish abound. From this distance, the shoreline recedes inland, and you might be able to recognize important landmarks like the Yaquina Head Lighthouse or the sandy beaches that separate Newport from the ocean. The captain and crew will instruct you on how and when to drop your lure into the depths – this is when the magic happens! The anticipation and excitement is immediately heightened when a member of your fishing party cries, “Fish On!”
It’s easy to lose track of the time when the fish start biting, and the intervals are marked by catching fish or reeling in your gear and moving to a new location to find an unsuspecting group of hungry fish! Before you know it, the fish are piling up in the plastic tubs and buckets, and it’s time to return to the Bay. The trip back to the docks is a time for reflection of how satisfying the day has been, and suddenly how tired you feel as the adrenaline subsides. Once back on land, fish cleaning services are available for a small fee, and your only decision will be planning the menu for the night’s feast.
Chartered fishing is fun and exciting, and it’s also a great opportunity to try and catch your dinner, but remember that even sometimes the big one’s do get away. Catching fish is never guaranteed; that’s part of what makes it such a great sport!
Select a charter from one of our safe and experienced local charters:
1000 SE Bay Blvd. (near the Embarcadero Resort)
2128 SE Marine Science Dr., South Beach
Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting.
You’ve earned your time off, so now it’s time to come to Newport while everyone else goes back to work or school! Newport has more than enough great restaurants, events and activities to fill your stay, but here are a few suggestions to make your visit the very best. You may choose to follow this list faithfully, or veer off at any point on your own adventure. And if you are not retired, but have some time to visit the coast, please enjoy this itinerary as well!
If you’re here for more than one day, check out a variety of additional ideas at discovernewport.com.
9:00 am: Breakfast, La Maison ● Start your day off right with an amazing coffee or other morning drink at this little bakery. They also offer some of the best food around, including flaky pastries and mouth-watering cakes. 315 SW 9th St., Deco District
10:00 am: Visit Oregon Coast Aquarium ● No trip to Newport is complete without a visit to the sea otters, touch pool, giant Japanese spider crabs, and other denizens of the deep. The Aquarium is the perfect place for kids of all ages. 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd., South Beach
1:00 pm: Lunch, Mo’s, and wandering Newport’s Historic Bayfront ● Nothing says Newport like a piping hot bowl of clam chowder! After lunch, wander the Historic Bayfront to shop for souvenirs and watch the local fishing fleet in action. 622 SW Bay Blvd., Bayfront
3:00 pm: Explore Nye Beach ● Stroll through the Nye Beach Neighborhood, and visit the many shops and galleries. The neighborhood also has easy access to one of Newport’s best beaches, so you can take off your shoes and walk in the sand.
5:30 pm: Dinner at Ove Northwest ● Dine at Nye Beach’s newest hot spot! Featuring vegetable-forward New American cuisine, Ove Northwest combines international culinary influences with fresh, local and sustainable fish, meat, and produce. 749 NW 3rd St., Nye Beach
7:00 pm: Bonfire on the beach ● Take your s’mores ingredients and head to the beach for an evening bonfire to wrap up your day. Nye Beach and Agate Beach are both perfect spots to build a fire and roast s’mores.
7:00 pm: Watch a performance at Newport Performing Arts Center ● Spend an evening experiencing world-class music, dance, theater, and other fine performance art. Check their calendar of events to see what’s playing during your visit. 777 W Olive St., Nye Beach
Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting.
Stretching just southwest of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, from the South Jetty for several miles down the beach, South Beach State Park offers a variety of hiking, biking, and horseback riding opportunities. South Beach State Park covers nearly 500 acres, and is one of Newport’s oldest parks, with early land purchases dating back to 1933. In addition to a campground, playground area, horseshoe pits, and 9-hole disc golf course, the park has many trails through the woods, across the dunes, and along the beach that are designed for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
The trails and beach at South Beach State Park are accessible from two points; the main entrance to the park is just off Hwy 101 a few miles south of Newport, and the other entry point begins where SW Jetty Way leads west under the bay bridge and dead ends at the beach. Parking is available at both entrances, and restrooms are located in the main parking lot and near the parking spaces along South Jetty Way. Some of the trails that wind through the park are paved, but most are not.
