Post Summary: Everything To See On An Oregon Coast Road Trip
The Oregon Coast! Famous for its stunning beaches, jaw-dropping sea stacks, and endless opportunities for coastal adventures.
From the temperate rainforests around Lincoln City to the sand dunes of the Central Oregon Coast, there seems to be an adventure fit for everyone.
There are so many things to do on the Oregon coast, and we’re here to share the best of the best in this post.
Below, you can expect a full list of the best stops on the Oregon coast, hiking suggestions, example road trip routes, helpful driving tips, and so much more.
Let’s get started!
The Ultimate Guide To The Perfect Oregon Coast Road Trip
This is a HUGE post, including everything from the best stops, accommodations, the best Oregon coast beaches, attractions, and even a packing list!
- The Ultimate Guide To The Perfect Oregon Coast Road Trip
- Oregon Coast Destinations (From North To South)
- North Oregon Coast Destinations
- Central Oregon Coast Stops
- Southern Oregon Coast Stops
- Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary Examples
- Oregon Coast Attractions (Museums + Fun Stops)
- Best Beaches On The Oregon Coast
- Iconic Oregon Coast Hikes
- Best Places To Stay On The Oregon Coast
- What To Pack For The Oregon Coast
- FAQ About An Oregon Coast Road Trip Route
- Not Ready For Your Oregon Road Trip Adventures To End?
How To Get Around The Oregon Coast (Our Favorite Driving Resources)
The easiest way to get around the Oregon Coast is certainly by car. If you are flying in from outside of Oregon, we highly recommend renting a campervan from Outdoorsy! This of it like Airbnb but for campervans. They’ve got tons to choose from – anything from vintage VW Westfalias, tricked-out sprinter vans, and even towable Airstreams!
Are you on a travel budget, looking for campgrounds along your route? Make sure to also download The Dyrt, the #1 rated camping app and website! Pro users can use their road trip planner, which allows you to route your trip with waypoints, to find the best campgrounds along the way.
This app is an absolute road trip essential for us! They gave us a discount code for you to try the pro membership – use code MANDAGIES for a 30-day free trial and to unlock all the offline features like campground searches, maps, and even gear discounts!
More Driving Resources For The Oregon Coast Highway:
- 15 Essential Road Trip Apps For Route Planning
- How To Plan A Trip To The Pacific Northwest
- 10 Insanely Easy Camping Meals To Make On The Road
Oregon Coast Destinations (From North To South)
There are so many amazing places to see on the Oregon coast! We are sharing our favorites for an Oregon coast road trip from north to south.
If you are planning an Oregon coast road trip from Seattle, read this post from top to bottom. However, if you are coming from San Francisco to the Oregon Coast, consider starting this post and the bottom and working your way back up, to plan your stops accordingly.
North Oregon Coast Destinations
If you’re starting from Pacific Northwest destinations like Portland or Seattle and you want to see the entire Oregon Coast, you will likely start in Astoria for your Oregon Coast itinerary. From Seattle, Astoria is a 3-hour drive and 181 miles. From Portland, Astoria is a 1-hour 52-minute drive and 97 miles.
Astoria, Oregon is the perfect place to begin your Oregon road trip. Here, you can experience the perfect combination of coastal vibes and eclectic city living. Astoria is known for its local brews, nearby forest hikes, and quirky culture.
We suggest taking a full day to explore this city just south of the Columbia River. Spend some time digging for treasure at antique stores like Garbo’s downtown, and finish the day off with a cold one at a Buoy Beer Company. Buoy Beer Company even has a glass floor to peek at the lazy seals below on the boardwalk!
Memorable Locations and Beautiful Hikes In Astoria:
- Hike To Cathedral Tree (1.5-mile hike, but the tree is at the .5 mile marker)
- See The Peter Iredale Shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park
- Take a Goonies Film Location Tour
- See The Astoria Column
The Best Astoria Restaurants and Cafes To Try:
- Street 14 Cafe (city cafe vibes with casual breakfast)
- Baked Alaska (upscale restaurant with river views)
- Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro (eclectic and local)
Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park is a 4,300-acre park – one of the largest in the entire state! Fort Stevens (northwest of Astoria and Warrenton) is most well known for its military displays, specifically inside the military museum and numerous buildings around the park. You are able to take a guided tour of an artillery battery, which served as a command center in World War II.
Here at Fort Stevens, you can go camping in their generously sized campgrounds (there are nearly 500 sites!), swimming in a freshwater lake (Coffenbury Lake), kayaking, wildlife viewing, and even pop into the city for a bite to eat.
During sunset, the coolest part of this park is the Peter Iredale Shipwreck. Perfectly accessible during low tide, you can get up close to this historic shipwreck! The vessel ran ashore in October 1906 and was abandoned at the stop. The crew actually had plans to pull it back out to sea, but it embedded itself in the sand too deep – perfect for you or me who want to visit it today!
Seaside is a can’t-miss location on your Oregon Coast road trip! This adorable town is one of the most popular oceanfront locations on the coast, and for good reason. There are so many family-friendly Oregon coast attractions here, with activities for people of all ages.
One of the most popular attractions in Seaside, Oregon is the Seaside Aquarium. The aquarium is one of the oldest on the entire West Coast. Here, you can discover the marine life that lives on the Oregon coast, as well as feed the seals that live there!
