Ultimate Oregon Coast Road Trip: 24 Stops & 4 Itineraries

Oregon coast road trip

A guide for your next Oregon Coast road trip! From south to north, get to know the best seaside cities and coastal highlights in Oregon.

An Oregon Coast road trip brings to mind images of rugged cliffs, turquoise blue waters, and windswept forests. The untouched beauty of this stretch of the West Coast is appreciated by many but rarely feels overcrowded.

This is the place to catch the best storms and listen to ghost stories. There’s an eeriness as well as a raw attractiveness that makes people come back to this part of the Pacific Coast time and again.

I’ve had my fair share of trips to the Oregon Coast over the years, including during my year and a half stint of living in Portland. It’s a lot different from the California coast where I grew up, but it’s just as stunning in a different, more rugged way. 

For when you make the drive yourself, I put together this detailed Oregon Coast road trip itinerary with a list of my favorite stops up the coast that should be on every road trip. 

Allow yourself some extra time to get the most out of these stops. The best road trips up the coast are those that aren’t too rushed, after all.

Happy road tripping!  

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. 

oregon coast road trip itinerary

Indigenous Americans on the Oregon Coast 

The Oregon Coast is the ancestral homeland of various Indigenous Americans, including the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes, as well as the Coquille and Cow Creek Umpqua Tribes, among others. 

To learn more, go to Native-Land.ca

Oregon Coast Road Trip: South Coast 

Brookings

Distance from the California border: 9 minutes (5.9 miles) 

brookings, oregon - secret beach

Named after John E. Brookings, who was the president of the lumber company that founded the town in 1908, Brookings is about as far south as you can go without finding yourself in California.

The shores of Brookings have the feeling that a storm could just be on the horizon and it’s the perfect first stop for your Oregon Coast drive. The locals make up a population of just over 6,000 and they’re a friendly and tight-knit bunch that bask in the small-town nature of their city.

In Brookings, you’ll find a relaxing and somewhat remote city that’s filled with sailboats, dunes, coastal views, sandy beaches, and some good hiking trails. 

If you’re looking for a place to stretch your legs, you won’t want to miss the most popular park in town – the Harris Beach State Park. This scenic park is a haven for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.

It offers plenty of trails, tide pools at low tide, lounging sea lions, and bird watching opportunities with the nearby Bird Island off the coast that is part of a national wildlife sanctuary. 

Before you leave town, stop in for a pint and a meal at the Fat Irish Pub or Chetco Brewing Company and walk down to the water to take in the different sailboats in the harbor.

Things to do in Brookings

  • Enjoy the impressive sea stacks at Lone Ranch Beach and find the local tide pools 
  • Go for a short hike and spot the wildlife at the scenic Harris Beach State Park – A good hike to start with is the Harris Beach Trail to Harris Butte (0.6 miles) 
  • Take in the panoramic views from the viewpoint at Chetco Point Park – A nice short hike in the park is the Chetco Point Trail (0.7 miles) 
  • Visit the Fujita Sword Display at the Brookings Public Library 
  • Frolic through the golden sand dunes at Indian Sands 
  • Walk along the peaceful sandy beach filled with driftwood at Crissey Field Recreation Site
  • Hike the Oregon Redwoods Trail in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness (1.8 miles) 

Where to Eat & Drink in Brookings 

  • Fat Irish Pub or Chetco Brewing Company 
  • Superfly Martini Bar & Grill 
  • Zola’s on the Water

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Distance from Brookings: 6 minutes (3.5 miles) 

arch rock - samuel h boardman scenic corridor

If there’s one place you can’t miss on the south Oregon coast, it’s the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. This place is all of your coastal Pacific Northwest dreams come true.

There are plenty of lush forests that come up to the beach, hard-to-reach deserted beaches, huge jagged rocks, and that perfect blue-green water to look at all day.

This corridor is only 12 miles long but there are a variety of places you can stop at along the way. Honestly, you could randomly choose your stops and you wouldn’t be disappointed, this place is that beautiful.

Make sure to find Arch Rock and Natural Bridges viewpoints, go on a short hike or two, and spend some time around the 300-year old Sitka spruce trees.

You’ll also want to make sure to pack some waterproof shoes for walking around the park and a rain jacket and/or windbreaker that you can easily take on and off as you jump in and out of the car. 

Local tip: Cell service isn’t great along this stretch of the Oregon coast, download all the maps and information you might ahead of time for accessing the hikes and viewpoints you want to visit. If you need to use the bathroom, I’d recommend either finding a restroom in Brookings before you set off or you can find a restroom at Arch Rock. 

Best Viewpoints & Stops at Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

From South to North: 

  • Lone Ranch Picnic Area (Mile 352.6)
  • Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint (Mile 351.9)
  • House Rock Viewpoint (Mile 351.2) 
  • Whaleshead Viewpoint (Mile 349.3)
  • Indian Sands (Mile 348.6) – where you can frolic amongst the dunes 
  • Thomas Creek Bridge (Mile 347.8)
  • North Island (Mile 347.4)
  • Natural Bridges (Mile 346.0)
  • Thunder Rock Cove (Mile 345.8)
  • Spruce Island & Secret Beach (Mile 345.0)
  • Arch Rock (Mile 344.8) 

Hikes to do at Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor 

  • Lone Ranch South Trail (3 miles) 
  • Thomas Creek Whaleshead Beach Trail (3 miles) 
  • Indian Sands to China Beach (7 miles) – Trailhead can be found at the Indian Sands parking lot 

Gold Beach

Distance from Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor: 15 minutes (13 miles)  

gold beach - southern oregon coast

A good place to rest and spend a day, Gold Beach is a captivating city on the southern Oregon coast. It’s known for old-growth forests, secluded beaches, a scenic golden bridge, and a remote small-town feel to it. 

You won’t find as many amenities here as you would on the more developed northern Oregon Coast and some restaurants close seasonally (or sometimes randomly for the day). However, if you’re looking for a place to really take in the natural beauty of the south Oregon coast, Gold Beach is it. 

Since Gold Beach is where the wild Rogue River meets this Pacific Ocean, this is also the place to do some jet boating. 

Jerry’s Rogue Jets offers a fun day out on the Rogue River through their jet boat tours. I did this the last time I was in Gold Beach and it was a blast. Even though it’s an adrenaline rush to be in a speeding jet boat, it also feels much more secure than white water rafting. 

Plus, a jet boat experience is the perfect way to discover more about the history of the area and take advantage of unique wildlife sightings that are in abundance on the Rogue River. Also, those water reflections on the calmer parts of the river are ridiculously beautiful. You can read my full review of jet boating the rogue river here

Before you continue up the Oregon coast, stop in at Arch Rock Brewing Company if you want to try one of the best lagers in Oregon.

And if you’re wondering where to stay on the Oregon Coast, Gold Beach is one of my favorite spots to stay for the night on the southern part of the coast.  

