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17 Most Scenic Oregon Coast Towns (And What to Do There!)

17 Most Scenic Oregon Coast Towns (And What to Do There!)

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If you were to ask Oregonians what defines Oregon’s coastal towns, you’d probably get a myriad of different answers. Is it the panoramic, historical lighthouses dotting the coastline that make Oregon’s beaches so special? Or, rather, is it the sheer cliffs and rugged landscapes that define the essence of the Oregon coast?

In truth, it’s all of the above. Whether it’s lighthouses or cliffs, Oregon has an incredible coastline. From the warm dunes in the south to the trendy towns further north, the array of diverse landscapes and scenery is breathtaking.

With such a great selection of beaches, it’s often difficult to figure out which one to visit.

Whether you’re an Oregon local looking for a new beach or you’re traveling from far away, we’ve curated our favorite Oregon beaches so you can spend more time enjoying your trip and less time figuring out where to go. With that in mind, let’s dive right in:

The Best Oregon Coast Towns


We could go on and on about Oregon’s coast but for now, we’ve started off with 17 of our favorite Oregon beach towns AND the best adventures in the area. After all, Oregon’s beaches are not the type of beaches you come to bask under the sun so we’ve got your sorted on what you should do there.

→ If you don’t have a lot of time, do this Oregon Coast day trip from Portland to see the best of the coast with a local.

Here’s a handy map to quickly see where each Oregon coast town is:

Click here to view the clickable map of Oregon coast towns.

1. Astoria Beach, Oregon

An iconic Oregon Coast town situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria is spectacular. It’s historic, gorgeous, and above all, holds some of the most exciting outdoor adventures along the entire Oregon Coast.

It’s worth noting, however, that Astoria will be significantly more exciting if you have an interest in fishing.

Rusty ship nose on the beach
Rusty ship on the Fort Stevens State Park outside Astoria, Oregon

The rivers and streams in Astoria (most importantly the Columbia) are known to have some of the finest fishing in the state, and anglers flock from all over the country to get a taste of what they have to offer.

These are some of our favorite adventures to explore around this Oregon coast town:

Explore Trails in Cape Disappointment State Park

Contrary to its gloomy name, Cape Disappointment State Park offers some incredible views and well-maintained trails. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that it’s in Astoria, as you’ll have to drive across the Columbia River into Washington to access the park.

With that being said, the state park is less than a half-hour drive from Astoria, and the trails are well worth your time.

Amazing scene at Cape Disappointment
Cape Disappointment near Astoria beach in Oregon

We particularly recommend the North Head trail, as you’ll get panoramic views of the historic North Head lighthouse in addition to a refreshing walk through the lush coastal forest.

Troll for Salmon at Buoy 10

For those not familiar with Oregon salmon fishing lingo, Buoy 10 is widely known as the most productive salmon fishery in Oregon.

To clarify, Buoy 10 isn’t a river: it’s a swath of water on the Columbia River near Astoria, and it’s the most popular stretch of the Columbia River in all of Oregon. Because it’s so near the ocean, fish coming into the Buoy 10 area will be feisty, fresh, and aggressive; high-quality fish.

Buoy 10 is most popular from late July through October when both chinook and coho salmon are available.

Things to do in Astoria Oregon
Columbia River in Astoria

Chinook, the larger of the two, generally come in earlier, and fishing for them is usually not permitted after late August. The coho run, however, arrives later, and anglers can generally target these all the way into October.

There are plenty of fishing guides to choose from if you’re looking to explore Buoy 10 and the Columbia. It can get a little expensive, but catching a Columbia River salmon is an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.


READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things to do in Astoria


Places to Stay Near Astoria Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA Resort | Fort Stevens State Park

2. Seaside Beach, Oregon

Though a gorgeous Oregon beach town, Seaside has somewhat of a mixed reputation. Its wide, sweeping beaches are uncharacteristic of the Oregon Coast, and the general lack of dramatic scenery in comparison to the rest of the coast can put some people off.

Additionally, the town is quite touristy and glitzy, which is also quite different than most other towns on the Oregon Coast. That being said, Seaside can be a paradise for the right person and is definitely a look at another side of the coast.

View of Arch Cape beach on the Oregon Coast road trip
Arch Cape beach

There are plenty of outdoor adventures to embark on near Seaside, so whether you love or hate the town, you won’t be disappointed by the number of outdoor opportunities in the area.

Here are some of our favorite adventures to do at this Oregon coast town:

Kayak the Necanicum River

It’s pretty much a guarantee that some of the best beaches in Oregon will offer some form of kayaking. Seaside is no exception to this rule, and the Necanicum River, flowing directly into the ocean, has some great kayaking and paddle boarding opportunities.

There are multiple places in town to rent kayaks or paddleboards, and it’s one of the best adventures within city limits.

Seaside kayak at Necanicum River
Kayak the Necanicum River in Seaside, Oregon

If you’re able, the stretch of river on the beach is particularly stunning – just make sure your kayak renter allows you to go to that reach of the river.