Spend some time also walking on 1.5-mile long Ocean Promenade, which has panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean the entire way. The Seaside Promenade is a popular activity for families – you can stop at any point and run to the ocean, or find a beach swing to take a break!
This is a perfect place to get out of the car on your Oregon coast road trip, stretch your legs, and soak in the liquid sunshine at Seaside!
Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park is a protected area with 9-miles of Oregon coastline between Cannon Beach and Seaside, Oregon, and a definite highlight to any Oregon coast road trip!
This state park is commonly used for sightseeing, wildlife viewing, exploring iconic coastal tide pools, and (if you dare) surfing in the cold Pacific Ocean. The best part is, you don’t have to drive very far to start getting these incredible Oregon coast views!
Immediately on the winding drive-in, you’ll pass through a thick canopy of Sitka spruce trees, covered in moss and surrounded by ferns.
The drive is half the fun – but be careful because there are some pretty gnarly potholes in the road.
One of the best views of Cannon Beach and the Oregon Coast is right off of the Indian Beach parking lot in Ecola State Park.
Park as close to the ocean as you can, and take the south trail for just a few minutes until Cannon Beach and its sea stacks come into view.
On a clear day, you are able to see the waves crash on Cannon beach, and the town shimmer on the coastline!
For hidden views of the Oregon Coast, we suggest taking Clatsop Loop Trail, a 2.8-mile moderately difficult hike that brings you to hidden beaches, stunning coastal views, and moody PNW trails.
Park Tip: Ecola State Park requires a $5.00 day use fee, or you can purchase a one-year unlimited pass for $30.
Ecola State Park is a hidden gem on any Oregon coast road trip!
Discover Another Nearby Washington Park: Cape Disappointment State Park
If you’re into long walks on the beach, this area of the North Oregon Coast is a must-see! Cannon Beach is one of the most popular and family-friendly beaches on the Oregon Coast. It’s also one of the best Oregon coast towns to visit if you are just coming for a day trip from Portland.
On any given day of the year, you can expect families making sandcastles, people gathered around beach bonfires in Oregon, and happy dogs playing fetch through the water.
Cannon Beach is easily recognizable by its large sea stack, with a few smaller rocks at the base. The sea stacks are very close to the beach, which means during low tide you can get pretty close to them!
Again, this is the most popular and well-known stop on any Oregon Coast road trip. While there may be crowds, don’t let that deter you from putting it on your Oregon road trip itinerary! Because of the popularity of Cannon Beach, there are quite a few amenities here to cater to everyone’s needs.
You can easily find and book Oregon coast accommodations, Airbnbs, and find everything you need for the rest of your Oregon Coast road trip.
At Cannon Beach, you can eat incredible food that’s freshly caught from local sources! Here are some of our recommended coffee shops and restaurants to try at Cannon Beach, Oregon:
Driftwood Inn – Reasonable lunch prices and classic diner food with a seaside twist.
Wayfarer Restaurant – Fresh, local cuisine, upscale eating with sea stack views.
Mo’s Seafood and Chowder – Casual dining with eclectic gifts and seaside views.
Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters – Quirky, local cafe with pastries and good coffee.
Insomnia Coffee Company – Cozy place with lots of windows, great location to meet with friends.
Hug Point State Recreation Area is a 10-minute drive south from Cannon Beach, with significantly fewer crowds and tons of things to do. Hug Point is one of the most easily accessible Oregon Coast beaches, and a must-visit for your Oregon Coast road trip.
Here, there are coves to explore, and seasonal Oregon waterfalls to discover. We suggest taking the Hug Point Trail, a 1.2-mile out and back hike that wraps around the cove to reveal tide pools, caves, and beautiful coves. Come during low tide to gain full access to this beach!
Be aware: It’s possible to get stuck or stranded in certain areas of Hug Point if the tide rises while you explore! Make sure to read these tide charts before you plan your trip beyond the main parking lot area.
More PNW Beaches: Hiking At Rialto Beach In Washington State
Oswald West State Park
Oswald West State Park is the best-kept secret of any good Oregon coast road trip. With miles and miles of trail through the dense western hemlock and Sitka spruce trees, you can stay here all day and still find new trails to explore.
To reach one of many trailheads, there are a few parking lots to choose from right off of Oregon’s Highway 101. The trails intertwine with one another for endless combinations, so snap a quick picture of the map on your phone to keep track of where you are.
At the end of all the trails will be a popular surfing beach called Short Sand Beach. This area is only a half-mile walk through the woods and the perfect place to bring a picnic and watch the waves crash as you eat your lunch.
Oswald West State Park is probably the most overlooked location on any Oregon Coast road trip itinerary! Make sure to put this as an afternoon stop for yet another beautiful Oregon beach on your way down the coast.
Read More PNW Adventures: Cape Flattery (The Most NW Corner of The US!)
If you like ice cream and cheese, the Tillamook Creamery will probably be your favorite spot on your Oregon road trip itinerary! The Tillamook Creamery is newly renovated as of June 2018 and is well equipped to accommodate their 1.3 million annual cheese-loving visitors.
One of the most prominent parts of the creamery is the massive cheese-making process hall. There are lots of glass windows that take visitors on a self-guided tour that explains the process of how the famous cheese is made, manufactured, and shipped. In the end, you are able to taste cheese samples! (cue the applause here)
While it’s not a beautiful Oregon beach, this location is a must-see on your way down Highway 101. Make a quick stop, learn about Oregon cheese, and help yourself to their delicious ice cream cones on the way out.
