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The perfect Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary – best stops and places to see

The formula for a good road trip is simple: beautiful scenery, an awesome playlist, yummy snacks, and tons of things to do along the way. Luckily, the Oregon Coast has all of this! If you look at the Oregon Coast map, you’ll see a whole lot of coastline, actually 363 miles, and an Oregon Coast road trip down the iconic Highway 101 allows you to explore it all!


I’ve visited Oregon a few times and just love it. Portland is, of course, an awesome city with tons of things to do. But the Oregon Coast is really something special. There are some quaint seaside towns along the coast and the Oregon beaches are simply amazing. Cannon Beach is one of the most popular spots, but there are some other lesser-known beaches to check out as well!

I’ve gone on a few short Oregon Coast road trips but am dreaming of spending time doing something even longer. This guide is for my benefit as much as it is for you! It’s the ultimate guide to visiting the Oregon Coast.

Because of Oregon’s mild climate, it’s possible to enjoy an Oregon Coast road trip during any time of the year. There are also so many different places to see, that you can either do one epic, long trip and see everything or just choose a few different spots to explore in-depth. 

But, whether you’re going for a week or a month, you’ll love your time on the Coast! Let’s jump into all the details to help you plan an epic Oregon Coast road trip.

Oregon Coast Florence
Oregon Coast Itinerary – Florence

Oregon Coast Itinerary Map

Oregon COast itinerary Map
Click on the image to open the Map

Oregon Coast Itinerary 

Planning an Oregon Coast road trip is no small feat! There are, quite literally, hundreds of places to stop along the Oregon coastline. But, there are some places that are worth the visit and others that aren’t. This guide will first walk you through all the best destinations and then provide some route itineraries. 

To start, let’s look at the stops along the Oregon Coast, moving from the North (Astoria) to the South (Brookings). After that, there are a few different itinerary options with driving distances and times and the suggested amount of time. 

Unmissable stops on the Oregon Coast

Let’s be real, there are a LOT of places to stop along the coast. Below are some of the top towns or cities on the Oregon coast. Top attractions, the best Oregon beaches, and other must-sees have been included. But, there are so many more places worth seeing, so you should feel free to make stops along the way. 

Highway 101 in Oregon is well-marked with signs pointing you to parks, beaches, attractions, and viewpoints. So, keep your eyes peeled as you drive and stop where you want!

Astoria Oregon Road trip

Astoria

Visit Astoria if you enjoy culture, good food & beer, and are in the north of Oregon.

Astoria might very well be your first stop in Oregon! As the northernmost town on the Oregon Coast, Astoria is a city that most people will drive through after crossing the Astoria-Megler bridge that connects to Washington State. 

Astoria was an important port city for the fur trade back in the late 1900s (it was established in 1876). Today, it’s a cool and quirky city where you can visit some of the interesting historical sites but also explore the fun different places to eat, drink, and shop!

Here are some fun things to do in Astoria, Oregon:

  • Check out some local history. Visit the Astoria Column, a 125-foot monument with amazing views over the city. The monument remembers the original explorers of the city. Then, go for a ride on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley to learn more about the city’s history and enjoy sightseeing from this historic trolley.
Astoria Oregon Sunset
Astoria Oregon Sunset
  • Visit an old shipwreck! The Wreck of Peter Iredale, which ran ashore in 1906, still exists today at Fort Stevens State Park. It’s a pretty cool place to check out, explore, and take some photos of.
  • Explore Duane Street. This section of Astoria is a few blocks away from the main street area, but is lively and has lots to see and do. The architecture is amazing and there are some great breweries, restaurants, and shops.

Cannon Beach

Visit Cannon Beach if you love long, expansive beaches, cute shops, views for days, and a spot on the Oregon Coast that’s fairly accessible from Portland. Or, if you just want to see what the fuss is about!

Cannon Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Oregon Coast, and perhaps the most famous destination in the state! There are so many amazing things to do in Cannon Beach.

