Winter in Oregon is stunning across the state, but this season is particularly special along the Oregon Coast.
Full of coastal hikes, surfing adventures (yes, surfing!), weekend getaway destinations, and flourishing wildlife, the Oregon Coast in winter is the place to be!
Keep scrolling to learn all about our favorite Oregon Coast winter activities and where to find them.
Why plan a trip to the Oregon Coast in winter?
You may be asking yourself, why go to the Oregon Coast in winter?
Well, with moderate temperatures, moody lighting (a photographer’s dream!), way fewer crowds, cheaper accommodations, and unique experiences like whale watching (the season is only December-January) and visiting the full sea lion caves, it’s hard not to!
The Oregon Coast in the wintertime is cozy, pleasant, rejuvenating, and restful. At the same time, it’s adventurous, welcoming, and full of opportunities to make tons of memories that will last a lifetime!
Winter on the Oregon Coast (Activities Broken Down By Region)
Northern Oregon Coast in Winter
1. Book a Romantic Weekend Getaway
One of the best ways to experience the Oregon Coast in winter is with a romantic weekend getaway!
Bring your beau and stay at the oceanfront lodge or cottages at the Headlands Lodge or the Salishan Lodge. Here, you can spend a weekend relaxing at the spa, walking on the beach, and cuddling in your cozy lodge room.
Alternatively, you could book a smaller vacation home on the way
2. Take an Oregon Coast Hike
It’s no secret that we love hiking. With the gentle sea breeze, mazes of driftwood, ancient groves, and flourishing seaside vegetation, hiking on the Oregon Coast is one of our favorite spots to hike!
Personally, we love these trails the most:
- Crescent Beach Trail (moderate, 2 miles with 488’ elevation gain)
- Short Sands Beach Trail (easy, 1.2 miles with 83’ elevation gain)
- Elk Flats Trail (moderate, 2.9 miles with 616’ elevation gain)
- see other Oregon Coast winter hikes here!
3. Crabbing and Clamming in Clatsop County
Because of the Oregon Coast winter weather and storms, the best razor clamming and crabbing happen in the winter! Clatsop County is the best place to do this – all you need is the right gear and the best time to go!
The best environment for razor clamming is negative tides and lesser sands, which occur because of storms. The best environment for crabbing Dungeness or Red Rock on the Oregon Coast is low tide and on a dock, bay, or boat. For a guided experience, check out Pacific Charter’s ocean crabbing tour!).
Here are some resources to know before you go:
- Oregon’s rules and regulations for both activities
- Know how to dig clams or go crabbing
- Research the most popular hot spots
- Monitor the tide charts for Clatsop County
4. Explore Fort Stevens State Park
Near Astoria, Oregon lies the beautiful Fort Stevens State Park, brimming with adventure and winter fun!
Here, you can golf at the Columbia Shore Disc Golf Course or go on a kayak tour of Trestle Bay. You can also hike the Oregon Coast Trail, starting at the northernmost trailhead within the park.
Afterward, head back to Warrenton or Astoria and grab a bite to eat. Our favorites are at Bridgewater Bistro, Fort George Brewery + Public House, or the South Bay Wild Fish House (the freshest seafood on the market!).
5. Take a Movie Tour of the Oregon Coast
Did you know that Oregon, with its enchanting forests and moody coastline, has been the setting of tons of popular movies and TV shows?
You can learn all about these movies and more at the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria, Oregon.
Additionally, you could go on your own tour around the city and greater Oregon. Learn all about famous movies set in the Pacific Northwest you can visit!
Love these tidbits? Learn 35 fun facts about Oregon state!
6. Explore Oregon Coast Breweries
Some of the most well-loved and popular breweries in the nation come from right off the coast of Oregon!
Hands down, Pelican Brewing is one of our favorites. It has tons of unique locations along the Oregon Coast, cozy interiors, and delicious food and drink!
7. Experience Seaside, Oregon during the off-season
While Seaside, Oregon is super popular during the summer, the quaint town has tons to offer in the winter. Namely, cheaper prices and more privacy during the off-season!
During your stay, relax at the Hi-Tide Resort for an affordable weekend stay in Oregon.
8. Enjoy a Quieter Cannon Beach
Similar to Seaside, Cannon Beach, Oregon has cheaper prices and is quieter in the winter. This makes it the perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the king tides rolling in.
Even better, Cannon Beach in winter gives off mega-romantic vibes. Bring your beau, a bottle of wine, and cozy up at the nearby Arch Cape Inn boutique hotel for a lovely winter weekend getaway in Oregon. Rates start at $179 per night, with a two-night minimum stay!
