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When you travel through one of Oregon’s charming coastal towns, you’ll understand the magic of this state. From fantastic views to crystal clear water, there’s so much to take in along your travels. If you’re unsure of where to visit, let’s look at 17 of the best coastal towns in Oregon to visit on your vacation!
Featuring three different rivers running through it and plenty of picturesque forests, Astoria, Oregon is an ideal coastal town to visit on your next vacation. As the state’s oldest locale, Astoria had many faces throughout history; from fishing to culture, there are many stories to learn here!
Today Astoria is a popular fishing spot, but there are also museums, historical sites, and shopping that you can enjoy. Astorian Column, a 125-foot observatory on top of Coxcomb Hill is a must-visit when you are around! The tower was built with the aim of creating a monument that rivals Paris’s Eiffel Tower; it is not only impressive but provides unbeatable views of the Pacific Northwest coast.
Located just across the bay from beautiful Astoria, Warrentown is where the Columbia River ties into the Pacific Ocean. There’s water everywhere in this most picturesque town on the Oregon coast so if you want to spend most of your time outside, whether you’re fishing, walking along the water or ziplining at one of the ropes courses in the area, you will love this lovely coastal town!
There’s even The Wreck of the Peter Iredale, which is a beach site that features a really neat fishing vessel wreckage that you can check out. Warrentown is just a stone throw away from Hammond and Gearhart, so you can add them all to your trip.
Tucked in between Seaside, Oregon, and Warrenton, Gearhart is a very quiet and pristine Oregon Coast vacation spot. You can travel to this area any time of the year for golf at Gearhart Golf Links (the oldest golf course in the United States), bird watching, clam digging, and a stop for a drink after spending time at the beach at the historic Kelly House.
If you like to try different local cuisines when you travel, you may be interested to know that the legendary chef, James Beard, spent his childhood summers in Gearhart because of the abundance of seafood here. There are even some areas of the beach that you can drive on from the access at 10th Street all the way up to Fort Stevens State Park.
As one of the best towns to stay in on the Oregon Coast, Seaside is a popular tourist attraction in Clatsop County. It has a little more of a tourist feel, but still one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Oregon where you can spend the day walking along the boardwalk and spending quality time with your loved ones. Seaside Beach’s endless sandy stretch makes it super kid-friendly too.
Summer is the best time of year to visit Seaside, as it’s the sunniest coastal town in Oregon. It’s a very bustling spot for tourists and locals. Grab some ice cream, try some of the fresh seafood that’s sourced locally, or visit Seaside Aquarium if you would like to see a unique Sunflower sea star or a moray eel. If you’re hungry, stop by Bell Buoy of Seaside, which has the freshest seafood on the Oregon coast.
Cannon Beach -famous for its dramatic shoreline featuring Haystack Rock- is probably Oregon’s most visited beach town, but this should not hold you back from visiting it as you simply cannot miss the fabulously breathtaking scenery this shoreline provides! Cannon Beach has also many excellent restaurants, art galleries, shops, and boutiques making it the perfect destination for all types of vacationers.
There are a number of inns and cottages that you can stay at that will provide you with easy access to the beach. Schooner’s Cove Inn and Pitton Place are two of my favorite places to stay if you are visiting this small town on the Oregon Coast. Considered to be the prettiest beach in Oregon and named one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic in 2013, Cannon Beach should be a stop on your next trip.
Manzanita -nestled in Nehalem Bay- is definitely one of the most notable Oregon Coast towns worth a stop thanks to its picturesque cliffs, beautiful water, and perfect sunsets. It says all about the beauty of this lovely coastal town that the famed Oregon governor Oswald West liked Manzanita’s shoreline so much that he declared that all Oregon’s beaches should be public and free.
If you’re up for a hike, visit the nearby Oswald West State Park, a 2400-acre Nature Park that provides you with the opportunity to enjoy hiking; whether you choose a simple 3-mile loop or a much longer and more aggressive 10.2-mile journey, the views at the ends of both are jaw-dropping!
Manzanita is popular for fishing too! You can catch Chinook salmon, sturgeon, and steelhead trout year-round. It is also fantastic for crabbing when the tide is low.
With wide open spaces, picturesque shoreline, delicious restaurants serving fine seafood, and cool festivals, Rockaway Beach town has been a popular coastal destination since the 1920s. The lack of large rocks and only expansive sand make Rockaway one of the best Oregon beaches for families.
The Rockaway Big Tree Boardwalk is a fun place to visit while you’re in town. It leads you to Rockaway Big Tree, which is a western red cedar that reaches a height of more than 150 feet. This Tillamook County town is the perfect destination for crabbing, fishing, hiking, camping, boating, clamming, and birding too!
If you’re traveling in hopes of finding a place to retire in Oregon, you may want to consider Neskowin. This is a lovely coastal town in Oregon to live in, thanks to its warm, neighborhood feel.
Neskowin offers a lot for outdoor lovers; the nearby Cascade Head Trail offers a new hike each day! The Neskowin Beach Golf Course is a popular stop for retirees in the area. It’s a nine-hole, 35-par course that features some amazing views along the way. Horseback riding, kayaking, and birding are other activities to enjoy in Neskowin.
Lincoln City is one of the largest coastal towns in Oregon and is located between Tillamook and Newport. It’s popular for its outdoor activities, shopping, dining, and fun festivals. What’s more, glassblowing is also a unique craft being practiced here so you can even learn how to blow your own glass float when in Lincoln City!
