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17 BEST Oregon Coast Towns to Visit

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If you were to ask Oregonians what defines an Oregon coast town, 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, is it the sheer cliffs and rugged landscapes that define the essence of the Oregon coast? Maybe it’s the charming towns perched along the coastline or the fresh seafood they serve up in cute cafes and breweries.

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 taking a road trip along the coast, 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.

You can trust us because not only did I personally grow up going to these coast towns all the time, but I’ve road-tripped it in my adult years countless times, too!

→ 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.

Map of the best Oregon Coast towns pinpointed.
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

1. Astoria

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?

Things to Do in Astoria

  • Explore the trails in Cape Disappointment State Park. The North Head Trail is particularly special, with panoramic views of the North Head Lighthouse and a long stretch through lush coastal forest.
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse through the trees.
Cape Disappointment near Astoria Beach in Oregon
  • Wander along Astoria’s Riverwalk. The Riverwalk stretches along the coastline parallel to the downtown area. You can walk or bike, and there are plenty of fun spots to stop along the way.
  • Check out Fort Stevens State Park. Fort Stevens State Park is an old military fort located about 20 minutes from Astoria. Some of the original fortifications remain to this day, and there are also hiking trails, freshwater lakes, sandy beaches, and even an old shipwreck!
Rusty ship nose on the beach of Fort Stevens.
Rusty ship on the Fort Stevens State Park outside Astoria, Oregon
  • Fuel up at Coffee Girl. After a busy day of exploring this stunning Oregon coast town, you can get your caffeine fix at Coffee Girl. While you’re in the area, be sure to explore the rest of Pier 39.
  • Troll for Salmon at Buoy 10. Buoy 10 is widely known as the most productive salmon fishery in Oregon, thanks to its position near the ocean. Buoy 10 is most popular from late July through October when both chinook and coho salmon are available.
Hotel under a bridge in Asotira, Oregon.
Columbia River in Astoria
  • Chase waterfalls at Youngs River Falls. The Youngs River Falls area sits about 15 minutes from Astoria and features a beautiful waterfall, easy (yet rewarding) trails, and a nice little swimming area if you happen to be lucky with the weather.

READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things to do in Astoria


Places to Stay Near Astoria Beach:

Campgrounds: KOA Resorts | Fort Stevens State Park

2. Seaside

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

Things to Do 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 on the Necanicum River with hills in the back.
Kayak the Necanicum River in Seaside, Oregon
  • Visit Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site. You can drive your car right onto the beach here (make sure you have 4WD), pitch a tent, or just enjoy a relaxing beach day in a scenic location.
  • 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 between Seaside and Cannon Beach and is a great option for hikers coming from either location.
Sunset over Pacific Ocean with Tillamook Rock Lighthouse out on the water.
View of the lighthouse from Tillamook Head National Recreation 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. The views here are fantastic, and on a clear day, you can see all the way from the Pacific Ocean to Mount Hood.
Saddle mountain hike with a bit of snow on the trail.
Hiking Saddle Mountain
  • Amble along the Seaside promenade walk. Feel the sea breeze in your hair as you walk along Seaside’s oceanfront promenade. There are places to access the beach on one side, and on the other you’ll find cute cottages, coffee shops, boutiques, and a brewery.

READ MORE: 13 Adventurous Things To Do Around Seaside


Places to Stay Near Seaside Beach:

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

Often regarded as one of the best beaches in the 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.

Things to Do in Cannon Beach

  • 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.
  • Visit Hug Point State Recreation Site. This area is all about the beach, which used to be home to an old stagecoach route. Today, it’s a scenic stretch of sand with deep sea caves, a rugged coastline, and giant rock formations jutting up out of the surf.
  • Hike to Neahkahnie Mountain. About thirty minutes south of Cannon Beach, Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the most beautiful hikes on the Oregon coast. 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.
Neahkahnie View Point overlooking beach below.
Neahkahnie
  • Go Tidepooling. Cannon Beach has some great tidepooling opportunities. For your best chances of seeing marine life, head to Haystack Rock or Arcadia Beach. And remember to tidepool at low tide!
  • Kayak Ecola Creek. If you’re into kayaking, don’t miss Ecola Creek. 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 of any Oregon Coast town.
Two people kayaking Ecola creek.
Kayaking Ecola Creek
  • Wander around town. Cannon Beach has a super cute downtown area, so remember to spend some time wandering around after you get your fix of nature. Indulge in great seafood, visit the shops, hit up a market, or plop down for a beer at the Public Coast Brewery.
  • Walk to Haystack Rock. This is Cannon Beach’s crowning glory, and it’s not hard to see why. 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!
Garrett bending down for a photo in front of Haystack rock.
Cannon Beach is one of the best coastal towns in Oregon

