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

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

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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.

People on Indian Beach near Cannon Beach, a favorite Oregon Coast Town
There are tons of things to do in all the Oregon Coast Towns!

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 coast towns 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 and the charming communities that stretch along the scenic shoreline, but for now, we’ve started off with 17 of our favorite Oregon beach towns AND the best adventures in the area. After all, not all of the area’s beaches are the type of beaches you come to bask under the sun, so we’ve got you 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.

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

✋ HOLD UP! Don’t Forget…

You need some wheels! It’s nearly impossible to get around the USA and check out the best adventures without a car! Here are our top recommendations…

🚗 Rent a car

If you don’t have your own, renting a car is your best bet!

👉 Find Deals on Cars and SUVs

🚐 Rent a home on wheels

For the more adventurous, rent a van or RV and ditch the hotel.

👉 Find The Best Van For Your Trip

Don’t Forget This!

A lot of the best adventures around Oregon will require a Northwest Pass. You can easily get one delivered straight to your door. Grab it now before you leave!

1. Astoria, Oregon

As the oldest town in the state, Astoria is one of Oregon’s most iconic coastal towns.

The settlement was formed along the mouth of the Columbia River in 1811 and features gorgeous Victorian-era homes perched along the hillside. It’s historic, it’s scenic, but above all, Astoria holds some of the most exciting outdoor adventures along the entire Oregon Coast.

Aerial view of the Astoria Column lit up in Astoria a coastal town in Oregon
Astoria Column lit up at night

Thanks to its location near the Pacific Ocean and the border of Washington, this Oregon coast town draws visitors from near and far to hike wooded trails, discover old forts and shipwrecks, and explore the state parks that surround the city. Oh, and did we mention this town was the set for the Goonies?

Here are some of our favorite outdoor activities in Astoria:

Explore Trails in Cape Disappointment State Park

Contrary to its gloomy name, Cape Disappointment State Park offers some incredible views and well-maintained trails. 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.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse through the trees
Cape Disappointment near Astoria Beach in Oregon

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

Check Out Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens State Park is an old military fort located about 20 minutes from Astoria. It was built to protect the mouth of the Columbia River, and some of the original fortifications remain to this day.

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

The military installments are cool, but the park also has some great hiking trails through dense forests, freshwater lakes, and even a sandy beach with an old shipwreck washed along its shore!

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. Because it’s so close to the ocean, fish coming into the Buoy 10 area will be feisty, fresh, and aggressive – all the things that make up a high-quality catch!

Things to do in Astoria Oregon
Columbia River in Astoria

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

READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things to do in Astoria

Places to Stay Near Astoria Beach:

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

2. Seaside, Oregon (A Popular Oregon Coast Town for Portlanders)

Searching for the perfect beach day along the Oregon coast? Set your GPS for Seaside.

View of Arch Cape beach near the Oregon coast town of Seaside
Arch Cape Beach near Seaside

This gorgeous beach town lacks some of the cool rock formations that other Oregon coast towns offer, but the wide sandy beaches are perfect for bumming, boogie boarding, and sandcastle making.

American flag and lamp posts on beach promenade in Seaside, Oregon Coast Town
Visit the town of Seaside

The town is quite touristy and glitzy, but there are also plenty of uncrowded trails to hike, quiet rivers to paddle, and big waves to catch. Seaside is a paradise for those who know what to look for, and it’s one of the few Oregon coast towns that lets you have it all.

Here are some of our favorite adventures in Seaside:

Kayak the Necanicum River

The Necanicum River flows through Seaside directly into the ocean, offering 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.

Sunset over Pacific Ocean with Tillamook Rock Lighthouse just outside the Oregon coast town of Seaside
View of the lighthouse from Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail

It’s wedged right 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.

Conquer the Saddle Mountain Hike

For more great views, tackle the Saddle Mountain hike. This 5.2-mile trek is a bit more moderate, and there is a pretty intense incline of 1900 feet.