There are plenty of places to watch a demonstration, and there are other art galleries and collections to explore during your visit. Make time to walk through the Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area to check out some amazing views.
If you need a place to stay in Lincoln City, hang your hat at The Salishan Coastal Lodge. It features a golf course right next door and a beautiful forest on the other side. The views are amazing and very different depending on what side of the lodge you’re gazing out of.
Depoe Bay is the whale-watching capital of the Oregon Coast. From March through December, you can head out on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to spot offshore gray whales. There is also a whale-watching center if you would like to keep your feet on land while hoping to spot one of these amazing creatures as they often come up to 30 feet close to the shore.
The natural harbor in Depoe Bay is a popular spot for fishing and is known as the world’s smallest, active harbor. This small coastal town has some unique places where you can stay overnight, including historical waterfront homes and The Inn at Arch Rock. It provides you with private beach access of your very own for the duration of your visit!
Located in Lincoln County, Oregon, Newport is known for its two lighthouses, including the tallest one in all of Oregon, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Tours of the lighthouse are available. You can also stop by some of the nearby beaches in hopes of spotting whales and bald eagles.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium has made Newport an ideal destination for a family vacation too. Camping is very popular at Beverly Beach State Park, but there are plenty of options available, so it never feels crowded.
Make sure to dine on local seafood while you’re in Newport. The Local Ocean SeaFoods Fish Market is definitely a place to check out while you’re in town. It’s popular for both locals and tourists, promising to provide you with the best seafood experience that you’ll ever have in your lifetime.
Though it has a pretty rough and rugged coastline, Yachats is still a lovely place to visit on your trip to some of the best coastal towns in Oregon. As the southernmost city in Lincoln County, Yachats is situated between lush rainforests and the mystical Pacific Ocean.
Check out the 804 Trail for a simple hike that’s just over one mile. It’s a great place to see some amazing views while observing some of the unique wildlife of Oregon. Next, travel to Cape Perpetua Overlook, which is the highest coastal Oregon point that is accessible by vehicle. Should you get hungry after a day full of adventures, a galore of excellent restaurants await for you in the center!
A city is best known for the iconic moving bridge built during the great depression, Florence has all of the picturesque views that you’ll find in other coastal towns in Oregon, but from time to time, fun events shake up the small-town vibes such as the Rhododendron Festival (taking place every May) when motorcycles take over the streets and bikers fill the place.
Crabbing is also common in Florence if you are interested in this activity, and you can visit The Sea Lion Caves nearby. This is a network of caverns where a large number of sea lions reside. It’s a great family activity if you’re traveling with your kids in tow.
Florence, Oregon, is a pet-friendly coastal town. Many of the restaurants accommodate your furry friend when you sit outside, dining on some local cuisine like seafood chowder, scallops, or seafood jambalaya. You can easily walk most of Florence, especially if you choose a centrally located place to hang your hat, like the Old Town Inn or the Park Motel and Cabins.
Known as the Cranberry Capital of Oregon because of its vast fields of cranberries, Bandon is a little coastal town that people visit because of its shopping, dining, and outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and golfing. In fact, Bandon has the best golf courses in the country.
When in Bandon, visit the Seven Devils State Recreation Site which has some picturesque dunes to explore and agates to look for! The Circles in the Sand is a fun stop too. It’s a sand labyrinth created by artists when the tide is low and only walkable for a few hours depending on the returning tide.
Port Orford is a great place to visit if you’re trying to avoid the tourist crowds. Mountains and dunes are abundant here making it perfect for a peaceful and a picturesque vacation. What’s more, the oldest standing lighthouse tops the coastal views!
Should you be visiting this charming Oregon coastal city with your furry friend, head over to Battle Rock Wayside Park, which is a pet-friendly secluded beach. From the coastline’s many viewpoints, you will not only enjoy stunning coastal views but might spot passing whales too, so keep your eyes open!
Located between the Pacific Ocean, the Rogue River, and the Siskiyou National Forest, Gold Beach is a lovely vacation spot along the coast of Oregon. With fantastic coastal views and uncrowded beaches, Gold Beach offers the perfect escape for those who want to reconnect with nature.
The area is popular among hikers, paddle boarders and kayakers. There are even plenty of places to camp if you’re looking for a more outdoor-focused adventure. What’s more, Gold Beach gives home the one of the state’s top attractions, Kissing Rock. This rock formation has the legend that you will be together forever with your loved one if you kiss each other at sunset!
Brookings is a very popular destination as it is home to some of the warmest waters on the Oregon Coast. Due to its geological situation that allows the area to benefit from flows of warm, dry air and resulting in higher temperatures.
If you’re just passing through for a day or two, make Harris Beach State Park one of the main stops on your trip. It’s the perfect place to check out the great local views, spot some wildlife and get in some physical activity.
Not so far from the town, make sure to visit the 12-mile Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. With a fantastic coastal forest, a rugged coastline, and a series of beautiful ocean arch rocks that tower over the waters called Natural Bridges, it is one of the most picturesque parts of the entire Oregon Coast!
If you’re in the process of planning a trip along the Oregon coast, these 18 locations are the perfect place to start. With so much to see and do, you’re sure to make at least one of these spots an ongoing travel tradition when you are looking to get away in the future. With many of these locations in close proximity to one another, you can explore a few of them each time you visit Oregon.
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