On this day of our Pacific Coast Road Trip with Caravan Outfitter, we tackled the Southern Oregon Coast. Before this June, Berty and I had only been as far south as Cape Kiwanda, so each place was new and exciting! We quickly learned that the Oregon Coast is so diverse. We saw everything from dense forests, huge wave-sculpted rocks, and sand dunes as far as the eye could see. If you’ve never been to the Oregon Coast, we recommend roadtripping all the way down Highway 101 so you can stop frequently. Every little town and stop had its own personality and we enjoyed getting to know each one!
Visiting The Gems of the Southern Oregon Coast
Devil’s Punchbowl – Thor’s Well – Samuel H. Boardman Corridor
This hollow rock structure was made by crashing waves coming in out, carving this epic formation. There are things to see at all times of the day. During low tide you can climb down onto the shore and explore inside the “bowl” (like we did) and during high tide you can watch (from a viewpoint) the waves crashing and swirling inside. Devil’s Punchbowl is an exciting place to see and explore when driving down the Southern Oregon Coast. The parking lot is a short drive off of 101, which makes this location ideal for a quick visit.
Read More: 5 Gear Essentials For The Pacific Coast
Beyond the “bowl”, this place was teeming with life! Tide pools surrounded the exterior and we had to walk carefully so as to not step on the delicate beings. You could spend hours examining all the different species living here – we even heard you can spot whales here! Unfortunately we didn’t see any – we’ll have to come again!
Our Tips For Visiting The Southern Oregon Coast:
- Stop frequently – driving via Highway 101 is best!
- Be prepared to hike. We had to park our car and walk on foot to the coast most of the time!
- Be prepared for a downpour. It rained on and off our entire time on the Southern Oregon Coast. Wear sturdy rain boots or waterproof shoes, and a reliable raincoat.
The best time to visit Thor’s Well is during high tide…but be warned, it’s also the most dangerous time, too. This seemingly endless sinkhole has a history of sucking in anything that enters and making it disappear. However, it actually has an opening at the top and the bottom. Every time the waves surge toward the shore, water shoots up through the bottom and sucks it back in with a ton of force. There are several warnings to stay far away (because it could suck you in) but that doesn’t stop daring photographers from getting a close look at the intriguing natural hole! But seriously, be careful.
Thor’s Well is located right off Highway 101 (you can see the parking lot from the road) and you take a short walk down a stairwell on to a barnacle-covered surface. Besides the well itself, you can explore tide pools, shoot photographs of the tumultuous waves, and enjoy stunning views of the Southern Oregon Coast.
Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
This state park is located on a 12-mile stretch of epic, rugged Oregon coastline. Along this route, there are several places to park your car and hike to epic views and gorgeous coastal vistas. Berty and I also ran into a couple who was walking the entire park on a backpacking path! We recommend coming a little before sunset, to begin hiking and stake out a spot to catch a sunset!
Related: 30 Things To Pack On A Road Trip
One of the most exciting (and absolutely terrifying) places we saw here was the Nature Bridge. It took us nearly an hour to find an unmarked trail which led to us standing on this arch (pictured below). This trail is not for the faint of heart. It’s incredibly steep and slippery, and there are no guard rails anywhere – my legs were shaking the entire time! However, the beauty of it all (almost) made up for how scary it was to get down there. Not sure if I would recommend it to everyone, but if you’re the daring type, just be safe!
Have you ever been to the Southern Oregon Coast? What was your favorite spot and why? Tell us in the comments below!
MORE PNW PLACES TO EXPLORE
Want more Pacific Northwest inspiration? Follow our PNW board on Pinterest!
Want to find the best places in the PNW?
Stop searching through internet noise and download our curated list just for you.
Enter your email below and we'll send you your PNW Bucket List!