Things to do in Gold Beach 

  • Stop by Kissing Rock on your way into town 
  • Jetboat the Rogue River with Jerry’s Rogue Jets
  • See the remains of the Mary D. Hume Shipwreck near Harbor Way (a steamboat that was originally built in 1881!) 
  • Hike part of the Rogue River Trail – the full trail is 40 miles but just doing a few miles will give you a chance to see more of the natural beauty near Gold Beach 
  • Take in the stunning ocean views from Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Peruse Gold Beach Books – the largest bookstore on the Oregon Coast with over 75,000 books, a cafe, and local art
  • Find secluded beaches and check out the sandstone formations at Otter Point State Recreation Area
  • Take in the sunset colors at Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge at dusk
  • If you’re traveling with kids, stop by the Prehistoric Gardens on your way out of town and before you get to Port Orford

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Gold Beach 

  • Arch Rock Brewing Company
  • Barnacle Bistro
  • Anna’s – by the sea

Where to Stay in Gold Beach: Pacific Reef Hotel – This is where I stayed while I was in Gold Beach and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean never gets old. 

Port Orford

Distance from Gold Beach: 34 minutes (28 miles) 

port orford

Said to be a cursed place for the longest time, Port Orford has slowly but surely been making a comeback in recent years. Businesses are finally starting to boom and travelers are now seeing the draw to this beautiful place on the Oregon coast.

This segment of the coast includes Battle Rock Park, which has a tragic history. The park is named after a “battle” (that was really a massacre) in 1851 by white settlers against the Quatomah Tututni Indians. 

If you’re doing an Oregon Coast road trip in winter or spring, this is a convenient spot for whale watching since grey whales like to hang out near the cove area around this time of the year. Just make sure to bring some quality binoculars

Finally, you can appreciate the best parts of this coastal area with a popular Oregon Coast activity – sea kayaking!

South Coast Tours is the best company in town to go with for this. They offer 2.5-hour sea kayaking tours that take you around the sea arches and marine life found in the cove.

Finally, if you have time, put on a nice outfit and shoes to enjoy a meal at Redfish. This spot will give you one of the best ocean views along the coast and there’s a colorful art gallery next door as well.

Port Orford is another good place to stay on the Oregon coast if you want an alternative to Gold Beach. 

If you have the budget, WildSprings Guest Habitat is the place to stay in town. I stayed there for one night and I seriously never wanted to leave (it was like something out of a Bon Iver music video). 

Things to do in Port Orford 

  • Do a sea kayaking tour around the cove
  • Visit the historic sights around town, like the Old City Jail and The Fisherman’s Memorial
  • Go for a hike at Humbug Mountain State Park
  • Take in the views from the 20-minute loop trail, try and spot some whales, and stop by the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum at Port Orford Heads State Park 
  • Pick up a handmade gift or souvenir from The Wooden Nickel 

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Port Orford 

  • Redfish 
  • Golden Harvest Herban Farm
  • Crazy Norwegians

Where to Stay in Port Orford: WildSprings Guest Habitat – if you’re looking for a peaceful and wooded retreat for the night. 

Cape Blanco State Park

Distance from Port Orford: 19 minutes (10 miles) 

cape blanco state park

A stretch of the Oregon Coast that’s not often visited, Cape Blanco State Park is not the easiest to get to but it’s well worth the detour if you can squeeze it into your trip. Seriously, it’s one of the most stunning Oregon Coast attractions.

Located at the westernmost tip of Oregon, you can feel the remoteness of this state park as soon as you step outside your car and the wind hits you in the face.

Stops like this are what an Oregon road trip is all about – wild, frenetic energy that invigorates you and coastal views that are hard to beat. 

The highlight at Cape Blanco State Park is the white and red Cape Blanco Lighthouse that was built in 1870. When it comes to the lighthouses on the Oregon Coast, this is one of my favorites. 

Cape Blanco Lighthouse is Oregon’s only remaining lighthouse that is still in operation today. 

It has won a lot of superlatives over the years, including the oldest continually operating light, the most westerly lighthouse in Oregon, and where Oregon’s first woman lighthouse keeper worked in 1903 (her name was Mabel E. Bretherton).   

Tours are offered April through October, Wednesday through Monday from 10 am to 3:30 pm. The tour price is $2 for adults and free for those who are 15 and under. 

Besides the lighthouse, Cape Blanco has another historic spot to visit to make the detour worth it – the Hughes House that was built in 1898.

This Victorian house sits on 3,000 square feet of farmland and can be toured to learn more about what life was like on the Oregon Coast in the 19th century. 

And there are plenty of short trails and coastal views to soak up at the park as well. There’s also a campsite if you’re looking for a scenic place to camp on the Oregon Coast. 

Bandon

Distance from Cape Blanco State Park: 40 minutes (28 miles) 

Bandon, oregon

From the outside, Bandon may not look all that different from the many small towns you’ll find along the Oregon coast.

However, Bandon has a personality of its own, an old-timey charm, an artsy community, and a focus on fresh produce and farming that is worth stopping at to experience for yourself. 

Located next to the Coquille River, Bandon features a historic Old Town, riverfront boardwalk, windswept beaches, a lighthouse, and scenic viewpoints.

Spend some time exploring the city’s beaches, tide pools, and rock formations like Face Rock, Howling Dog, and Elephant Rock. You also won’t want to miss the panoramic viewpoints at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Coquille Point

Before you set off for your next adventure up the Oregon Coast, walk around Bandon’s Old Town to poke your head into the local boutiques and grab some homemade fudge and cheese.

Bandon is also known as the cranberry capital of Oregon, so if you’re in town during early fall and you’ve never seen a flooded cranberry bog, you’re in for a nice treat. They host their annual Cranberry Festival on the second weekend of September.

Bandon Bucket List

  • Enjoy the riverfront boardwalk near the Port of Bandon to look at the sailboats, sculptures, and maybe snack on some fresh seafood for lunch  
  • Walk around Old Town to shop and grab some fresh homemade goods like fudge and cheese
  • Visit the decommissioned Coquille River Lighthouse at Bullards Beach State Park 
  • Drive the Beach Loop Drive and stop for the views at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Bandon State Natural Area. These are also both good places to walk down to the beach to see the tide pools and rock formations
  • Go birdwatching at Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
  • If you’re a golfer, Bandon has one of the best golf courses in Oregon (and some even say the United States) at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort  
  • Have fun with locals at the Bandon Cranberry Festival if you’re visiting during the second weekend of September

Where to Eat & Drink in Bandon 

  • Face Rock Creamery
  • Alloro Wine Bar and Restaurant
  • Tony’s Crab Shack or Bandon Fish Market for fresh seafood  

Shore Acres State Park 

Distance from Bandon: 36 minutes (26 miles) 

Shore Acres State Park, Oregon - USA Travel

Another spot that’s off-the-beaten-path, Shore Acres State Park is a lovely seaside park that offers great vistas and a five-acre garden.

