See the Coast from "The Deadliest Catch" at Yaquina Bay, Oregon

Yaquina Bay is a fisherman’s paradise, so it’s no coincidence that “The Deadliest Catch” crew regularly cruised the deep water nearby, proudly sporting their Red Ledge gear. But many are unaware of the secret beauty of this area and possibilities for recreation. This peaceful bay has an abundance of life, from seals and sea lions to seabirds. The marine life is varied and plentiful, and the bay has been settled centuries due to its wealth of natural resources.

Road tripping to Yaquina Bay is highly recommended if you are seeking a serene seaside escape. There is plenty to do, and opportunities to do absolutely nothing but relax and watch the ocean. We recommend five ideas for getting to know the area, after you’ve booked a seaside vacation rental, cottage, or hotel.

Natural Beauty

A shot of the Oregon coastline near Newport, Oregon and Yaquina Bay.

The biggest town in Yaquina Bay is Newport, but the region was long settled by native tribes for its beauty and abundance of fish. In 1948, the state created a coastal park called Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site. This state park is an ideal starting point to get acquainted with the area, with beautiful overlooks and easy access. The park offers views and trails to a lovely, uncrowded beach. A second recreation site called South Beach State Park also offers a day at the beach, hiking trails, and picnic tables.


Yaquina Head lighthouse at Yaquina Bay.

Because Yaquina Bay has been settled by Europeans since the mid 1800s, touring the first buildings offers a glimpse into the area when few amenities existed. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, located in the State Recreation Site, was built in 1871 and in its four years of operation saw more ship traffic than any port on the west coast at the time. It was decommissioned and upgraded when the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, the tallest in Oregon, was built. This structure was shipped from Paris, is still in operation, and was originally called the “Cape Foulweather” lighthouse. Its unique history is on display at an attached museum.

Sea Life

Sea lions hang out on a dock in Yaquina Bay near Newport, Oregon.

This area teems with sea lions and seals, as well as large sea birds such as cormorants, pelicans, egrets, and geese. Newport has a spacious aquarium to view the incredible array of sea life native to the Oregon coast, or travelers can take a view seals lounging at the harbor or in Quarry Cove.

Water Tours

A shot alongside one of the large boats docked in Yaquina Bay, looking toward the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Tourists who visit the coast are often satisfied with walking the beaches or taking in the views, but getting out on a boat is a memorable experience, especially for kids. Several companies offer trips for fishing salmon, tuna, and halibut. Chartering a boat can seem intimidating, but requires no more than choosing your adventure and making a phone call. Charters for crabbing and whale watching are also available, in season.


A shot of a large group of birds sitting on a rock in Yaquina Bay with a commercial fishing boat in the background.

The bay is an estuary, sometimes called a drowned river valley, which means fresh water from the Yaquina river meets seawater. As such, it is protected to keep the ecology healthy and productive. The Yaquina Bay estuary is the home to dozens of bird species, and watching the variety – even if you aren’t officially a “birder” – is a relaxing way to enjoy a day. Cruises offer opportunities to spot protected species, and tourists can book a special bird pelagic trip, or visit the Hatfield Marine Science Center to learn more about bird life.

Yaquina Bay is a relaxing getaway in an unusual landscape. It’s far more than a fishing ground for Deadliest Catch, and a visit during good weather is a chance to delve into a new, exotic world. Just don't forget your rain jackets!