Saddle mountain hike
Hiking Saddle Mountain

But don’t be deterred. The views here are unlike any other in the area, and on a clear day, you can see all the way from the Pacific Ocean to Mount Hood.

Places to Stay Near Seaside Beach:

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

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

Often regarded as one of the best beaches in the entire world, Cannon Beach is an absolute must when visiting Oregon’s coast.

Two people walking on the beach by Haystack Rock in the popular Oregon coast town of Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock

It’s the epitome of a classic beach town: picturesque, quaint, and memorable. Haystack Rock stands out as a coastal landmark, but almost everything about this beach begs to be admired.

What’s more, there’s a ton to do here for outdoor lovers, with scenic sites and opportunities for adventure around every turn.

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

Explore Ecola State Park

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

Before you decide to head out to the park, understand that it can get pretty busy, and parking space can be tough. If you’re here on 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 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 or from the south.

Neahkahnie View Point offers a great view when hiking around some of the best Oregon coast towns

The hike ends up close to 6 miles round-trip from the north trailhead, and 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 and easily navigable, with some of the most spectacular scenery the Oregon Coast has to offer.

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 do you have your own kayaks, this is a great option (and you’ll probably have it all to yourself).

If you’re looking to rent, we’d recommend kayaking the Necanicum River in Seaside (see more above), just a few minutes from Cannon Beach

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), then 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.

Places to Stay Near Cannon Beach:

Campgrounds: Wright’s for Camping

READ MORE: 14 Adventurous Things To Do in Cannon Beach

4. Manzanita Beach, Oregon

Manzanita is the definition of a quaint oceanside village, with an itty bitty population and unspoiled scenery everywhere you look.

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

It’s less frequented than Cannon Beach to the north, with easy access to the nearby Oswald West State Park and Nehalem Bay – both hubs for adventures of all kinds.

If you’re looking for an underrated and beautiful town on the Oregon Coast with plenty of exciting outdoor pursuits to keep you entertained, Manzanita just may be the perfect choice for you.

Aerial view of Manzanita, Oregon Coast town
Visiting Manzanita is one of the best things to do near Cannon Beach

Here are a few of the many adventures that we’d recommend in Manzanita:

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 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.

Discover Oswald West State Park

Oswald West is a state park that truly offers it all. Whether you want to hike epic trails, enjoy a scenic picnic, or even shred some waves, Oswald West State Park is a must.

Man holding surfboard in ocean with rocky cliffs in background at Oswald West State Park
Surf at Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park

Short Sand Beach is the center point of the park, with soft sand for bumming, great waves for surfing and paddleboarding, and trailheads to lead you to some of the best lookouts in the state.

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 near the Oregon coast town of Manzanita.
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:

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

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

While it’s probably best known for its dairy industry, Tillamook Bay has a lot more on offer than just its (amazing) cheese factory.

Located on stunning 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.

Tillamook Oregon and harbor
Scenic Tillamook Bay

There are hundreds of miles of trails on both the land and in the rivers, plus a gorgeous state forest that often goes undiscovered in lieu of other pursuits (remember that cheese factory we were telling you about?).

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

Hike in Cape Lookout State Park

Great hiking trails and even better ocean views are all things you’ll be rewarded with at 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.

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.

Cape Lookout State Park isn’t one to miss if you’re interested in hiking with some great scenery as a backdrop.

Tackle the Trails at Tillamook State Forest

For more scenic trails along Oregon’s coast, check out Tillamook State Forest. Over 80 miles of trails run through new and old-growth forests in this area, with options for hikers of every skill set.

Tillamook State Forest Hike along a river outside of Tillamook, a coastal town in Oregon

In addition to the plethora of trails, there are also numerous campgrounds within the state forest, making it the perfect place to call home during your time in Tillamook. The best part is that many of the trails start right from the campgrounds!

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

Places to Stay Near Tillamook Bay:

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

6. Pacific City Beach, Oregon

For adventurers who want to do it all and see it all, there’s no better town along the Oregon coast than Pacific City. Throwback craft brews on the beach, try your hand at hang gliding, or climb up the towering sand dunes for some epic views (just not in that order, probably).