Hike the Tillamook Head Trail

Offering views of one of the most splendid lighthouses on the Oregon Coast, the Tillamook Head Trail is a must for anyone visiting Seaside.

It’s wedged right in between Seaside and Cannon Beach and is a great option for hikers coming from either location.

At just over six miles round trip, it isn’t going to be the most difficult day hike, but you can count on at least a few hours to enjoy all the scenery and comfortably complete the trail.

Places to Stay Near Seaside Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Seaside RV Resort, North Side | Seaside RV Resort


READ MORE: 13 Adventurous Things To Do Around Seaside, Oregon


Arguably Oregon’s most iconic beach, Cannon Beach is the epitome of everything the Oregon coast is: picturesque, quaint, and memorable. Haystack Rock stands out as a coastal landmark, but almost everything about this beach screams scenic.

What’s more, there’s a ton to do here for adventurers, and this is a must-see for anyone considering traveling to the Oregon coast.

Here are our absolute favorite adventures to treat yourself to during a trip to this Oregon coast town:

Explore Ecola State Park

A wildly popular state park located in the heart of Cannon Beach with a great complex of trails and views to explore, Ecola State Park is a fantastic option for adventurers wanting a classic Oregon coast experience.

The 2.5 mile Clatsop Loop Trail is one of our favorites, but there are plenty of options to explore here.

Before you decide to head out to the park, understand that it can get pretty busy, and parking space can be tough. If it’s a weekend, leaving extra early (or late, because who doesn’t love sunsets) can pay off tremendously.


READ MORE: Your Guide to Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast


Hike to Neahkahnie Mountain

About thirty minutes south of Cannon Beach, Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the most beautiful hikes on the entire Oregon coast. Boasting panoramic views up and down the coastline, Neahkahnie is a local favorite.

You can approach this one of two ways: from the north trailhead, the hike ends up close to 6 miles round-trip.

Neahkahnie View Point offers a great view when hiking in Oregon
Neahkahnie

If you’re coming in from the south, it’ll top out right around 3 miles round-trip, making for a much shorter and quicker day hike. There’s no shame in whichever option you choose; regardless, you’ll be met with jaw-dropping views once you reach the peak.

Kayak Ecola Creek

If you’re into kayaking, Ecola Creek isn’t one to miss. It runs straight into the Pacific Ocean, but the true kayaking action happens a little bit further upstream. The creek is small but certainly navigable, and you can experience some of the most spectacular scenery the Oregon Coast has to offer.

Kayaking down onto the beach stretch is particularly memorable; there’s nothing quite like it.

Kayaking ecola creek near Cannon Beach, an Oregon coast town
Kayaking Ecola Creek

The one drawback to all this is that kayak rentals are not available on Ecola Creek. If you have your own kayaks, this is a great option (and you’ll probably have it all to yourself).

However, if you’re looking to rent, we’d recommend kayaking the Necanicum River in Seaside, just a few minutes from Cannon Beach: there are kayak rentals available there, and it’s a great spot to go for a couple of hours.

Walk to Haystack Rock

It would be silly to call this one a hike, but the short jaunt along the beach to Haystack Rock is one worth taking. Access the beach wherever you can (there are plenty of access points in and around town), and walk to the giant, lone rock in the ocean. It’s that simple!

At Haystack Rock
Cannon Beach is one of the best coastal towns in Oregon

At low tide, you’ll be able to walk around the tide pools and see some cool aquatic life around the rock. As the tide comes in, the waves engulf the base of the rock, but it’s no less beautiful.

No matter what time you visit Haystack, it’s a Cannon Beach icon and can’t be ignored.

Places to Stay Near Cannon Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Wright’s for Camping


READ MORE: 14 Adventurous Things To Do in Cannon Beach


4. Manzanita Beach, Oregon

One of the lesser-known Oregon Coast towns, Manzanita offers some fabulous scenery in an idyllic setting. It’s less frequented than Cannon Beach to the north and can be a great place to go for adventurers seeking solitude.

Manzanita is located in close proximity to Oswald West State Park as well as Nehalem Bay, both hubs for adventures of all kinds.

Beautiful colors at Manzanita Beach
Amazing colors at Manzanita Beach in Oregon

If you’re looking for an underrated and beautiful town on the Oregon Coast, Manzanita just may be the perfect choice for you.

Here are a few of the many adventures that we’d recommend in this Oregon coast town:

Kayak and Camp at Nehalem Bay

Making its way directly into the Pacific Ocean, Nehalem Bay is more reminiscent of a river than a bay. Fairly narrow (as far as bays go, that is) and quite shallow throughout most of its entirety, Nehalem is one of our favorite bays on the coast to camp and kayak on.

VW van at Nehalem Bay State Park Campground on the Oregon Coast
Nehalem Bay State Park Campground on the Oregon Coast

It isn’t very rough and offers plenty of access and opportunities, and it’s just a quick drive south from Manzanita.

