A piece of Oregon history sits atop a bluff at the mouth of the Yaquina River. It is the Historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, built in 1871 and decommissioned in 1874. It was officially restored as a privately maintained aid to navigation on December 7, 1996.
It is believed to be the oldest structure in Newport. It is also the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached, and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse has been restored as a working lighthouse and an aid to navigation by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, with the help of many people and agencies, including Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses.
The official relighting ceremony with the US Coast Guard took place on December 7, 1996. The light shines with a steady white light from dusk to dawn (and sometimes on dark days, because it is controlled by a photocell.) The light is 161 feet above sea level.
The Lighthouse is open to the public every day except for holidays such as Christmas, New Years, and Thanksgiving. The hours during the summer, Memorial Day weekend through the end of September, are 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and during the months of October to Memorial Day, the hours are 12:00 noon until 4:00 P.M. November through February the lighthouse is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Entrance is free by donation.
Inside the lighthouse, two flights of stairs lead to the watch room. The lantern room is not open to the public. The basement is open to the public and features a video about the lighthouse. The Interpretive Store offers many new and exciting educational items about lighthouses and the surrounding coastal habitat. Interesting places to visit within walking or short driving distance include the Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the US Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay.
You might also consider a trip to the north end of Newport to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. There you may tour the Oregon coast’s tallest lighthouse and visit natural tide pools, the world’s first human-made universally accessible tide pools, and the Interpretive Center and Store. See the Yaquina Head page for more details.