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Oregon Coast 101: A Travel Guide for Beginners

Cape KIwanda

(Oregon Coast) – It runs 364 miles, from Astoria to Brookings, in a meandering, winding path along the ocean made of spotless sands, soaring, jagged cliffs, massive headlands and some places with a mixture of rocky slabs and soft beaches. It’s uncompromisingly unspoiled in many spots, while even plenty of those boast upscale civilization just steps away.

The Oregon coast ignites the imagination in ways that plenty of other travel destinations in the U.S. do not. It’s a hot commodity in travel writing circles these days, and even hotter in the world of lodgings. Oregon coast hotels, motels, B&B’s and vacation rentals are doing brisk business, with the rental home industry going bonkers in an intriguing way.

Meanwhile, Oregon’s coast is coming into its own as a destination for nightlife fun in many of these charming, heretofore quiet burghs. Increasingly, each town is digging deeper into its own identity and realizing more and more details and angles on what it has to offer.

This guide takes you through the upper half of this always-surprising region, covering Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats and Florence. Links to further details such as Oregon coast picture tours, secret beaches, nightlife, dining, lodging and more are found everywhere here.


The oldest town west of the Mississippi is jam-packed with historical aspects you can touch, feel and even walk upon. Go time traveling in various museums, such as the Flavel House (a grandiose Victorian mansion), the Maritime Museum or the Clatsop County Historical Society. It's chock full of atmosphere, with its steep hills smothered in beautiful, old Victorian homes - most of which are on the National Historical Register. Just to the south, in Warrenton, there's Fort Clatsop (where Lewis & Clark spent the winter of 1805-06), the old, spooky battlements of Fort Stevens State Park and the wreck of the Peter Iredale. See the Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart Virtual Tour, Map

For Astoria events, click here.


The beaches begin at Warrenton, and from there until Tillamook Head in Seaside, it's miles and miles of sand. Gearhart sits prettily just north of Seaside, with its quiet, understated and very upscale presence that hosts some of the most amazing house architecture on the coast. The resort town of Seaside has entertained generations of northern Oregon residents. These days, you'll find the beautiful Promenade, the "million dollar walk" that's full of arcades, shops and delicious eateries, some stunning resorts, the Seaside Aquarium, and of course lots of beach wonders. For one: it's a little known fact the deserted northern beach has the most whole sand dollars anywhere on the Oregon coast. For extensive details about Seaside, see the Seaside Virtual Tour, Map. For Seaside, Oregon Lodging, click here.

For Seaside events, click here.

Cannon Beach

More pristine sands surround the charming, art mecca known as Cannon Beach. A plethora of art galleries, shops and eateries all adorned with cedar siding, and some of the most luxurious resorts on the entire coast make this place a unique visit. Ecola State Park includes great views of the mysterious Tillamook Head Lighthouse a mile offshore, a couple of secret beaches, and the surfers paradise known as Indian Beach. Just south of the town, there are a myriad of intriguing beaches as Highway 101 winds and twists above, showing off stunning viewpoints. For extensive details about Canno Beach, see the Cannon Beach Virtual Tour, Map. For Cannon Beach Lodging, click here.

For Cannon Beach events, click here.

Nehalem Bay: Manzanita, Nehalem and Wheeler

South of Arch Cape and the tunnel, there are the awe-inspiring beaches and cliffs of Oswald West State Park, and then the highway takes you past brooding Neahkahnie Mountain and into Manzanita. There, the beach runs for miles until it dead-ends on the Nehalem Spit, where seal watching, hiking and horseback riding are de rigueur. Manzanita has its very unique charms, with accommodations and eateries that are on the unforgettable side. Down the road you'll find the antique havens of Nehalem and Wheeler and the funky Nehalem Bay Winery.

Quirky Wheeler is a clandestine treasure that hosts a wild, weird legend about supernatural coincidences that happen with tingling regularity. For extensive details about Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway, see the Nehalem Bay Virtual Tour, Map. For Nehalem Bay - Manzanita - Wheeler Lodging, click here.


For Manzanita events, Nehalem Bay events, click here.

Rockaway to Tillamook Bay

Rockaway is a sleepy resort town surrounded by seven miles of barely-touched beach, with those colossal Twin Rocks lurking just offshore. Next, Garibaldi and Bay City sit right on Tillamook Bay, providing loads of fishing opportunities. Tillamook and the area surrounding it includes the enormous Munson Falls, Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook Cheese Factory and the Bayocean Spit - about five miles of one big hidden beach (where you may find the remnants of a long gone ghost town). For extensive details about Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway, see the Nehalem Bay, Rockaway Beach Virtual Tour, Map. For Rockaway Lodging, click here.

For Rockaway, Garibaldi and Tillamook events, click here.

Three Cape Tour: Meares, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City

While 101 heads inland, the Three Capes Tour takes you to the wildly wondrous towns of Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City; past Cape Meares and its lighthouse, Cape Lookout and its incredible views and trails, and through Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City's culinary and art wonders. Most of the time, this 25-mile stretch is full of awe-inspiring hidden spots. For more on the Three Capes Tour, Cape Meares, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City, see the Three Capes Virtua Tour, Map. For Oceanside and Pacific City Lodging, click here.