Nehalem Bay State Park is at the center of it all, offering trails, areas to camp, and access points for kayakers. No matter what you’re interested in doing, you’ll probably find it here.


RELATED: 19 Must-Visit Oregon Coast State Parks


Hike to Cape Falcon (One of Our Fav Oregon Coast Town Hikes!)

One of the most popular trails in the area, the Cape Falcon trail is a 4.6-mile hike that is truly a stunner. A waterfall halfway through the hike and a meadow with a view at the end make this one of our absolute favorite hikes on the Oregon Coast.

Hiker looking out over the sea and rocks from Cape Falcon
Enjoying the views from the end of the Cape Falcon Trail

If you’re particularly interested in exploring, there are some additional branching trails once you’ve reached the end of the official trail. These will take you in different directions along the coastline, offering opportunities to get to unique viewpoints and explore some of the interesting caves to the north.


READ MORE: Hiking the Cape Falcon Trail on the Oregon Coast


Places to Stay Near Manzanita Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Nehalem Falls Campground | Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park

5. Tillamook Bay, Oregon (The “Cheesiest” Oregon Coast Town)

Located on Tillamook Bay, the product of more than a half dozen major rivers and tributaries, Tillamook is a unique town when it comes to adventuring and scenery. It is probably best known by most Oregon locals as home to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, but it offers so much more than just that.

Here are a few of the most rewarding things to do in this Oregon coast town:

Go Crabbing and Fish for Salmon on Tillamook Bay

If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s probably becoming pretty obvious: the Oregon Coast is well-known for its many productive fisheries, and fishing-related activities constitute a lot of the local economies and tourist adventures along the coastline.

Tillamook Bay is a shining example of a great fishery, and it’s a great spot to check out.

View from above of Tillamook
Scenic Tillamook Bay

Tillamook Bay is one of the best Oregon coast towns for fishing. Boat rentals are available, but if you want a more relaxed experience, book a fishing guide. Chinook and coho salmon are available in the bay, depending on the time of year, and crabbing can be excellent here as well.

If all goes to plan, you’ll leave with enough fresh fish and crab to feed an army.


RELATED: 11 Stunning Things To Do on the North Oregon Coast


Hike in Cape Lookout State Park

Great hiking trails and even better ocean views are all things you’ll be rewarded with in Cape Lookout State Park. Just south of Tillamook, it offers serene views up and down the coast, and the trails in the park are relatively short and easy.

This is a great place to stop by for a picnic and explore some shorter trails that’ll reward you with fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Oregon Coast.

Tillamook is a beautiful Oregon coast town with beautiful scenery.
You’ll be rewarded with pretty views like this one when hiking around Cape Lookout.

If you’re in Tillamook and are interested in hiking with some great scenery as a backdrop, Cape Lookout State Park isn’t one to miss.

Places to Stay Near Tillamook Bay:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Cape Lookout State Park Campground | Netarts Bay RV Park & Marina


RELATED: 7 Tillamook State Forest Hikes to Tackle


6. Pacific City Beach, Oregon

Nestled just beneath the large headland of Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City is popular with Oregon locals from all over. It offers great views, restaurants, and plenty of outdoor adventures close to the city.

Pacific Island is another stunning stop on your Portland adventures.
Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City

Characterized by its massive sand dune (and the resulting incredible views from the top), Pacific City offers a host of adventuring options.

Here are a few of the best adventures at this Oregon coast town:

Climb the Giant Sand Dune

When you arrive at Pacific City, there will be no ambiguity as to which sand dune we’re referring to; the towering dune can be seen from miles away and is one of the most unique attractions on the Oregon Coast.

There’s not really a designated trail to the top; rather, this one is best improvised.

Unreal view at Pacific City
Pacific City Beach in Oregon

Looks can be deceiving, and what seems like a relatively easy climb can get pretty tiring due to the incline of the slope. The views from the top are nearly unparalleled by any other viewpoint on the Oregon Coast, and the dune alone is almost enough to make Pacific City one of the best beaches in Oregon.

Rent a Paddle Board on the Nestucca River

Many Oregon coast towns are characterized by some sort of river flowing through them.

From the Columbia in Astoria to the Rogue in Gold Beach, healthy rivers dot many towns on the coast. Pacific City is no exception to this rule, and the Nestucca is a gem of a river. Offering fishing, kayaking, and swimming, there are nearly endless opportunities here.

Kayaking Nestucca River
Nestucca River at Pacific City coastal town in Oregon

We recommend renting a paddleboard or kayak and exploring some of the dramatic scenery that the Nestucca has to offer. Just like many other rivers on the Oregon Coast, you’ll be met with many different kinds of terrain and scenery as you explore up and down the river.

Cruise the Beach in your Car

The beaches in the Pacific City area are some of the few in Oregon where vehicles are allowed. In the town of Pacific City itself, many people will park their cars along the beach and enjoy the views from the comfort of their car.