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

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.

Two surfers surfing wave in ocean in front of large rock island in Pacific City, Oregon coast town
Hit the surf at Pacific City

Here are a few of the best adventures in Pacific City:

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.

The dune sits along the scenic Cape Kiwanda, just north of Pacific City Proper. There’s not really a designated trail to the top; rather, this one is best improvised.

Unreal view at Pacific City, an coastal town in Oregon
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. But the views from the top are nearly unparalleled by any other viewpoint on the Oregon Coast, and the dune alone is enough to make Pacific City one of the best beaches in Oregon.

READ MORE: Exploring Cape Kiwanda Near Pacific City, Oregon

Rent a Paddle Board on the Nestucca River

Many Oregon coast towns are characterized by some sort of river flowing through them, and Pacific City is no exception. The Nestucca is a gem of a river, with fishing, kayaking, and swimming on offer.

Little Nestucca River Oregon
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 vehicles.

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

Remember that not all cars are capable of driving on the beach – 4WD or AWD are strongly recommended. You don’t want to find yourself in some sticky (well, mostly sandy) situations!

Places to Stay Near Pacific City Beach:

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. The town is quaint, yet it has a couple of stellar restaurants and nearly endless opportunities for adventure.

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 has 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 and The Ghost Forest

Once you’re on the beach in Neskowin, you shouldn’t have much trouble identifying Proposal Rock; the lonesome icon stands out along the waterfront with the ghost forest just next to it! Though there aren’t any officially maintained trails here, there are plenty of footpaths on the rock that can be followed by intrepid adventurers during low tide.

Spooky ghost forest at Neskowin
Neskowin’s Ghost Forest and Propsal Rock in the back—perhaps one of the creepiest-looking beaches in Oregon!

As with any adventure involving steep cliffs and deep water, exercise caution when attempting Proposal Rock. There is a rope hanging down from the side of the rock for those wanting some help up (or down), but only those in great physical condition should attempt the climb.

The views from the top are incredible, so climbing is worthwhile for the few who feel confident enough to ascend this iconic slab!

Hike Hart’s Cove Trail

*currently closed! Check for updates

This gorgeous trail isn’t right in the heart of Neskowin, and you’ll need to drive about 15-20 minutes south of the town to reach the trailhead itself. The trail is certainly worth the short drive, and the views from the summit are unparalleled.

Hart’s Cove Trail

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 accessible to people of all ages. It’s a truly moderate trek, and at 5.3 miles, this trail makes for a perfect day hike.

Places to Stay Near Neskowin Beach:

Campgrounds: Neskowin Creek RV Resort

8. Lincoln City Beach, Oregon

Beach bum or adrenaline seeker? Who said you can’t be a little bit of both? Lincoln City offers visitors plenty of options for chilling AND adventuring – a true ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ kind of town.

Lincoln City is a well-known destination for day trips from Portland and Salem. With Devil’s Lake to the north and Siletz Bay just a bit further south, its place on the map is part of what makes Lincoln City so appealing.

God's Thumb near Lincoln City Beach, a town on the Oregon Coast
God’s Thumb near Lincoln City Beach, Oregon

The town’s scenic beach, coupled with the natural features in the area, make Lincoln City one of the most loved Oregon coastal towns, and it’s certainly worth checking out on your next trip road trip through the area.

READ MORE: 15 Adventurous Things To Do in Lincoln City

Here are some of our favorite adventures in Lincoln City:

Kayak Siletz Bay

One of the most drop-dead gorgeous bays on the entire Oregon Coast, Siletz Bay isn’t one to miss.

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 bay’s east end where you can 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 it from afar, not realizing that it’s actually one of the coolest hikes in this Oregon coast town.

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

The God’s Thumb Hike is a 4-mile out-and-back hike that provides stunning views over Lincoln City Beach.