The Tillamook Creamery is open year-round, (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm during the winter and 8:00 am to 8:00 pm during the summertime.
Three Capes Scenic Loop
If you are looking for a fun day drive with the family on the Northern Oregon coast, consider taking the Three Capes Scenic Route! Beginning in Tillamook and going as far south as Pacific City, this short Oregon coast drive packs a whole lot of beauty into less than 50 miles!
The stars of the route are the three capes, named Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda (more on this one below!). Spend time scouting out the best viewpoint spots on each cape (there are a lot of them) and consider choosing a few short hikes to stretch your legs and enjoy the scenery.
Along the way, you can also visit Netarts Bay for some clamming (it’s known for its shellfish), the Sandlake Dunes, and the Cape Meares Lighthouse with the Giant Octopus Tree nearby too! Finish your day at Pelican Brewery and Taproom at Pacific City, for lunch with incredible views of the sandstone cliffs and Haystack Rock just right outside the window.
Cape Kiwanda In Pacific City
Cape Kiwanda is one of the most famous beaches on the Oregon Coast. It’s famous on the Northern Oregon Coast for its singular large sea stack in the middle of the beach, and surrounding natural area of fragile sandstone cliffs.
You can drive your car on the beach of Cape Kiwanda! Be careful not to get too close to the waves, and have knowledge of the tide charts before you go. It’s also important to note that there is no Oregon coast state park camping at Cape Kiwanda – the nearest place to camp would be at Webb County Campground.
Safety Tip: If you explore up on the sandstone cliffs, take caution of the unpredictable weather up on the hills! The winds can get extremely strong on the Oregon Coast, thus creating an unpleasant combination of rain, wind, and sand. Take extreme caution on the edges of these cliffs. The sandstone is incredibly fragile, and many people have lost their lives from the ground crumbling underneath them. Don’t get too close!
Is the beach too busy for you? Consider heading just a 5-minute drive south to Bob Straub State Park. Here, you can enjoy miles of walkable beach and tall sea grass on the peninsula. You won’t find sea stacks or dunes, but the ocean breeze and expansive views make up for it.
Neskowin Beach is often referred to as “The Ghost Forest” for its collection of Sitka Spruce stumps scattered across the southern part of the beach. (Accessible at low tide!) This beach often remains a lot quieter than most Oregon Coast beaches, likely because it’s not visible from the highway.
One of its most recognizable features is Proposal Rock, a giant sea stack smack in the middle of the beach, and accessible during low tide.
Love to go hiking? Some of the best Oregon coast hikes are located on the southern part of the beach’s headlands, in Cascade Head. Explore Hart’s Cove Trail (#1303) and wander through the rainforest to emerge at a prairie headland overlooking the vast ocean. Cascade Head Trail (#1310) takes you through a Sitka-Spruce tree forest that has been studied by researchers since 1934. The easiest trail to take is the Nature Conservancy Trail (#1435) for stunning views of the headlands and coast.
Spend the day here enjoying the shallow rivers that flow to the ocean with the whole family. You can grab a bite to eat at the small village (Neskowin Trading Company has tons of great lunch options and a convenience store!) or visit the Neskowin Farmers Market, open every summer Saturday from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.
Want a little more adventure? Rent a kayak for the day and explore the Nestucca Bay Estuary, just a short drive north.
Devil’s Punchbowl (Otter Rock Community)
Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area is one of the many beautiful landscapes you will see on your Oregon coast road trip. Located in the community of Otter Rock, the biggest attraction here is a giant sea cave with a hole in the ceiling.
This particular location at Devil’s Punchbowl likely started out as two simple sea caves that were carved deeper by the churning waves of the Pacific Ocean. As the roofs of these two sea caves collapsed, the bowl shape was created!
During high tide, the waves crash and swirl and churn in the bowl, creating a violent and beautiful show to watch from the viewing platform above. You can access the inside too, but it’s only safe to explore the inside of the bowl during low tide. On the south side of the headlands is a popular place for beginner surfers – the Otter Rock Marine Reserve has consistent and mild waves!
To access the most area possible for your trip, we recommend planning your trip during low tide. You can find the Devil’s Punchbowl tide charts here to help you plan out your perfect Oregon road trip itinerary. During low tide, you can also explore the many tide pools around, Otter Crest Beach, and the Otter Rock Marine Garden all north of the cave.
Important Note: Parking is limited here and you are only allowed to park in designated areas. There are bathrooms available, as well as showers (but we just used them to rinse off our feet after exploring the Oregon Coast – the water is COLD!).
Stretching over 700 feet, Garibaldi Public Pier is the longest pier in all of Oregon state. The Garibaldi Public Pier is open to public use year-round. Many people come out to the pier to try their hand at crabbing, salmon fishing, and other recreational fishing.
There is even access to the beds below (via stairs) for clam digging! Garibaldi is an extremely popular Oregon coast crabbing location. You can opt to pay for a guided tour from locals with charters like Garibaldi Charters, or do your own thing by finding all the information at the Oregon Fishing and Wildlife Department website.
Central Oregon Coast Stops
God’ Thumb Trail (Lincoln City)
God’s Thumb is an area just north of Lincoln City, known for its strange land formation loosely resembling a thumb.
The surrounding area includes stretching meadows (where elk like to roam!), dense Sitka spruce tree forests, and dramatic coastal cliff dropoffs.
