The Oregon Coast
Deciding on one of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast can be frustrating. The Oregon Coast is a captivating stretch of coastline along the Pacific Ocean in the northwestern United States. Spanning approximately 363 miles (584 kilometers) from the northern border with Washington to the southern border with California, it offers a diverse range of natural wonders, small towns, and outdoor activities.
The Oregon Coast features sandy beaches, towering cliffs, and impressive rock formations known as sea stacks. These unique rock formations are sculpted by wind and waves over thousands of years and create a dramatic and awe-inspiring backdrop for visitors.
It is worth noting that many envision a beach as very warm. That is not the case in Oregon.
The coastal towns along the Oregon Coast offer a welcoming atmosphere, with shops, restaurants, and attractions. You can explore art galleries, visit historic lighthouses, and enjoy leisurely walks along the waterfront. Many of the seafood restaurants feature freshly caught seafood, including Dungeness crab, clam chowder, oysters, and various species of fish.
Crabbing for Dungeness Crab is a popular activity on the Oregon Coast. Crabs can be caught in crab pots or with traps.
Types of fish available on the Oregon Coast:
- Chinook Salmon (King Salmon): This type of salmon is prized for its size and flavor. They are caught in coastal rivers and estuaries during their annual migration. But beware, you may have to fight the bears to keep our catch!
- Coho Salmon (Silver Salmon): Coho salmon are another popular species that can be found in rivers and estuaries from late summer through fall.
- Steelhead Trout: Steelheads are anadromous, meaning they migrate from the ocean to freshwater rivers and streams to spawn. They are exciting to catch due to their strong fighting ability.
- Halibut: Pacific halibut is found in the deeper waters of the ocean. They usually weigh between 10 and 50 pounds, but it is not unheard of for them to get to as large as 100 pounds.
- Lingcod: Lingcod is usually caught near rocky structures and kelp beds. It has tasty meat but is considered to be a sportsman’s delight.
- Rockfish: The Rockfish found on the Oregon Coast inhabit rocky areas. It is a commercial fish but also many recreational fishermen try to catch the fish.
- Surfperch: Surfperch are commonly caught from sandy beaches along the Coast. They can be caught from the shore or by wading into the surf.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy on the Oregon Coast. There are numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area provides opportunities for activities like sandboarding, ATV riding, and horseback riding. Whale watching, fishing, crabbing, and kayaking are also popular along the coast. You can even try your hand at sandboarding or take dune buggy rides.
Oregon Coast Map
Best Time of Year to Visit Oregon
The Oregon Coast offers visitors various reasons to visit the area depending on the season of the year. The best time to visit depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons:
- Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season on the Oregon Coast. The weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit (15-25 degrees Celsius). It’s a great time for beach activities, hiking, camping, and exploring coastal towns. However, popular tourist spots can be crowded during this time, especially on weekends.
- Fall (September to November): Fall brings cooler temperatures and fewer crowds compared to summer. September is often regarded as the best time to visit as the weather remains pleasant, and you can experience stunning sunsets. Fall also marks the salmon runs in many rivers, attracting anglers and wildlife enthusiasts.
- Winter (December to February): Winter on the Oregon Coast is characterized by cool and wet weather. It’s a quieter season with fewer tourists, providing a peaceful and serene coastal experience. Storm watching is a popular activity during this time, as powerful ocean swells crash against the coastline. Wildlife sightings, such as migrating whales, can also be enjoyed.
- Spring (March to May): Spring brings milder temperatures and blossoming landscapes. It’s a lovely time to witness the renewal of nature, with wildflowers dotting the coastal meadows. Spring offers a good balance of comfortable weather and fewer crowds compared to summer.
It’s important to note that weather conditions along the Oregon Coast can be changeable, even within a single day. It’s advisable to pack layers, including rain gear, and to be prepared for varying conditions.
Places to Visit on the Oregon Coast
Areas of the Oregon Coast offer different views throughout the year. The following are some of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast.
Situated near the town of Yachats, between Florence and Newport, Cape Perpetua is known for its sea cliffs and tidal pools. Thor’s Well is located in Cape Perpetua.
Thor’s Well is a fascinating natural attraction located on the Oregon Coast, specifically within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. It is a unique geological feature that appears as a large, seemingly bottomless sinkhole or saltwater fountain.
