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Memorial Weekend Travel Advice for Oregon Coast: 2021 is a Different One

Published 05/23/21 at 5:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Memorial Weekend Travel Advice for Oregon Coast: 2021 is a Different One

(Oregon Coast) – This year's Memorial Day Weekend is a different one, to be sure, even though there's lots of lights at the end of this COVID tunnel. Oregon Coast Beach Connection has gathered a wide range of travel advice for the weekend from tourism managers across the beach towns.

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Lodging: Make your hotel reservations now if you haven't already. Availability is already gone at most places. Waiting until the last minute or trying to pop in while you're on the coast is not going to work, especially the latter. The coast is notorious for jacking prices way up on the Memorial Day holiday weekend itself, so attempting to get a room as a walk-in that weekend could cost you three times or more as much. See the Oregon Coast Hotels page for possible openings

Traffic. Pretend like you're going to get a ticket no matter what you do to hide your speeding on the highways. That's because you likely will. Traffic enforcement is stepped up to a massive degree on the holiday weekend.

Make sure you have your seatbelt on as well. There is a national Click It or Ticket campaign over the weekend. Among those touting their participation is the Coos Bay area.

The number one bit of advice all tourism agencies had on the Oregon coast is be nice and be patient with shop and restaurant owners this Memorial Day weekend. Almost everyone is short-staffed right now, so lines will be longer and you'll encounter more glitches in service.


Mostly, however, they all say to be understanding about who is asking you to stay masked up and follow local community guidelines. These are not normal times, and coastal businesses are feeling the heat in this way as well.

As Oregon Coast Beach Connection spoke to those running the tourism show in Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook County, Florence and Coos Bay, the number one thing each visitor center spokesman talked about is “be patient.”

As Bettina Hannigan, president of the Florence Visitors Center put it:

“It's a confusing time, to be sure. The CDC is not an enforcement entity. Enforcement is being left to states, counties, communities, and even on the backs of store and restaurant owners. No proprietor should be put in that position. We ask all visitors to Florence to be nice, have a spirit of compassion and cooperation, hold your combative tongue if you have one, and appreciate the hard work of all those who want to greet and serve you.”

Tillamook County is one of those with harassment issues, and Visit Tillamook Coast executive director Nan Devlin is concerned. Businesses across the coastline had to deal with a veritable horror show of visitor misbehavior last summer, and there are still frayed nerves.

“Hospitality businesses are short-staffed, staff is stressed from those few people being rude, even threatening, about not wearing a mask,” she said.

Regina Wilkie, with the Astoria chamber and visitors center, offered numerous bits of advice for the holiday.

“I think like many Oregon destinations, we are all continuing the messaging to reinforce to travelers that our areas are also impacted by the COVID precautions and guidelines and that things are going to be a little different still,” she said. We are encouraging visitors to spread out and try alternate locations / new things on their itineraries.”

Wilkie said the majority of businesses in the area are requiring masks, just as the bulk of the state of Oregon. In many ways, things have not changed much yet.

Another important piece of advice leftover from last summer's litter-fest: pick up your trash and leave no trace. It's still a problem in really high-traffic beaches.

In Seaside, Josh Heineman is the visitor center's Director of Tourism Marketing, and among the top priorities for visitors is to “enjoy themselves,” he said, but with similar caveats.

“Expect bumps in the road,” he said. “So that these things don't interfere in an outsized way with your time at the beach and with loved ones.”

Social distancing should still be a big priority, he said, and the others echoed that.

In Coos Bay, the visitor center's Janice Langlinais said the North Bend, Coos Bay and Charleston area has a lot of space to spread out in, but some services may not be available on the south coast.

“While some of our businesses are still closed to the public, all our state, county and local parks are open,” she said. “Museums are open but visitors must book ahead of time.”

Restaurants there are open at 50 percent capacity and throughout Coos County.

On the Oregon coast, current risk levels by county are:

High: Clatsop, Douglas and Lane.
Moderate: Coos, Curry and Tillamook
Low: Lincoln County is the only low risk category on the shoreline.

High risk counties still have an indoor dining capacity of 25 percent; all others at 50 percent. Lincoln County bars can stay open until midnight. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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