Surfer with surfboard walking out of the ocean with giant sand dune in background at Cape Kiwanda
Parking on the beach at Pacific City is possible just don’t get stuck!

There is, however, beach access further north, which allows a little bit more freedom in terms of where you can drive and how much space there is.

Remember that not all cars are capable of driving on the beach-4WD or AWD are strongly recommended, and you may find yourself in some sticky (well, mostly sandy) situations if your vehicle isn’t equipped for beach driving.

Places to Stay Near Pacific City Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Sandbeach Campground | Hart’s Camp Airstream Hotel & RV Park


READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things To Do in Pacific City


7. Neskowin Beach, Oregon

Offering more solitude and equally impressive views as its cousin to the north, Pacific City, Neskowin is one of the best Oregon coast towns out there. The town is quaint yet has a couple of stellar restaurants, and there are endless opportunities for things to do in the area when it comes to adventuring.

Neskowin is an excellent choice for the beachgoer looking for some solitude and plenty of fun outdoor activities in the area.

Neskowin is a charming Oregon coast town and one of my favorites.
You have to watch the sunset when visiting Neskowin.

Even though the town isn’t huge and lodging options can be limited, it’s a fantastic beach that often gets overlooked. Put simply, Neskowin is without a doubt worth your time.

Here are some of our favorite adventures in this Oregon coast town:

Climb Proposal Rock

If you find yourself on the beach in Neskowin, you shouldn’t have much trouble identifying Proposal Rock; the lonesome icon stands out along the waterfront and is accessible from the beach during low tide. Though there aren’t any officially maintained trails here, there are plenty of footpaths on the rock that can be followed by intrepid adventurers.

For those wanting some help up (or down), there is a rope hanging down from the side of the rock. This can be extremely helpful in getting up the initially steep cliff face.

Spooky ghost forest at Neskowin
Neskowin’s Ghost Forest is perhaps one of the creepiest looking beaches in Oregon.

The views from the top can be incredible, but make sure you’re capable and understand the risks before you go.

As with any adventure involving steep cliffs and deep water, exercise caution when attempting Proposal Rock. Only those in great physical condition should attempt it, but it’s worthwhile for the few who are willing to try, and makes for a great beach experience.

Hike Hart’s Cove Trail

This gorgeous, 5.3-mile trail isn’t right in the heart of Neskowin; rather, you’ll need to drive about fifteen to twenty minutes south of the town to reach the trailhead itself. The trail is certainly worth the short drive, and the views are unparalleled.

The hike doesn’t gain or lose a drastic amount of elevation, and while it’s steep at times, the Hart’s Cove Trail hike is one that is accessible to people of all ages. It’s not hard nor easy, so bear that in mind before you head out.

Hart’s Cove Trail

At 5.3 miles, this trail makes for a perfect day hike.

The shorter length means it won’t take all day, so you don’t need to plan for an extended excursion–though once you reach the end of the trail, you may not want to leave. Sweeping ocean views await, and the trail is one of the most rewarding on any of Oregon’s beaches.

Places to Stay Near Neskowin Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Neskowin Creek RV Resort

8. Lincoln City Beach, Oregon

A well-known destination for beach-goers from Portland and Salem, Lincoln City is gorgeous and offers plenty of options when it comes to outdoor recreation. Devil’s Lake, situated to the north, and Siletz Bay, just a bit further south, provide opportunities for endless fun on the water.

God's Thumb
God’s Thumb near Lincoln City Beach, Oregon

The scenic beach coupled with the natural features in the area make Lincoln City a favorite for many Oregonians, and it’s certainly worth checking on your next trip out to the Oregon Coast.


READ MORE: 15 Adventurous Things To Do in Lincoln City


Here are some of our favorite adventures at this Oregon coast town:

Kayak Siletz Bay

One of the most drop-dead gorgeous bays on the entire Oregon Coast, Siletz Bay isn’t one to miss. Fishing is popular here and further upriver, but kayaking is our number one choice when it comes to adventures on Siletz Bay.

Beautiful view of Siletz Bay
Siletz Bay Beach in Oregon

An expansive beach and some oceanfront restaurants complete the overall aesthetic, and you won’t get tired of things to look at while you’re paddling.

There’s a lone spot near the east end of the bay where you’ll be able to rent kayaks or boats to enjoy your day out on the water.

Hike Gods Thumb

Looking north from Lincoln City Beach you may notice a rock formation at the end. Many admire from afar not realizing that’s actually one of the coolest hikes in this Oregon coast town. The God’s Thumb Hike is a 4 mile out and back hike that provides stunning views over Lincoln City Beach.

Woman looking out at view of ocean from God's Thumb hike
View from God’s Thumb hike near Lincoln, Oregon

There are a few things to note before tackling this hike though, so be sure to read our God’s Thumb guide first.

Camp at Devil’s Lake

Not to be confused with the Devil’s Lake located near Bend in central Oregon, Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City is an excellent spot to camp. From hiking to fishing and kayaking, there are plenty of things to do in and around this scenic lake.