READ MORE: 14 Adventurous Things To Do in Cannon Beach


Places to Stay Near Cannon Beach:

Campgrounds: Wright’s for Camping

4. Manzanita Beach

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

Beautiful pink sunset and a bird  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

Things to Do in Manzanita Beach

  • Discover the town of Manzanita Beach. Spend some time wandering Main Street, where you’ll find artisan shops, upscale souvenirs, and even an acclaimed whiskey bar.
  • Kayak and camp at Nehalem Bay State Park. Making its way directly into the Pacific Ocean, Nehalem Bay is more reminiscent of a river than a bay. Fairly narrow 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.
We love camping at Nehalem Bay State Park
  • Discover Oswald West State Park. Whether you want to hike epic trails, enjoy a scenic picnic, or even shred some waves, Oswald West State Park is one of the best Oregon Coast State Parks.
  • Have a beach day at Short Sand Beach. Located at the center of Oswald West State Park, Short Sand Beach offers soft sand for bumming, great waves for surfing and paddleboarding, and trailheads to lead you to some of the best lookouts in the state.
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
  • Attend the Friday night farmers’ market. Who doesn’t love a good farmers market? Manzanita Beach puts on a fun market every Friday evening in the summer. Browse fresh produce, handcrafted goods, and other fun stalls.
  • Hike to Cape Falcon. 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 seasonal 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

Places to Stay Near Manzanita Beach:

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

5. Tillamook Bay

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 from above.
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?).

Things to Do in Tillamook Bay

  • Visit the Tillamook Creamery. You don’t visit Tillamook without stopping at the creamery, trust us. You can take a tour to see how the dairy products are manufactured, sample some cheese, or just pop in for a quick scoop of ice cream.
  • 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 Bay from above showing ocean on the left and greenery in front.
You’ll be rewarded with pretty views like this one when hiking around Cape Lookout
  • 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. There are also numerous campgrounds here!
Tillamook State Forest Hike along a river outside of Tillamook.
  • Drive the Three Capes Scenic Loop. No need to wear your hiking boots out for this one. Hop in the car for some epic views along the Three Capes Scenic Loop, which connects Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda.
  • Down fresh oysters at Nevør Shellfish Farm. Seafood lovers know that Oregon coast towns have some of the freshest fish around, but if you don’t want to shell out tons of cash, head to Nevør Shellfish Farm. You can get your oysters to go, or have them shuck them for you on-site.

Places to Stay Near Tillamook Bay:

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


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


6. Pacific City

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).

Two surfers surfing wave in ocean in front of large rock island in Pacific City.
Hit the surf at 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.

Things to Do 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 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.
  • Explore Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. After you conquer the giant sand dune, you can spend the rest of the day in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area tidepooling, bumming on the beach, surfing, hang gliding, whale watching… the opportunities are endless!
Unreal view at Pacific City, with ocean in the back and sand dunes and cliffs in the forfront.
Cape Kiwanda
  • Go surfing. Pacific City is one of the best Oregon coast towns for surfing. The waves are especially rad after a storm or anytime in the winter.
  • 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. We recommend renting a paddleboard or kayak and exploring some of the dramatic scenery that the Nestucca has to offer.
Little Nestucca River Oregon with hill in the back.
Nestucca River at Pacific City coastal town in Oregon
  • 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. 4WD is recommended!
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!

READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things To Do in Pacific City


Places to Stay Near Pacific City Beach:

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

7. Neskowin

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 ocean views at sunset.
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.