The distance from Portland to Cannon Beach is just 80 miles, so a lot of people will even head out for a day trip from the city. I recommend including it in your Oregon Coast road trip, though, and trying to stay a few days.

If you don’t want to stay right in Cannon Beach – or maybe you’re having a hard time booking accommodations during high tourist season – consider staying in nearby Seaside.

Oregon Coast Cannon Beach
Oregon Coast Cannon Beach

Seaside is just 8.8 miles away from Cannon Beach and offers a great alternative place to stay and visit! If you don’t want to stay in a hotel or Airbnb, Seaside Oregon camping is also a possibility!

Here are some of the top things to do in Cannon Beach:

  • Practice photography at Haystack Rock. This iconic feature of Cannon Beach cannot be missed! It’s probably the top tourist attraction in Oregon and frequents many postcards and Instagram feeds. As soon as you head down to the beach you will see this 235-foot rock rising up out of the water. It’s actually a protected wildlife site so you can check out the different animals who live there. Haystack Rock also makes for epic photos! 
Oregon Coast Cannon Beach Sunset
  • Have a beach bonfire and watch the sunset. Bonfires are allowed on the beach here, so get some supplies from town and set one up to relax and make some s’mores.
  • Go shopping! There are tons of cute shops and boutiques in Cannon Beach, so take some time wandering around and exploring the shops and galleries.

Manzanita

Visit Manzanita if you love both the beach and the forest!

While Manzanita is a quaint little beach town along the Oregon Coast, it’s located at the base of the Neahkahnie Mountain. There are beautiful mountain views from town and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring. 

Manzanita Landscape

Here are some of the top things to do in Manzanita:

  • Go hiking: Manzanita is located between two state parks – Neahkanie Mountain and Nehalem Bay. These locations offer a bunch of hiking options. There is a popular five-mile loop at Nehalem Bay State Park or the more challenging option of Neahkanie Mountain (3 miles and 1,680 feet). 
  • Head to the Spa. If you need a little R&R when visiting Manzanita, head over to Spa Manzanita and get a massage. They offer a variety of services, including some packages like the “Perfect Beach Day” which includes a massage and facial.
  • Go Golfing at the Manzanita Golf Course. It is a beautiful course with easy walking, so perfect for beginner golfers to learn and enjoy.

Rockaway Beach

Visit Rockaway Beach if you love small, quiet towns with few tourists. It’s a great place for some peace and quiet to rest and relax.

I stayed in Rockaway Beach on my last Oregon Coast road trip, so I’m a little biased when I say it’s one of the best places to stay on the Oregon Coast! What I loved about Rockaway Beach was that it was a small town and pretty quiet, so a perfect spot to rest and relax.

Here are some of the things to do in Rockaway Beach:

  • The beach here is long and expansive. It’s a great place for long walks (or runs) to catch up with a friend, listen to a podcast, or just take in the sound of the waves on the beach.
Rockaway beach Oregon misty day
  • Visit Tillamook! Yes, the cheese place! Tillamook is just 15 miles from Rockaway, so it’s perfect for an afternoon adventure. At the Tillamook Creamery, you can go for a tour and learn all about how cheese is made. But then… you get to try it! There are tons of samples to try, so eat your fill. You can also pick up some delicious ice cream, too!
  • Visit the Tillamook Forest Center. This is a spot where you can immerse yourself in the stunning forest and learn more about the area. There is an emphasis on education about forest fires and has 40-foot tall lookout tower replicas that can be climbed. Admission to the forest center is free, as are all educational programs. 

Pacific City

Cape Meares
Cape Meares

Visit Pacific City if you’re looking for all-things beachy. Sandy, surf, and sun!

Pacific City is located at the edge of the Three Capes Scenic Drive, so you know there are some good views! The three capes are Cape Kiwanda, Cape Meares, and Cape Lookout. Taking a drive through this scenic loop is one of the best things to do while visiting Pacific City! It actually starts in Tillamook, which is nearby and takes 40km to complete the loop.

