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Oregon Coast Labor Weekend Travel Advice 2020: A Bit Darker This Year

Published 09/01/20 at 4:41 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Labor Weekend Travel Advice 2020: A Bit Darker This Year

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(Oregon Coast) – Labor Day Weekend on the Oregon coast always spells massive crowds, booked-up campgrounds, hard-to-find rooms and major traffic. In some ways, it’s really not the best time to visit. (Above: Lincoln City)

This year, that is more true than ever. Add to all the usual problems of the holiday the varied issues caused by COVID-19, and a you have a recipe for a somewhat unpleasant coastal experience. Some areas, like Tillamook County, are asking visitors to stay away for awhile, as overcrowded conditions have taxed resources beyond their limits and caused parking and littering problems.

On top of it all, there’s a heatwave inland this weekend, and that will drive many more to the beaches.

There’s even more holiday travel advice to dole out this year, so buckle your seat belts. Oregon Coast Beach Connection is actually recommending you stay home for the holiday and visit after the weekend. However, if you’re planning to go or already have reservations, there are numerous things you need to know.

Major Crowds, Traffic. Expect even more of this on the shoreline this time around. Traffic will be worse to and from the beaches, and there will be a much greater number of people – likely even more than the cabin fevered, getaway-hungry masses that have hit the upper half of the coast this summer. Your better bets will be down south, from Florence or Reedsport southward.

The big rule of thumb: leave early and give yourself plenty of time. If you’re jetting out of town on Friday, go as early as possible. The harsh reality is that everyone else is getting away from it all as well. Traffic over the coast range after 3 p.m. will get nightmarish quickly. See Oregon Coast Traffic Updates

Parking. Watch your parking. As Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department has said all year: be prepared to find another place to hang out. Some towns have experienced visitors parking in front of residents' driveways, and most have seen illegal parking all over. State authorities are cracking down on this and don't be surprised to get towed if you park badly.

COVID Issues. Those masses of people will mean it will be more difficult to socially distance on the beaches or in the beach towns. Bringing enough masks (in case you lose yours) will be of upmost importance. All indoor spaces in Oregon require masks, and parks and beaches do as well if you can’t stay six feet apart, even in passing.

Respect those rules in eateries and be patient with staff. They are overloaded.

Litter. There’s no getting around it: Oregon beaches are somewhat trashed this year. Pack out what you pack in, don’t go poop in brush near the beaches and leave wads of toilet paper (a major issue these days), and pick up your mask and other garbage you drop.

Camping / Rooms Are Booked Up. If you haven’t yet made your reservations for either a room or camping, you can likely forget it. There are a handful of county and city parks that may still be first come / first serve for camping, but many have changed that due to the pandemic. See the Complete List of Oregon Coast Campgrounds for the upper half of the coastline.

There are scattered lodgings left around the coastline, but they’ll be extremely difficult to find. Don’t expect to head out last minute and find a place to stay. Even if you do, there are good chances you’ll pay triple the usual cost, and there will be minimum stay requirements too. Some hotels / rentals here have talked about some openings recently. You can try calling around.

An Insider’s Travel Tip: head out to the coast on Monday. You’ll likely see hordes of drivers stuck at a standstill in the opposite lane, but you’ll be fine. Lodging prices are cheaper than usual that night. Better yet: wait until the holiday is over.

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