Running alongside the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Coast is truly a special place. From stunning ocean views to charming small towns, a getaway to Oregon is sure to be memorable.
Interested in experiencing it for yourself? Travel down the coast with us, and check out one (or more!) of these beloved Oregon Coast towns!
If you are charmed by Victorian-style architecture, Astoria may be the Oregon coastal town for you. This beautiful and historic fishing village can be found at the mouth of the Columbia River and is the oldest American settlement found west of the Rockies.
The area’s three rivers are central to the culture of Astoria. Whether you find yourself spending time along the riverwalk, exploring the Columbia River Maritime Museum, or riding the Astoria Riverfront trolley, it is easy to tell that water is a central element in Astoria’s story.
Make time to visit nearby Fort Stevens State Park, which is home to one of the largest public campgrounds in the United States.
Don’t let the history of Astoria (or The Goonies, which was set here) fool you, however – the area has been revitalized and there is plenty to see, do, eat, and drink.
The name Seaside says it all: this beach town is a beloved vacation destination with plenty to see and do for the entire family. The famous promenade is dotted with attractions such as the Seaside Aquarium, all with the vast Pacific in the background. If you prefer to be on the water, conditions are often ideal to get your surf on.
History buffs can find pleasure in knowing they are exploring some of the same parts as Lewis and Clark did more than 200 years ago, and you can even snap a picture with a statue of the iconic duo (and their sidekick pup, Seaman) to prove it. In fact, you can actually visit the Salt Works, which is believed to be located at the same spot as the camp the Lewis and Clark expedition set up to harvest salt from ocean water.
Seaside has been a beloved destination for generations. While there are plenty of classic beach town amenities and attractions, don’t be surprised if you find something unique and truly special here.
Named one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic, Cannon Beach is easily a favorite coastal town in Oregon. Whether you love to immerse yourself in art or nature, Cannon Beach has plenty to offer. You’ll find spectacular views of the best Oregon coast sea stack here.
Cannon Beach has also been named as one of America’s 100 best art towns. Since the town is so walkable, it is easy to explore the various galleries, shops, and even a glassblowing studio to soak up the local art scene.
If you’ve done any research on the Oregon Coast, chances are high you have seen a photo of Haystack Rock, one of Oregon’s most recognizable sea stacks. This iconic natural landmark is a highlight of Cannon Beach’s coastline, with mesmerizing tide pooling and a remarkable list of bird and marine species to be spotted.
Head to Ecola State Park for another iconic coastal Oregon view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. There are plenty of stunning views in all directions as the park stretches alongside 9 miles of the Pacific Ocean coast. You’ll find plenty of things close by to do in Cannon Beach.
Manzanita is a beautiful town and an idyllic area to cast a rod. It’s known for its salmon, steelhead trout, and sturgeon. The ocean is a stunning shade of turquoise along white sandy beaches, which is part of how it originally grew in popularity among tourists. Manzanita remains a quieter town than some of the others along the Oregon Coast, making it a great option for a relaxing getaway.
Oswald West State Park — named for a former governor, who we have in large part to thank for the access we can enjoy to Oregon’s beaches — has great hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. Neahkahnie Mountain, one of two main headlands, offers stunning views of the Pacific roughly 1000 feet below the trails.
With seven miles of beach and dozens of access points, it is easy to get to the ocean on Rockaway Beach and have space of your own to spread out. Families have been vacationing here for more than 100 years now, and it is easy to see why it is a favorite destination across generations.
Catch a ride from Rockaway Beach on a historic steam or diesel locomotive. Your hour and a half long journey will take you along the picturesque Tillamook Bay and Oregon Coast to Garibaldi and back. Go fly a kite – literally – or build a sand castle fit for royalty on one of the unobstructed miles of sandy beach.
The Rockaway Beach area is also home to a favorite American household name: the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Take a tour – complete with samples, of course – and learn more about what makes this cheese so special and delicious.
Surfers and fishermen alike are quite fond of Pacific City’s natural breakwater, providing idyllic conditions in a picturesque setting. With views of Haystack Rock and other landmarks, there is plenty of natural beauty to behold.
Cape Kiwanda is not to be missed, and is the finish line of the gorgeous Three Capes Scenic Loop. Grab a cold one nearby at Pelican Brewery, the only beachfront brewpub in the Northwest!
Neskowin is a small, unincorporated community best known for its long, beautiful beach. The three miles of sand stretch from the Nestucca River to Cascade Head, looming an impressive 1200 feet above. Play a game of golf at the Neskowin Beach Golf Course, a favorite course for nearly 100 years with stunning views.
Perhaps the eeriest attraction is what is known as the Neskowin Ghost Forest. Located within the Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site, nearly 100 decaying stumps become most visible at low tide – ghosts of the trees that were previously found here.
Previously five separate beach communities, Lincoln City stretches along seven miles of the central coast of Oregon and still has distinct neighborhood districts. Famous for its beach vibes, glass blowing, and kite festivals, Lincoln City is a favorite spot for the whole family.
The six historic districts that make up Lincoln City – Wecoma, Oceanlake, Delake, Nelscott, Taft, and Cutler City – each have their own unique charm. While just shy of 10,000 people call Lincoln City home, thousands of visitors flock here every year.
In addition to miles of beaches, hikers, birdwatchers, boaters, and golfers can all find plenty to do in the area. If the ocean isn’t your thing, Devils Lake is connected just a short river away. With whales, sea lions, harbor seals, and more creatures to be spotted on land, sea, and in tide pools, animal lovers are likely to be enthralled as well.