Things to Do in Neskowin

  • Grab picnic supplies at the Neskowin Trading Company. There’s nothing better than a picnic with a good view, and there are plenty of spots around town to do just that. If you need to stock up on supplies, head to the Neskowin Trading Company, where you’ll find fresh deli options, home-cooked baked goods, and plenty of beer and wine.
  • Climb Proposal Rock. Once you’re on the beach in Neskowin, you shouldn’t have much trouble identifying Proposal Rock. Though there aren’t any officially maintained trails here, you can wander the tide pools around the rock at low tide.
Spooky ghost forest at Neskowin, it's tree stumps in a foggy scene.
Neskowin’s Ghost Forest and Propsal Rock in the back—perhaps one of the creepiest-looking beaches in Oregon!
  • Check out the Ghost Forest. While you’re on the beach, don’t miss the Ghost Forest. Hundreds of ancient tree stumps jut out from the sand, and scientists believe these remains are the result of earthquakes and tsunamis centuries ago.
  • Visit the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Featuring 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Wander the trails as you search for wildlife like waterfowl, deer, and more, all protected in this stunning area.

Places to Stay Near Neskowin Beach:

Campgrounds: Neskowin Creek RV Resort

8. Lincoln City

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 with the ocean in the back.
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


Things to Do in Lincoln City:

  • Go fat tire biking. Experience the Oregon coast in a new way. Rent a fat tire bike from Safari Town Surf Shop and glide across the sand around town. TIP: stick to the hard-packed sand along the water line for smooth sailing riding.
  • Kayak Siletz Bay. One of the most drop-dead gorgeous bays on the entire Oregon Coast, Siletz Bay isn’t one to miss. 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.
Beautiful view of Siletz Bay with warm golden sunset colors and person in the bottom right take a photo of the three rock stumps in the ocean.
Siletz Bay Beach in Oregon
  • Hit the beach. There are plenty of spots around town for beach bumming, surfing, tidepooling, and swimming. In fact, Lincoln City has seven miles of soft sandy beach, with 17 public access points. You won’t be short on options for beach days here! You can even stick around until evening and enjoy a bonfire on the beach.
  • Hike God’s 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. 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
  • 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.

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

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 scene with rocks cliffs and homes on top.
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!

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.
Whale tail in ocean.
Whale watching on the Oregon Coast!
  • Enjoy the natural beauty of Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area. 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. The park is also known for hosting some great waves for surfing, scenic beachside trails, and excellent wildlife-watching opportunities (yes, including whales!).
Down low picture of Beverly Beach with hills in the back.
Beverly Beach
  • Stop by the Depoe Bay Scenic View Area & Park. This is one of the best viewpoints in the area, and it requires zero hiking! The rest of the park stretches through the downtown area, making it a convenient spot to get those iconic coastal views.
  • Visit the downtown area. Once you’re downtown, be sure to pop into some of the cute stores and cafes that line the ocean. This is a foodie’s paradise, so don’t hesitate to stuff yourself before continuing on to another Oregon coast town.

Places to Stay Near Depoe Bay:

Campgrounds: Beverly Beach State Park

10. Newport

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 marine life just offshore.

Nina walking towards Yaquina Head Lighthouse, a black and white lighthouse.
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.

Things to Do in Newport

  • Visit 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, coastal landscape, and marine life like whales, waterfowl and more.
  • Spend a day at South Beach State Park. This stunning 498-acre park is tucked between the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay and offers tons of outdoor activities, including hiking, whale watching, and surfing.
  • Discover 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, a huge hole in a rocky cliff.
Devils Punchbowl
  • Have a pint at Rogue Brewing. One of the most famous breweries along the Oregon coast is Rogue Brewing. It’s set just along Yaquina Bay and in front of the crabbing pier, and it’s a great spot to wander, as you can literally watch beer being made while enjoying their beers and food!
  • Check out the Crabbing Pier. Want to experience the thrill of catching your own crab? What better place than Newport – the self-proclaimed “Dungeness Crab Capital of the World.” It’s a fun and relatively easy activity for the day, and the best months for meaty catches are between summer and fall.

READ MORE: 13 Adventurous Things to Do in Newport


Places to Stay Near Newport:

Campgrounds: South Beach State Park | Beverly Beach State Park

11. Yachats

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.

