|Oregon Coast Notes|
|363 Reasons to visit the Oregon Coast in 2011|
|Oregon Coast Notes - News|
by Our Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast Scenic Byway that starts at the Columbia River and ends at the California border, also known as Highway 101, is 363 miles long and every mile has something to offer. If you like history, nature, shopping, adventure or relaxing you can find it all on abundance on the Oregon Coast.
Hiking, fishing, cycling, kite flying, scuba diving, surfing, sandboarding, boating, bird watching, whale watching and beachcombing are a few of the activities that attract visitors to the Oregon Coast. From Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south, you will be on a Scenic Byway that is the most photographed area in Oregon.
Mild temperatures, natural attractions in abundance, museums, state parks, aquariums, galleries, lighthouses, historic bridges and charming small towns ensure a delightful journey.
With so many wonderful places along the Oregon Coast it is difficult to pick only a few but this will give you an idea of how easy it is to plan your trip to the Oregon Coast. Just check out our Maps page and each City Guide and start planning.
Your 363 mile tour begins at the mighty Columbia River, the Megler Bridge and Astoria-Warrenton. As the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, Astoria offers a rich history for you to explore, including Fort Stevens and Fort Clatsop as well as historic and wonderful places to stay.
Head south with beautiful beach vista’s on your right to Sunset Beach, Gearhart and Seaside.
Seaside has been the Oregon Coast's most popular ocean resort since the mid 1800s and is only 90 minutes from Portland, Oregon. The name "Seaside" came from a summer resort built by the railroad magnate Ben Holladay in the 1870s, Seaside House, located a mile south of the business center.
Seaside is a family friendly town known for its promenade. Along withplenty of friendly places to stay and great places to eat there is a lot to do in Seaside and Gearhart. Visit the Lewis and Clark exposition, the Lewis and Clark Salt Works and the oldest Aquarium on the Oregon Coast. You can relax and listen to Barbershop and Jazz concerts in the park or enjoy one of the many Car Shows, Wine Walks, Art Walks or Holiday Parades that happen on a regular basis in this charming seaside town.
If you are ready for a bit of action, Seaside is home to the largest amateur Beach Volleyball tournament and is the finish line of the longest and largest relay race in the world as well as the largest 4th of July Firework Display and the largest arcade on the Oregon Coast. Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy a stroll along “the Prom” that parallels beautiful powder soft beaches for 1.8 miles.
You will find dazzling vistas, good food and friendly natives as you continue your journey down the coast. Good food and wonderful galleries abound in the tiny hamlet of Cannon Beach, Oregon’s version of Carmel, California. You can walk the beach with a spectacular view of Haystack Rock and you can continue your history lesson at the Cannon Beach History center.
Manzanita, Nehalem, and Wheeler are strung together along Highway 101 surrounding Nehalem Bay, with only two miles between each town. Manzanita, the largest of the three, has great places to stay and play, miles of beach and the Nehalem Bay State Park with extensive camping facilities as well as a horse camp with corrals.
Nehalem, the oldest of the three, has antiques galore and, of course, the River.
Wheeler, "the little town with the million dollar views", has historic lodging, great fishing and boating and, of course, the Bay. Manzanita, Nehalem, and Wheeler offer a laid-back, undiscovered coastal destination where you can find a bit of everything that the Oregon Coast has to offer.
Built as a summer resort for Portlanders in the 1920’s, Rockaway beach has a lot to offer, including 7 miles of sandy beach that is accessible from the City Wayside in the center of this stroll friendly town.
Hop back in you car and travel south for about 30 miles and you will discover a museum that is fun as well as educational in the tiny town of Garibaldi, The Garibaldi Maritime Museum . If you are in Garibaldi the second weekend in March the “Garibaldi Crab Races” are a must.
You have been climbing uphill for a while and now that uphill climb will have reached an elevation of 700 feet to give you a spectacular view of Oregon’s north coast. As you gently descend you will also find yourself turning slightly inland to Tillamook, Oregon’s unofficial dairy capitol. If you like cheese or ice cream you can get both at the Tillamook Creamery and if you want to continue your history tour there is the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, Latimer Quilt & Textile Center and the Tillamook Forest Center that is part history and part recreation.