Shore Acres State Park is located just 13 miles south of Coos Bay and the drive itself is worth the journey to pass through the beautiful rural parts of the Oregon Coast. 

This is another place to watch migrating whales from the sandstone cliffs during the winter and spring and to go for a short hike or two to stretch your legs. 

And if you’re needing a reason to enjoy an Oregon winter getaway, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, the garden is lit up with a variety of lights and sculptures for the holidays.

While you’re in the area, if you have some extra time, I would also recommend doing the Cape Arago Beach Loop.

The loop lets you see not only see Shore Acres State Park, but also two other nearby state parks – Sunset Bay State Park and Cape Arago State Park.

Along the drive, you’ll come across breathtaking vistas, lounging sea lions and seals, sandy beaches, and tide pools.

Best Stops & Viewpoints Along the Cape Arago Beach Loop

  • Walk around the botanical garden and take in the views at Shore Acres State Park
  • Have a picnic at Bastendorff Beach
  • Explore the tidepools at Sunset Bay State Park
  • Visit Cape Arago Lighthouse
  • Stop at Simpson Beach or Shell Island Interpretive Stop to see the seals and sea lions
  • Go on a short and scenic hike at Cape Arago State Park

Coos Bay 

Distance from Shore Acres State Park: 23 minutes (13 miles) 

Coos Bay

The largest city you’ll come across on the Oregon Coast, there’s a lot to explore in Coos Bay and its surrounding nature. 

The city features waterfront views, a scenic boardwalk, delicious restaurants, good coffee shops, the 3rd oldest art museum in Oregon, and a historic downtown area called the Old Marshfield district. 

Called “Oregon’s Adventure Coast” and “Oregon’s Bay Area,” Coos Bay offers a plethora of activities outside of its big-city feel (for the Oregon Coast at least). 

There’s the Cape Arago Beach Loop (mentioned above), and, if you have time, you can hike to the hidden waterfalls of Golden Falls and Silver Falls that are about an hour’s drive inland from Coos Bay. 

There’s also the Dean Creek Viewing Area not too far from the city if you want to spot some of the local Roosevelt elk in their natural habitat. 

It’s mostly on the way to the Oregon Dunes and Florence, so this is a good one to hit on your way out of town if you’re traveling north along the Oregon Coast. 

Things to do in Coos Bay 

  • Explore the Old Marshfield District (you can do a self-guided walking tour with this map)
  • Walk along the city’s scenic boardwalk near the water 
  • Visit the Coos Bay Art Museum (the 3rd oldest art museum in Oregon) or the Coos History Museum to learn more about the history of the area. If you’re really into museums, there’s also the Marshfield Sun Printing Museum and Oregon Coast Historical Railway Museum 
  • Grab some cranberry-flavored sweets from the Cranberry Sweets store
  • Take in the beautiful Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge
  • Hike to Golden Falls and Silver Falls at Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area (1.4 miles) 
  • See the Roosevelt Elk at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area

Where to Eat & Drink in Coos Bay 

  • 7 Devils Brewing Company  
  • Mom’s Kitchen
  • Blue Heron Bistro 

Oregon Coast Road Trip: Central Coast 

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Distance from Coos Bay: 35 minutes (27.1 miles)

oregon dunes national recreation area

Just before you get to Florence, you’ll find the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This is where you can experience one of the largest stretches of temperate sand dunes in the world.

Stop by the Oregon Dunes Overlook and Day Use Area for an ideal road trip stop as it will not eat into too much of your time. There’s an easy out and back two-mile trail through the forest, over the dunes, and ending at the sea.

One of the most popular activities here is Off-Highway Vehicle riding with many outfitters renting ATVs and dune buggies. While it’s not cheap, there’s no better way to enhance your adventure to the park. 

Even if you don’t rent an Off-Highway Vehicle, Oregon Dunes is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts. You can go hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing, birding, camping, picnicking, and beachcombing, to name a few activities. 

Things to do at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area  

  • Learn about the ever-changing nature of the sand dunes with a ranger-led tour.
  • Rent an ATV or dune buggy for thrills on the sandy hills. 
  • Take a short hike at Oregon Dunes Overlook and Day Use Area. Go 0.5 miles to the overlook or 2 miles round trip to the beach. Extend this hike with an extra 1.5 miles by heading south once you hit the beach.
  • View the lake at Tahkenitch, conveniently located right off Highway 101. There is also a campground here.

Florence

Distance from Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area – 27 minutes (22 miles)

Things to do in Florence, Oregon

I’ve visited Florence quite a few times over the years and it really encompasses everything you’d want in a small coastal town.

There’s nice weather year-round, kitschy seaside shops, fresh seafood dishes, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, and plenty of history. It’s one of those spots that’s just nice to walk around and stretch your legs. 

One of my favorite sights in Florence is the art deco Siuslaw River Bridge that was built in 1936. There’s also the Heceta Head Lighthouse and the popular Sea Lion Caves a short drive from town as you make your way further up the coast. 

Just make sure to check that the sea lions are actually down in the cave before paying for a ticket because there are no refunds.

Things to do in Florence 

  • Explore Old Town Florence and its many boutique shops.
  • Take in the Siuslaw River and the Art Deco Siuslaw River Bridge. 
  • Walk around the dock and peruse the Boardwalk Market. 
  • Grab a scoop of ice cream from BJ’s Ice Cream Parlor.
  • Visit Heceta Beach. 
  • Learn about the history of the area at Siuslaw Pioneer Museum or the Oregon Coast Military Museum. 
  • Take a tour of the Sea Lion Caves. 
  • Hike the Heceta Head Lighthouse Trail for coastal views and to see the historic lighthouse (0.9 miles) – or if you want a longer hike you can do the Heceta Head Lighthouse to Hobbit Beach Trail (3.6 miles). 

Read my full guide to the best things to do in Florence 

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Florence 

  • Waterfront Depot Restaurant  
  • Fresh Harvest Cafe
  • The Hukilau
  • River Roasters

Where to Stay in Florence: The Landmark Inn or Old Town Inn

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

Distance from Florence: 29 minutes (22 miles)

cape perpetua scenic area - thors well

You may know the scenic Cape Perpetua by its most famous sight – Thor’s Well. Thor’s Well is considered one of the wonders of Oregon.

It’s also one of the most popular Oregon Coast attractions and truly a sight to see if you get there at the right time.

Thor’s Well is a natural saltwater formation that comes out depending on the height of the high tide, the direction and size of the swells, and the wind. Again, you have to time it right, but if you’re able to, it’s a trippy sight.

And, of course, there’s more than just Thor’s Well to hold your attention at Cape Perpetua. This headland gives you stunning and unobstructed views of the coast.