After a day of exploring tide pools and relaxing on Cannon Beach, check out Pelican Brewing for a yummy bite and drink. Grab some coffee at Sleepy Monk Coffee or even walk through shops on the main strip of the charming town.
9. Go Storm Watching
One of the best Oregon Coast winter activities is storm watching. This is because they frequently occur during this season, and bring some excitement to your Oregon Coast visit.
You can even enjoy the storm in the safety of your car by driving the Oregon Coast in winter. This way, you can take in the crashing waves and consistent rain from the comfort of heated seats, rainy-day playlists, and PNW podcasts.
10. Metal Detecting and Beach Combing
Have you ever walked on a beach and wondered what might be under your feet, buried in the sand, waiting for you to find it?
Well, now’s your chance, because metal detecting and beach combing are great activities in the winter–especially after storms!
Rent a metal detector by delivery from Sunbelt Rentals for $39 per day. Then, try your luck at any of the nearby beaches like Astoria, Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach, Tillamook, Cape Kiwanda, Lincoln Beach, and other epic Oregon beaches.
Coming from Portland on an Oregon Coast day trip? Rent a metal detector from C&E Rentals for $30 a day!
When going on this winter activity in Oregon, be sure to know where you can metal detect and where you’ll need a permit!
11. Watch Pacific City’s Dory Fleet Brave the Rough Waves
Full of opportunities for adventure and relaxation, visiting Pacific City, Oregon this winter is the way to go.
What’s unique about Pacific City is their iconic Dory Fishing Fleet–the only one of it’s kind–that continually rushes out to sea to catch Coho and Chinook salmon, Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna, and rockfish.
These traditional dory boats can be seen from Cape Kiwanda and you can eat a portion of their catch at the Pelican Brewing’s Pacific City location.
Want to try it for yourself? Check out Sea Bliss Dory Charter for your own unique dory fishing boat experience this winter.
Central Oregon Coast in Winter
12. Go Surfing
This may be surprising, but because of king tides and the winter swell season, one of the best things to do on the Oregon Coast in winter is to go surfing!
Try your hand at surfing at Pacific City Beach, Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park, Beverly Beach, Cannon Beach, or Seaside (closest to Portland).
Before you go, make sure to check the local weather forecasts, monitor local tide charts, have the proper gear, fuel up before you go, and know how the local tides work!
13. Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium
Located in Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a wonderful indoor activity for families and friends.
At the Oregon Coast Aquarium, you’ll get a big picture of the vital ocean ecosystem, play with the kids at the new Nature Play Area, learn about a wide variety of species, and even see them for yourself!
Tickets to the Oregon Coast Aquarium start at $12 per person.
14. Wander Cape Perpetua
At Cape Perpetua, you get to see lots of spouting horns (pressurized water that shoots up from chasms in the rock), which are particularly dramatic when the waves are super high at Thor’s Well and Cook’s Chasm.
Make sure you have a day-use parking permit for this Oregon state park ($5 per day at the kiosk in the parking lot or $30 for an annual pass)!
15. Strawberry Hill For Exploring Tide Pools
At low tide at Strawberry Hill, you can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife and agates: harbor seals, anemone, sea stars, fish, crabs, and maybe even whales spouting in the distance!
16. Boiler Bay
While it has a dramatic past (being named after an infamous shipwreck in the PNW, and all), Boiler Bay is one of the best places to sit back, relax, and take in the lively energy of Oregon’s wildlife.
From Boiler Bay, you can often see whales spout water as they migrate south and hear the calls of hundreds of seaside birds.
Don’t miss your chance to visit Boiler OkaBay this winter to see the forces of nature at play!
17. Visit Yachats
Yachats, Oregon is full of state recreation sites and hidden wonders.
Around Yachats, you can visit the Heceta Head Lighthouse and go on a winter tour of the lighthouse (daily, 11AM-2PM), hike the Hobbit Beach Trail and China Creek Trail Loop (moderate, 4 miles with 377’ elevation gain), or hike along other epic coastal hikes in Oregon.
18. Explore the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Not only can you surf during Oregon’s winter, but you can also sand surf at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area!
You can also hike, rent a dune buggy, or soak in the winter sun at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
19. This is Prime Whale Watching Time
Did you know there are 28 designated whale watching viewpoints along the Oregon Coast?
