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The Oregon Coast Travel Guide

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  • Photo: zschnepf / Shutterstock

Plan Your Oregon Coast Vacation

If you aren’t from the Pacific Northwest, Oregon’s spectacular coastline might still be a secret: it's less visited and talked about than California's coast, but certainly no less beautiful. But in recent decades, the state’s reputation for scenic drives and splendid hikes, reasonably priced oceanfront hotels and vacation rentals, low-key towns with friendly, creative vibes, and consistently

fresh and well-prepared seafood has garnered increased attention. The true draw here is the beaches, where nature lovers delight at their first sight of a migrating whale or a baby harbor seal sitting on a rock.

Oregon's coastline is open to all; not a grain of its 300 miles of white-sand beaches is privately owned. The coast's midsize towns and small villages (you won’t find any large cities) are linked by U.S. 101, which runs the length of the state. It winds past sea-tortured rocks, brooding headlands, hidden beaches, historic lighthouses, and tiny ports. This is one of the most picturesque driving routes in the country, and it should not be missed. Embracing it is the vast, gunmetal-gray Pacific Ocean, which presents a range of moods with the seasons. On summer evenings it might be glassy, and reflect a romantic sunset. In winter the ocean might throw a thrilling tantrum for storm watchers sitting snug and safe in a beachfront cabin.

Active visitors indulge in thrills from racing up a sand dune in a buggy to making par at Bandon Dunes, one of the nation's finest links-style golf courses. Bicyclists pedal along misty coastline vistas, cruising past historic lighthouses. Hikers enjoy breezy, open trails along the sea as well as lush, evergreen-studded treks into the adjoining Coast Range. Boaters explore southern-coast rivers on jet boats while the more adventuresome among them shoot rapids on guided raft trips. If the weather turns, don’t overlook indoor venues like the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Shoppers appreciate the several art galleries in Newport and Cannon Beach; for more family-oriented shopping fun, giggle in the souvenir shops of Lincoln City and Seaside while eating fistfuls of caramel corn or chewing saltwater taffy.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Enjoy the beaches The Oregon Coast has breathtaking beaches, from romantic stretches perfect for linking fingers with loved ones to creature-teeming tide pools great for exploring with kids. Hikers delight in the rugged trails that traverse the lush woodlands and stunning cliffs that flank many of the beaches.
  2. Shop for blown glass Artisanal glass shops dot the coastline—at some, you can even craft your own colorful creations.
  3. Explore the dunes Whether you're screaming in a dune buggy or scrambling over them on foot, southern Oregon's mountainous sand dunes bring out the kid in anyone who traverses them.
  4. Par a hole Oregon's golf Shangri-La, Bandon Dunes, has four beach courses of pure bliss.
  5. Wine and dine You don't have to spend a lot to enjoy creatively prepared seafood, artisanal microbrews, and local wines. There’s a nice balance between affordable no-frills fish shacks and increasingly sophisticated farm-to-table bistros.

When To Go

When to Go

December through June are generally rainy months, but once the fair weather comes, coastal Oregon is one of the most gorgeous places on earth...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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