During high tide and when the ocean waves crash against the rocky shoreline, water rushes into Thor’s Well. The water then drains downward, creating the illusion of a bottomless well. The water movement, combined with the powerful ocean surges, can give the impression of a natural fountain or even a “drainpipe” into the depths of the earth.
It is located in the area of Cape Perpetua near Yachats. It is a narrow, elongated inlet formed by the relentless force of the ocean waves against the basalt shoreline. As the waves crash against the rocky coastline, water surges into the inlet, creating a turbulent and mesmerizing display of water movement.
It is located in the southern part of the coast. This scenic corridor stretches for 12 miles and showcases stunning sea stacks, secluded coves, and rugged cliffs.
Near Newport, this area contains the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is available for tours.
The original name of the lighthouse was Cape Foulweather Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in Paris and shipped to Oregon to be lit in 1873.
The lighthouse lantern is presently operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors offshore bird rookeries and wildlife.
It is naturally located in the coastal town of Bandon. The area is also known for Face Rock, a natural rock sculpture. There are many other unique rock formations in the area.
Face Rock, a natural rock sculpture is located near Bandon. From the state park, you can view the Face Rock. You may encounter harbor seal pups on the beach.
Oregon Sand Dunes encompasses one of the largest expanses of coastal sand dunes in the world. You can see beaches, sand dunes, wetlands, and forests in this recreational area.
Driving the Coast of Oregon
On an Oregon road trip, you can see some of the sights in a day but you should plan for at least 5 days to see the Oregon Coast. Even in 5 days, you will barely scratch the surface of what you want to see and do. But if all you have is a few days, then go. It is definitely worth the trip. Now comes the hard part: where is one of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast?
Traveling from Astoria to Bandon, via the Oregon Coast Highway and US 101, is 255 miles but the trip will be almost 6 hours. But that means you do not leave your car and thus miss the best parts of Oregon and the reason for the road trip!
Best Places to Stay on the Oregon Coast
Astoria is located at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is a historic city with a vibrant waterfront, Victorian architecture, and interesting museums like the Columbia River Maritime Museum. It is also the starting point of the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and one of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Film Museum is located in Astoria. You can get a close-up of the sea lions on the coast in Astoria.
Lloyd Hotel Astoria Bayfront, an Ascend Hotel Collection is a mere 5 minutes drive to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. As a bonus breakfast is included. Smoked salmon soup is served in the evenings in the lobby.
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel is located next o the historic riverfront and trolley in Astoria. A hot breakfast is included in your hotel stay. The Columbia River Maritime Museum is less than a mile from the hotel.
Hotel Elliott is located at 357 12th Street in Astoria. It is within a mile of the Columbia River Maritime Museum as well as the Oregon Film Museum.
Seaside: Located close to the northernmost point of the Oregon coast, Seaside is a popular family-friendly destination with a lively beachfront promenade, arcade games, and attractions like the Seaside Aquarium.
You can hike on the Tillamook Head Trail to see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. The trek is not for the faint of heart but the view is worth the effort.
Seaside is close to Ecola State Park which also offers stunning viewpoints. There are many choices when looking for where to stay in Seaside. Here are some of our favorites.
Ashore Hotel has accommodations with free bikes, free private parking, and a bar. It is located a 1-minute walk from Seaside Beach. This 4-star hotel provides a spa experience, with its indoor pool and sauna. Guests can have a drink at the snack bar.
Inn at Seaside is located just off Highway 101 at Seaside. The hotel features an indoor pool as well as breakfast for its customers. The Seaside Aquarium is within walking distance and the Pacific Ocean coast is less than one mile away. Don’t forget to visit the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park which is less than 10 miles from the hotel.
Kathryn Riverfront Inn, Ascend Hotel Collection is located in downtown Seaside, at the end of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail on the Necanicum River. A continental breakfast is offered to all guests. You can grab a freshly baked cookie in the evening in the hotel lobby.
Cannon Beach is a popular destination known for its sandy shores, tidal pools, and artistic community. It is one of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast for beachcombing, exploring art galleries, and enjoying scenic coastal hikes. The town is famous for the spectacular Haystack Rock, located at Cannon Beach.
Haystack Rock is a towering 235-foot basalt sea stack that is home to tidepool creatures and nesting seabirds. When traveling the Oregon Coast, it is not to be missed. You can get to Haystack Rock from every place in Cannon Beach.
Tolovana Beach State Park is located in Cannon Beach. It is a protected area that provides every person access to the Oregon Beach
Webb’s Scenic Surf Hotel is located in the center of Cannon Beach. Every room has a terrace with a sea view. It is a few short minutes to Cannon Beach as well as 1.6 miles to Crescent Beach.