RELATED: Your Guide to The God’s Thumb Hike in Lincoln City

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 a drink won’t be too far away.

Places to Stay Near Lincoln City Beach:

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

RELATED: 17 Cool Oregon Coast Campgrounds to Stay At

9. Depoe Bay (THE Oregon Coast Town for Whale Watching!)

Of all the coastal towns in Oregon, there’s no better place for whale watching than Depoe Bay.

Don’t let the itty bitty harbor fool you. Large marine life flock here like clockwork between March and December, as do the tourists to witness the incredible events.

Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast road trip
Depoe Bay

Once you’ve seen enough whale tails, you can park your bum on the beach, hike some scenic trails, or hit up the local winery!

Here are some of the best things to do in Depoe Bay:

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.

Whale tail in ocean when whale watching on a tour from the Oregon coast town of Depoe Bay
Whale watching on the Oregon Coast!

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!

If you can, plan your trip around the whale-watching season – between March and December.

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.

Explore Beverly Beach State Park

Beverly Beach State Park is the perfect spot to park your bum on sunny days. It’s also a great place to park your campervan overnight if you plan on exploring Depoe Bay for more than a single afternoon.

Beverly Beach on the Oregon coast
Beverly Beach

From the park, you’ll have easy access to other cool spots around town, including the historic lighthouse and a collapsed sea cave. The park is also known for hosting some great waves for surfing, scenic beachside trails, and excellent wildlife-watching opportunities (yes, including whales!).

READ MORE: Beverly Beach State Park—Camp, Surf, Hike!

Places to Stay Near Depoe Bay:

Campgrounds: Beverly Beach State Park

10. Newport, Oregon

Equal parts eclectic and iconic, Newport is often thought of as the capital of the Oregon coast.

Travelers curious about the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean will adore the sights of Newport. It’s a fantastic place to view marine life and surreal coastal formations, and the town’s scenic viewpoints help you spot migrating whales and other species just offshore.

Visiting Yaquina Head Lighthouse just outside of the Oregon coast town of Newport.
Visiting Yaquina Head Lighthouse just outside of the Oregon coast town of Newport.

This charming Oregon coastal town also has a splash of Victorian architecture, some epic engineering marvels, and plenty of spots to grab a good beer in between sightseeing.

Here are some awesome places to check out around Newport:

Discover the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

The area’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 these incredible creatures. 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. When you’re not being enchanted by the crashing water, Devil’s Punch Bowl makes yet 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

The wonders of Oregon’s coastal towns are far from a well-kept secret. But there are still a few spots that fly under the radar. Welcome to Yachats.

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 the coastal town of 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, which equates to unmatched views of the rugged coast below.

Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua

After taking in the scenery from the viewpoint, 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 near the town of Yachats, Oregon on the coast
Getting up close to Thor’s Well

The pit is seemingly endless, but in reality, it’s only 20 feet deep. 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, so you may want to keep your distance if you plan on staying dry!

READ MORE: Visiting Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua, Oregon

Places to Stay Near Yachats:

Campgrounds: Cape Perpetua Campground

12. Florence Beach, Oregon

Found right in the middle of the Oregon Coast, Florence is at the center of all the action. With raging waterfalls, tall dunes, and rugged cliffisde trails, this Oregon coast town is the place to be if you want to get the adrenaline pumping.

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

The scenery here rivals some of the best on the rest of the coast, and there are plenty of things to keep you entertained as you admire the sights.

Here are the top adventures to try in Florence:

Rent a Dune Buggy

Renting a dune buggy to roam the dunes is one of the most exhilarating adventures in Florence. You won’t find many options for this exhilarating activity further north, so take advantage while you’re in the area!

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. That said, it’s a blast, and we recommend it to anyone looking for a good time in Florence.

RELATED: Your Adventure Guide to The Oregon Dunes

Kayak the Siltcoos River

The Siltcoos River 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.

