Oregon Coast Vacation Ideas
Oregon Coast Vacation Ideas
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[video-blue-header]With beach towns, fishing villages, coastal cities, beaches, forests and mountains, the Oregon Coast is popular for exploration by nature lovers, adventure seekers and culture enthusiasts. Sounds like you? Load up on some inspiration for your next retreat to the enchanting West Coast. Planning a trip here can be overwhelming as the region extends for hundreds of miles along the Pacific Ocean. Read on for our top vacation ideas to help you fill an itinerary with scenic beauty, outdoor adventures and cultural gems. Check out our Oregon Coast Vacation Travel Guide video to see for yourself the staggering beauty of this dynamic coastline.
Ideas of places to visit on the Oregon Coast
There are seemingly endless places to visit along the Oregon Coast so we’ve compiled the best spots to make your travel itinerary one to remember. Visit the top natural attractions, catch a glimpse of migrating whales, walk through an ancient rainforest, explore the diverse coastline and admire the laid back way of life in its communities. A tour of the Oregon Coast makes for a fantastic driving vacation.
(1:23 in the video) In the state’s far north, by the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, find Oregon’s oldest city. Over 200 years ago, Lewis and Clark emerged from the wilderness to breathe in the coastal air here. Today, plan a trip to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park which commemorates the expedition. Visit the Hanthorn Cannery, a relic of Astoria’s era as the salmon canning capital of the world. From the First Peoples to the seafarers, history continues to speak within the walls of the Heritage Museum and the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
(4:00 in the video) The coastal town of Seaside marks the end of the Lewis and Clark trail. For history buffs, a stroll along the Promenade to the monument at the Turnaround should be on your Oregon itinerary, for it was here that Lewis and Clark turned back for home. Follow the water to Tillamook Head and venture beyond to Ecola State Park as Oregon’s natural beauty calls you further south.
(5:09 in the video) The perfect weekend getaway awaits you at Cannon Beach. This picturesque coastal town is known for its thriving arts and craft community, and its charming village atmosphere. Visit the history center to see the very cannon that washed ashore in the 1800s and gave the city its name. Cannon Beach features the iconic attraction, Haystack Rock. This 235-foot basalt sea stack stands high above a vibrant marine garden which is visible at low tide.
(6:04 in the video) Bordered by the epic expanse of the Pacific Ocean and populated with dense and temperate rainforest, the Oswald West State Park is worth every mile of the drive along the Oregon Coast Highway that intersects it. From here, plan your Oregon itinerary to head beachside to towns like Manzanita and Rockaway Beach or riverside to the timber towns of Nehalem and Wheeler.
(6:59 in the video) The waters of five rivers merge in Tillamook Bay. Follow the arc of its shore from the Port of Garibaldi to Tillamook and on to The Three Capes Scenic Loop. Around here, the living is simple. Plan a trip to stay a while or make it an easy day trip from nearby Portland. Enjoy the rich cultural history of the bay, not just its natural beauty. Two prominent Native American sites at Kilchis Point and Goose Point have been dated back to the 1400s.
(8:35 in the video) Stretching along the breathtaking Pacific Coast and the shores of Devil’s Lake, Lincoln City is an exciting waterfront city comprised of several smaller communities. The fresh sea air and relaxed atmosphere have long drawn artists and craftspeople to this gorgeous area. Check out the city’s beautiful beaches and expansive lake framed by forested hills. Try the local seafood at one of the downtown restaurants. Depoe Bay and Otter Rock are close by and make for excellent side trips if you’re looking for things to do to fill your itinerary.
(10:30 in the video) Sleep with sharks in the aquarium, watch whales from an iconic lighthouse and go kayaking in this picturesque marine area. Newport is a wonderful city in Oregon’s central coast. Enjoy the many water activities, historical landmarks and fashionable boutiques on offer to visitors.
(11:40 in the video) Find the coastal town of Yachats nestled between the towering trees of the Siuslaw National Forest and the rugged, black basalt rocks that meets the waves of the Pacific. Yachats is a fantastic destination for nature lovers. Embark on one of the many trails through the Sikta spruce and the Douglas-fir trees or go tide-pooling along the coastline. Don’t miss Cape Perpetua, one of the highest points on the Oregon Coast, to enjoy incredible views of the ocean and terrain below. Not far away, the largest sea-cave system in America awaits at Sea Lion Point, where the main attraction is found at the end of a 200ft elevator ride down to the Sea Lion Caves.
(13:45 in the video) When people talk about the dramatic cliffs, breaking waves and evergreen coastline of the northern Pacific Coast, this is what they mean. Surrounded by state parks, scenic vistas and gorgeous drives through windy coastal roads, Florence offers a fantastic piece of Pacific Northwestern shoreline. Located along 10 miles of continuous beaches, it’s also a center for recreational activities. Kayak at the Siuslaw Water Trail, surf the waves or grab a bucket and wade for clams during low tide. There’s something for every traveler here where the living is easy.
(14:18 in the video) With dramatic dunes, coastal vistas and rivers teeming with fish, this small Oregon town reveals some of the best natural beauty available on the West Coast. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and located at the confluence of three rivers, a trip to Reedsport brings you in reach of some of the state’s most diverse scenery. Reedsport is in the heart of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Explore antique shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants in the walkable city center.
(14:26 in the video) With one of the largest expanses of coastal sand dunes in the country, this park stretches for 40 miles along the coastline. Known as the NRA, the main attraction here are the sand dunes that have been sculpted spectacularly by the wind to tower over the Pacific Ocean for miles and miles. The sandy expanse of dunes makes this a popular destination for off-road vehicle drives. Take advantage of the endless water activities that the area offers. Visit some of the more than 30 lakes and ponds in the NRA, along with several streams and rivers. Go water skiing or scuba diving in one of the larger lakes, such as Woahink or Tahkenitch. Enjoy the scenery while sailing or canoeing. Cast your line into the water and see what fish you catch.
(14:45 in the video) This may be the largest city on the coast of Oregon, but its small-town charm will enchant you. Enjoy its prime location on a stunning bay where visitors can savor the beautiful surroundings. The town itself is a great place to spend the day so set aside some time in your itinerary to explore it. Coos Bay also has several great museums. Don’t miss the Coos Historical Museum to learn about the area’s European story. Coos Bay is the perfect gateway to some of the most beautiful parks on Oregon’s coast. Plan a trip to visit the wildlife at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, see the views from the dramatic headland of Cape Arago or explore the cliff-top oasis of Shore Acres State Park.
(16:11 in the video) This serene town is home to glorious ocean views, vintage buildings and excellent golf courses. Visit the enchanting seaside town of Bandon, on Route 101 along Oregon’s coastal highway, for an idyllic retreat from city life. Explore its historic center with shops and galleries in antique buildings, and a boat-filled basin with restaurants and other activities. Golf enthusiasts flock to the town’s courses to take advantage of the challenging terrain, serene atmosphere and picturesque ocean views. South of town, take the 2-mile Beach Loop road tour. Along the way, look for Bandon Rocks and Face Rock, said to be the face of an ancient Native American frozen in time.
Need more Oregon Coast vacation ideas?
Want some more travel inspiration for your next vacation? Browse through our Oregon Coast photo gallery to see more unique pictures of this incredible destination. If you want to broaden your horizons, our wider photo gallery houses pictures from around the world to help you envision that soon-to-be unforgettable vacation.
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