If you’re wanting to get out of the car and stretch your legs, we suggest hiking this trail called God’s Thumb.
This 4.6-mile out-and-back trail is of moderate difficulty, and likely very muddy, so wear your raincoat and rain boots for this one! The Central Oregon coast can be very rainy, especially during the spring months.
At the very end of the trail, you will be rewarded with this amazing landscape, surrounded either by delicate meadows or the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
If you wish to climb to the top, take caution because the trails are slippery with very steep dropoffs. Safety first!
Beverly Beach (And Campground)
Beverly Beach State Park is one of the best Oregon coast destinations for whale watching. Come between late December and mid-March to have the best chance of spotting these majestic creatures. Stop b the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, or visit these famous Oregon whale-watching viewpoints:
- Cape Foulweather
- Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
- Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint
- Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint
- Yaquina Head
When you are not busy whale watching or walking alongside the nearby beach, come relax in the nearby campground. There are nearly 200 campsites among the sheltered, windswept trees alongside Spencer Creek. It’s a very central locations to many other amazing Oregon coast destinations, we recommend staying here for a few days!
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is predominantly known for the famous Yaquina Head Lighthouse, but that’s not all there is to do! Here, you can discover tide pools teeming with life, stunning basalt headlands, and historic exhibits.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, standing at 93-feet tall. It was first lit in 1873, and now serves as a marker of Oregon history.Pay a visit to the interpretive center to learn about nearby marine life, how lighthouses work, and the wildlife that live on Colony Rock just offshore. Spend some time walking around Cobble Beach if you want to put your toes in the sand.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is an absolute must-visit location on your Oregon road trip. This amazing area of the Oregon coast is known for its violent waves, jagged coastline, beautiful ocean overlooks, and amazing trails.
This is an especially wooded area of the Oregon Coast, which makes for amazing pictures of the forest seemingly dropping straight off into the ocean.
It’s also a hub for trail hikers and campers, with tons of family-friendly trails in the Siuslaw National Forest area.
Make sure to check out the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center just two miles south of Yachats, Oregon. Here, you can find lots of information about other locations in the area, including scenic viewpoints, coastal trails, and places to camp nearby.
Some other amazing Oregon photography locations to see at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area:
- Devil’s Churn
- Spouting Horn
- Captain Cook Point
- Cook’s Chasm
- Cape Perpetua Lookout (an amazing Oregon photography location with a winding coastal road)
- Sea Lion Caves (South of Cape Perpetua)
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most visited lighthouses in the United States, and one of the most photographed locations on the Oregon Coast.
It may be because of its accessibility, but we think the beauty and history of this place is the real driver of visitors! It attracts lighthouse and spooky story lovers alike, this place is commonly referred to as one of the most haunted places in Oregon!
Positioned at the mouth of Cape Creek, Heceta Head is positioned 200 feet up on a bluff with the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean below. It began working in 1894 and could shine 21 miles off the coast to help boats arrive at the shore.
The lighthouse is cared for by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and is open from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm for staff-led guided tours.
On hours when the staff is not available, you can take yourself on a self-guided tour along the trails of the lighthouse.
Want to stay overnight? The Innkeeper’s House just steps away from the lighthouse is a historic bed-and-breakfast! Take your loved one there and wake up to the crashing waves on the Oregon coast!
Read More: Stay Overnight Near Heceta Head Lighthouse!
Florence, Oregon is located in Lane County, on the Central Oregon coast. It’s known for its quirky downtown shopping, delicious restaurants, and annual community events.
Florence is also a springboard town for surrounding outdoor activities like hitting the sand dunes, canoeing on freshwater lakes, and seeing iconic landmarks on the Oregon coast.
This is a great place to stay for a few days and take day trips to the coast AND inland. There are amenities and comforts for everyone in your caravan in Florence, Oregon.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
With over 40 miles of coastal dunes next to the ocean, there are tons of opportunities for activities like riding dune buggies, sand-boarding, and even taking a leisurely walk on the beach.
The most thrilling way to get out on the sand is by renting an ATV, and the most convenient business being Spinreel Dune Buggies in North Bend, OR. If you care for a more casual stroll, consider the famous John Dellenback Dunes Trail by Eel Creek Campground. You can choose to talk the small loop for a quick tour or the dunes or take the trek all the way out to the ocean.
Southern Oregon Coast Stops
The Coos Bay area (Often called the Oregon Coast’s “Bay Area”) is the most populated area on the Oregon Coast. You can find a ton of general amenities here, but the real draw to the area is the sheer amount of outdoor activities to do in the area. (more on that below!)
From canoeing on Ten Mile Lake to riding dune buggies on the 40-mile stretch of coastal dunes, Coos Bay is an adventurous stop on the Oregon Coast. If you are interested in enjoying the coast in style, consider staying at the modern glamping resort, Bay Point Landing. They have RV hookup sites, airstreams & cabins for rent, and amazing amenities like an indoor pool, trails, and upscale bathrooms.
Some of our favorite things to do in Coos Bay include visiting the surrounding state parks (Sunset Bay, Cape Arago, and Shore Acres), exploring Oregon coast hikes, and visiting epic beaches like Bandon Beach!
Best Spots Around Coos Bay For Oregon Coast Photography:
- Simpson Reef Overlook (tons of sea lions and marine life!)
- The Elk Refuge in Reedsport (For wildlife viewing!)