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

It’s a great option for kayakers of all levels, and whether you love kayaking or simply want to try something new on your beach vacation, the Siltcoos is the place for you. The river starts at Siltcoos Lake, which is one of the few lakes in Oregon that gets a salmon run!

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, a historic lighthouse, and sweeping ocean views are all in store on this trail.

Lighthouse at Heceta Head near the Oregon coast town of Florence
Heceta Head at Florence Beach in Oregon

At just under 4 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 plan for a weekday or early morning to make sure you get a spot. Read more on how to explore Heceta Head!

RELATED: 11 Oregon Lighthouses and the Adventures Nearby

Hike to Kentucky Falls

While most Oregon coast towns are renowned for their pretty coastal views, Florence offers visitors the chance to see a different side of the state without venturing too far from Route 101.

Kentucky Falls waterfalls near the Oregon Coast
Kentucky Falls

Kentucky Falls sits within the lush Siuslaw National Forest. You’ll need to hike about 3.5 miles roundtrip through verdant, old-growth forest to reach the falls, which are actually three thundering waterfalls.

RELATED: 9 Amazing Waterfalls Near Eugene, Oregon

Places to Stay Near Florence Beach:

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

Combine one part historic charm, one part outdoor adventure, and one part epic scenery, and boom – you’ve got Coos Bay.

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 thanks to the abundance of entertainment and accommodation options.

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

There are a plethora of state parks around Coos Bay, along with soft sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, and fruitful fishing holes.

Here are some of our favorite spots to explore in Coos Bay:

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. You could also spend the day here sandboarding, taking a dune buggy tour, or paddling along the shoreline.

Wander Through Golden & Silver Falls State Natural Area

It may feel wrong to leave the ocean in the rearview, but if you crave a change of scenery while exploring Oregon’s coastal towns, check out Golden & Silver Falls State Natural Area.

Golden and Silver Falls is an Oregon waterfall duo near the Oregon coast town of Coos Bay
Golden and Silver Falls

This hidden gem of a park is well off the beaten path (about 30 miles from Route 101) and features miles of incredible hiking trails – many of which you will likely have all to yourself! The views from the trails are breathtaking, with massive waterfalls and dense forests making up the bulk of the scenery.

Places to Stay Near Coos Bay:

Campgrounds: Sunset Bay State Park

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

Bandon Beach is next level when it comes to scenery and cozy, coastal town vibes.

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

Beloved for its dramatic rock formations, this Oregon coast town entices nature lovers and geology nerds alike. Legendary tales surround Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, and its tidal flats draw birdwatchers to the area.

Walking on Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach walks

Comfortable year-round temperatures make Brandon Beach a hotspot for fishing, hiking, and cycling. You can also admire the sea stacks and rugged cliffs from lighthouses or partake in the annual shellfish and cranberry harvests.

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, a horse camp, and some great fishing spots. Get an intense workout by cycling through thick sand or hiking 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

You could also head to the Coquille River Lighthouse to view impressive seaside views and Pacific waves crashing into the rocky shoreline. 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, all with beautiful hiking trails and scenic viewpoints in hefty doses.

View from the top Cape Arago
Cape Arago

Sunset Bay State Park is a favorite, with its hidden coves, dramatic sea cliffs, and coastal forests. Wander the trails at Sunset Bay, then look for whales at Cape Arago State Park or discover the Japanese-style garden at Shore Acres State Park.

READ MORE: 9 Cool Adventures Around Bandon Beach, Oregon

Places to Stay Near Bandon Beach:

Campgrounds: Bullards Beach State Park | Sunset Bay State Park

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

Surrounded by gorgeous white sand beaches, impressive rock formations, and staggering mountain scenes, Port Orford is the embodiment of Oregon’s coastal beauty.

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.

Port Orford
Port Orford

With its bustling harbor, boutique shops, and cute local eateries, this is the perfect stop for anyone who wants to couple unspoiled nature with some awesome creature comforts.

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.

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!

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, 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.