You can see up to 70 feet of coastline and 37 miles out to sea on a clear day at the highest point of Cape Perpetua, about 800 feet above sea level.

With all those panoramic views, this is very much a favorite place to hike on the Oregon Coast. 

Hikes to do at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

  • Captain Cook Trail and Thor’s Well Loop (0.6 miles)
  • Saint Perpetua Trail (2.7 miles)
  • Cook’s Ridge and Gwynn Creek Loop Trail (6.4 miles)

Newport

Distance from Cape Perpetua to Newport: 35 minutes (26.2 miles)

Newport- yaquina head lighthouse

Newport is the perfect town to stop in if you want to deepen your understanding and connection with the ocean. You can visit multiple marine science centers and there’s a rich history of fishing here, especially for Dungeness Crab. 

As you make your way into town, you’ll get to view and cross the impressive Yaquina Bay Bridge along Highway 101. 

You can also find some good short hikes at South Beach State Park on the Mike Miller Educational Trail (0.9 miles) or the South Jetty Trail (1.9 miles) right before you cross the bridge. 

Just past the bridge, stop at Yaquina Bay State Park to see the historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse that was built in 1871. This is a good area for tide pooling, so keep your eyes peeled for anemones, sea stars, urchins, and more. 

Once you’re in Newport proper, make sure to visit the city’s most popular attraction, the Oregon Coast Aquarium. At the aquarium, you can observe fish, mammals, mollusks, seals, sea otters, seabirds, and more. They also have touch pools for the kids. 

Additionally, Newport has most activities you would expect to find in an oceanfront village, including candy shops, interactive experiences, fishing tours, and a surf shop.

There are various art galleries, glass blowing studios, and antique shops in the Deco District or the bayfront as well.

If you’re hungry, grab something to eat in the quaint Newport Historic Bayfront. Immerse yourself in the charming aura of this working fishing port as you make your way down Bay Blvd where you can eat at Local Ocean Seafoods or Clearwater Restaurant.

And if you’re thirsty after all that great food, there are some excellent breweries and beer pubs in Newport too. These include the famous Rogue Nation Brewery and Bier One in the Deco District, and brewpubs that offer a variety of different styles like Nana’s Irish Pub.

On you’re way out of town, don’t miss the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area where you can tour the tallest lighthouse in Oregon – the Yaquina Head Lighthouse that was also built in 1871 and its marine garden. Take note that it’s very windy in this location so make sure to bring some warm layers with you. 

Things to do in Newport 

  • Learn about Oregon marine life and play in the touch pools at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
  • Brave the wind at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Tour the tallest lighthouse in Oregon.
  • Take in the sights of the historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse at Yaquina Bay State Park.
  • Shop for art, antiques, sweets, and more in downtown Newport. 
  • Feed your fish cravings at a seafood restaurant in the Newport Historic Bayfront.
  • Go for a hike in South Beach State Park.

Where to Eat & Drink in Newport 

  • Local Ocean Seafoods
  • Clearwater Restaurant 
  • Nana’s Irish Pub 

Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area

Distance from Newport: 13 minutes (8.2 miles)

Devil's Punchbowl Natural Scenic Area

Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area features a wild landscape that can best be described as raucous as the ocean beats against the coast. The “punchbowl” creates the perfect conditions for loud, explosive waves.

Even with (or maybe because of) the frenetic energy, this is a popular surf spot in Oregon and a good place to watch experienced surfers do their thing. 

In addition to the intense energy of this area, there are opportunities for tide pooling nearby where you can see various marine life and sea plants in their natural habitat. 

If it’s time for lunch, you can grab a warm bowl of chowder at Mo’s. Afterward, satisfy your sweet tooth with a milkshake from Cliffside Coffee and Sweets.

Just note that parking is limited in the natural area so it’s best to get here earlier in the day if you can. 

Hikes to do at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area

  • Devil’s Punchbowl Trail (0.8 miles out and back)
  • Hike to the punchbowl, head up the beach to the right for access to tidepools.
  • Hike to the left on the beach for surfing access.

Depoe Bay 

Distance from Devil’s Punchbowl: 9 minutes (5.5 miles)

depoe bay

Known as the “whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast,” Depoe Bay can be found along the Otter Crest Loop scenic drive. Come here for a chance to see orcas and humpbacks, especially if you’re visiting from December to May when they do their annual migration. 

In addition to orcas and humpbacks, the main attraction on this part of the Oregon Coast is the grey whales.

There is a local pod that calls Depoe Bay home from March through December, so there’s a good chance you’ll get to see grey whales if you come within these months.

There are many whale watching tours to hop on for an up-close look at these massive animals. 

If you don’t have money or time for a tour, view the whales at the Whale Watching Center or Whale Park. You can also widen your knowledge of local marine life at the Whale, Sea Life, and Shark Museum.

You can find some good eats in the area as well. For more ocean views, Tidal Raves Seafood Grill has you covered (make sure to try their signature Spinach Oyster Bisque).

As you head north from Depoe Bay, make a detour to Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint to bask in the ocean air as you look out at the sea for more whale watching. Plus, this is a good spot to observe sea birds like pelicans and loons.

Things to do in Depoe Bay 

  • Try and spot whales at the Whale Watching Center or Whale Park.
  • Go on a whale watching tour.
  • Visit the Whale, Sea Life, and Shark Museum to learn more about local marine life.
  • Try the Spinach Oyster Bisque and enjoy the views from Tidal Raves Seaffod Grill.
  • Make a short detour to Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint.

Where to Eat & Drink in Depoe Bay 

  • Tidal Raves Seafood Grill 
  • The Horn Public House & Brewery 
  • Bay View Thai Kitchen 

Lincoln City 

Distance from Depoe Bay: 19 minutes (12 miles)

lincoln city, oregon

The last city I recommend visiting along the Oregon Central Coast is Lincoln City because there’s so much to see in and around town, from sea to sky.

Climb to the top of Cascade Head for spacious views of the Pacific and the Salmon River Estuary. There are four different trails here but note that two of them are only open July 16 through December 31 to protect the silver-spotted butterfly. 

You can also hit the beach at the D River State Recreation Site, kayak at Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area or hike the trail for Drift Creek Falls.

Crabbing & clamming in Siletz Bay is another popular activity. You’ll need a shellfish license but they’re easy to get. This link lists where you can rent gear and purchase a license. You can also purchase a license online with the ODFW’s electronic licensing system (ELS).

If you happen to time your visit right, festivals are a favorite in Lincoln City too, including their seasonal kite festivals and a sand sculpting festival where they hide glass floats on the beach that you can hunt for.

And just as a side note, glass blowing is synonymous with Lincoln City.

It’s the perfect place to take a class and make your own blown glass fishing float. These old-school fishing floats are a staple of Lincoln City culture. Otherwise, you can wander the galleries to admire all kinds of blown glass and other mediums as well.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a good place to shop, a stop at the outlets in Lincoln City should be on your itinerary. There are plenty of antiquing opportunities in town too.  