It’s located very close to downtown Lincoln City, so a quick stop for some grub or drink won’t be too far away.

Places to Stay Near Lincoln City Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area | Lincoln City KOA Journey


RELATED: 17 Cool Oregon Coast Campgrounds to Stay At


9. Depoe Bay, Oregon

Known for its epic whale watching opportunities and itty bitty harbor, Depoe Bay is a must-stop destination along the Oregon coast. If you can, plan your trip around the whale watching season – between March and November.

Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast road trip
Depoe Bay

A pod of gray whales makes Depoe Bay their home during this time. Head to one of the many observation lookouts around town, or charter a private boat to get even closer to these incredible creatures. There is plenty to keep you busy year-round in Depoe Bay, no matter the season.

Watch for Whales at the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint

One of the best places for whale watching in Depoe Bay is the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint. Take in views of the ocean and scenic Cape Foulweather from over 500 feet above the sea.

This is also an excellent spot for soaking in views of the Devil’s Punchbowl. To access the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint, head south along Highway 101. Look for a turn-off to the right. The entrance will likely be hidden amongst dense foliage, so keep your eyes peeled!

Whale tail in ocean when whale watching - one of the best things to do in Cannon Beach
Whale watching on the Oregon Coast!

Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

Even if you’re not in town for whale watching, Depoe Bay offers a plethora of fun outdoor adventures. Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area is where freshwater and ocean meet in a serene, forested setting.

This peaceful park boasts a grassy day-use area, a long sand beach, and a series of wooden footbridges. You can spend your day hunting for washed-up driftwood on the beach, exploring tide pools, or birdwatching along one of the park’s trails.

Places to Stay Near Depoe Bay:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Beverly Beach State Park

10. Newport, Oregon

Situated on the central Oregon coast, Newport is a fantastic place to view marine life and surreal coastal formations. Scenic viewpoints help you spot migrating whales and other species just offshore. Check out more creatures at the town’s aquarium or admire the Oregon coast from the state’s tallest lighthouse.

Woman walking path to Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon
Visiting Yaquina Head Lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Newport, Oregon

Travelers curious about the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean will adore the sights of Newport. And the charming Oregon coastal town adds a splash of Victorian architecture and engineering marvels to your sightseeing.

Here are some awesome places to check out around this Oregon Coast town:

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

Yaquina’s star attraction is the 93 ft Yaquina Head Lighthouse perched on a basalt rock headland. Standing at the top of Oregon’s tallest lighthouse gives you sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and coastal landscape.

If you visit during the whale migration, Yaquina gives you a great chance to see some. Closer to the shoreline, tide pools help you discover other marine critters that live around the Oregon coast.

Devil’s Punch Bowl

One of the coolest spots along the Oregon coast, the Devil’s Punch Bowl is a geologic treasure. Shaped like a giant punch bowl carved into the rocks, the rock formation fills with water during violent storms.

Aerial view of Devils Punchbowl and the ocean near Lincoln City
Devils Punchbowl

The thunderous roar of the waves rushing into the punch bowl provides a glimpse into Mother Nature’s power. And when you’re not bewildered by the crashing water, Devil’s Punch Bowl makes another scenic viewpoint for whale watching. 

Places to Stay Near Newport:

Campgrounds: South Beach State Park | Beverly Beach State Park


READ MORE: 13 Adventurous Things to Do in Newport, Oregon


11. Yachats, Oregon

Situated off the scenic Highway 101, Yachats is one of Oregon’s hidden coastal gems. While you may be tempted to pass through the tiny town without stopping, those who spend some time in Yachats will find plenty of reasons to stick around for a day or two.

Stairs leading to the water in Yachats, Oregon
Visit Yachats for chill seaside vibes.

Yachats lays on the small-town charm thick. From local diners serving up fresh catches of the day to incredible seascapes and a plethora of outdoor offerings, Yachats is not to be missed.

Cape Perpetua

After meandering through Yachats, head south to Cape Perpetua. The curved road here is the highest accessible viewpoint by car in the entire state. This equates to unmatched views of the rugged coast below. Cape Perpetua is also home to an abundance of epic outdoor recreational opportunities.

Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua

You can hike over 26 miles of trails, drive between scenic lookout points, or explore the rich and varied tidepools. There is also a stunning campground between the ocean and the forest if one day here isn’t enough.

Thors Well

One of the biggest draws to Yachats, and Cape Perpetua is Thors Well. Also known as ‘the Drainpipe to the Pacific’ and ‘the Gate to Hell,’ this oceanic sinkhole has been baffling onlookers for centuries.

Close up shot of Thor's Well - a rocky cauldron in the ocean
Getting up close to Thor’s Well

The pit is seemingly endless, but it is only 20 feet deep in reality. So when the waves hit the well, you can expect an epic water show, especially during high tide. The spray can often reach around 20 feet into the air, so you may want to keep your distance if you plan on staying dry!