Just south of Pacific City you'll find the clandestine resort village of Neskowin and Cascade Head - both said to have some otherworldly spiritual qualities. For massive details on Neskowin in awe-inspiring Oregon coast pictures, see the Neskowin Virtual Tour.

For Three Capes, Pacific City and Oceanside events, click here.

Lincoln City

This sprawling vacation central includes loads of immaculate beaches, a hopping club scene, some of the coast's finest restaurants, more motels than anywhere on the coast, the Tanger Outlet Mall and the natural splendor of Siletz Bay. There’s also a few secret beach accesses scattered throughout this otherwise crazed town.

For extensive details about Lincoln City and other secret beaches, see the Lincoln City Virtual Tour, Map. For Lincoln City Lodging, hotels, motels and vacation rentals, click here.

For Lincoln City events, click here.

Depoe Bay

Probably the only town in the world with a spouting horn right downtown, it's also home to numerous cliff areas where views and exploration possibilities are nonpareil. Enjoy its proliferation of whale watch tours, the beautiful bridge with a ton of shopping opportunities and the world's smallest navigable harbor. See the Depoe Bay Virtual Tour, Map. To find Lodging in Depoe Bay, click here.

For Depoe Bay events, click here.


This is one enormous resort town, with an incredible array of beaches, funky rock structures and even two lighthouses. The Nye Beach district is so full of time warp charm you may explode, and the Historic Bayfront is home to a huge variety of fantastic restaurants and attractions. It's the home to two major aquarium attractions, several large, swanky hotels, a manmade tidal zone and hordes of clandestine beaches to the south. A few miles down the road, the weird formations and rocky remnants of fault lines cover the surreal scape of Seal Rock. For more details on Newport, Oregon, Nye Beach, Map To find Newport, Oregon Lodging, click here.

For Newport events, click here.

Waldport and Yachats

Yachats and its consistent wave drama

The sandy strands of tiny Waldport and the Alsea Bay eventually give way to the jagged basalt and wild surf of the village of Yachats. There's the ultra-convenient 804 Trail, where a one-mile, wheelchair accessible paved path snakes just above the dramatic shoreline. For such a small place, Yachats houses a remarkable number of amazing eateries. Just south of town, there's the towering Cape Perpetua and a host of hidden beaches where tide pools outnumber the humans. The world disappears here, with 25 miles of rugged places that boggle the mind with their primitive complexity and varied landscapes. See the Waldport, Seal Rock Virtual Tour, Map and the Yachats, Oregon Virtual Tour, Map.

Find Yachats Lodging Here.

To see extensive details on that rugged, mysterious stretch between Yachats and Florence, click on the travel guide and Virtual Tour Map for Upper Lane County.

For Yachats and Waldport events, click here.


Florence sits halfway between the two borders of Oregon, and is the home to wild - even weird - wonders such as the Darlingtonia Gardens (insect-eating pitcher plants), a variety of fresh lakes in the midst of large dunes, miles and miles of immaculate sands, and the Sea Lion Caves. The purportedly haunted Heceta Head Lighthouse lays just north of town. With its nostalgic, slightly quirky Old Town and the beautiful bridge, Florence is also the gateway to the massive, 40-mile-long National Dunes Recreation Area.

To see a massive tour of Florence, Oregon, click on the Virtual Tour and guide to Florence. For Florence, click here.

A castle on the coast. Fine antiques, gourmet breakfast, luxury w/ ocean views, pet friendly. Social hour in the eve. Have to see to believe. East Ocean Rd., just north of the Arch Cape Tunnel. Arch Cape, Oregon (s. of Cannon Beach and Seaside). www.archcapehouse.com. 800-436-2848  

Pacific City, Oregon
Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.
Inn at Wecoma Lincoln City.  Sleek, modern design w some partial ocean views, balconies and fireplaces. Spacious guestrooms w/ microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, free continental breakfast.  Indoor pool and a hot tub. W-fi, fitness room, business center, and located within walking distance to finest restaurants. 867-sq-foot conference room for business meetings or large social events. Some pet friendly.

A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, sautéed scallops. With a historical, even slight maritime vibe, the San Dune Pub is a classy staple among locals, regulars and tourists alike.  Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers.