Things to do in Lincoln City 

  • Climb one of the trails at Cascade Head. The lower trail is a challenging two miles, you can add on the Upper Trail to make it a six-mile hike. The Hart’s Cove Trail (5.6 miles) is very challenging but will reward you with ocean views and potential marine life sightings. Or you can hike the Cascade Inland Trail (6 miles). The Upper Trail and Hart’s Cove Trail are only open July 16-December 31.
  • Spend time on the beach at the D River State Recreation area.
  • Go hiking, boating, or camping at Devil’s Lake State Park.
  • Go clamming and crabbing in Siletz Bay.
  • Head to one of the city’s special events, like the kite festivals.
  • Learn glassblowing.
  • Go antiquing or shop at the outlets.

Where to Eat & Drink in Lincoln City 

  • Blackfish Cafe
  • Hwy 101 Burger
  • Kyllo’s Seafood & Grill 

Oregon Coast Road Trip: North Coast 

Pacific City

Distance from Lincoln City: 29 minutes (22 miles)

pacific city, oregon

Pacific City is where my favorite brewery in Oregon resides – Pelican Brewing. It’s right on the beach and there are dunes and a beautiful sunset to watch from the brewery.

It would also be an ideal place to watch one of the impressive winter storms that come through this area, and to witness just how beautiful it can be to travel the Oregon Coast in winter.

Even if you’re not a fan of beer, Pacific City is worth a stop for its rugged beach. The city is also the perfect gateway to the Three Capes Scenic Drive (mentioned below as a possible detour), which includes the beautiful Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

Before you continue up the coast, make sure to stop by Grateful Bread for some fresh scones for the drive. 

Things to do in Pacific City 

  • Visit Pelican Brewing and watch the sunset.
  • Hike the one-mile loop trail at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.
  • Reward your efforts with a trip to Grateful Bread bakery. 

Where to Eat & Drink in Pacific City 

  • Pelican Brewing
  • Grateful Bread 
  • Stimulus Coffee + Bakery 
  • The Riverhouse Nestucca

Optional Detour: Three Capes Scenic Loop

cape kiwanda - three capes scenic loop

The Three Capes Scenic Loop is a 40-mile journey from Pacific City to Tillamook that takes you through the gorgeous sights of the North Oregon Coast. 

Along the scenic drive, you’ll find Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout, and Cape Meares. 

At Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, you can take in the scenic ocean views and try and spot the usual hang gliders and kite flyers in the area. 

Cape Lookout State Park is another worthy stop on your Oregon Coast road trip. The state park has miles of trails and offers the highest vista for an unobstructed view of the Three Capes Scenic Area.

From Cape Lookout, make a stop at Netarts Bay, especially if you appreciate delicious seafood. The Schooner Restaurant is right at the fishing launch point so the seafood is as fresh as it gets.

Further along the coast, stretch your legs on the walking trails at Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. It sits amongst old-growth forests and a dramatic coastline. You might even see puffins here! There’s also a lighthouse which offers free admission. 

Things to do Along the Three Capes Scenic Loop 

  • Get the best view of the Tillamook coastline and do some beachcombing at Cape Lookout State Park.
  • Go for a hike at Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. Try the Cape Meares Lighthouse Loop (0.5 miles), The Octopus Tree and Cape Meares Viewpoint Trail (3.0 miles), or the Cape Meares Beach Trail (1.5 miles). 
  • Stop in Netarts Bay for fishing, clamming, fresh seafood, and Jacobsen Salt Co. 

Tillamook

Distance from Pacific City: 35 minutes (24.8 miles)

tillamook

Any cheese lovers reading this post? Okay, good.

If you love cheese, you should put Tillamook, and specifically the Tillamook Cheese Factory (also known as the Tillamook Creamery), on your Oregon Coast road trip itinerary.

Tillamook is most famous for its cheese and for good reason. I grew up with it and I’ve never found a better everyday cheddar cheese than what the Tillamook Cheese Factory produces. 

Just make sure to come hungry since the Tillamook Cheese Factory has plenty of free samples and delicious ice cream for purchase too.

Other than cheese, the kayaking in Tillamook coastal waters is phenomenal with more than 800 miles of navigable waters.

There are also more than a dozen maintained hiking trails in the Tillamook area if land-based activities are more your thing.

Things to do in Tillamook 

  • Tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory (aka the Tillamook Creamery) and indulge in free samples and try their scrumptious ice cream.
  • Go kayaking in Tillamook’s coastal waters.
  • Take a hike on one of the trails near town. I’d recommend the University Falls Trail (0.6 miles), Wilson River Trail (4.2 miles), or Elk Mountain to King’s Mountain Loop (11.6 miles).

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Tillamook 

  • Tillamook Creamery
  • Old Oregon Smokehouse 
  • Five Rivers Coffee Roasters
  • Tacos La Providencia 

Arch Cape

Distance from Tillamook: 48 minutes (35 miles)

arch cape in oregon

Named for the arch-shaped rock formation of the cape, Arch Cape is prized for its coastal access and incredible rainforest.

Oswald West State Park is probably the most popular attraction in Arch Cape that’s easily accessible from Highway 101. Walk along this picturesque park’s boardwalks to enjoy its lush rainforest and quiet nature.

Before you leave the park, you’ll want to stop by Neahkahnie Viewpoint to take in one of the best views on the Oregon Coast.  

Next, you can head a little inland from the coast to see Angora Peak, which offers jaw-dropping views and decent hiking opportunities. 

As you continue up the Oregon Coast, you’ll find Hug Point State Recreation Site for caving and waterfalls. There is also beach access here.

Things to do in Arch Cape 

  • Hike up Angora Peak (8.0 miles).
  • Visit the caves and waterfalls at Hug Point State Recreation Site.
  • Walk amongst an ancient forest at Oswald West State Park.
  • Take in the panoramic scenery at Neahkahnie Viewpoint.

Cannon Beach

Distance from Arch Cape: 8 minutes (5.5 miles)

haystack rock at cannon beach

When I was living in Portland, I made the day trip to Cannon Beach because I heard that it was where The Goonies was filmed (90s kids rejoice!).

When I arrived, I was not disappointed to recognize the beach and the iconic Haystack Rock that were in The Goonies.

Besides geeking out over a nostalgic childhood movie, Cannon Beach is simply a lovely place to explore. 

The beach can get crowded in the summer due to it being a popular getaway for Portlanders, so if you’re doing your road trip in the summer months be prepared for crowds. 

If you’re wanting a more secluded beach experience, visit this part of the Oregon Coast in the winter or fall for the least amount of people.

Things to do in Cannon Beach 

  • Snap a selfie in front of Haystack Rock and reminisce about your childhood (if you were born in the 80s or early 90s). 
  • Have a picnic on the beach. 