Cape Kiwanda
Cape Kiwanda

Here are some of the best things to do in Pacific City:

  • Go surfing! This is probably the most popular activity in Pacific City. So, if you’re up for it, rent a board in town and hit the waves! You can also find some lessons if you are a beginner. 
  • Climb the Great Dune. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a big, great, sand dune right off the main beach in Pacific City. You can climb right to the top and get some amazing views out over the city and ocean.
  • Get some beers at Pelican Brewing Company. This popular brewery is located right on the beach in Pacific City. Can there be anything better than beers with beach views?
Cape Kiwanda
Cape Kiwanda beach

Depoe Bay

Visit Depoe Bay if you like rugged coastlines and want to go whale watching!

Depoe Bay is known as the “whale watching capital of Oregon,” as it is home to a resident pod of gray whales. These whales are offshore from Depoe Bay from March to December, so you can likely spot them during most times of the year! 

Besides whale watching, the town is also worth exploring, with some great seafood restaurants to try out. 

Depoe Bay Oregon

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

  • Whale watching! You might be able to spot some whales from the Whale Watching Center or you can join a tour. Tours will take you closer to where the whale pod is and give you an up-close look. There are a number of tour operators in town to book with.
  • Visit Devil’s punchbowl, a unique formation created by erosion. This area lies along Highway 101, turn off at Otter Crest Loop (there is a well-marked sign). Devil’s punchbowl should be visited at low tides where there are some amazing tidal pools to check out.
Depoe Bay Sea Lions
  • Eat some foraged food at Restaurant Beck. If you’re looking for a truly local experience, you can try Restaurant Beck, which uses foraged ingredients in addition to local farm ingredients. 

Newport

Visit Newport if you enjoy checking out busy harbors or fishing ports and love to eat some seafood!

Newport is a beautiful town located on the Oregon Coast and sits in Yaquina Bay, which is a large bay and active waterfront. There are large commercial fishing boats in this area, also making Newport a great place to eat some seafood! 

The town of Newport has a quaint commercial area with shops, galleries, and restaurants. There are also two lighthouses in town to visit and enjoy the spectacular scenery. 

Yaquina Lighthouse
Yaquina Lighthouse

Here are some of the best things to do in Newport:

  • Eat some chowder at famous Mo’s Seafood. This popular chain started in Newport back in 1946 and is the perfect spot to try some seafood.
  • Take a stroll on the jetty. There is a jetty in Newport along the north and south sides of the river, a great spot to take in the views and perhaps see some sea lions!
  • Visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is just outside of town. Spend some time in this picturesque place, perhaps with a picnic lunch!

Waldport

Visit Waldport if you love friendly coastal towns and enjoy bike riding (rentals are free!).

Waldport is an awesome town for outdoor recreation. It’s nestled between the Ocean and the nearby Siuslaw National Forest, so you can go from beach to trail in a day. 

Thor's well Waldport

Here are some of the best things to do in Waldport:

  • Go biking. The Green Bike Co-Op was founded in 2006 in order to provide bikes to anyone in the community to use at no charge. The co-op is located on Highway 101 in Waldorf and is open to provide bikes as well as a self-repair center for any tune-ups! Head on over there, borrow a bike, and explore Waldorf on two wheels!
  • Visit the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center. This spot was constructed by the Department of Transportation and is now operated by the Recreation Department. The main draw is the clamming and crabbing demonstrations that are held through the summer months. It’s a great, family-friendly activity!
  • Have a beach day at Driftwood Beach State Wayside. This is a flat, sandy beach that is perfect for picnics, beachcombing, and long walks on the beach.

Florence

Visit Florence if you like quaint towns and want to explore the sand dunes (sandboarding anyone?)

Florence is located on the central Oregon Coast where the Siuslaw River meets the ocean. It’s also set on a backdrop of miles and miles of sand dunes. Because of this location, it’s the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts! 