Places to Stay Near Yachats:

Campgrounds: Cape Perpetua Campground

12. Florence Beach, Oregon

Found right in the center of the Oregon Coast, Florence offers a different kind of experience for visitors, packed with great restaurants, rivers, and dunes to explore. Its scenery rivals some of the best on the rest of the coast, and there are plenty of things to do in the area for adventurers.

Heceta Head
Heceta Head near Florence – one of the best Oregon beach towns

Here are the top adventures to try at this Oregon coast town:

Rent a Dune Buggy

One unique option this region of the coast offers that areas further north do not, renting a dune buggy to roam the dunes is one of the most exhilarating adventures in Florence.

A pro tip for those prone to motion sickness: take some medication before you hop in a buggy. As weird as it may seem, motion sickness can be extremely common when you’re in a dune buggy. The turning, hills, and variable speeds can do a number on you if you’re not careful. That said, it’s a blast, and we recommend it to anyone looking for a good time in Florence.

Kayak the Siltcoos River

The Siltcoos River, which comes out of Siltcoos Lake, is hands down the best kayaking spot in Florence. It’ll take you through some lush coastal forest scenery, and the current isn’t too strong.

It’s a great option for kayakers of all levels, and whether you love kayaking or just want to try something new on your beach vacation, the Siltcoos is the place for you.

Florence is one of the best Oregon coast towns.
Kayaking on Siltcoos Lake is so much fun!

Fun fact: Siltcoos Lake is one of the few lakes in Oregon that gets a salmon run. If you’re in the area during salmon season, which is generally late summer into the fall, you can try your hand at coho fishing in the lake – it’s a blast!

Hike the Heceta Head to Hobbit Beach Trail

The Hobbit Trail, quite fittingly named after the popular Lord of the Rings characters, doesn’t disappoint when it comes to scenery. A gorgeous beach, historic lighthouse, and sweeping ocean views are all in store on this trail.

Lighthouse at Heceta head
Heceta Head at Florence beach in Oregon

At just under four miles round-trip, this is a great side excursion for adventurers interested in a great hike that won’t take all day. The parking lot here can get pretty full, so going on weekdays or early hours can be best to make sure you get a spot. Read more on how to explore Heceta Head!


RELATED: 11 Oregon Lighthouses and the Adventures Nearby


Places to Stay Near Florence Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Heceta Beach RV Park | Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park Campground


READ MORE: 9 Adventurous Things To Do in Florence, Oregon


13. Coos Bay, Oregon

With a population of just over 16,000, Coos Bay is one of the “bigger” cities along the Oregon coast. Many adventure seekers choose to make Coos Bay their home base while exploring the coast.

View of Coos Bay beach, Oregon
Coos Bay, where the river meets the ocean

This is primarily due to the abundance of exhilarating options for exploring the great outdoors in the nearby area. There are a plethora of state parks around Coos Bay, along with soft sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, and fruitful fishing holes.

Get the Adrenaline Pumping at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

One of the biggest draws to Coos Bay is the dramatic Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Situated just outside the city, this massive 40 mile stretch of sand boasts an esoteric mix of forest, ocean, and desert. The quickest way to enter the dunes from Coos Bay is via Horsefall Beach.

While there are plenty of hiking trails within the recreation area, one of the most thrilling ways to get around the dunes is via OHV. Of course, you could also spend the day here sandboarding, taking a dune buggy tour, or paddling along the shoreline.

Places to Stay Near Coos Bay:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Sunset Bay State Park


RELATED: A Legendary Oregon Coast Road Trip—35 Stops & 3 Itineraries


Beloved for its dramatic rock formations, Bandon Beach entices nature lovers and geology nerds. Legendary tales surround Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, and its tidal flats draw birdwatchers to the area. Admire the sea stacks and rugged cliffs from lighthouses or partake in the annual shellfish and cranberry harvests.

Wizards Hat rock formation on Bandon Beach, with reflections in water at sunset
Wizards Hat rock formation at Bandon Beach

Comfortable year-round temperatures make this cozy Oregon coast town a hotspot for fishing, hiking, and cycling. With endless ocean vistas and multiple state parks to explore, Bandon Beach has tons of activities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Here are some of our favorite things to do in this beautiful Oregon beach town:

Explore Bullards Beach State Park

Located at the Coquille River, Bullards Beach State Park features hiking and biking trails, horse camp, and fishing holes. Get an intense workout by cycling through thick sand or hike around sweeping dunes.

Bridge over water with forested hills in the background near Bandon Beach
Stay at Bullards Beach State Park campground near Bandon Beach

Head to the Coquille River Lighthouse to view impressive seaside views and Pacific waves crashing into the rocky shoreline. And year-round camping makes Bullards Beach a solid base to explore the entire area.

