Giant ships sail towards the sea, fishermen return with their bounties, carts go back and forth carrying fishing boats and whales pass by, oblivious to all the action on the shore. Look no further for the best of Oregon’s port cities, travel destinations in their own right.
Particularly beautiful at sunset, spectacular views await in Fort Stevens State Park, on the South Jetty Observation Deck, where the Columbia River meets the ocean. Or just enjoy the spectacle from inside your car at Hammond Marina Marine Park, where the sea channel passes close to shore. The Maritime Memorial Park offers up-close vantage points to observe maritime traffic and pay tribute to the lives lost at sea.
NEWPORT: the largest working seafront
Newport, the Dungeness Crab Capital of the World and proud home of the West Coast’s largest commercial fishing fleet, remains a hub of maritime activity where hungry locals and tourists alike eat like royalty along the popular waterfront for two centuries. Here, fresher than fresh seafood markets coexist with galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants, and a host of fun family attractions, including the famous Oregon Coast Aquarium.
DEPOE BAY: Le Petit Port
Claiming to be the smallest port in the world, at just 5.5 acres, Depoe Bay certainly has a lot of charm. For years a safe harbor for commercial fishing vessels taking refuge from coastal storms, it is now a home port and stopping point for all types of vessels and a point of interest for visitors who stand along the seawall to not only watch the boating action or look for Gray Whales but also to admire the artistic Depoe Bay Bridge before setting out to explore the beautiful Depoe Bay City Park.
CHARLESTON: The classic fishing town
This quaint little village, located just eight miles from Coos Bay, is the perfect gateway to outdoor adventure, on land or off. A friendly marina offers charter boats, fishing and crabbing or you can skip the work and visit the market that operates right next to Fisherman’s Wharf and choose from a range of freshly caught seafood. They’ll even clean and cook your dinner for you! Further afield, miles of beautiful beaches, state parks and unspoiled landscapes await you.
PORT ORFORD: the most unique port
Famous for its spectacular ocean views, Port Orford (pictured above) is Oregon’s only natural open water port. It is also one of the six “dolly” ports in the world. Watch in amazement as working fishing boats move in and out of the water on massive hoists throughout the day. At Battle Rock State Park, choose your trail: down to the sandy beach or straight up to the top of Battle Rock itself, where a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean greets you.