Gather your family and friends together for one last trip to the beach before the end of summer! We’ve got the perfect place to call your home-away-from-home while you visit the lighthouses, stroll the Historic Bayfront, shop at Nye Beach, play in the surf and the sand, eat the freshest seafood, and drink local craft beer and regional wines. Whether you’d prefer to stay in a luxury resort, beach front hotel, romantic B&B, campsite, or RV park, we’re sure to have the right accommodations to compliment your plans. Come to the beach for a night or two, or stay for the whole weekend and beyond.
These relaxed, country-style suites offer oceanfront or woodland views, and are perched above one of Newport’s favorite beaches. Each room is uniquely furnished, and includes a separate living area, kitchen or kitchenette and private deck. The Agate Beach Motel has DVDs and board games at the front desk, and dog-friendly rooms are available. The motel also features a centrally located fire pit and a seating deck over the beach, with a gas grill for family or group barbeques.
175 NW Gilbert Way, Agate Beach
Stroll or play on the miles of beach just outside your room, or curl up inside and enjoy
the spectacular view! Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites is a cozy boutique hotel with a variety of rooms and suites sure to suit all of your lodging needs. All 68 rooms have beautiful oceanfront views, and the hotel is located just a short walk from all of the great stores, restaurants and bars that make up the Nye Beach neighborhood. You’ll love the new windproof fire pits that are
perfect for making s’mores and watching the sunset.
232 SW Elizabeth St., Nye Beach
The Shilo Inn has 179 guest rooms that offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the south jetty and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The Inn is also a short walk from Nye Beach, and is located next to the many shops, galleries and restaurants that the neighborhood offers. The Shilo Inn also features an onsite restaurant and bar, and has a pool and fitness center. Dogs are always welcome to stay with you at the Shilo.
536 SW Elizabeth St, Nye Beach
Featuring luxurious rooms with one-of-a-kind coastal themes, such as Captain’s Quarters, Surfer Dude, Ocean’s Edge, Coastal Garden and Bayfront History, the Anchor Pier Lodge is located right in the heart of Newport’s Historic Bayfront. The rooms also offer private decks that overlook the Bayfront and harbor and include a cozy fireplace. The Anchor Bay Lodge will customize your stay with their “Special Events Package” upon prior request.
345 SW Bay Blvd., Historic Bayfront
Located in the heart of the Historic Bayfront, this condominium hotel provides fully-furnished rooms complete with equipped kitchens, a dining area and a separate living room with a gas log fireplace. Most rooms offer washers and dryers, and feature a private balcony where you can enjoy all of the sights and sounds of the Historic Bayfront. The Landing also has a large patio with gazebo, gas grill and crab cooker for parties or family get-togethers.
890 SE Bay Blvd., Historic Bayfront
La Quinta Inn & Suites offers casual comfort and great amenities for individuals, groups or families. Conveniently located near Hwy. 101, La Quinta is only a short walk from the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Rogue Brewery, and the many other great things that Newport’s South Beach Neighborhood has to offer. Relax in the evening with 30 channels of HD broadcasting, or swim in the indoor pool and soak in their spa.
45 SE 32nd St., South Beach
You may have heard about the construction in the Nye Beach turnaround parking lot, but don’t worry, all of the restaurants and shops in the neighborhood are still open. The construction project to fix an outdated drain system is only affecting a few dozen parking spaces in the parking lot, and parking and beach access are still available. The drain project should be finished by the end of September, but it won’t slow you down from parking, accessing the beach or enjoying the many great things that Nye Beach has to offer!
Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting Newport.
If you know much about Newport, then you know that we take Dungeness crab very seriously here! In fact, the phrase “The Dungeness Crab Capital of the World” became a registered trademark of the city in 2007. The Port of Newport is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet on the Oregon Coast, and has been harvesting record numbers of this prized culinary crustacean for over a decade. Because so much crab is gathered locally, residents and visitors alike are able to purchase fresh crab right off the docks, from area fish markets, and may enjoy crab in many local restaurants. Newport also offers a variety of opportunities for you to catch crab directly from the docks of the Yaquina Bay, or by boat in the bay itself.