Hike Around the Several State Parks Near Bandon

Bandon Beach visitors are lucky to have a cluster of state parks nearby with beautiful hiking trails and scenic viewpoints. Sunset Bay State Park has hidden coves, dramatic sea cliffs, and coastal forests. Wander the trails from Sunset Bay to venture towards Cape Arago and Shore Acres state parks.

Cape Arago provides a great vantage to search for migrating whales and find tidepools. Hike to the sandy beach for stunning vistas of coastal cliffs and immense sea stacks around you. Discover the Japanese-style garden at Shore Acres to view a landscape carpeted with wildflowers.

View from the top Cape Arago
Cape Arago

During the holidays, bright lights illuminate the garden to create a spectacular display for visitors. Find seclusion at Simpson Beach and view the rough surf pounding the sandstone cliffs.

Places to Stay Near Bandon Beach:

Campgrounds: Bullards Beach State Park | Sunset Bay State Park


READ MORE: 9 Cool Adventures Around Bandon Beach, Oregon


15. Port Orford (The Most Under Rated Oregon Coast Town)

Another one of Oregon’s most scenic coastal towns is the historic city of Port Orford. Surrounded by gorgeous white sand beaches, impressive rock formations, and staggering mountain scenes, Port Orford is the epitome of Oregon’s coastal beauty.

Port Orford
Port Orford

There is plenty here to entertain even the most adventurous travelers, including state parks, beaches, trails, and enough raw beauty to keep you coming back time and time again.

Here are the best things to do around one of Oregon’s best southern cities.

Explore Cape Blanco State Park

Cape Blanco is one of the most secluded state parks in Oregon. With the remoteness comes unmatched raw beauty, which is best observed by hiking along one of the park’s scenic trails. If you have time for just one, make it to the Pacific View Trail. This is an easy out and back trek with incredible coastal views.

Lighthouse in distance at Cape Blanco Oregon Coast State Park
Cape Blanco Lighthouse

While you’re in the park, don’t miss your chance to view the iconic Cape Blanco Lighthouse. This beautiful lighthouse holds many titles, including the southernmost, westernmost, and oldest continually operated lighthouse in Oregon!

If one day in Cape Blanco State Park simply isn’t enough, pull into one of the campground’s 52 sites.

Discover Humbug Mountain State Park

Humbug Mountain is all about hiking. The park is home to one of the highest mountains in the state, offering hikers sweeping views from 1730 feet above the sea. There are also thick forests, trickling creeks, sandy beaches waiting to be discovered, and a cozy campsite for overnight travelers.

View of the ocean over the forest on the Humbug Mountain Loop Trail viewpoint
The Humbug Mountain Loop Trail

If you’re up for a challenge, the Humbug Mountain Loop Trail will reward you with some of the best views in Oregon.

Places to Stay Near Port Orford:

Campgrounds: Camp Blanco RV Park | Elk River Campground


READ MORE: 7 Adventurous Things to Do Around Port Orford, Oregon


16. Gold Beach, Oregon

Not too far from the Oregon-California border, Gold Beach boasts a host of perks that you won’t find in many other Oregon beach towns: warmer weather, vast dunes, and the mighty Rogue River.

What’s more, there are a multitude of unique adventures in this area, and it truly is one of the best spots on the Oregon coast for outdoor adventurers.

Gold Beach is a dreamy Oregon coast town.
Gold Beach is a dreamy Oregon coast town.

Here are some of our favorite adventures in this Oregon coast town:

Jet Boat the Rogue River

A trip to Gold Beach wouldn’t be quite complete without jet boating the Rogue River. A local tourism icon and fun-filled experience, jet boating a coastal river like the Rogue is an adventure you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Oregon.

You’ll whiz by plenty of lush coastal forest scenery along the way, and we haven’t heard of anyone who’s regretted this trip.

The jet boating experience isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny. The Rogue is a designated Wild & Scenic river, and for good reason. It offers plenty of diverse scenery, and the jet boating trip is just one of a thousand things one could find to do on the Rogue.

Enjoy Scenic Views Along Cape Sebastian & Mouth of Pistol River

The Cape Sebastian Trail, located just a few minutes south of Gold Beach itself, is one of the most rewarding hikes on the Oregon Coast. The total round-trip mileage is just under 3 miles, making it a quick hike. That said, there’s no rush to leave.

The trail consistently delivers panoramic views of Cape Sebastian and the Pacific before making a final descent to a picturesque beach.

Bring a picnic basket and a blanket, because this beach is a great one to relax. The trail descends fairly steeply down to the beach, so be ready for some pretty intense switchbacks on the way back up.

Regardless of elevation gain, the Cape Sebastian Trail is a fairly easy and remarkably scenic trail, and it’s a Gold Beach gem.

Just down the way is the pretty spectacular Mount of Pistol River. A gorgeous beach that requires some scrambling over sand dunes before you get to shore.

Take a stroll towards your left where you’ll see tons of sea stacks in the distance, you’ll only have the share the beautiful location with some seagulls.

