Travelers who take the time for a road trip along the Oregon coastline are rewarded by scenic views, lodging in quaint beach towns, and fun activities. The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway on U.S. 101 spans the western edge of Oregon from Brookings in the south to Astoria in the north. This 363-mile scenic drive is best done in a few days, allowing time to savor the sights along the way. With plenty of lodging options, including Oregon beachfront rentals, this road trip offers vacation travel at its best.
South Oregon Coast Activities and Lodging
Oregon’s south coast is known for its balmy weather, sea stacks, and rugged cliffs. Brookings offers fishing and the annual Azalea Festival on Memorial Day weekend. Harris State Park, north of Brookings, features many sea stacks and the largest island off the Oregon coast, home to rare birds (like the tufted puffin). Pistol River, a township north of Brookings, is known for its excellent windsurfing conditions and holds a popular windsurfing competition each June.
Gold Beach, at the mouth of the Rogue River, offers beachcombing, fishing, hiking, and river rafting. Port Orford affords sweeping vistas and fishing opportunities.
Bandon has world-class golf and great scenery.
North Bend and Coos Bay are historic regions that have many free concerts each July. Head inland and discover the beauty of Crater Lake National Park.
Lodging on the south Oregon coast includes vacation rentals in Gold Beach and the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort‘s cottages and lodge. Bandon also has the Sunset Motel, with beach houses and motel rooms, lots of Airbnb places to stay, and a Best Western on the beach.
Looking for something cozy? Try the South Coast Inn Bed and Breakfast in Brookings. Or stay in a yurt on the Oregon coastline, with many amenities provided.
Central Oregon Coast Activities and Lodging
Oregon’s central coast is popular, with many beaches and towns accessible from Salem and Eugene. Florence has sea lion caves where visitors can go deep into the world’s largest sea cave, filled with the sound of echoing barks.
Nearby Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offers four-wheeling rides over the dunes. Yachats and Walport are smaller towns with beautiful coastlines.
Newport is a larger city with many attractions, including the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Hatfield Marine Science Center, historic lighthouses, and Old Town. Depoe Bay is a small town popular with storm watchers.
Lodging on Oregon’s central coast includes vacation rentals in Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City and Yachats. Ocean Paradise Whales Rendezvous B&B in Depoe Bay and SeaQuest Inn Bed & Breakfast in Yachats offer cozy accommodations. Anchor Pier Lodge in Newport is bayside with marine discovery tours available. Newport also features the Best Western Agate Beach Inn. The best place to stay though is Salishan, just south of Lincoln City.
Lincoln City, one of the largest cities on the Oregon coast, has great surfboarding, golf courses, and hiking at Cascade Head. Pacific City, to the north, is a smaller town thatís less crowded than Lincoln City but still offers a beautiful coastline.
North Oregon Coast Activities and Lodging
The northern Oregon coast, with its proximity to Portland, is a popular destination.
Tillamook, on Tillamook Bay, is known for its cheese factories. On the bay, Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach are linked by a historic coastal excursion train.
Manzanita is popular with kiteboarders and also offers charming shops. Cannon Beach is known for Haystack Rock, an often photographed sea stack, with a nearby wildlife refuge and tide pools. Plus, it has Ecola State Park.
Adjacent Seaside has a promenade for bike riding, Seaside Aquarium.
Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, is proud of its history and hosts a popular Seafood Festival in April.
Fort Clatsop – Step into 19th-century history and discover Fort Clatsop as the winter encampment for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806. In January they offer Wintering Over Living History Program, two days of reenactments depict what it is like for these Corps of Discovery members as they survive on elk meat, spring water, and the good graces of their Clatsop and Chinook neighbors while preparing to return to the United States.
Lodging on Oregon’s north coast ranges from luxury to homey. Luxurious beach hotels include Cannon Beach’s Stephanie Inn and Astoria’s Cannery Pier Hotel. On the cozy size, the Inn at Manzanita and Seaside’s Gilbert Inn offers romantic lodging. For families, you can’t beat Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach. Vacation rentals are available on Oregon’s north coast, mainly in Seaside and Cannon Beach.
Dramatic scenery, many recreational activities, museums, shops, restaurants, and lodging make the Oregon Coast a popular vacation destination. The coastline’s mild weather invites travel at any time of the year.
For more scenic drives and road trips in the Northwest, try the Cascade Loop in Washington, North Idaho’s Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway, Montana’s Beartooth Highway, Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountain Loop, and Alaska’s Seward and Glenn Highways.