Read More: 10 Amazing Things To Do In Coos Bay, Oregon
Shore Acres State Park + Sunset Bay State Park
Located off the Cape Arago Highway, this trifeta of state parks (Sunset Bay State Park, Shore Acres State Park, and Cape Arago State Park) can al be found within a short drive from one another. There is a lot to see between these state parks, so we’ll highlight the best activities below:
- Shore Acres – gorgeous formal Japanese-style garden, with blooms and plants in season almost any time of the year.
- Simpson Reff Overlook – loud gatherings of sea lions on the collection of offshore rocks.
- Sunset Bay State Park – Gregory Point and Cape Blanco Lighthouse views along the headlands trails.
- Cape Arago State Park – The North and South Cove trails brings visitors to exception tide pools, secluded beaches, and beachcombing opportunities.
Bandon, Oregon is one of the small southern Oregon coast towns located south of Coos Bay, sitting between several amazing Oregon coast state parks. One of the best features here is Old Town Bandon, a 10-square block section of shopping, dining, and tourist activities. Spend some time enjoying the hand-made goods by local artists, and walk the boardwalk among these historic buildings.
This is a great stop for a quick meal, before you continue on your Oregon coast road trip route.
Face Rock State Scenic Area
Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint is arguably our favorite stop on the Oregon Coast. Everywhere you turn, there are incredible sea stacks, each with their own unique story and history from the Nasomah (Coquille) tribe. Spend some time enjoying the view from above and then head down to the beach to see the sea stacks up close.
Some of the most iconic rock formations are Face Rock, Cat And Kittens Rock, Wizard’s Hat, Gravel Point, and Table Rock.
Other Things To See Near Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint:
- The Coquille Point Stairs at Bandon Beach
- Devil’s Kitchen (The Southern Oregon Coast’s “Haystack Rock”)
- The Bandon State Natural Area
Floras Lake State Park
Floras Lake State Park is a sparsely visited area of the Oregon Coast, mostly because of it’s lack of infrastructure and amenities. However, don’t let the lack of convenience deter you from visiting! The Oregon coast beach found here is one of the most beautiful and remote in the entire state!
It really feels like this beach was plucked right out of Iceland and placed on the Oregon Coast – the completely straight coastline rigth next to towering cliffs make it ones of the prettiest natural Oregon photography locations in the entire state.
For the easiest access to the beach, park at Boice-Cope Park and walk around Floras Lake to the ocean. Here, you can take a flat and very long walk all the way down the beach – you likely will have it all to yourself too!
Want to see what they views are like from the cliffs above? Follow the trail to Blacklock Point, a promontory rock that juts out far into the ocean, giving you spectacular views north and south for miles.
Cape Blanco State Park
Cape Blanco State Park is the state’s westernmost tip, teeming with rich history and rugged adventure. Stay the night in Port Orford and then wake up bright and early to walk the rugged beach trails and view the incredible solitary rock formation right offshore. Afterward, stop by the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the oldest of the lighthouses in Oregon built in 1870.
One really cool feature of this Oregon coast beach is that it’s horse-friendly! You can bring you own horse and camp on the beach, or sign up for a guided tour for a one-of-a-kind adventure as you travel Oregon.
Gold Beach is a small town on the Oregon Coast, right at the mouth of the Rouge River. The beaches here are known for collecting treasures that float in from the sea, perfect for beachcombers!
Stop at iconic beaches like Meyers Creek Beach or Kissing Rock to put your toes in the sand. Want more things to do? Consider visiting Otter Point State Recreation Area, Humbug Mountain State Park, or even stopping at the Prehistoric Gardens. Here, you can see kitschy life-sized statues of dinosaurs, scattered within the old-growth forest.
Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor
Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor is a real treat to visit along your Oregon coast road trip route. This is a perfect stop to have a quick picnic lunch before heading on your way again. There are picnic tables, viewpoints, and short trails to keep everyone happy on this fun Oregon coast stop.
The quick turnoff on Highway 101 climbs all the way to the top of these headlands, giving views in all directions that go for nearly 50 miles in each direction! To the north, you can spot Humbug Mountain and to the south, you can see Crescent City and the Point St George Lighthouse.
On the way to the south viewpoint, you will drive through a thick, dark forest of Sitka spruce trees, which we think is the perfect place for a spooky photoshoot. If you want to stretch your legs a little longer, there is a 1.5-mile walking trail (3-miles total) down to the beach. However, no need to travel far here, the views from the top are spectacular too, and a perfect post (with binoculars) for whale watching season.
A deep forest of Sitka spruce covers most of the park and a 1.5 mile walking trail takes you out to the lower levels of the cape. If you’re lucky, the trail will give you a chance to enjoy awe-inspiring views of the gray whales on their bi-annual migrations.
Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
If you think you’ve seen the best of the best during your Oregon coast road trip, the state appears to have saved Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor for the grand finale.
This area is one of the most beautiful stops on the Oregon Coast, and we really mean that!
Dramatic cliffs, impressive sea stacks, and endless photo opportunities await you at this amazing Oregon coast location! This area was named after Samuel H. Boardman, the first Oregon State Parks director.
Here is a list of the best viewpoints at Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor:
Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint: This 1-mile trail takes you through breathtaking views of amazing Oregon coast photography locations. This is a popular spot whale watching in fall and spring, and wildflower viewing in the summertime.