Enjoying the view at Samuel H. Boardman State Park
Samuel H. Boardman

Check out Samuel H Boardman while you’re in the area as well for more stunning sea stacks sprinkled along the coastlines and the rushing tides hitting the cliffsides.

Book a Charter Boat and Go Salmon Fishing

Because of the presence of the Rogue, Gold Beach is an Oregon Coast icon when it comes to fishing. The river gets strong salmon and steelhead runs, and is somewhat of a landmark for anglers across the entire state.

Booking a charter boat is one of the most exciting ways to experience this premier fishery.

salmon fisherman in an oregon coast town
A salmon fisherman in Gold Beach, Oregon coast town

There are plenty of charters in Gold Beach, and the type of fishing you’ll do will depend on the time of year. Salmon fishing is mainly contained to spring and late summer through fall, but bottom fishing in the ocean can be significantly more versatile, and if the salmon aren’t running, you’ll be sure to have a blast bottom fishing.

The Pacific Ocean holds some particularly delicious and fun fish, so whatever you choose to do, we’re sure you’ll have a good time.

Places to Stay Near Gold Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Indian Creek Campground | Rogue Pacific RV Park & Vacation Rentals


READ MORE: 15 Adventurous Things To Do Around Gold Beach, Oregon


17. Brookings Beach, Oregon (the Most Southern Oregon Coast Town)

Brookings has somewhat of a mysterious quality to it, at least to the majority of the population in Oregon. Because it’s so far from Portland (and most other major cities in Oregon, for that matter), it doesn’t get discussed very often, and most Portland locals you ask probably won’t know much about the town.

Located right near the border of Oregon and California, Brookings is an absolute gem, and shouldn’t be overlooked by any adventurer serious about exploring all that the Oregon Coast has to offer.

View out to ocean with rocky coastline in the foreground at Harris Beach State Park on the Oregon Coast
Harris Beach State Park on the Oregon Coast

Brookings offers unique scenery and generally warmer temperatures than some of the coastal towns further north, and there’s plenty to do here.

Here are a few of our favorite adventures at this Oregon coast town:

Hike and Relax at Chetco Point Park

An oceanside park offering trails, picnic tables, and scenic ocean views, Chetco Point Park is one of our favorite adventuring opportunities in Brookings. A scenic point and some picnic tables complete this park, making it one of the best places to stop by and enjoy all that Brookings has to offer.

The trails in the park aren’t very long, but they are a blast to explore. It’s always a pleasure to revel in the southern Oregon Coast scenery and Chetco Point Park is one of the best places to do just that.

Arial view of Brookings
Brookings is a beautiful coastal town in Oregon

Mountain Bike the Harris Beach Trail

Harris Beach State Park is one of the most popular attractions in Brookings, and for good reason. From ocean views and picnic areas to mountain bike trails, it offers just about anything anyone could possibly want from the Oregon Coast.

We’d recommend taking the mountain bikes out to the park, where you’ll find a lesser-known but still stunning mountain bike trail.

Tides in at Harris Beach
Harris Beach in Oregon

It’s hard to beat riding trails with Oregon Coast scenery as your backdrop.

Catch Trophy-Sized Chinook Salmon on Chetco Bay

Want to catch some of the biggest chinook “king” salmon on the planet? You can do just that in Chetco Bay, which contains some of the biggest king salmon in the world (outside of Alaska).

Most of the fish returning to the Chetco are 5-year old fish, which is extremely rare to see in any other river in Oregon.

Chinook in excess of 50 and 60 pounds have been caught here in recent years, and no matter who you are, catching a massive, delicious salmon is always a treat.

If you’re interested in catching the biggest salmon in Oregon while basking in some incredible coastal scenery, then Chetco Bay may be just the adventure for you.

Places to Stay Near Brookings Beach:

Recommended Places:

Campgrounds: Harris Beach State Recreation Area Campground | Driftwood RV Park


READ MORE: 7 Adventurous Things to do in Brookings, Oregon


It’s no surprise that Oregon’s coastal towns are considered some of the most spectacular in the country.

Intriguing cultural and food scenes along with the limitless supply of outdoor adventures are what make the Oregon Coast so special. It’s a paradise for outdoor adventure lovers, and you’ll likely not see some of the same scenery anywhere else.

Woman sitting on bench and looking out to sea at Cape Arago
Admiring the views of the Oregon Coast!

If you’re planning an extended trip out to the Oregon Coast or are just trying to find a new beach for the weekend, the towns listed here provide the absolute best adventure opportunities and scenery that the dramatic Oregon Coast has to offer.

Explore a beach or three, and have fun doing it!

→ If you don’t have a lot of time, do this Oregon Coast day trip from Portland to see the best of the coast with a local.

If you need more help planning your trip here, our Oregon Coast road trip post will help you do exactly that. We have sample itineraries and maps for you to steal too! And these are our favorite Oregon coast hikes too.

 Check out more of what Oregon’s coast has to offer and see what other adventures Oregon has for you to discover.

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