Here are some of the top things to do in Florence:

  • Make some friends at the Sea Lion Caves. If you like wildlife, make a stop at the Sea Lion Caves, which is a privately-owned wildlife sanctuary. It’s located just a 15-minute drive from Florence and has been open to the public since 1932. In this natural cave, where sea lions come and go. During the winter, especially, you can typically see hundreds of them! The entrance to the caves is $14 USD.
  • Go for a sandboarding or sand dune buggying adventure! Because of the sand dunes in and around Florence, it’s the perfect spot for some adrenaline-pumping activities. There are lots of tour operators in town who can take you out on a sand dune buggy, whipping up and down the dunes like a roller coaster. Or, try your hand at sandboarding… it’s like snowboarding, but on the sand! You can also use the board like a toboggan – so fun!
Oregon Coast Florence
  • Explore the old town, which has some quaint shops and an old-timey charm. There are tons of galleries, boutique shops, and antique stores
  • Visit Heceta Head Lighthouse. This 56-foot tall lighthouse is one of the most photographed spots on the Oregon Coast. The charming lighthouse was built in 1892 and is accessible by a short mile-long walk. Grab your camera and enjoy the views of the lighthouse, looking out over the ocean!

Coos Bay

Visit Coos Bay if you’re looking for some outdoor adventuring!

Coos Bay, and the nearby towns of North Bend and Charleston, are called “Oregon’s Adventure Coast.” The reason for the title is the location along a coastal bay and surrounded by forests. It’s an especially great place to enjoy the sand dunes. 

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

  • Go ATVing on the sand dunes! This is a sure-fire way to get your adrenaline going!
  • Try fat biking. This is a new trend that’s gaining popularity. Fat bikes are like regular ones, but the tires are much thicker and allow you to travel over different terrains, like sand! So, rent one in town and then explore the long sandy beaches.
  • Eat crabs. Coos Bay is a popular crabbing destination, so you will be able to try crabbing yourself, pick up some fresh crab to cook, or eat it at any of the local restaurants!
  • Explore the beaches by paddleboarding or surfing. There are three state parks near Coos Bay (Sunset Beach, Cape Arago, and Shore Acres), so get out on the water with one of these popular sports. 
Coos Bay sunset
Coos Bay Sunset

Bandon

Visit Bandon if you like quirky small towns with interesting art and amazing seafood. 

Bandon is a quintessential beach town, with beautiful ocean and beach views, picturesque lighthouses, and a quaint town to explore. It has a thriving art scene, so spend some time visiting the unique exhibitions and galleries. 

Oregon Coast Bandon
Oregon Coast Bandon

Here are some of the best things to do in Bandon: 

  • Visit the Washed Ashore gallery. With a mission to create art to save the sea, this gallery houses unique art pieces and sculptures made from garbage and trash. Not only is it fascinating to see the creativity, but you are supporting a good cause that promotes environmentalism and reducing consumption. 
  • Check out the Circles in the Sand. This is another Bandon-original art exhibit. The circles are drawn every day in the sand, creating a labyrinth or maze for visitors to walk through. 
  • Stuff your face at the Bandon Fish Market. When in Bandon, you have to try some amazing seafood. At the fish market, there are fish and chips, chowders, and fresh fish. 

Port Orford

Visit Port Orford for bragging rights of visiting the USA’s most westerly city!

Port Orford is not only the westernmost city in the US, but it is also the oldest town in Oregon! Therefore, it’s got some interesting history and culture to learn about. There are also a number of fun outdoor activities, particularly biking and wind sailing.

Port Orford Beach Oregon

Here are some of the best things to do in Port Orford:

  • Bike along the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway. This 61-mile length bike route is moderate difficulty, but well worth the effort for amazing, scenic views all the way along.
  • Visit Cape Blanco Lighthouse. This scenic spot is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in Oregon! It’s a great spot to snap some pictures and enjoy the scenery.
  • Try windsurfing or kitesurfing. The conditions in Port Orford can be windy, which is perfect for these sports! If you’ve never done it before, consider taking some lessons before heading out. 
Port Orford Oregon at Sunset
Port Orford

Gold Beach

Visit Gold Beach if you love the beach and want to go on some outdoor adventures!