It’s time to head back to the beach and a brew with a view. From Tillamook head west on 3rd street and you will be on the 3 Capes Scenic Drive. About 10 minutes west of Tillamook is Cape Meares, named after English sea captain John Meares. Cape Meares features a lighthouse, more than 3 miles of hiking trails and views of Three Arch Rocks offshore.
Less than 10 miles to the south is Cape Lookout State Park. The day use area on the south side of the cape offers beach access and hiking trails with views of the headland. Trailhead parking is also located about two miles to the south. The rainforest covered trail leads 2.5 miles to the end of the cape. You will pass the site of a B-17 airplane crash in 1943. Unlike most of the capes and headlands on the north Oregon Coast that are remnants of ancient lava flows, Cape Kiwanda is colorfully sculpted sandstone. At low tide, interesting rock formations and tidepools are exposed at the base of the cape.
You will end this part of your journey in Pacific City, long time home of the historic dory fishing fleet and the July “Dory Days” festival, as well as a brew pub and some great surfing. From the beach or the brew pub you can watch the dorries, surfers and surf kayakers as well as having a great view of Pacific City’s Haystack Rock that is boasted to be 90 feet taller than Cannon Beach’s more famous Haystack Rock.
Leaving Pacific City you will be crossing the Little Nestucca River, long considered one of the best fishing streams in the state. Turning slightly inland you will pass the tiny town of Otis on your way to Lincoln City.
Evergreen forests, broad sandy beaches, clean air, the magnificent Pacific Ocean and a lake at its back door - Lincoln City has it all. In addition to its popularity as a tourist destination, Lincoln City has several other claims to fame. This is the place to come and find your very own ArtGlass Float on the Beach. There are also places to learn things you don't have time to learn at home. The city slogan is “A great place to try new things.”
You can shop at the Tanger Outlet Center which has become one of the largest malls of its kind in the region. There is a lot to do outdoors in Lincoln City but one of the most popular indoor sports can be found at the Chinook Winds Casino & Golf Resort, on the north end of town. The casino has a 247-room full service hotel, restaurants, a golf course, video game arcade, live evening entertainment, child care and, of course, a few games for adults. A bit south of Lincoln City in Gleneden Beach is Salishan Golf Resort and Spa, a world class golf resort and spa by the sea at the.
Just south of Gleneden beach you can find out everything you ever wanted to know about whales at the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. Stay, eat, stroll, play, watch whales and visit the world’s smallest harbor.
The drive from Depoe Bay will take you through a forest past Whale Cove, Otter Rock and Devils Punchbowl to Agate Beach. You are now in Newport that, like Seaside, has been a playground for visitors since the 1800’s.
Your first stop is the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and Lighthouse. The lighthouse, built in 1873, is still a working lighthouse and also houses a very interesting interpretive center. Yaquina Head is at the north end of Agate Beach.
There are two places that need to be seen on foot. One is the Historic Nye Beach area of Newport the other is the Historical Bayfront. During the early 1900s, Nye Beach was the number one visitor attraction on the coast. Hot sea baths, taffy stores, agate shops entertained visitors from the Willamette Valley. Nye Beach is still a very popular haven for the arts, with the Newport Performing Arts and Visual Arts Center amidst unique galleries, book stores, eateries, shopping and lodging.
The Bayfront was Newport's economic backbone, housing a port for the commercial fishing and wood products industries. Today, the Bayfront is still home to one of Oregon's largest commercial fishing fleets and is a working waterfront on which visitors can enjoy shops, art galleries, chowder houses, restaurants, fish processing plants and family attractions in turn-of-the-century storefronts from a bygone era.
The Oregon Coast History Center’s Burrows House and Log Cabin Museums are on 9th Street between Fall and Alder. There are so many things to see and do in Newport it is hard to know where to stop. There is the Oregon Coast Aquarium that was made famous for helping the whale from Free Willy, The Hatfield Marine Science Center where you can learn about our sea life in an interactive environment and the award winning Rogue Brewery, South Beach – home of The Gathering Longboard Classic and South Beach State Park to name but a few.