Floras Lake State Natural Area

One of the perks of visiting southern Oregon is that it’s criminally underrated. Floras Lake State Natural Area is incredibly stunning, yet not that many people know about it!

View of beach and sea cliffs at Floras Lake State Park on the Oregon Coast
Floras Lake State Park—It’s one of our fav places along the Oregon coast!

Take advantage of the solitude as you conquer scenic trails (there are plenty of them to choose from), go paddleboarding or windsurfing on Floras Lake, or spend some time beachcombing along the sandy shoreline.

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

Maybe you’re planning on extending your road trip further south into California. Or perhaps you’ve heard lore of the unique adventures in southern Oregon. Either way, Gold Beach is the golden ticket.

Mary D Hume shipwreck in water with bridge in background at Gold Beach Oregon Coast Town
See the Mary D Hume shipwreck in Gold Beach

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

There are plenty of awesome outdoor activities on offer in Golden Beach, and whether you’re looking for adventurous pursuits or a relaxing getaway, this southerly coast town will not disappoint.

Here are some of our favorite adventures in Gold Beach:

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

Warning: the jet boating experience isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny!

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

Cape Sebastian near the Oregon coast town of Gold Beach
Cape Sebastian

Bring a picnic basket and a blanket, because this beach is great for relaxing. 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 spectacular Mount of Pistol River and 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!

Sam H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

While you’re in the area, check out Samuel H Boardman. This stunning spot features vistas of sea stacks sprinkled along the coastlines and the rushing tides hitting the cliffsides.

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

This is one of the more popular hiking areas along the Oregon coast, but it’s much loved for a reason! The entire corridor is incredibly scenic, and there are some trails that aren’t as crowded if you’re looking for a quieter hike.

READ MORE: Hiking the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

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 it’s somewhat of a landmark for anglers across the entire state.

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. If the salmon aren’t running, you’ll be sure to have a blast bottom fishing.

Places to Stay Near Gold Beach:

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)

If I had to guess, I’d say that Brookings probably isn’t on your Oregon Coast bucket list. Heck, most Oregon natives don’t know that much about it!

Beach with beach grass and large rock in background at sunset in Brookings, near Gold Beach Oregon coast town
Sunset at Kissing Rock in Brookings

This is the state’s southernmost town, and it has somewhat of a mysterious quality to it. Because it’s so far from Portland (and most other major cities in Oregon, for that matter), it doesn’t get discussed very often.

But Brookings is an absolute gem, and it 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 near the Oregon Coast town of Brookings
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.

The park isn’t very big, and the trails aren’t very long, but this area is 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.

View of Brookings Oregon by the sea
Brookings is a beautiful coastal town in Oregon

Hike 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 and brimming tide pools, it offers just about anything anyone could possibly want from the Oregon Coast.

Tides in at Harris Beach
Harris Beach in Oregon

You can roam around the rocks and stroll along the beach—It’s hard to beat the trails with Oregon Coast scenery as your backdrop!

See Redwoods

Redwoods? In Oregon? Who knew?! A lot of people associate redwoods with California. But you can also see Redwoods in Oregon if you journey far enough into the southern part of the state.

Hiker on dirt trail surrounded by redwood trees in Oregon near the coast
Garrett hiking in the Oregon Redwoods

There are several trails on the outskirts of Brookings that boast Redwoods, and they’re all pretty short and easy! If you’re already in this area, it is basically a crime not to go and check out these massive trees.

Hop Over to California

If you’ve got the time, keep heading south on Highway 101 and take a road trip through northern Cali. Obviously, Oregon is for adventure, but there’s no denying that northern California holds some great gems too!

Nina in Crescent City, California
Nina in Crescent City, California!

More scenic hiking trails, different impressive viewpoints, and plenty of iconic parks are just a few things that await in the Golden State. You’ll hit Crescent City first, which is just about 30 minutes south of Brookings and a great intro into Northern California.

READ MORE: 21+ Adventurous Things to Do on a Northern California Road Trip

Places to Stay Near Brookings Beach:

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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