Where to Eat & Drink in Cannon Beach 

  • Tom’s Fish N Chips
  • Lazy Susan Cafe 
  • Castaways 

 

Ecola State Park 

Distance from Cannon Beach: 5 minutes (2.5 miles)

ecola state park

Ecola State Park has a rich history, beach access, and plenty of hiking opportunities. 

Enter the park beneath the old-growth forest and explore the sandy stretches and tidepools at Indian Beach. Try and spot some sea stars, anemones, and urchins while you’re there too!

If you’re looking for a short hike at the park, the Clatsop Loop Trail is a good trail to start with to learn more about the history of the area since it’s a historical interpretive trail.

Fun fact: Lewis and Clark made their way through this section of the coastline searching for a beached whale in 1806. 

Hikes to do in Ecola State Park 

  • Clatsop Loop (2.0 miles)
  • Ecola State Park to Indian Beach (4.3 miles)
  • Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail (12.2 miles) 

Seaside

Distance from Ecola State Park: 13 minutes (18.2 miles)

seaside oregon

Just north of Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park, you’ll come across Seaside.

This is one of the most touristy spots on this list but even with the crowds, it can be worth at least a quick visit if you have the extra time.

If you don’t have the time though, this would probably be one of the first spots I’d take off your Oregon Coast road trip itinerary since I much prefer the more secluded and rugged road trip stops along the Oregon Coast. 

Attractions in town include Seaside Beach, Camp 18 Museum, and one of the oldest aquariums on the whole Pacific West Coast – the Seaside Aquarium

If you time your visit right, Seaside also has one of the most impressive 4th of July celebrations in Oregon with the largest fireworks display on the coast.

Things to do in Seaside 

  • Visit Seaside Beach.
  • Learn about Oregon logging history at Camp 18 Museum.
  • Go to the Seaside Carousel Mall.
  • Visit the Seaside Aquarium.

Where to Eat & Drink in Seaside

  • Firehouse Grill
  • Seaside Brewing Company 
  • Angelina’s Pizzeria & Cafe   

Fort Stevens State Park 

Distance from Seaside: 18 minutes (14 miles)

fort stevens state park

Located in Hammond, Fort Stevens State Park is overflowing with a wide array of historical and nature-based adventures.

At the park, you can hike around the freshwater Coffenbury Lake or feast your eyes on the rusty Iredale Shipwreck, which is a particularly excellent spot for photos.

There is also a boat launch if you want to go kayaking and a disc golf course if you want to test out your frisbee skills. 

One of the more unique features of Fort Stevens State Park is its military museum. This area has connections to the Civil War and World War II, which you can learn more about at the museum and even go on an underground tour for a more interactive experience. 

Like many Oregon state parks, this is also a good area for camping, renting a cabin, or even a yurt. 

Hikes to do in Fort Stevens State Park

  • Peter Iredale Loop – to view the shipwreck (0.6 miles)
  • Fort Stevens State Park Loop (1.0 miles)
  • Coffenbury Lake Trail (2.5 miles)

Astoria

Distance from Fort Stevens State Park: 16 minutes (8.8 miles)

astoria, oregon

And lastly, you’ve made it to the end of your Oregon Coast road trip in Astoria!

As a lovable historical city near the border of Washington State, Astoria is a great spot to end your road trip and stay for a night or two. 

I remember visiting Astoria as a 17-year-old and being enchanted by the 1930s inspired architecture.

And since Astoria was the first permanent US settlement on the West Coast, it has a lot of intriguing history to discover. 

A few things to do in town include visiting the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park to learn more about the Lewis and Clark expedition, walking along the scenic Astoria Oregon Riverwalk, and visiting the unique museums in town. 

If you’re not too tired of exploring the Oregon craft beer scene yet, you should also make sure to stop in at a few of the breweries in the city. A few recommended breweries include Fort George Brewery, Buoy Beer Brewery, and Astoria Brewing Company

Cheers yourself for making it up the coast, and seeing some of the most amazing scenery in Oregon along the way.

Things to do in Astoria 

  • Appreciate the rich history at the Lewis And Clark National Historical Park.
  • Imbibe in some craft beer.
  • Take a spin on the Astoria Oregon Riverwalk or the Cathedral Tree Trail (1.0 miles).
  • Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Uppertown Firefighters Museum, Oregon Film Museum, or the Heritage Museum. 
  • Tour the Flavel House Museum – a historic Queen Anne-style Victorian from the 1880s. 
  • Explore the shops, galleries, and restaurants in downtown Astoria. 

Where to Eat & Drink in Astoria 

  • Fort George Brewery & Public House 
  • Bowpicker Fish & Chips
  • Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe 
  • Coffee Girl 

Where to Stay in Astoria: Astoria Riverwalk Inn or Norblad Hotel 

How Long Do You Need For an Oregon Coast Road Trip? 

how long do you need for an oregon coast road trip - Heceta Head Lighthouse

The length of time you’ll need for an Oregon Coast road trip depends on how much you want to see, how much driving you want to do each day, and how much time you want to spend in each location. 

If you’ve decided you want to see it all, then you should allocate at least 7 to 10 days if not more. It’s possible to see a decent amount of sights in just three days, but you’ll definitely be hustling it up the coast a lot more. 

To make things a bit easier for you as you plan your trip, we’ve put together itineraries ranging from 3-10 days since that’s the average amount of time most people spend driving up the Oregon Coast. 

You can follow them exactly or tweak them to your tastes. No matter what length of time you choose, you’ll have one hell of an Oregon Coast road trip with these itineraries. 

And just remember, the beauty of road trips is the ability to be fluid in your travels. You can plan every stop, but it’s also nice to be able to choose your adventures based on what inspires you as you drive along the coast. Happy road tripping! 

Example Oregon Coast Road Trip Itineraries 

oregon forest on the coast

3-Day Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary

Highlights: Scenic viewpoints, adventure activities, and short hikes.

Day 1: Begin your Oregon Coast road trip down south in Brookings to check out the Lone Ranch Trail and Chetco Viewpoint. Be sure to take your time hiking and checking out the many viewpoints along Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor as you make your way up the coast. Either do a jet boating tour in Gold Beach or a kayaking tour around the sea caves in Port Orford. Watch the sunset in Shore Acres State Park before stopping in Coos Bay for a night to rest and recharge for tomorrow.

Day 2: Start your day with a stop at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where you can either do an ATV/dune buggy tour or walk to the lookout and the beach and back from the day-use area. Have lunch along the river in Florence and explore the local boutique shops. Stop at Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua Scenic Area on your way to Newport. Before you end your day in Newport, visit Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.