Gold Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in southern Oregon. There are miles of sandy beaches to explore, with great outdoor recreation opportunities on the Rogue River or in the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor.

Here are the best things to do in Gold Beach:

  • Explore the Rogue River by boat. Different companies offer a variety of tours that will take you on a thrilling ride up and down the Rogue River. You can choose from whitewater tours for a bit of adventure or the historic mail route, which brings you into a piece of history, following the historic route where boats delivering mail to the community traveled. 
Rafting Camp in Rogue River Oregon
  • Hike Otter Point. This recreation area has a number of excellent hiking trails up along the bluffs that overlook the ocean.
  • Explore the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. This scenic spot was named after the Spanish saint, Saint Sebastian, after an explorer discovered it in 1603. This is a great place to visit in Oregon if you don’t necessarily want to hike to see some panoramic views. The parking lot and viewpoint are located 200ft above sea level, so you can take in the scenery with ease. If you do like hiking, there are options in the area through the nearby forest.

Brookings

Visit Brookings if you’re looking for dramatic scenery, warm weather, and an entry point to California.

As the southernmost point of the Oregon Coast, Brookings has warmer weather than other spots and enjoys some absolutely stunning scenery to explore. There are spots like Harris Beach State Park with amazing tidal pools at low tide. 

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Here are some of the best things to do in Brookings:

  • Visit the Oregon Redwoods in Loeb State Park. You can walk the mile-long loop of the Redwood Nature Trail and marvel at the huge Redwood trees, some up to 250-feet tall or 10 feet in diameter.
  • Explore the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. It’s hard to believe Oregon can be any more beautiful, but this scenic corridor might take the top spot! It’s 12 miles of rugged coastlines with small beaches interspersed throughout. There are some pretty old trees in this area, with 300-year old Sitka spruce trees.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor beach
  • Go golfing at the Salmon Run Golf Course. This course is a great spot for all skill levels. It’s a fun place to spend the afternoon golfing and admiring the beautiful surroundings.

Oregon Coast Road Trip Itineraries

We’ve just gone through some of the top destinations in Oregon – all the must-see spots! This is just the tip of the iceberg but gives you a starting point for planning your trip.

Now, if you’re ready to do something truly epic, why not embark on the full road trip and hit every single spot? Driving the Oregon Coast along Highway 101 is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, if you choose to go through the full list, from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south, this is how it will break down in terms of driving:

  • Leg 1: Astoria to Cannon Beach; Distance: 25.5 miles, Drive time: Approximately 43 minutes
  • Leg 2: Cannon Beach to Rockaway Beach; Distance: 25.9 miles, Drive time: Approximately 37 minutes
  • Leg 3: Rockaway Beach to Pacific City; Distance: 39.5 miles, Drive time: Approximately 55 minutes
  • Leg 4: Pacific Beach to Depoe Bay; Distance: 34.1 miles, Drive time: Approximately 50 minutes
  • Leg 5: Depoe Bay to Newport; Distance: 12.7 miles, Drive time: Approximately 19 minutes
  • Leg 6: Newport to Waldport; Distance: 15.7 miles, Drive time: Approximately 23 minutes
  • Leg 7: Waldport to Florence; Distance: 33.8 miles, Drive time: Approximately 47 minutes
  • Leg 8: Florence to Coos Bay; Distance: 49 miles, Drive time: Approximately one hour
  • Leg 8: Coos Bay to Bandon; Distance: 23.9 miles, Drive time: Approximately 29 minutes
  • Leg 9: Bandon to Port Orford; Distance: 26.9 miles, Drive time: Approximately 31 minutes
  • Leg 10: Port Orford to Gold Beach; Distance: 28.2 miles, Drive time: Approximately 34 minutes
  • Leg 11: Gold Beach to Brookings; Distance: 28.1 miles, Drive time: Approximately 33 minutes

Total Distance: 336 miles

Total Drive Time: 7 hours and 24 minutes

So, how many days does it take to drive the Oregon Coast?

