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Oregon coast is 363 miles of incredible views and attractions. The breathtaking views, whale watching, sea lions, lighthouses, and hiking make it the perfect place for everyone. These seven spots will serve as a perfect guide for an epic road trip in Oregon.
1. Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is one of the best places on the Oregon Coast.
The first place you must see is Haystack Rock. It is one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks. It rises 235 feet from the edge of the shoreline and when the tide is low it’s possible to go all the way to rock. When the tide is low, you can see crabs, starfish, and more sea creatures.
A second place you must see in your visit is Ecola State Park. The park is currently close but it’s definitely a place worth seeing. This is one of the best viewpoints on the Oregon Coast.
The fee for the state park is $5 per car. They have a nice picnic area so you should pack a lunch or some snacks.
If the park is open, there’re a few hiking options:
- Ecola State Park to Indian Beach: 2.4 moderate hike, 580 ft elevation gain, out& back route type.
- Crescent Beach Trail: 2 miles moderate hike, 488 ft elevation gain, Out & back route type.
To see updates about the park’s opening, look on Cannon Beach website.
The last place I recommend in the area is Hug Point. It’s about 3 miles south of Cannon Beach. In lower tides, you can walk north and find sea caves, a small waterfall, and the remains of an old roadway.
2. Tillamook Cremery
A great attraction for families. You can see the process of making cheese in an interactive way for kids. The whole experience is completely free and enjoyable. Tillamook also produces ice cream (my family’s favorite brand) and we love stopping their shop and enjoy their ice cream.
The place is open from 11 am to 6 pm every day.
Address: 4165 N Hwy 101, Tillamook, OR 97141.
3. Neahkahnie Mountain
My favorite hike in the area. It is one of the best places in Oregon. The south trailhead is 2.7 miles Out & Back with 905 elevation gain. At 1680 ft, it is one of the highest points on the west coast of the USA. The North trailhead is 3.9 miles Out & Back with 1,240 ft gain elevation but considers to be more difficult. The last option is the most difficult one. It is 9.6 miles, elevation gain of 2,755 ft Our & Back.
When you reach the top of the mountain there is an incredible, panoramic view over the Pacific Ocean. I Highly recommend this trail when the skies are clear, so you can see the entire ocean.
Interesting facts about the place:
- Neah-Kah-Nie is translated as “the place of the god”, whose name has been transcribed as Acarna.
- The legend talks about a legendary Spanish gold buried on Neahkanie Mountain. No one knows if it’s real or not. The story goes back to the 1600s and has been passed through generations of Native Americans in the area of Nehalem Bay. The stories keep changing but everyone talks about a hidden gold in the mountain (some say that there’s a ghost that guards the treasure). Who knows, maybe you’ll find the gold on your visit!
4. Oregon Coast Aquarium
One of the iconic places on the Oregon Coast. It is a public aquatic and marine science exhibition facility. The exhibitions are interactive and fun. You can touch starfishes and other sea creatures. One of the popular exhibitions provides nearly 360-degree views of 3,500 sea creatures. During the Covid-19, you have to order tickets in advance and reserve your spot. You can order the tickets on their website.
Opens daily from 10:00am- 5:00 pm.
Tickets cost $15 per person.
Address: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365.
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5. Cape Perpetua and Thor’s Well
The Cape Perpetua Headland is the highest viewpoint accessible by a car on the Oregon Coast. The view extends 37 miles out to sea and 70 miles of the coastline (how insane is this??). While you’re there, you can enjoy camping, picnicking, whale watching, hiking, and incredible sightseeing. Along the Cape Perpetua coastline, there are a few unique features.
Thor’s Well (also called “Gate to Hell”) is a bowl-shaped hole. It’s best seen during high tide when the waves roll underneath the bowl, filling it until it bubbles out the top or bursts up almost violently. The water rolls back into the hole and the process starts again. Don’t stand too close to the hole, it can be dangerous! When I visited, I could literally look at this all day. The view is spectacular and hypnotizing. It’s a MUST SEE destination on the Oregon Coast for everyone and especially for photographers.
The Devils Churn is a long crack in the coastal rock that fills with each ocean wave. These places can be dangerous, even though they’re incredibly beautiful, you should be aware of how close you get. Don’t stand too close and with your back to the ocean and pay attention to the ranger in the area.
You should check the time for the high tide before arrival (the visitor’s centers in the area have this information).
Florence is a lovely town along the Oregon Coast. If you’re coming from Newport, you can see the sea Lion caves (11 north of Florence, 39 miles South of Newport). The caves are open from 9 am to 6 pm daily. Tickets cost $14 for adults over 12 years old and $8 from 5-12 years old. Address: 91560 US-101, Florence, OR 97439
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is one of the largest dunes in the world. The dunes spread over 40 miles from Florence to Coos Bay. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is in the middle of these two towns. There are a few hiking spots- can’t recommend anything specific since I haven’t got to explore them.
If you’re not interested in hiking, you can rent ATV which is highly recommended. If you decide to rent the ATV, be careful. The dunes can be slippery and easy to lose control if you haven’t tried it before. More options include riding horses, camping, and explore wildlife. If you’re interested in knowing more, the Siuslaw National Forest has a detailed explanation of the area.
Some will say that this is the most beautiful beach in Oregon. Beautiful is a matter of perspective, but it is certainly the most unique one.
Circles in the Sand was developed by Denny Dyke, a labyrinth artist. The Circles Draw team creates walkable art in a form of labyrinths on each beach in Bandon. The team created more than 40 draws during the spring and summer of 2020 and everyone is welcome to walk around.
Location: Face Rock Wayside, Beach Loop Drive, Bandon, OR
The dates for the upcoming schedule:
August 20 at 8 a.m.
August 21 at 9 a.m.
August 22 at 9 a.m.
August 23 at 10 a.m.
For other dates, look at their website.
Astoria and Seaside are towns in the north part of the Oregon Coast. They’re great for a visit but have fewer attractions and views than other places I’ve mentioned.
More beautiful beaches are Gold beach and Brooking in the south. They’re close to California and the Redwoods trees. If you’re traveling in the area, you can see the Oregon Redwoods or the Redwood Nation Park in California.
The Oregon Coast is a wander and one of the most incredible places I’ve even seen. Even though I used to live by the Mediterranean Sea, the views from the Oregon Coast are astonishing and different than I could ever expect.