Day 3: For your first stop of the day, visit Depoe Bay to try and spot some whales. Further up the coast, make a quick pit stop in Pacific Beach for a pint at Pelican Brewery right on the beach. Next up, take a tour and devour the free samples at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Before you reach the top of the coast, stop at Cannon Beach to snap a photo in front of Haystack Rock. If it’s not too late in the day, make a stop at Fort Stevens State Park and hike to the Iredale Shipwreck. End your road trip in Astoria, exploring the downtown area for dinner and drinks to cheers your Oregon Coast adventure.  

Bandon sea lions

5-Day Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary

Highlights: Rock formations, beaches, hikes

Day 1: From Brookings, spend the morning driving through Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Area to enjoy the viewpoints and 1-2 hikes. In the afternoon, you can head to Gold Beach or Port Orford to do some jet boating or sea kayaking. Head north to Bandon to enjoy the restaurants and see Face Rock, Howling Dog, and Elephant Rock. Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Coquille Point are also great quick stops if you have time. Watch the sunset from Shore Acres State Park before spending the night in Coos Bay.

Day 2: Start your day with breakfast in Coos Bay and walk around the city’s Old Marshfield District. Head up the coast to explore the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and then downtown Florence. From there, you can either head to the Sea Lion Caves (an ideal option if you’re traveling with kids) or hike to the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Make your way to Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua, visit the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and end the day in Newport. Enjoy a meal at the Newport Historic Bayfront for dinner.

Day 3: Grab a quick breakfast and coffee in Newport before you make your way to Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area for a morning hike and to take in the coastal views. Make your way to Depoe Bay to go on a whale watching tour or simply watch for whales from the shore and immerse yourself in ocean vibes. You can make a quick detour to Boiler Point State Scenic Viewpoint on the way to Lincoln City where you’ll end the day. Spend the night in Lincoln City where you can appreciate the local art scene.

Day 4: Keep heading north into Pacific City. Take a hike at Cape Kiwanda and reward yourself with a beer at Pelican Brewing afterward. Stop in Tillamook to tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory and sample some ice cream. As you head to Cannon Beach, make a stop at Neahkahnie Viewpoint in Arch Cape to take in the coastal views. In Cannon Beach, take a selfie with Haystack Rock. End the day in Seaside. 

Day 5: Grab breakfast in Seaside and visit the Seaside Aquarium before heading north. Do one of the hikes at Ecola State Park like the Clatsop Loop and see Indian Beach here as well. Further north, explore the history and miles of trails at Fort Stevens State Park. Don’t miss the military museum and Iredale Shipwreck. Celebrate the end of your road trip with a beer in Astoria and walk around the city’s historic downtown area.

Cannon Beach and haystack rock

7-Day Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary

Highlights: Hikes, lighthouses, beaches, rock formations, and scenic drives. 

Day 1: Start in Brookings and gaze upon the sea stacks at Lone Ranch Beach. Travel north to take in the sights of the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. Stop at Kissing Rock on your way into Gold Beach and go on a jet boating tour of the Rogue River if you have time. Head to the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge for sunset or take in the views from Otter Point State Recreation Area before spending the night in Gold Beach.

Day 2: From Gold Beach, stop off in Port Orford to go sea kayaking or explore the historic sights around town like the Old City Jail and The Fisherman’s Memorial. Next, head to Cape Blanco State Park to explore the westernmost tip of the Oregon Coast and its lighthouse. Further up the coast, you can stop in Bandon to pick up some homemade fudge and check out the city’s interesting rock formations like Face Rock, Howling Dog, and Elephant Rock. You’ll end your day in Coos Bay. If you have time, walk around the city’s scenic boardwalk or head to the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area to spot some wildlife. Get some good rest as you prepare to check off more of your Oregon coast road trip bucket list tomorrow.

Day 3: After getting some breakfast in Coos Bay, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area should be your first stop of the day. Check out the coastal forest, hike to the beach, and maybe do an ATV/dune buggy tour if you’re feeling up for it. Stop in Florence for a riverside lunch and explore the boutique shops in the downtown area. On your way north, either stop at the Sea Lion Caves (a good option if you’re traveling with kids) or visit the scenic Heceta Head Lighthouse. Further up the coast, see the famed Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. You’ll end your day in Newport where you can check out the Historic Newport Bayfront and sample beer at the local craft breweries.

Day 4: As you make your way out of Newport, start your day with a stop at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area to see the tallest lighthouse in Oregon and the marine garden. Further north, engage your senses at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area and go for a short hike. Make a stop in Depoe Bay to go on a whale watching tour or visit the Whale Watching Center and Whale Park. As you head out of Depoe Bay, make a detour to Boiler Point State Scenic Viewpoint to take in the panoramic views. End the day in Lincoln City. 

Day 5: Start your day on an active note by climbing to the top of Cascade Head or go kayaking at Devil’s Lake. Stop in Pacific City for lunch and a beer with a view at Pelican Brewing. Explore Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area and do some stops along the Three Capes Scenic Loop. Spend some time in Tillamook tasting cheese before staying in the area for the night. 

Day 6: From Tillamook, make your way to Oswald State Park in Arch Cape to walk through the rainforest and take in the vies from Neahkahnie Viewpoint. Stop at Cannon Beach to have a picnic lunch on the beach and to see the famous Haystack Rock from The Goonies. Take a short walk in Ecola State Park on the Clatsop Loop before stopping for the night in Seaside. If you have time, you can watch the sunset from Seaside Beach.

Day 7: Start your morning by enjoying the touristy vibe of Seaside and visiting the aquarium. Make a stop in Fort Stevens State Park to do some hiking, explore the historic nature of the park, trek to the beach to see the Iredale Shipwreck. If you have time, walk around Coffenbury Lake before you head to Astoria. End your journey in Astoria and explore the city’s historic downtown area and maybe one of its unique museums. Relish in the satisfaction of completing your Oregon coast road trip and seeing some of the best stops along the Oregon Coast.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

10-Day Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary 

Highlights: Beaches, coastal cities, hikes, lighthouses, and scenic views. 

Day 1: Begin in Brookings. Explore the many vistas, hikes, and mile markers along Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor as you head towards Gold Beach. Go on a jet boating tour of the Rogue River or stop at the viewpoints near Gold Beach, including Kissing Rock and Otter Point State Recreation Area. Watch the sunset at Lee Patterson Bridge before crashing for the night in Gold Beach. 

Day 2: From Gold Beach, you’ll head to Port Orford where you can go sea kayaking or explore Battle Rock Park and the historic sights around town. Make a detour to Cape Blanco State Park to tour the lighthouse and the historic Hughes House. Watch the sunset from the westernmost tip of Oregon. Either spend the night camping in Cape Blanco or stay in Bandon for the night. 

Day 3: Spend the morning in Bandon to check out Old Town, walk the riverfront boardwalk, and grab some homemade fudge. Further north, drive the Cape Arago Beach Loop and spend the afternoon exploring Cape Arago State Park, Shore Acres State Park, and Sunset Bay State Park. Either camp for the night at Shore Acres State Park or stay in bustling Coos Bay. In Coos Bay, you can do a walking tour of the Old Marshfield District or stroll down the Coos Bay boardwalk.