Well, it depends. If you plan on visiting all these stops on this list, there are a few ways to do it:

  1. Stay overnight at each destination. This would require a minimum of 12 days (11 nights, one in each stop) plus an additional travel day back to the beginning of the route.
  2. Stay for 1-3 nights at each destination. This would increase the trip to around 18-24 days, or 2-3 weeks. This would be a great way to really dig into the Oregon Coast and explore it in depth. 
  3. Stay overnight in half of the destinations and travel for about six days. 
  4. Stay overnight somewhere just once and have an epic-two day drive up and down the coast!

Because the driving distance and length are not very far and there are a lot of stops along the way, planning a road trip on the Oregon Coast is very flexible. It’s possible to do it in as little as two days or stretch it out all the way to a few weeks. 

Cape Kiwanda Sunset

Oregon North coast itinerary

A lot of people traveling to Oregon will spend some time in Portland. To combine your Portland trip with an Oregon Coast road trip, consider a condensed North coast itinerary: Portland > Cannon Beach > Rockaway Beach > Pacific City > Portland.

Leg 1: Portland > Cannon Beach – 79 miles along Highway US-26 West for about 1.5 hours

Leg 2: Cannon Beach > Rockaway Beach – 25.9 miles along Highway 101 South for 38 minutes

Leg 3: Rockaway Beach > Pacific City – 39.5 miles along Highway 101 South for 56 minutes

Leg 4: Pacific City > Portland – 96 miles along Highway 101 North and US-26 East for almost two hours

This itinerary could easily be done in just a couple of days, perhaps for a long weekend or short getaway. You’ll see some of the best of the North coast in a simple road trip from Portland. 

Oregon Coast Rough Sea

Oregon Central coast itinerary

Another short itinerary is on the central coast, as a roundtrip from Eugene, Oregon. Since a lot of people traveling in Oregon may spend time in Eugene, this itinerary is accessible and easy to leave from the large city. The route is Eugene > Newport > Waldport > Florence > Eugene. 

Leg 1: Eugene > Newport – 95.5 miles along I-5 North and OR-34 East for nearly two hours

Leg 2: Newport > Waldport – 15.7 miles along Highway 101 South for about 23 minutes

Leg 3: Waldport > Florence – 33.8 miles along Highway 101 South for about 47 minutes

Leg 4: Florence > Eugene – 61 miles along OR-126 East for about 1.25 hours

This is a great 2-4 day road trip from Eugene, Oregon to see some of the best spots on the central Oregon coast. 

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Oregon Coast Itinerary Practical Tips

Planing a road trip can take some work! You want to make sure you have everything you need to make the trip smooth and enjoyable. Here are some of the top practical tips when planning your Oregon Coast road trip.