Suites, duplex units, houses for 2-8 people. Close to everything. All units w/ kitchens; many have fireplaces, decks, jetted tubs. Robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities and more. Award-winning flowers. Featured on Travel Channel.
Cannon Beach Fultano's. Delivers to hotels; slices for lunch. Find all the regular pizza favorites as well as gourmet varities, including seafood, linguica, teriyacki chicken and even a sauce made of mashed grapes. Amazing homemade soups. Pasta dishes out of this world, with now-famous recipe, stellar meatballs. Homemade lasagna. All affordable in family-friendly atmosphere that is also romantic.
Sumptuous indoor pool heated year round. Lovely ocean views come with many rooms. All units big, extremely comfortable, w/ special touches. Each room contains a microwave, refrigerator, in-room coffee makers, cable TV, and larger kitchen units are available as well. Free parking, choice of smoking or non-smoking rooms. Within walking distance to all of Yachats’ various amenities; short walk to the beaches

All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly

A cuddly pet- and family-friendly beauty that boasts a host of complimentary fun stuff like beach games, beach chairs and bikes for carousing around town on, among other things. Immaculate rooms - great sense of fun and quirkiness. Free wi-fi. There are also free movies. Small pet fee.



Oregon Coast Lodging
Cannon Beach Lodging
Manzanita, Rockaway, Wheeler Lodging
Pacific City, Oceanside, Netarts, Tierra Del Mar Lodging
Lincoln City Lodging
Depoe Bay Lodging
Newport Lodging
Waldport Lodging
Yachats Lodging
Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals
Oregon Coast Lodging Specials

Oregon Coast Bed and Breakfasts / B&Bs

Oregon Coast Restaurant, Dining Guide
Cannon Beach Dining
Manzanita, Rockaway, Wheeler Dining
Pacific City, Oceanside, Netarts, Tierra Del Mar Restaurants
Tillamook Bay Restaurants, Dining
Lincoln City Dining, Restaurants
Depoe Bay Restaurants, Dining
Newport Restaurants, Dining

Waldport, Yachats Restaurants, Dining
Florence Restaurants, Dining
Restaurant Reviews

Coast Events Calendar
Seaside, Cannon Beach Calendar
Manzanita, Rockaway Events
Tillamook, Pacific City Calendar
Lincoln City Events Calendar
Newport, Depoe Bay Events Calendar
Yachats Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather
Seaside Weather
Cannon Beach
Nehalem Bay / Wheeler
Pacific City
Lincoln City
Depoe Bay Weather

Oregon Coast Complete Guides every beach access,
Seaside, Oregon Complete Guide
Cannon Beach Complete Guide
Three Capes Complete Guide
Lincoln City Complete Guide
Waldport, Seal Rock Guide

Oregon Coast Travel News

Coastal Bars, Lounges

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Oregon Coast Camping

Explore Every Beach Spot in Hundreds of Oregon Coast Pictures

Astoria - at the northernmost tip of Oregon

Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
Seaside, Oregon

The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast
Cannon Beach

A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Nehalem Bay, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway Oregon Coast
Nehalem Bay

Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Oregon Coast: Tillamook Bay, Tillamook, Bay City, Barview, Garibaldi
Tillamook Bay

Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
Three Capes Loop, Oceanside, Netarts, Pacific City, Cape Lookout, Cape Meares
Three Cape Loop

The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
Lincoln City, Cascade Head, Neskowin, Inland Highway 101
Lincoln City
& the Corridor of Mystery
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and manmade attractions
Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast
Depoe Bay

A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Newport, Nye Beach on the Oregon Coast

Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Waldport, Seal Rock
Waldport / Seal Rock

Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Between Florence and Yachats - oodles of secret beaches
Upper Lane County

25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Florence - on the central Oregon coast

A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes


Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.

On the Seaside Promenade, in Seaside


Mystery Oil Grows Along Oregon / Washington Coast as More Birds, Tar Found
Tar balls now found from Long Beach through Lincoln City. Marine sciences

Mussel Harvesting Closed on Part of Oregon Coast Due to Biotoxin: Cape Lookou...
Unsafe levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP)

Chasing Moon Halos Around the Central Oregon Coast and Their Connection to We...
Moon halos can be the harbinger of cold weather

More Mobi-Mats for Oregon Coast Sands at Lincoln City, Seaside
Lincoln City and Seaside have both added more Mobi-Mats. Travel tips, weather

Gold Beach: Two Cougar Sightings Concern for S. Oregon Coast Wildlife Officials
ODFW sent notice to residents to be on the lookout. Sciences

Devil's Churn on the Oregon Coast: Dangers and the Astounding Sights
In many ways, the name rings very true. Yachats, travel tips

Coos Bay's Party of Historical Proportions: S. Oregon Coast Town Celebrates 1...
In 1874, the little town of Coos Bay was born. Coos Bay events

Lincoln City, Oregon Vacation Guide: Coastal Sightseeing, All You Need to Know
More than 7 miles of beachy repose, wonders, foodie forays, attractions

Freaky, Rare Fish from 3,000-ft Below Found on Oregon Coast near Cannon Beach
Pacific football fish: only 30-some found ever; video. Marine sciences

'Old Oregon Coast' Feel Meets Modern Swank at Manzanita Charmer Hotel
Ocean Inn at Manzanita is woodsy yet bougie. Manzanita hotels, lodging reviews

Wild Tales from Oregon Coast Lighthouses: Giant Holes to Killer Storms
Port Orford, Coos Bay, Bandon, Florence and Seaside / Cannon Beach. History




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