Things to do in Yachats

  • Explore Cape Perpetua. Head south to Cape Perpetua to the highest accessible viewpoint by car on the entire coast. 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.
Nina at Cape Perpetua on a rocky cliffside edge with the ocean roaring on the left.
Cape Perpetua
  • Wander around downtown Yachats. Although small, Yachats has plenty to keep visitors entertained. Pop into the rare gem gallery, visit the Little Log Historic Museum, or just wine and dine to your heart’s content.
  • Have a pint at Yachats Brewing + Farm Store. One of the best places in town is Yachats Brewing. If you’re not into microbrews, you can always opt for kombucha or probiotic sodas! If you’re feeling hungry, you can purchase some house-fermented veggies to go with your bevvy. Note that opening times vary throughout the year.
  • Visit 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. When the waves hit the well, you can expect an epic water show, especially during high tide.
Close up shot of Thor's Well - a rocky cauldron in the ocean.
Getting up close to Thor’s Well
  • Hike part of the Oregon Coast Trial. The 804 trail is a short and easy section of the Oregon Coast Trail that runs along Yachat’s rugged coast. This is a great hike for anyone looking to avoid the crowds that plague some of the more popular trails in the area.

Places to Stay Near Yachats:

Campgrounds: Cape Perpetua Campground

12. Florence

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 cliffside trails, this Oregon coast town is the place to be if you want to get the adrenaline pumping.

Heceta Head from above showing the lighthouse and the beach to the right.
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.

Things to Do in Florence

  • Rent a Dune Buggy. Renting a dune buggy to roam the Oregon dunes is one of the most exhilarating adventures in Florence. You won’t find many options for this activity further north, so take advantage while you’re in the area!
  • 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. The river starts at Siltcoos Lake, which is one of the few lakes in Oregon that gets a salmon run!
Kayaker on the Siltcoos River.
Kayaking on Siltcoos Lake is so much fun!
  • Hike the Heceta Head to Hobbit Beach Trail. The Hobbit Trail 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. 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. Read more on how to explore Heceta Head!
Lighthouse at Heceta Head overlooking the ocean.
Heceta Head at Florence Beach in Oregon
  • 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 sits within the lush Siuslaw National Forest, and you’ll hike through verdant, old-growth forests before reaching the three thundering waterfalls.
Kentucky Falls waterfalls cascading over mossy rocks.
Kentucky Falls
  • Visit the Sea Lion Caves. You know that Oregon coast towns are great for whale watching, but if you want to switch it up, go. to the Sea Lion Caves! As the name suggests, you’ll find plenty of sea lions lazing about inside the caves, and there are also some walking trails you can explore.

READ MORE: 9 Adventurous Things To Do in Florence


Places to Stay Near Florence Beach:

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

13. Coos Bay

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 due 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.

Things to Do 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. 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.
  • Go for a drive along the Cape Arago Highway. This scenic drive boasts some of the state’s best coastal scenery, with plenty of spots to stop off along the way. Sunset Bay State Park and Shore Acres State Park are favorite detours, with gorgeous trails offering additional viewpoints.
  • Wander through Golden & Silver Falls State Natural Area. This hidden gem of a park is well off the beaten path 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.
Golden and Silver Falls cascading over rocks.
Golden and Silver Falls
  • Meander along the Coos Bay Boardwalk. Taking a stroll along the Coos Bay Boardwalk will not only give you great views of the bay area, but there are also some information signs depicting the city’s history.
  • Explore downtown Coos Bay. After you visit the boardwalk, head downtown to see what Coos Bay is all about. Be sure to admire the iconic Egyptian Theater, pop in for some sweet treats at Cranberry Sweets & More, or spend a rainy day perusing art at the Coos Art Museum.

Places to Stay Near Coos Bay:

Campgrounds: Sunset Bay State Park


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


Bandon 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, a large sandy beach with random rocks scattered around.
Bandon Beach walks

Comfortable year-round temperatures make Brandon 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.