Day 4: Embark from Coos Bay on the one-hour inland journey to Golden Falls and Silver Falls for a morning hike. Then, head up the coast to spend the afternoon at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Maybe rent a dune buggy or hike to the beach and back. End the day in Florence where you can explore the boutique shops and boardwalk. Enjoy some good eats and a good night’s sleep in Florence.

Day 5: After grabbing breakfast in Florence, make a stop at the Sea Lion Caves or hike to the Heceta Head Lighthouse. From there, make your way to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area to see Thor’s Well. End your day in Newport, where you have a ton of options for things to do, including seeing the tallest lighthouse in Oregon and marine garden at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, exploring Newport’s local craft beer scene, taking a hike at South Beach State Park, or simply enjoying a relaxing end to your day around Newport’s shops and bayfront.

Day 6: Today, you’ll want to start your day at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area to do some hiking, tide-pooling or to watch the surfers do their thing. Head further up the coast to Depoe Bay where you can hop on a whale watching tour or learn more about the local marine life at the Whale Watching Center, Whale Park, and the Whale, Sea Life, and Shark Museum. Drive up to Lincoln City where you’ll stay for the night. 

Day 7: Spend today around Lincoln City where you can go crabbing or clamming (don’t forget to purchase a license), look for glass floats on the beach, hike Cascade Head for stunning views, or kayak around Devil’s Lake. You might even want to take a glass blowing class in town. Head up to Pacific City to grab dinner and a brew from Pelican Brewing at sunset and stay around Pacific City for the night. 

Day 8: Start your day driving the Three Capes Scenic Loop to Tillamook. Take your time at the various stops along the drive, and make sure to go hiking in Cape Kiwanda, enjoy the views at Cape Lookout, and stop in Netarts Bay for lunch. Head to Tillamook to sample cheese and ice cream and possibly do some kayaking or hiking there as well if you have the time and energy. Spend the night in Tillamook and rest up for tomorrow. 

Day 9: Today, you’ll move north to Arch Cape to enjoy the lush rainforest at Oswald West State Park and the views from Neahkahnie Viewpoint. Stop at Cannon Beach for a picnic lunch on the beach and take some pictures of the iconic Haystack Rock. Check out Ecola State Park where you can connect with history, do some tide-pooling, and see Indian Beach. Either stay the night in Seaside or camp at Fort Stevens State Park.

Day 10: Explore Fort Stevens State Park before ending your journey in Astoria today. At the park, you won’t want to miss the Iredale Shipwreck, the military museum (maybe even take an underground tour), and a hike around Coffenbury Lake. Give yourself at least half a day if not more to explore what the historic city of Astoria has to offer. A few things you can do around include visiting one or two of Astoria’s unique museums, exploring the shops and galleries downtown, and strolling along the Astoria Oregon Riverwalk or the Cathedral Tree Trail. Oh, and make sure to get that celebratory beer after completing your Oregon Coast road trip!

Tips for Road Tripping the Oregon Coast 

tips for road tripping the oregon coast
  • Cell service is not guaranteed. Download offline maps or bring paper maps.
  • Purchase an Oregon Pacific Coast Pass which covers every natural area on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Highway 101. Annual $35. 5-Day $10.
  • Prepare for windy, foggy, and rainy days.
  • Carry emergency equipment.
  • Take lots of photos! Especially of those sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

Where to Stay on the Oregon Coast 

WildSprings Guest Habitat - Port Orford, Oregon - USA Travel

Best Oregon Coast Campsites 

  • Gold Beach
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  • Fort Stevens State Park

Best Oregon Coast Hotels 

  • Pacific Reef Hotel (Gold Beach) 
  • Tyee Lodge
  • The Landmark Inn

Best Oregon Coast Airbnbs

  • Hobbit Glamping House, Bandon
  • Sandbug Tiny House, Waldport
  • Mid-Century Riverfront Cabin, Tillamook

When’s the Best Time to do an Oregon Coast Road Trip?

best time to visit the oregon coast

No matter what time of year you do a road trip on the Oregon coast you will have mild temperatures and some rain. You can go any time of the year that suits you best. However, if I have to choose, I would say August or September will be best.

The most rainfall occurs from November to March. While this may not seem ideal, it could be great for those looking to beat the crowds. It is purely up to you.

For our surfers, fall is the best time to visit as the waters are churning out more consistent waves. The winter is also pretty stellar, but the water is very cold. It’s not for the faint of heart.

If you want to see whales, mid-December to mid-January or spring (Late February to May) is the pinnacle time for viewing these ancient beings.

If you want to go clamming, June, July, and August are your best bet. If fishing is your thing, then make your Oregon coast road trip in May through September.

If you want to see wildflowers on your hikes then spring or early summer is your best bet. You may see fragrant phlox, the bells of foxglove, or the uncommon phantom orchid.

No matter what time of year you make an Oregon coast road trip, it is always time to be mindful. Be respectful of these incredible natural areas. Always leave no trace. Leave the Oregon coast better than you found it.

What to Pack for an Oregon Coast Road Trip 

where to stay on the Oregon Coast

PRACTICAL INFO FOR THE OREGON COAST

Find Accommodationbook your rental car, or sign up for a local tour.

Book a vacation rental on AirBnB (and get $20 off your first booking).

Buy your Oregon travel guide here.


Looking for more Oregon travel inspiration? Check out these related posts!

Best Things to do in Ashland, Oregon

Your Full Guide to Wine Tasting in Southern Oregon 

Best Free Things to do in Portland, Oregon

Experiencing the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland

8 Things to do in Bend, Oregon in the Summer

Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary

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Mimi McFadden
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Ultimate Oregon Coast Road Trip: 24 Stops & 4 Itineraries

8 thoughts on “Ultimate Oregon Coast Road Trip: 24 Stops & 4 Itineraries”

  1. Mimi,

    You do not disappoint. I’m actually writing this as I settle in for the night in Florence. I drove down from Seattle to the Mt. Shasta, CA area for Thanksgiving, and since I had several more days off, I decided to take the scenic route back to Seattle. I’ve been using your “14 Stops” as a guide, and it’s been working out great so far. I just wanted to say thanks! Stellar post!

    Reply
  2. Wow! Had I not read the title I would have assumed this was a different country. I have visited the Oregon Coast yet but it looks awesome. Will definitely need to plan a trip there.

    Reply
    • It’s wonderful how diverse this country is – I felt the same when I started road tripping around more areas of the US this past summer, the landscape can change so drastically. Hope you get to visit the Oregon coast soon!

      Reply
  3. I would love to be sitting on that patio in Port Orford. I haven’t done enough travelling. I’m looking forward to doing more when my daughter is older. We’re from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, so I feel at home in the woodsy, watery places.

    Reply

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