Things To Do On The Northern Oregon Coast

Looking for the best things to do on the Northern Oregon Coast?

It’s one of the most popular areas of the Oregon Coast for its abundant hiking trails, adorable coastal towns, and unique activities!

Keep reading for all the best things to do on the North Oregon Coast, for fun and adventure all year long!

Emily Mandagie taking photos at Cape Meares along the Three Capes Scenic Loop Drive

What are the borders of the North Oregon Coast?

Where does the Northern Oregon Coast start and where does it end?

According to us, it spans from Astoria (the most northwest corner of Oregon) all the way down to Pacific City.

That’s 92 miles on Highway 101!

North Oregon Coast Map

The Oregon Coast towns included in this region are: Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Cape Meares, Oceanside, Netarts, Tillamook, and Pacific City.

Up next, we got all the best activities and places to go while on the Northern Oregon Coast.

1. Astoria

What to do on the Oregon Coast in Winter - Emily Mandagie in Astoria, Oregon

Astoria is the northernmost city on the Northern Oregon Coast. Here, you can find a combination of quirky shops, delicious restaurants, and rich history.

For the adventurers, hike to Coxcomb Hill via the Cathedral Tree Trail all the way to the Astoria Column.

For the wanderers, grab coffee and a pastry at Blue Scorcher Bakery and take a stroll down the Riverwalk. The Astoria Riverwalk is 4.9 miles from end to end – a perfect casual walk to see the downtown sights!

For the foodie, check out Pier 39. Here you can grab breakfast at Coffee Girl Astoria, or a beer & burger at Rogue Pier 39 Public House!

For the history buff, you’ve got to check out the Oregon Film Museum. Here, you can learn about famous flicks filmed in town, including The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, and more!

Read More: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary in Astoria, Oregon (3 days)

2. Fort Stevens State Park

Emily Mandagie standing at Battery Russel in Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens is a 4,300 acre Oregon State Park, located just outside of Astoria and Warrenton.

It’s the biggest park in the state, also hosting the largest Oregon Coast campground. It has 476 campsites available!

Some of the most iconic activities and landmarks here include Battery Russel (it’s haunted!), Peter Ireland Shipwreck, and the Fort to Sea Trail!

3. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Fort Clatsop at Lewis and Clark National Historic Park in Oregon

If you love history, you’re going to love Lewis and Clark National Historic Park.

You’ll learn about the history and culture of the tribes in the area, explorers, and nature during your visit.

While in the Clatsop Plains, you might even catch sight of the notorious Roosevelt Elk. Be sure to respect the wildlife by staying at least 50 yards away and not feeding them!

Want a more hands-on adventure? Go on a ranger-led kayak tour of the Lewis and Clark River where you will learn more about the wildlife and history of the area.

Check out this site for everything you need to know about fees and passes for this park.

4. Gearhart

Traveling south down the coast, your next stop should definitely be Sunset Beach for a peaceful walk on the beach and the sunset (go figure!).

Then, make your way to Gearhart, OR and snap some photos of Little Beach or grab a bite to eat from historic The Pacific Way cafe.

Any golf lovers out there? Check out the oldest Oregon coast golf course (it’s 132 years old!), Gearhart Golf Links.

5. Seaside, Oregon

Being an old town with lots of rustic charm, Seaside is one of the best stops on your Oregon Coast road trip!

The Seaside Beach North Promenade is a paved, 1.5-mile walkway that leads to all kinds of activities, shops, and restaurants, including the Lewis and Clark Salt Works.

It’s a great way to enjoy the city of Seaside while still enjoying the beautiful coastline.

The Seaside Aquarium is another cool attraction that is a great place to take the entire family.

6. Ecola State Park

With nine miles of coastline, Ecola State Park is a wonderful place to have a restful visit to the beach.

Within the park, we suggest visiting Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint where you’ll get an epic view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (though beware–it might be haunted!).

Next hike popular trails like Indian Beach Trail (moderately challenging 3.8 miles with 872 feet elevation gain), Crescent Beach Trail (easy 1.5 miles with 62 feet elevation gain), and Clatsop Loop Trail (moderately challenging 2.9 miles with 784 feet elevation gain).

You can also go overnight backpacking on the 8-mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail in Ecola State Park, if you’re up for a longer trek.

7. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Things To Do In Cannon Beach - Find The Alleyway

Cannon Beach, Oregon is a must-see place to go on the Northern Oregon Coast.

Known for the massive seastack, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach is a great place to take photos while on the Oregon Coast.

You might even catch sight of the colorful Tufted Puffins on Haystack Rock from early spring through mid-summer!

8. Hug Point

Hug Point State Recreation Site is called this because travelers in the area had to “hug” the coastline’s road from north to south.

In this area, you’ll see ancient sitka spruce trees, seasonal waterfalls, and have access to tide pools during low tide.

Don’t forget to walk to Hug Point Falls before you head to your next destination!

9. Arch Cape, Oregon

The next stop south on your northern Oregon coast road trip is Arch Cape, OR.

During low tide, you have lots of space to explore the beach, sea stacks, and interesting rock features for critters.

The best part about this area is that it’s usually less crowded than the more popular beaches!

10. Oswald West State Park

Oswald West State Park has got it all!