House Rock Viewpoint: Take a short walk to a stone Samuel H. Boardman memorial, with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the craggy cliffs. Here you can take many side trails to secret and secluded beaches.
Whaleshead Beach & Overlook: Named after the sea stack that looks like a whale’s head, this beach is flat and easy to reach. A perfect place to pull over and have a quick bite to eat.
Natural Bridges Viewpoint: This place holds one of the most iconic views in the corridor — seven arched rocks and blowholes surround a cove (pictured above) for a beautiful example of all the Oregon Coast captured in one photo.
Secret Beach: This secluded cove is home to some of the most iconic sea stacks on the Oregon coast! It’s a little tricky to find, so make sure to read our guide on directions, tips, and routes to know before you go.
Arch Rock: A convenient parking lot right off of Oregon’s Highway 101 brings you down a short trail to a viewpoint. This area includes a cluster of sea stacks, with one that has a hole right through the middle, forming an “arch”.
Other stunning Oregon Coast road trip stops at Samuel H. Boardman:
- Spruce Island From Deer Point
- Thunder Rock Cove
- North Island
- Thomas Creek Bridge
- Indian Sands
- Lone Ranch Picnic Area
Are These All The Places To See On An Oregon Coast Road Trip?
Absolutely not! We have yet to see all the amazing things the Oregon coast has to offer. That is why we will continually update this post with more information about beautiful locations as we keep returning to Oregon!
Keep updated on our whereabouts on our Instagram account, @themandagies! You will get up to date info about our next adventures, and plans for our next Oregon road trip itinerary to share with you all!
Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary Examples
Wondering if you can see all these iconic landmarks in one Oregon road trip?
To accommodate different trip lengths, we’re sharing some example itineraries for a 3-day, five-day Oregon Coast trip, a one-week Oregon Coast trip, and finally 10 das on the Oregon Coast.
Consider us your own personal Oregon coast road trip planner and read below to find your perfect route!
Note: These journeys start in the north and make their way south. If you are extending a Northern California roadtrip or starting from somewhere south, just reverse the itinerary!
Oregon Coast 3 Day Itinerary
Highlights: Pull-out viewpoints, popular stops, and convenient towns.
While it’s totally possible to plan an Oregon Coast 3 day itinerary, you’ll just be covering the most popular spots! If you are planning an Oregon Coast weekend trip, here is an example itinerary for you below:
- Day 1: Astoria to Pacific City. Stop by Seaside, Cannon Beach, and watch the sunset at Cape Kiwanda.
- Day 2: Pacific City to Coos Bay. Stop at Otter Rock (Devil’s Punchbowl), Cape Perpetua Lookout, and Heceta Head Lighthouse for quick stops.
- Day 3: Coos Bay to Brookings. Drive up to Face Rock Lookout, lunch at Gold Beach, and explore Samuel H Boardman for sunset.
Five Day Oregon Coast Itinerary
Highlights: Pull-out viewpoints, short hikes, accessible beaches.
Five days on the Oregon Coast is a perfect way to see all the highlights on a quick Oregon road trip. With a five-day Oregon coast itinerary, you will have lots of time to explore the coast’s most easily accessible beaches and attractions.
Prepare for long days of driving, but it shouldn’t be a problem because this Oregon coast road trip route will take you to the most beautiful stops and easy hike!
- Day 1: Astoria to Cannon Beach (stops at the Promenade at Seaside and Ecola State Park)
- Day 2: Cannon Beach to Newport (stops in Hug Point, Oswald West SP, at Cape Kiwanda)
- Day 3: Newport to Coos Bay (stops at Cape Perpetua Lookout, Heceta Head Lighthouse)
- Day 4: Coos Bay to Brookings (Stops at Face Rock State Park, Devil’s Kitchen, Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor)
- Day 5: Brookings to…Northern California!
One-Week Oregon Coast Itinerary
We think one week is the ideal amount of time to spend on an Oregon coast road trip. During this time, you can do everything a 5-day trip would do, but you will have more time to take longer hikes and reach more hidden places.
This will give you a deeper look into the hidden gems of the Oregon Coast, and allow you to see places not many others get to experience!
To read this one week Oregon road trip itinerary – see the 5-day itinerary above, with these additions below:
- Day 1: Astoria to Cannon Beach
- Day 2: Cannon Beach To Rockaway Beach (hikes to Hug Point Natural Trail)
- Day 3: Rockaway Beach to Pacific City (stops in Tillamook Creamery, Garibaldi Pier, and Cape Meares)
- Day 4: Pacific City to Florence (Hike to God’s Thumb, Drift Creek Falls, and Devil’s Punchbowl)
- Day 5: Florence to Bandon (Explore The Oregon Dunes)
- Day 6: Bandon To Brookings (take Samuel H. Boardman hikes)
- Day 7: Brookings to Northern California
10-Day Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Looking to spend up to 10 days on an Oregon Coast road trip? Since there is so much to cover, we’ve actually created a free downloadable itinerary for you! Sign up below and subscribe to our email list, and you’ll get a free copy in your inbox!
Oregon Coast Attractions (Museums + Fun Stops)
You may be wondering if there’s more to the Oregon Coast besides beautiful beaches, hikes, and sea stacks (which all of this is wonderful, don’t get us wrong!).
While these things alone can make for an extraordinary trip, sometimes the weather will leave you no choice but to spend some time indoors.