Commercial crabbing is a way of life in Newport, and many residents work in the industry harvesting, processing and preparing the popular shellfish. Commercial crabbing from Newport is hard work, and it’s dangerous. During crabbing season, fishermen brave the rough and potentially deadly seas, and extreme weather to collect crab by passing through the Yaquina Bay Jetty, an area simply known as “the bar.” The Yaquina Bay bar is an invisible horizontal barrier, where the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean meet with the much shallower waters coming from the mouth of the Yaquina River, causing extremely perilous conditions for boats leaving and returning to the bay.
Out to sea, beyond the Yaquina Bay bar, commercial crabbers must work along the edge of the Pacific Northwest coastline known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific,” where jagged, unforeseen rocks and severe and rapidly changing weather create hazardous crabbing conditions. The Discovery Channel has even chronicled the life-threatening work environment faced by Newport’s commercial crabbers in the reality series, Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove. In addition to the difficult and harsh working conditions, crab fishermen often have to negotiate the price of crab to get fair payment for their yield.
If you want catch your own crab, the Yaquina Bay is perfect; it requires minimal expense and preparation and provides a great individual, family or group experience. Crabbing in the bay is open year round, although most crab is harvested between June and November. The best times to crab are when there is less difference between high and low tides, and during slack tides. Pick up a copy of the current Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, a “crab gauge” measuring tool, and an Oregon shellfish license. Examine the regulations closely for instructions on gear to use, limits, and measuring and determining the sex of the crab. Don’t forget to dress in warm clothes and bring gloves. Choose to bait your traps with fresh turkey, chicken, clams, fish carcasses, small fish, or other meat scraps.
If you choose to crab the bay by boat, you will need to stay out of the navigation channel and away from boat traffic. Select a location to drop your pots or traps that is at least 20 feet deep; most charter boats are equipped with depth finders, but if you are renting your own boat make sure that you are crabbing in deep water. Use sinking line (as opposed to floating line) that is at least twice the estimated depth of the water to avoid getting tangled in boat propellers or swept away by erratic tidal currents. Also make sure that your pots or traps are heavy enough to sink all the way to the sandy bottom, and that your floats and buoys can be easily distinguished from other crabber’s gear.
Crabbing from a dock or pier is much easier and less expensive than crabbing from a boat, although the availability of crab can be limited to the specific area that you choose to drop your traps. The Port of Newport public fishing pier (located between the Rogue Brewery and the historic Newport Bay Bridge) in South Beach, and the Abbey Street Pier on the Historic Bayfront are some of the best spots to crab. Tie off the end of your crab line to the pier, and position your pots and rings so as to not interfere with boat traffic.
If you choose to use pots, leave them undisturbed for at least 45 minutes before pulling them in to examine your catch. With rings, let them sit at least 10 minutes before checking them, and then pull them up consistently and quickly to allow the basket shape to capture all of the crab in the trap. Crab rings and pots are inexpensive and available in many locations throughout the Newport area, and renting them is even less expensive and might be the best choice for your first crabbing adventure.
Bay crabbing charters, and boat and gear rentals, are also readily available on the Historic Bayfront and in South Beach. Talk to crabbers out on the piers and docks to find the best location, what kind of bait is having success, and how many crabs are being caught; most are likely to share helpful information with you. Crabbing in the Yaquina Bay from pier or boat is always a great adventure, and eating the fresh Dungeness crab that you caught yourself is an unmatched culinary experience!
If you don’t want to harvest your own Dungeness crab, that’s ok, because local crab is available for purchase. You can often buy crab right off the docks in Newport’s Historic Bayfront on Port Docks 3, 5 or 7, and from specific boats in the South Beach Marina. When you go to the docks or the Marina, look for signs that advertise crab for sale. You may also buy fresh crab from local fish markets that have purchased them the same day from select fishing vessels. Additionally, most local restaurants feature fresh cracked crab, or entrées and dishes that contain the savory shellfish. No matter how you acquire Dungeness crab, you’re sure to love this coastal delicacy if you like crab. Come find out for yourself why Newport is “The Dungeness Crab Capital of the World!”
Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting Newport.