In this area, you’ll find great Oregon coast hikes for kids, perfect surfing conditions for beginners, and plenty of picnicking locations.

Short Sand Beach is a popular beach in the park that has all of these classic Oregon coast activities, in addition to swimming and coastal waterfalls.

11. Elk Flats Trail (AKA The Forbidden Cliffs)

Elk Flats Trail Seaside Cliffs Viewpoint

If you’re looking for epic photo spots like us, you must hike the Elk Flats Trail and Devil’s Cauldron Outlook to the Forbidden Cliffs (moderately challenging 2.9 miles with 580 feet elevation gain)!

The first portion of your hike, you’ll have the option to take a detour to the Devil’s Cauldron (great photo spot!), then you’ll turn off to another overlook before you hike toward the beach.

Be sure to bring waterproof hiking boots, as the trail can be quite muddy in the spring and early summer!

12. Neahkahnie Mountain Trail

Elk Flats Trail - Neahkahnie Mountain Trail

While the Neahkahnie Mountain Trail (northern approach) is a very steep and challenging hike at 10 miles, out and back, with 2,739 feet elevation gain.

However, it’s totally worth it for the incredible views at the top!

This is another epic photo spot that will lead you by the Devil’s Cauldron (northern approach) to a jaw-dropping viewpoint at the summit.

If you’re unsure about the length of the hike, you can abbreviate the 10 miles by hiking to the summit and back down the way you came, as the trail will lead you to the southern approach trailhead and parking lot.

The Neahkahnie Mountain Trail is very popular, so we recommend hiking in the morning before the parking lot fills up.

13. Manzanita, Oregon

If you love enjoying local art and music (or making some of your own at the Hoffman Center for the Arts!) you’ll love Manzanita!

It’s also a great spot for exploring the coastal wilderness and discovering Oregon’s beaches; it’s much quieter than other areas of the coast!

For the foodies, visit the Manzanita Farmers Market (Fridays from 4pm-7pm, late May through September) for plenty of options or visit a local favorite like A Mighty Thai.

14. Nehalem Bay State Park

Nehalem Bay State Park is found on the peninsula just south of Manzanita, OR and encloses the Nehalem River as it marks its way to the ocean.

Within the park, you’ll have great access to Sunset Beach, lots of trails, and camping.

You can even go horseback riding on the beach with Oregon Beach Rides ($125 per person for 1 hour) or kayak the Nehalem Bay with Kayak Tillamook ($75 for adults).

15. Tillamook

While in Tillamook, Oregon, make a stop at Tillamook Creamery for some delicious ice cream! They also serve food (like their famous grilled cheese!) and provide a self-guided tour of the cheese factory.

While in the area, grab a bite to eat at the local brewery, Pelican Brewing Company, or enjoy popular food trucks like Tacos La Providencia, Garcia’s Cocina, and The Crazy Torta & Seafood.

Because of its proximity to other Oregon coast attractions like Cape Meares, Tillamook is a great day trip from Portland or stop on your northern Oregon coast trip.

16. Three Capes Scenic Loop Drive

The Three Cape Scenic Loop drive is the perfect way to explore the Oregon coast between Pacific City and Tillamook.

Along the drive, you’ll stop at Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout, and Cape Meares.

Each of these stops feature beautiful Oregon coast lighthouses, the best camping on the Oregon coast, and a relaxing drive to see everything in between!

17. Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint

Emily Mandagie on the Oregon Coast

Of all the lookouts on the Oregon coast, Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint is not one to miss.

At the Cape Meares viewpoint, you will see a stunning Oregon lighthouse, sea stacks, and potentially whales! It’s the perfect place for a romantic date, to watch the sunset, or take a day trip from Portland.

18. Oceanside, Oregon

Oceanside at sunset along the Three Capes Scenic Loop

Oceanside, OR is known for Tunnel Beach–a truly remarkable experience where you can  travel through a tunnel during low tide to access another part of the beach.

While at Tunnel Beach, you can discover cool critters and enjoy the jaw-dropping seaside cliffs.

Oceanside Beach State Recreation Site is another well-known destination in this area, and is known for its parasailing and relaxing atmosphere.

19. Cape Lookout State Park

Emily Mandagie watching for whales on the Oregon Coast

While exploring Cape Lookout State Park (or driving the Three Cape Scenic Loop), discover stunning coastal biomes and wildlife on the Cape Lookout Trail (moderately challenging 4.7-mile hike with 793’ elevation gain).

Next, explore and relax on the Cape Lookout Beach where you might catch sight of migrating whales.

The best time to see whales are mid-December through January and mid-May through June, and the best view to see them is from the top of Cape Lookout Viewpoint or the Cape Lookout Peninsula.

20. Pacific City

Pacific City Beach is a great tide pooling spot where you can find sea urchins, crabs, and other critters, making it the perfect place to bring kids.

You can also enjoy local cuisine at Pelican Brewing Company or grab coffee at Stimulus Coffee + Bakery.

Make sure to add Cape Kiwanda to your Oregon coast itinerary to hike the popular sand dune on the north side of the beach for even greater views of the coast (TIP: stay away from the cliff edge, as it can be dangerous!).

Read More: The Perfect Weekend In Pacific City, Oregon

What other places do you love to visit on the Northern Oregon Coast? Tell us in the comments below!