Researchers estimate that around 30 whales migrate past the Oregon Coast per hour during peak southbound migration and over 18,000 gray whales live along the PNW coastline!
With winter whale watching season in full swing, it’s time to grab the binoculars and head out to the coast to see the local gray whales!
The Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center is a particularly popular and reliable location to go whale watching in the winter on the Oregon Coast.
20. Explore Oregon Coast Waterfalls
With Oregon’s winters come the rainy season, and with the rainy season comes full waterfalls!
Among Oregon’s hundreds of waterfalls, Niagara Falls, Kentucky Falls, Drift Creek Falls, Hug Point Falls, and Blumenthal Falls are all stunning Oregon Coast waterfall hikes with rewarding views.
21. Visit the Sea Lion Caves
The busiest and best time where you’re most likely to see sea lions is in the winter on the Oregon Coast in Florence, Oregon.
You can access the Sea Lion Caves where the marine creatures reside (largest sea cave in the US!) and see their playful nature come out with your own two eyes!
Tickets to tour the Sea Lion Caves start at $10 and can be purchased in the gift shop.
22. Go Ghost Hunting at Oregon Coast Lighthouses
While Oregon may have once had dozens of lighthouses along the rugged Pacific Northwest coastline to protect oncoming ships from the Graveyard of the Pacific, only 11 lighthouses remain.
Whether you believe it or not, some think the state’s lighthouses are some of the most haunted places in Oregon!
Southern Oregon Coast in Winter
23. Go Antique Shopping
With Oregon Coast towns comes a whole lot of charm and always one-of-a-kind experiences–especially at antique shops!
The entire coast has spectacular hidden treasures to find.
24. Agate Hunting Season
With over 300 miles of shoreline, the Oregon Coast is abundant in agates–rocks, minerals, and fossils that tell the tale of time in a wide array of stunning colors.
The best time to find agates on the Oregon Coast is after heavy storms and during low tide.
All you need to do to go agate hunting is head to a beach, look down, and walk! Just be sure to watch the tidal changes!
25. Head to Face Rock For Sunset
If you love sunsets like us, head to the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint for jaw-dropping views!
With dozens of sea stacks that bejewel the Oregon coastline and powerful waves that crash into the rock along the shores, you will not want to miss this unique wonder of Oregon this winter.
26. Stay Overnight in Coos Bay
Whether you’re planning on visiting the Oregon Coast for a day or a week, Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay has got it all.
During your stay, we suggest visiting Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (and hike the moderate John Dellenback Dunes Trail!), see the stunning Golden and Silver Falls, and visit the Cape Arago Lighthouse, alongside other fun things to do in Coos Bay!
27. Experience “The Brookings Effect”
The southern Oregon coast strangely stays warmer than the rest of the Oregon Coast, especially in the winter.
28. Winter Camping on the Oregon Coast
Because southern Oregon is much warmer year-round, camping on the Oregon Coast is a completely doable option in the winter!
Across the coastline, there are tons of yurts, cabins and shelters available for you to enjoy.
Oregon coast winter camping is particularly delightful at Harris Beach State Park, where you can set up an RV, rent a yurt, or tent camp starting at $32 per night!
29. Visit The Redwoods
Did you know that there are actually redwoods in Oregon?
Reaching up from Redwoods National and State Parks, Oregon gets to partake in the beauty of the giant redwood trees and the ancient stories they share.
You can experience the Oregon redwoods on the southernmost point of Oregon near Brookings, along the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, at Crissey Field State Recreation Site, and at Alfred A. Loeb State Park, which features 200-year-old myrtle trees!
30. Explore Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
The Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor is nothing short of magical.
Featuring the iconic Natural Bridges, jaw-dropping views of giant sea stacks, Secret Beach, Whaleshead Beach, and other stunning scenes along the Oregon Coast and beaches, you won’t want to pass it up!
31. Warm Up With a Nice Bowl of Chowder or Seafood
There’s nothing like having a hot bowl of chowder (or bread bowl!) after a long day of outdoor adventuring along the Oregon Coast.
The world famous Mo’s in Newport and Otter Rock is extremely popular for its delicious clam chowder and stellar views of the Pacific Ocean.
The Chowder Bowl in Newport boasts being the city’s favorite clam chowder since 1980.
In Port Orford, Redfish is a good choice for a solid bowl of chowder and fine dining experience.
Last, but certainly not least, the Horn Public House in Depoe Bay has the chowder, the beer, and the views! What could be better?
What are some of your favorite places to explore on the Oregon Coast in winter? Share them in the comments below!