The Oregon Coast may not get as much press as California's coastline does, but this Pacific Northwest state boasts some of the most diverse, beautiful, and fun shoreline on the West Coast. Here are some of the top places to stay and explore on the Oregon Coast.
At the northern edge of Oregon, the picturesque town of Astoria is the gateway to the coast. Since this is a small town with plenty of history, you'll want to skip the chain accommodations when you visit. Use one of the many vacation rentals near Astoria as your base to explore the area.
Spend an hour or two at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where you'll learn about this area's seafaring past and future while looking out over the Columbia River. Visit Fort Clatsop to see where explorers Lewis and Clark once wintered, and be sure to catch the gorgeous views of the entire area from Astoria Column.
You can't miss Ecola State Park, which is just an hour south of Astoria. With its miles of shoreline, uninterrupted ocean views, and eerily majestic rock formations, it's no surprise that this area is considered one of the most beautiful spots on the Oregon Coast. From here you can visit iconic Haystack Rock, walk along the beaches, and take a dip in the ocean. Stay in the neighboring town of Cannon Beach, where you'll have your pick of vacation rentals right on the shore.
Visit seals, sea lions, and migrating whales at dazzling Cape Meares, and don't forget about the lighthouse. Nearby Tillamook is famous for its cheese, so be sure to arrive hungry. Take a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory, learn about all the delicious ways you can add more dairy goodness to your diet, and indulge in a cheeseburger or slice of pizza. If cheese isn't your thing, take a short hop inland to explore the dense Tillamook State Forest.
Lincoln City serves as a great base for exploring the central Oregon Coast. You'll find hundreds of unique vacation rentals in the form of houses, cottages, and condos. Fly kites on the breezy beach, sail on Devil's Lake, and spot wildlife at the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge. For a taste of the area's night life, take your chances at the Chinook Winds Casino or toast to the beautiful views from your oceanfront porch.
When you think of the Oregon Coast, you might not immediately think of sand dunes. A visit to the legendary Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area will change this. This area boasts more than 40 miles of sand dunes that you can access by car, dune buggy, or foot, depending on how adventurous you're feeling. After a day of fun, treat yourself to a sand-free stay at one of the many waterfront rentals in Florence or North Bend.
Whether you can spare a weekend or an entire week, there's plenty to see and do on the Oregon Coast. From beaches to sand dunes to great food, these hidden gems in the Pacific Northwest have something for everyone.
Find yourself at home in nature on one of the West's most amazing coastal habitats. Explore tide pools and rock formations, sand, and sea on foot or in a more creative way! Here are just some of the top activities that the Oregon Coast has to offer.
1. Hike the State Parks
The Oregon Coast has many beautiful state parks right on the ocean. Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach, Shore Acres State Park in Coos Bay, and the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in Yachats are all worth a visit. Most parks in the area have a daily use fee of $5.
2. Go Horseback Riding
Ride along the coast with Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides in Pacific City. Take the horses into Bob Straub State Park and see Oregon's largest Haystack Rock. One-hour rides are $70-$75.
3. Try Sandboarding
Like snowboarding, without the hassle of wet and cold snow! At Sand Master Park in Florence, you make your own waves by surfing the sand dunes. Instruction and equipment rentals will run you at least $50 per person, but the price goes down with a larger group.
4. Visit Sandland Adventures
This awesome adventure park has dune buggy rides, go-karts, bumper boats, and miniature golf. It's $35 per person for a half-hour dune buggy tour or $65 for an hour.
5. Take an Old-Time Photo
Flashback Old Time Photos in Florence provides costumes in Western, Roaring '20s, and Victorian themes. Create a fun memory you can take with you after your trip to the Oregon Coast.
6. Ride in a Jet Boat
Take a scenic trip down the historic water-based mail route on the Rogue River or venture off the beaten path into whitewater rapids with Jerry's Rogue Jets. These four- or five-hour trips run daily May through October and cost $50 to $95 per person.
7. Go Ziplining
Fly above the Oregon Coast's forests and lakes with High Life Adventures in Warrenton. You get a guided tour of eight ziplines for $99 per adult.
8. Hit the Links
The Bandon area of the Oregon Coast is known for world-class golfing on par with Pebble Beach, California but open to the public. At the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, green fees vary depending on the time of year. You can snag a discount on green fees if you stay at the resort.
9. Check Out the Marine Science Center
See tons of fish and other ocean dwellers at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. There are hands-on exhibits where you can touch various species. Best of all, admission is free!
10. Experience the Devil's Churn
This unbelievable coastal feature sends ocean water roaring up a long crevice at high tide and exposes tide pools at low tide. You can find the Churn at Siuslaw National Forest in Yachats. Daily use parking permits are required ($5).
If you're a nature lover or a fan of outdoor recreation, the Oregon Coast makes an awesome travel destination. Just remember to wear goggles when facing down the spray of the sea or the sandy slopes!
The rugged, beautiful Oregon coast does not get its due as a must-visit American destination. Though the California Pacific coast gets all the publicity, we think there is a lot of merit to adding the Oregon Pacific coast to your bucket list. An outdoorsman's dream - the Oregon coast offers hiking, biking, fishing, endless forests to explore and cliffs to traverse while waves crash below. Along the way, you'll find quaint towns that evoke the spirit of the area and love travelers spending the night. There is so much to do and see we've done our best to narrow down the activites and build out an itinerary for a 72-hour jaunt.