Hoping to spot a whale during your time on Oregon’s coast? Head to Depoe Bay, known as the “whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast.” While the Depoe Bay harbor may be notoriously small, whales find their way to this part of the coast annually and locals and visitors alike welcome them with excitement. You aren’t just limited to a small window to catch the whales, either: they can typically be found around these parts from March through December.
One of the ways Depoe Bay charms folks is that the ocean is just a stone’s throw away – literally. A sea wall runs the length of downtown, and when the weather is stormy you may catch the Pacific itself spouting water dozens of feet into the air (much like the whales the area is known for). This is known as a spouting horn, and Depoe Bay is unique in the fact that this one is located downtown.
While Depoe Bay is a fairly small town, there is plenty to enjoy. Temperatures rarely get above the high 60s, but the area does typically receive a significant amount of rain each year. However, that contributes to the natural beauty of the area, and when the entire downtown area has an oceanfront view, what’s not to love?
Newport is another beloved destination along the central Oregon Coast. Home to favorite beaches such as Nye Beach and Agate Beach, the real fun to be had for seafood lovers comes from going crabbing. Known as the “Dungeness Crab Capital of the World,” have a truly Newport adventure by getting a license and catching your own huge and delicious crabs straight from the sea.
Be sure not to miss catching a glimpse of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse – which would be hard to do since it is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. The lighthouse is located in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and is worth a visit. The iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge is another landmark not to be missed.
Waldport is the place to be for birdwatchers, as the area’s water and forests are home to hundreds of species of birds. That same water is teeming with crabs, clams, and fish, so much so that there is a free crabbing dock that can be used by the public along the powerful Alsea River. The area’s beaches are known for being clean and beautiful, and have been referred to as a “beachcomber’s paradise.”
This quiet, quaint town offers peace and tranquility to visitors and residents alike. Hop on a community “green bike” (they are free for anyone to ride!) and explore the area.
Nature lovers can find plenty to love about Yachats, which is located at the base of the Oregon Coast Range. This is not your typical beach, as much of the coastline in this area trades sand for dark volcanic rock known as basalt.
The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area looms 800 feet above the ocean below, making it the highest point accessible by vehicle along the Oregon Coastline (with the breathtaking views to prove it). Catch a glimpse of migrating whales or see what you can find in a tide pool at the Smelt Sands State Recreation Site.
Looking for an experience beyond what your typical seaside town has to offer? Florence definitely has what it takes to fit the bill. While there is plenty of seaside charm, such as the stunning (and still functional!) Heceta Head Lighthouse, there are some truly unique adventures to be had in the area as well.
For a memorable experience like no other, start with the Sea Lion Caves. Take an elevator down into America’s largest sea cave to witness the home of Stellar sea lions. It is important to note that Sea Lion Caves is a wildlife preserve (not a zoo) so the sea lions are free to come and go as they please, which means they are not guaranteed to be home when you visit. This makes the experience all the more special when they are, however!
For thrill seekers, 40 miles of sand dunes can be found nearby in what is known as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Hop in a dune buggy or grab a sandboard for an adventure in the largest coastal dunes in North America with some sand hills piled as high as 500 feet.
Coos Bay is part of what is known as Oregon’s Adventure Coast, making it a launchpad for a variety of adventures. Located at the point where the Coos River meets the Pacific Ocean’s Coos Bay, this Oregon Coast town offers thrill seekers and nature lovers proximity to dunes, rivers, lakes, forests, and more.
Make plans to visit nearby Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and see if you can pick out the face on Face Rock.
Coos Bay can be found midway between San Francisco and Seattle on a drive up the famous Pacific Coast Highway. This town also combines with two neighboring towns to make up what’s known as Oregon’s Bay Area.
Bandon is known as the Cranberry Capital of Oregon, where conditions are just right to be ideal for growing this sweet, juicy crop. The annual Cranberry Festival each September is a favorite event in the area, and holds the title of longest running festival on the Oregon Coast.
Bandon is proud of its laid-back vibe, making it a great place to hit the links at one of the area’s award-winning golf courses. If you prefer to relax with a rod on a boat, this area is well known for halibut, salmon, tuna, trout, Dungeness crabs, and more.
You will almost certainly find yourself in Old Town on any visit to Bandon, a ten square block area of shops, restaurants, art, and more. With views of the Coquille River, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of seals from the boardwalk.
Sandwiched between the ocean and the Siskiyou Mountains, the real treasure of Gold Beach is the Rogue River. Fishermen delight in this world class salmon and steelhead river. The area is also famous for ocean bottom fishing, especially lingcod and black rockfish.
Crabbing and clamming are also popular nearby, and with all of these delicacies available you can be sure you won’t go hungry at area restaurants.
OREGON COAST TOWN FAQ
What is the prettiest part of the Oregon Coast?
We honestly think pretty much all of the Oregon Coast is insanely beautiful, but we especially loved Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach. We think they were some of the prettiest spots along the Oregon Coast.
What is the most affordable beach town on the Oregon Coast?
According to Realtor.com, Rockaway Beach in Oregon is not only one of the most affordable beach towns along the coast, but in the United States as a whole.
What is the best month to visit the Oregon Coast?
September is a perfect time to visit the Oregon Coast! You’ve still got great weather and mild temps, and it’s not as crowded during the month of September.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO OREGON
- YOUR OREGON VACATION
- WATERFALLS: 18 Unbelievably Amazing Oregon Waterfalls (+ Map of 79 Favorites)
- BEND: 17 Things To Do In Bend Oregon For Outdoor Lovers
- OREGON CAMPING: 19 Great Spots Perfect For Your Oregon Coast Camping Trip
- COASTAL ROAD TRIP: 26 Oregon Coast Road Trip Stops You Don’t Want To Miss
WHERE TO STAY IN OREGON
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