This is not meant as an end all for Newport, just one opinion and some facts about a nice place to visit.
Newport is located on the Oregon coast between Lincoln City to the north (casino and skatepark) and Florence (sand dunes) to the south. There are multiple areas to camp, as well as your usual assortment of fleabag motels to high end condos. Although the town's website says that it has 9,000 people, I can't help but feel that is has grown in the past few years (last visit: August 2004). That may be due to the fact that it was summer time (peak tourism time) and the town was packed with people. The beaches are nice and clean there, never truly "crowded", although if you're looking for a swimming area you should go further south, this is the land of full wetsuits for surfers.
Some of the better known and fun things to do in Newport include the beach, the Newport aquarium, and of course, the Rogue Ales brewery. Having been a few years since I myself have seen the aquarium I'll keep it short. It's fairly standard, just nice to have it actually located at the beach, so you can see some explanations and learn something, then actually go outside and see some of it in the real world. The Rogue Ales brewery has a friendly atmosphere and is almost co-located with the aquarium (coincidence?). Rogue makes a large variety of beer, and the brewery includes a restaurant and bar upstairs. You can't miss it, it is the huge warehouse with a large red missile silo looking attachment. Excellent place to relax after a day at the beach.
Other than that there are all sorts of shops and stores around the area. One of the better things to do is just walk around the town and poke around the shops, especially if the weather isn't cooperating with your trip to the beach. For those of you into skateboarding - further north is Lincoln City with two skateparks co-located, down south is Florence with miles of immense sand dunes, and yes you can bring or rent dune buggies, four-wheelers, and motorcycles.
Just remember where you are - the middle of Oregon, so this is not the place to be in the middle of winter, unless you are looking for that type of experience.
Almost forgot about Mo's. It's a good place to eat, great clam chowder in a sourdough ball (cannonball). It's gotten a lot of attention in the past few years and may not be worth the trouble or the cost depending on what you feel like.