The Oregon Pacific coastline is 350 miles of nature. For Day 1 of our faux itinerary, we'll start at the top of the map in Astoria and work our way down to Lincoln City. Speaking of Astoria, there is a lot to do in the area from basking in the views of the Asotria Column, to the Columbia Maritime Museum which examines the seagoing nature of Oregon. Head to Lewis and Clarke's winter home in 1806, known as Fort Clatsop.
Before you continue your journey south, head due west to see the remains of the 1906 shipwreck Peter Iredale on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park. Seaside's Broadway is as if Atlantic City was picked up and plopped down on the Pacific coast. Shops, ferris wheels, eateries and fun make this beach town a great choice to visit on Day 1. In Ecola State Park you'll find the most photographed spot on the Oregon coast, with nearly 20 miles of visibility over surrounding beaches and towns.
As the day winds down, watch the sunset while driving the Three Capes Scenic Drive. Off Coast Highway US 101 between Tillamook and Pacific City leads visitors to stunning views at Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. Each stop offers its own features like tide pools, hiking, sand dunes, and lighthouses.
The second day of our trip will take us from Lincoln City down to Coos Bay, which is mile 238 of the trip. We'll be covering a lot of ground today, so wake up early and be ready to rock. Reward your loyal passengers with a shopping spree at the Lincoln City Outlets before you get back on the scenic road.
Take a mid-day whale watch in Dapoe Bay, followed by a stop in Newport where you should marvel at the architecture of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is in Newport too, so give the kids a rest and look at some fishes.
Our next stop is in Yachats where the coastline is a sight to behold, drive along while also stopping periodically to take pictures. Stop at the Devil's Churn tidal pools along the coast too, they are quite something. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is rated #1 on TripAdvisor in Yachats and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this nature-filled attraction.
The sea lion caves and the sandboarding area in Florence should be one of your final stops of the day, using much of your remaining energy.
Our last day on our trip to the Oregon coast will have us enjoying the souternmost areas, from Bandon to Brookings-Harbor. In Bandon, you'll find a picturesque town surrounded by flawless golf courses. Stop here for a quick round. Before you head out, check out the scenic views at Face Rock Viewpoint, as well as Coquille River Lighthouse. Drive south until you hit Gold Beach - some of the top attractions here are a sunken ship, the Rogue River Bridge, and Otter Point State Recreation Site. Lastly, visit Brookings-Harbor where there are endless state parks to visit, but our favorite is Harris Beach. Settle in for the night, it has been a long journey.
Now that you've spent 3 days enjoying everything the Oregon coast has to offer, why not come back soon and book a longer stay in a vacation rental? Until next time!
Great road trips don’t always involve four-wheeled vehicles—sometimes two wheels are all you need. Traveling by bike has its own set of challenges: more planning is required, shorter distances are covered each day, and a strong headwind can really influence your plans. But in return, road bike travelers get a unique view of the countryside, the satisfaction of miles well-earned, and a great set of strong, defined legs!
The Oregon Coast offers everything needed to create a doable and memorable road biking excursion. The first essential ingredient? Good roads with a defined route. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has developed a coastal road biking map, laying out all bikers need to know for a safe, successful ride. Road descriptions, including shoulder width, alternate routes, and the locations of parks for rest breaks are all included.
Some bikers ride self-supported, meaning they pack all their gear and clothing in panniers, and haul it with them on their bikes. Other biking groups use a support vehicle, meaning that one rider drives ahead to a designated spot, while the bikers hit the road on two wheels. Either way, plenty of vacation rentals along the coast make planning the trip convenient. In September and October, temperatures usually stay in the sixties or down into the fifties, and smart packers will be ready for drizzly days.
The Oregon Coast has no shortage of the second essential ingredient for an excellent biking road trip—gorgeous scenery! After all, bikers spend hours at a time taking it in, and the Oregon Coast has much to offer, from the seals playing in the surf to the craggy, rugged shoreline. If you ride the coast from north to south (which ODOT recommends, to avoid riding into the wind) here are some must-see spots along the way:
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Walk the hardpack sand beach for miles, under the watchful eyes of the seals drifting along in the surf. Haystack Rock is one of many geologic anomalies along the coast, and at sunset, you won’t find a more picturesque backdrop for photos.
Tidepools at Yaquina Head
The coast grows wild and rugged as you follow the route south, with flat sandy beaches giving way to rocky inlets shrouded in mist. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is worth a visit, just to check out the enormous prism and candlepower. The real treat is at low tide, when the tidepools reveal the community of sea creatures within. Sea stars, urchins, anemonies, and sea grass are just a few of the species that make up this alien-like world. Tidepools are fragile, so take care to do no damage, and take nothing except photos.
Devil’s Churn at Cape Perpetua
The most impressive spot to witness the power of the Pacific. Cape Perpetua is the highest point on the coast, and offers a spectacular view, but the real drama takes place along a fissure in the rock along the Trail of Restless Water, where crash waves explode up through the rock, leaving visitors with a whole new respect for what tidal forces can do.
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Want an inexpensive family vacation along the Oregon Coast? The average cost per guest on the Oregon Coast is just $37.75 per night. The beautiful rocky beaches are perfect for family outings.
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