South of South Beach you will pass the tiny hamlet of Seal Rock before coming to the Alsea Bay Bridge and Waldport. In this town “Where the forest meets the sea” you can learn about bridges and estuaries, golf, kayak, hike, clam and much more.
The next town you come to will be Yachats (pronounced YAH-hahts). Yachats is a small coastal community that, Archeologists say, has been inhabited for at least 1,500 years. Yachats is on many "Top 10 Lists".
Yachats and the drive south to Heceta Head and Cape Perpetua will remind you of Big Sur, California. Cape Perpetua, is the highest spot on the Oregon Coast and well worth the trip to the top (by car or on foot).
Next Stop the Sea Line Caves and the Oregon Dunes… You are now about half way down the Oregon Coast.
Florence is at the north end of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. You can stop here and marvel at the size of the sand dunes that cover about 40 miles of coastline from Florence to the Coos River.
From sandboarding to sport fishing to riding dune buggies you can find as much adventure as you want. That doesn’t mean that you have to be athletic to have an adventure. You can have a different kind of adventure at Three Rivers Casino.
Reedsport is located on Highway 101 in the heart of the Dunes recreation area, near the mouth of the Umpqua River, famous for its fishing. Be sure to stop by the Umpqua Discovery Center and if you are in Reesdport in September you will be able to experience Tsalila: The Umpqua River Festival.
Winchester Bay is a small fishing village built beside Salmon Harbor at the mouth of the Umpqua River. The Umpqua river is one of the largest rivers between the Columbia River and San Francisco Bay.
The Bay Area, consisting of Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston, is a unique community located on the Southern Oregon Coast where you will find some of the most spectacular beaches and sand dunes in the world. There are world class sporting opportunities, from fishing to tackling the Oregon Sand Dunes. For tranquility, explore the bay beaches, hiking trails, bird watching and beauty of the gardens at Shore Acres. Power shop at unique gift, craft and antique shops, enjoy live entertainment at the local nightspots, hit the Mill Casino with exciting 24 hour gaming, take in a movie or live theater, and wander through museums.
Bandon was completely rebuilt after the entire business district and most of the residences were destroyed by fire in 1936. Today you will find the Old Town district filled with art galleries, shops and great dining.
Don’t blink or you will miss Langlois (pronounced - Langless) and your opportunity to enjoy “The Best Hotdogs on the Oregon Coast”, the good food at The Greasy Spoon and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
A place that feels a lot like Big Sur about 20 years ago and like many small towns on the Oregon Coast, it still feels like a small town....
A town where the shops and restaurants are owned by people who smile as you walk in. …where you can enjoy beaches, forests and rivers without elbowing your way through a crush of tourists…where you don’t have to stand in line anywhere and a traffic jam is two cars waiting to turn left…
Port Orford is very artistic, with art galleries owned and operated by local artists, it’s also a working fishing town with one of only two dolly docks in the US. You'll enjoy a diverse collection of historical and naturally beautiful sites and attractions, as well as all sorts of fun options for recreational activities.
Gold Beach was originally named Ellensburg in the 1850s, but later took the name Gold Beach after a beach near the mouth of the Rogue River where hundreds of placer mines extracted gold. Gold Beach is located at the mouth of the Rouge River. With year-round fishing and the many activities in and around Gold Beach many consider it a vacation paradise.
With the Chetco River, Redwood Forests, Golf, good food, all the activities a harbor town has to offer and the warmest weather on the Oregon Coast – what’s not to like about Brookings-Harbor.
The winter temperatures are considered unseasonably warm for the Oregon Coast. This is due in part to the marine influences from its location on the Pacific Ocean, but mostly from its situation at the foot of the Klamath Mountains, whose winds compress and warm the air flowing onto Brookings. This is called the Brookings effect or Chetco effect and help make Brookings-Harbor a center for commercial flower growing and tourism as well as a good place to retire.