Below is a list of the best Oregon coast attractions, ranging from museums, aquariums, and other interesting coastal sites.
These are the perfect places to visit if/when the weather turns bad, or you just want a different way to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest!
The Seaside Aquarium is located in Seaside, Oregon, just north of Cannon Beach.
It’s one of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast (built in 1924 and opened in 1937) and it’s still operated by some of the younger generations of previous owners!
This Oregon Coast aquarium has many educational programs provided to guests and school-aged children.
Topics like north marine awareness, beach discovery programs, and many conservation subjects are covered during the month. Call ahead to see if you will be coming during one of these programs!
Oregon Coast Aquarium
While the Seaside Aquarium may be the oldest on the west coast, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is the largest on the Oregon Coast.
This aquarium is located in Newport, Oregon focuses on the flora and fauna of the Oregon Coast, sharing local sea plants, marine life, and other unique features of this area.
It also ranks among one of the top 10 aquariums in the entire country! If you love marine life, this is a must stop on your Oregon coast road trip.
Tillamook Creamery and Cheese Factory
If you love cheese, you must make time for this stop on your Oregon road trip itinerary!
You can read more about it above (see stop #7) to see why it’s a unique stop on Highway 101.
We wanted to mention it again here because the Tillamook Creamery is a great option for an indoor activity if the weather isn’t looking good for outdoor exploring.
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad
The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad is a stretch of track that runs 46 miles between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach.
Daily tours are conducted on steam-powered trains and you get to learn about the history of the tracks and how they changed this part of Oregon.
They also run special holiday trips! Inquire about these events and times on their website to learn more. Add this to your Oregon coast road trip if you love history!
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Yaquina (pronounced ya-kwin-uh) Head Outstanding Natural Area is home to the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast!
It stands 93 feet tall on the edge of basalt headlands, just north of Newport, Oregon.
Take a tour of the inside of Yaquina Head Lighthouse on a rainy day, or visit the inside of the interpretive center for more information about this beautiful area on your Oregon coast road trip.
Make sure to add this place to your Oregon Road trip itinerary if lighthouses are your thing!
Heceta (pronounced ha-see-ta) Head Lighthouse is located on Siuslaw tradition tribal land, where they historically hunted sea lions, gathered bird eggs, and used the dramatic cliffs as protection.
If you want to stay longer, the Innkeepers House is actually a bed and breakfast, located just steps away from Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Make your Oregon road trip memorable and stay at this historic and beautiful Oregon location!
Florence’s Historic “Old Town”
This quaint little town on the Oregon Coast is anything but quiet! With unique shops, delicious restaurants, and fun year-round events, Florence knows how to celebrate the best of the coast.
Stop by for lunch at Mo’s Chowder House for an eclectic, seaside meal and afterward wander through old town and explore the many local businesses and artists in the area.
Best Beaches On The Oregon Coast
Read The Full Post Here: The 25 Best Beaches On The Oregon Coast
It’s no secret that some of the best beaches in the Pacific Northwest are located on the Oregon Coast. The sheer diversity of the coastline is what brings people out here, and the discovered beauty is what makes the stay!
Thanks to the Oregon Beach Bill, all Oregon coast beaches from north to south are public property.
The People’s Coast recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of this bill, and to this day Oregonians from all over the state have pride of ownership to this ever-changing, beautiful oceanfront.
While there are more than 50 easily accessible Oregon beaches to enjoy, we’re sharing some of our favorites below to get you started on your epic Oregon coast road trip!
- Peter Iredale Shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park
- Cannon Beach
- Cape Kiwanda
- Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
- Hug Point Recreational Area
- Harris Beach State Park
- Rockaway Beach
- Bandon Beach (Devil’s Kitchen, Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, Coquille Point Stairs)
- Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
Iconic Oregon Coast Hikes
Read The Full Post Here: The 26 Best Oregon Coast Hiking Trails
Craving some hikes on the Oregon Coast? Lucky for you, there are plenty to choose from, ranging from easy walks to challenging backpacking routes. Here are some of our favorites listed below:
Easy Oregon Coast Hikes
- Samuel H Boardman Hikes – see above for a list of lookouts and short walks here.
- Ecola State Park Loop – short, paved trail with a spectacular view
- Cape Kiwanda – fun sand dunes to climb with a great perspective
- Oswald West State Park – many little trails leading to a surfing beach
Moderate / Intermediate Oregon Coast Hikes
Challenging / Long Distance Oregon Coast Hikes
- The Oregon Coast Trail (tip to tip -382 miles long)
Best Places To Stay On The Oregon Coast
Looking for a place to stay or a city to explore? There are many Oregon Coast towns and cities to make your home base during your adventurous time here!
We’re going to share a range of budget options, everything from Oregon coast camping locations and affordable vacation homes, to luxury accommodations and dreamy stays.
Keep reading for our favorite suggestions of places to stay on the Oregon Coast!
Oregon Coast Camping Locations
Read The Full Post: 25 Oregon Coast Campgrounds to Book ASAP
Oregon Coast Disperse Camping – Truthfully, finding free camping is very rare on the Oregon coast. However, there are some in select places, mostly in the Central and Southern oregon coast. Research “disperse camping” for your desired area of the Oregon coast, but our favorites are in the Siuslaw area. *Note: some areas require off-road vehicles to access.
Make sure to fully research your disperse camping locations before your trip by reading our guide to free camping here!
Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals and Airbnbs
($) Charming Seaside Beach House (Inexpensive if split, sleeps 4)
($) Beachbunker and the Fox Hole (large house in Lincoln City. Sleeps 8)
($) Mingus Park Place (walkable to Coos Bay Downtown + food, sleeps 6)
Oregon Coast Hotels and Resorts
Wanting to splurge on your trip? Maybe it’s your honeymoon or maybe you just want to experience the best that the coast has to offer!
Here are some of the best luxury hotels and resorts on the Oregon Coast:
Heceta Head Lighthouse – A Historic Bed and Breakfast
Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa – Hotel on the Boardwalk in Astoria
Inn at Cannon Beach – Highly-rated, walkable to Cannon Beach
Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa -Pacific City, Oregon
What To Pack For The Oregon Coast
An Oregon Coast road trip is unlike any other American road trip. You’ll have to prepare for spontaneous rain showers, muddy trails, sporadic coastal cities, and surprises around every corner (literally!).
Read below for a list of essentials everyone should have in their car for this once-in-a-lifetime trip!
Proper Rain Gear
The Oregon Coast averages about 150 rainy days per year. This means that no matter what time of year you go, there is a chance of rain!
Make sure you’re prepared for the elements by packing a lightweight raincoat, waterproof shoes, and a waterproof backpack for your gear. This can also include throwing a pair of rain boots in the back of your car for those extra muddy hikes.
A Paper Map
It’s likely that along Highway 101 there are areas that won’t reach cell service. If you like to know where you are (or just like marking your favorite spots on a map!) a paper one is a great option. Alternatively, you can download offline maps from Google! We’ll show you how to do that and share other useful road trip planning apps here.
Emergency Road Trip Equipment
Hey, things can happen and it’s important to be prepared! Use this blog post to help yourself put together a DIY car emergency tool kit.
Any good west coast road trip requires a pair of jumper cables, extra phone chargers, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a warm blanket to help you through sticky situations.
See More: Emergency Winter Driving Toolkit
Road Trip Snacks
During your Oregon road trip, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the car.
Make sure to pack your favorite snacks and carry plenty of water! We recommend grabbing some fresh produce from a local grocery store for a healthy and budget-friendly way to snack on the road.
FAQ About An Oregon Coast Road Trip Route
How Long Is The Oregon Coast Highway 101?
The Oregon Coast Highway (Highway 101) is 363.2 miles long. It takes about 8 hours to drive the entire Oregon Coast highway, with minimal stops (but we don’t recommend that!).
Can I Drive On Oregon Coast Beaches?
Yes, you can drive on SOME Oregon Coast beaches. Click here for a more detailed description of where you can drive your car on the Oregon coast.
List of Beaches That Allow Driving Cars On The Beach:
- Warrenton to Gearhart (10-mile stretch, starting at Peter Iredale Shipwreck)
- Tierra Del Mar
- Lincoln City
What Permits Do I Need To Visit Oregon’s State Park Areas?
America The Beautiful Pass: This pass will allow you to get into all the United States National Parks. It will also grant you access to Oregon national forests and grasslands. Example: Umpqua National Forest‘s hot spring – Umpqua Hot Springs!
Oregon Pacific Coast Pass: This pass will grant you access to State and Federal parks located on the Oregon Coast. If you are planning to make many stops in these locations, a pass can save you a lot of money!
- An annual pass for the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport is $35 per car, or you can purchase a $10 5-day pass just for the length of your trip.
Northwest Forest Pass: The Northwest Forest Pass ($30 annually) will grant you entry to all Washington and Oregon day-use fee areas. This is different from the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport as it grants entry statewide rather than just on the coast.
Any Tips For An Oregon Coast Road Trip In Winter?
The Oregon Coast does not fluctuate in temperature a lot during the year, which makes it an excellent option for a scenic road trip in the winter! Yes, it rains more from November through March, but that also means fewer crowds and more parking spots!
A winter road trip to the Oregon Coast doesn’t change much for you, except for the type of clothing you pack. Bring warmer, more waterproof items and you’ll be a-okay!
To be extra safe, we would suggest saving this Oregon traffic updates website on your phone for up-to-date alerts.
How Much Should I Budget For An Oregon Coast Road Trip?
The cost of an Oregon Coast road trip can vary in price, depending on how much you are willing to spend on things like food, accommodations, and entry tickets to exhibits. It can be done incredibly cheap…or not! The beauty of it all is that it’s up to you.
A generous Oregon coast travel budget would come down to around $80-$100 per person per day. This covers $45 for food ($15 per meal), $30 for accommodation, and $25 for miscellaneous spendings like gas and admission fees.
Not Ready For Your Oregon Road Trip Adventures To End?
Extend it Northbound: The Olympic Peninsula Road Trip Route in Washington
Connect It On A Bigger Trip: The Complete Pacific Coast Road Trip Route
Or better yet…take your trip inland! There are so many beautiful and hidden places in Oregon state that an extension trip is totally encouraged! Here are some of our favorite locations to extend your Oregon road trip:
- Things To Do In Eugene, Oregon (Central Oregon)
- Sahalie and Koosah Falls (Central Cascade Mountains)
- Alvord Hot Springs (Southeast Oregon)
- Painted Hills (North Central Oregon)
- The Best Eastern Oregon Road Trip Route
- Columbia River Gorge (45-minute drive east from Portland, Oregon) **Click here to see updates on trail openings.