Things to Do in Brandon

  • Explore Bullards Beach State Park. Located along 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
  • Admire artwork along the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail. This 30-mile trail stretches from Brandon to Port Orford and features paintings, sculptures, furniture, and more from local artists. There are also several galleries located in towns along the way, so don’t hesitate to take a detour!
  • 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. Sunset Bay State Park is a favorite, as are Cape Arago State Park and Shore Acres State Park.
View across bay to Cape Arago Lighthouse.
Cape Arago Lighthouse is definitely worth visiting
  • Enjoy a beach day. Brandon Beach has some of the best beaches along the Oregon coast, making it the perfect place for beach bumming, swimming, surfing, and all the other classic beach day activities.
  • Visit during the Brandon Cranberry Festival. Each September, Brandon puts on an epic cranberry festival with three days of fun activities. You can see live music, dine on cranberry-inspired food, shop the farmer’s market, and more.

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

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 views on a foggy day with the ocean and random rocks jutting out of the water.
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.

Things to Do in Port Orford

  • 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. While you’re in the park, don’t miss the iconic Cape Blanco Lighthouse.
Lighthouse in distance at Cape Blanco Oregon Coast State Park.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse
  • Hike the trails at 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
  • Take a stroll along the beach of Battle Rock Wayside Park. This is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, with great coastal views and a soft sandy beach. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a whale as you wander around the park!
  • Discover Floras Lake State Natural Area. Floras Lake State Natural Area is incredibly stunning, yet not that many people know about it! Enjoy the solitude as you conquer scenic trails, go paddleboarding or windsurfing on Floras Lake, or spend some time beachcombing along the sandy shoreline.
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!
  • Spend the day at Sisters Rock State Park. This is one of the newer Oregon state parks, and it does a great job of showcasing the best of the coast’s beauty. All the usual suspects are here, including towering sea stacks, hidden sea coves, and of course, miles of scenic trails.

READ MORE: 7 Adventurous Things to Do Around Port Orford


Places to Stay Near Port Orford:

Campgrounds: Camp Blanco RV Park | Elk River Campground

16. Gold Beach

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

Mary D Hume shipwreck in water with bridge in background at Gold Beach.
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.

Gold beach with a few random rocks along the shoreline.
Gold Beach is a dreamy Oregon coast town

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.

Things to Do in Gold Beach

  • Hunt for treasure at Gold Beach. Channel your inner pirate and search for gold along Gold Beach. Okay, there’s probably not actually any gold, but this spot is known for its treasure hunts. Visitors are welcome to eagerly hunt for picturesque glass floats all along the 2.5 miles of beach, with a few also hidden within the many shops in the town.
  • Jet Boat the Rogue River. 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.
Cape Sebastian at sunset with the mountains in the distance reflecting off the water below.
Cape Sebastian
  • 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.
  • Check out Sam H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. While you’re in the area, check out Samuel H Boardman, one of the most popular hiking areas along the coast. This stunning spot features vistas of sea stacks sprinkled along the coastlines and the rushing tides hitting the cliffside.
Tiny hiker in pink jacket overlooking the ocean and beautiful seastacks and rocks in the distance.
Samuel H. Boardman
  • 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. There are plenty of charters in Gold Beach, and the type of fishing you’ll do will depend on the time of year.
Salmon fisherman in the water with his line drawn.
A salmon fisherman in Gold Beach, one of the coolest Oregon coast towns

READ MORE: 15 Adventurous Things To Do Around Gold Beach


Places to Stay Near Gold Beach:

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

17. Brookings

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.
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.
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.

Things to Do in Brookings

  • 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. 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 from above.
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 with a wave coming over some rocks.
Harris Beach in Oregon
  • 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. There are several trails on the outskirts of Brookings that boast Redwoods, and they’re all pretty short and easy!
Garrett on dirt trail surrounded by redwood trees in Oregon.
Garrett hiking in the Oregon Redwoods
  • Admire the views at Lone Ranch Beach. The driftwood-strewn beach isn’t the best place for working on a suntan, but there are some great views to be found here. Hike along the coastal trails to find some of the best viewpoints.
  • 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! You’ll hit Crescent City first, which is just about 30 minutes south of Brookings.
Nina in Crescent City, California on a deck overlooking the beach.
Nina in Crescent City, California!

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


Places to Stay Near Brookings:

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

Final Thoughts

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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2 Comments

  1. After reading your article we are ready to hop on a plane. Great reading and dreaming !!! Thanks. Lia & Tom