Inn at Haystack Rock is located within 1 block of the ocean, and 3 blocks to the town of Cannon Beach. This hotel features rooms located around two garden courtyards. All rooms feature a fully equipped kitchenette. Haystack Rock is 1 mile away.
The Inn at Cannon Beach is located conveniently in Cannon Beach. You will enjoy hot cookies offered in the hotel lobby as well as fresh fruit and a hot breakfast for its guests.
Lincoln City is a bustling coastal city known for its long stretches of sandy beaches and excellent opportunities for beachcombing and whale watching. The city is famous for its numerous glass art galleries and the annual Finders Keepers event, where colorful glass floats are hidden along the beach. It is also known as the “kite capital of the world”, due to the hundreds of kites always being flown on its seven miles of beach.
Lincoln Sands Oceanfront Resort is an Ascend Hotel Collection. It is located on the beach in Lincoln City at 535 NW Inlet Avenue in Lincoln City. A private beach area is available for its guests. A hot breakfast is provided and hot coffee and cookies are in the hotel lobby.
Sandcastle Beachfront is located on the beach as suggested by its name. All rooms contain a small refrigerator, microwave, and dining area. The rooms have picture windows to give a large scenic view of the beach. The hotel offers a heated indoor saltwater pool.
Shearwater Inn in Lincoln City is located on the beach. Each room has a balcony and an ocean view. Refrigerators are available in every room. Most rooms come with gas fireplaces. Pets are welcome in many of the rooms. Continental breakfast is available to all of the guests.
Newport offers a mix of attractions, including the renowned Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Coast History Museum, and historic lighthouses that can be explored in the Yaquina Head Natural Area. Make sure to visit Yaquina Bay and the Hatfield Marine Science Center. It’s a great spot for learning about marine life and indulging in fresh seafood.
You can charter a fishing boat and spend the day with a Coast Guard-certified fishing guide. Start your search at Yaquina Bay Charters.
Holiday Inn Express Newport, an IHG Hotel is located at 135 SE 32nd Street in Newport. They offer a free shuttle for hotel guests to the attractions in the area. This hotel is within walking distance of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Nye Beach Condos & Cottages offer sea views from each room. All rooms are equipped with microwaves and refrigerators. They boast of an outdoor hot tub for all guests. Relax while you admire the view.
Little Cove Beach Resort is a beachfront condominium facility. Guests can enjoy a fireplace and a private terrace facing the ocean in each guest room. They have private beach access as well as a wildlife pond on the site.
Nestled along the Siuslaw River, Florence is surrounded by stunning sand dunes, making it a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go hiking, rent an ATV for dune riding, or explore nearby Sea Lion Caves. It is one of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast for visiting the picturesque Heceta Head Lighthouse. You can rent one of their 6 rooms for your stay.
Best Western Pier Point Inn is located at 85625 Hwy 101 in Florence. Guests can choose between a buffet or continental breakfast each morning. River view rooms are available. The hotel is 2 miles from downtown Florence and 6 miles south of the Sluslaw National Forest.
The Landmark Inn is a small hotel containing a total of 12 rooms. Each room has a separate entrance and you can choose a river or garden view. A microwave and refrigerator are in each room. From the hotel, you can see the Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreational area.
Old Town Inn is located within walking distance of the shops in Florence. A shuttle is provided to the Three Rivers Casino located two miles from the hotel. In addition, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Center is about a 35-minute drive from the hotel.
Bandon is known for its scenic beauty, particularly its rugged coastline, sea stacks, and picturesque beaches. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the world-class golf courses in the area, and you can also visit the Bandon Historical Society Museum for some local history. Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Bandon State Park are located in Bandon.
Lighthouse Cove Inn is located close to Bandon Beach as well as Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint. Rooms including a full kitchen are available. It is across the street from the old town as well as the beach. Breakfast is provided.
Best Western Inn at Face Rock is located at 3225 Beach Loop Drive in Bandon. After swimming in the indoor pool, you can walk the private path with access to the nearby beach.
Table Rock Motel in Bandon has great reviews. It is a small family-owned hotel located above a bluff looking down to the ocean. It is a short walk to the beach as well as the downtown Bandon. The name comes from a rock that is shaped like a table. You can not see the rock, as per the Table Rock Historical Society, it has been gone for over 150 years. The name, however, remains.