  • Buy an Oregon State Park Pass in advance. Since you’ll be visiting or passing through a number of state parks on your Oregon road trip, it’s a great idea to get one of these in advance. The pass is just $30 and provides free parking for a full year in all 25 state parks. This is a much simpler option than worrying about fees when you arrive at the park. Just put the pass on your windshield and you’re ready to go!
  • Dress for the weather. Weather on the Oregon Coast can change quickly, from warm and sunny to cool, windy, and even stormy. So, be prepared for all types of weather and dress in layers! If you plan on doing anything outdoorsy (as you should!) bring some good hiking shoes, a rain jacket, and a warm layer as well.
  • Bring a camera and binoculars. There is so much beauty to see along the Oregon Coast. You will not only be snapping pictures everywhere you go, but it’s likely that you’ll want some binoculars to see some of the animals, birds, and other wildlife too!
  • Drive safe. This is obvious, but it’s really important to go on a long road trip with road safety in mind. Highway 101 is gorgeous and scenic, but it can be windy and curvy, making it challenging to drive. Plan ahead to break up the drive, stick to the daytime, or trade-off drivers so that you are staying safe.
  • Bring a paper map. There might be some spots along Highway 101 that don’t have great reception, so a paper map can really help out in a pinch!
  • Check the rules before you go. Some beaches allow you to actually drive directly on the beach (if you have a camper or RV), whereas some don’t. The same thing for beach bonfires; some beaches allow it, but others do not. So, check online sources or read signs in the area so you know the rules before you go!
Oregon Coast Bandon
  • Make an epic road trip playlist. What is a road trip without the tunes? Plan something in advance so you have it ready to go. The same goes for snacks… gotta plan those in advance and have them handy for the drive!
  • Try something new! One of the best parts about going on a trip to a new place is trying something different. Because of the varied landscape along the Oregon Coast, there are so many different adventures to be had. Try surfing, windsurfing, or fat biking. Or, if you want something less athletic, why not go crabbing or whale watching? There are so many fun things to try, so take advantage and push yourself and do something new.
  • There are a lot of options for places to stay on the Oregon Coast. Some people will choose to road trip with a camper van or bring tents to stay in campgrounds along the way. Or, you can check out Airbnb and VRBO for local options and get a sense of “real-life” Oregon by staying in homes and vacation rentals. Then, of course, there are small boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts in all the coastal Oregon towns. Take some time to consider what kind of road trip you want to take and then plan accordingly for where to stay.
  • Plan your trip… kind of. It’s definitely useful to have a plan or itinerary of your trip (that’s what this post is all about, after all!), but it’s also good to be open to random stops. As you drive along Highway 101, there are so many pull-outs, viewpoints, and attractions along the way. Be flexible and stop where you want! You never know what you might find that’s a little off the beaten track.

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Oregon Coast itinerary FAQ

How many days does it take to drive the Oregon Coast?

If you are driving straight down Highway 101 along the Oregon coastline, it will take about eight hours to drive the 336 miles. This would be an enjoyable scenic drive, but most people will plan to stop along the way!

If you want to extend the drive and stay overnight in a few spots, budget 1-2 days for every place you want to stay. This way, you can easily spend between 4-5 days or up to 3 weeks driving and exploring the Oregon Coast. 


What is the best month to visit the Oregon Coast?

The best month to visit the Oregon Coast depends on a few factors, including weather, activities you want to do, and how busy the season is. 

During the summer months, the weather is warm and sunny, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or kayaking. A lot of people would consider Spring and Fall the best seasons to visit.

They are the shoulder seasons and are not as busy as the summer, but the weather is fairly nice! Prices are also lower during these shoulder seasons, so you can get a good deal at hotels or for activities.

The winter months from November to February have been referred to as the “secret season” and are an excellent time to visit the Oregon Coast! Prices are low, there aren’t many tourists, and you can enjoy some dark and stormy weather – hopefully, curled up with a hot drink and blanket!

Otter Crest Loop
Otter Crest Loop – Oregon Coast Road trip Itinerary

Which part of Oregon Coast is the best?

As someone who visited the Oregon Coast a few times, I can easily say every part of the Oregon Coast is the best! But in all seriousness, the answer to this question depends on what you are looking for. 

The northern section of the coast is closest to Washington State and Portland, both popular starting destinations to explore the coast. The southern area of the coast is closer to California, so it’s the better section if you are starting there. 

Another determining factor for the best part of the Oregon Coast is the weather. It is generally warmer in the south and cooler in the north. Finally, your favorite town will also determine which part of the Oregon Coast is the best.


What is the safest coastal town in Oregon?

In general, coastal towns in Oregon are safe to visit. Because they are small, they don’t have the same level of crime and illegal activity that exists in large cities. 

Oregon is an interesting state because it is very different than most states with a big contrast between violent and property crime. Violent crime, on a whole, is very low in Oregon, and yet the property crime rate is high compared to other states. 

As a visitor on an Oregon road trip, property crime does not pose much of a threat. Visitors can safely walk around town and go about activities knowing they are in a safe area. That being said, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and belongings when visiting a new place.

Cannon Beach Oregon
Cannon Beach

What is the best beach town in Oregon?

Determining the best beach town in Oregon is difficult because everyone will have a different opinion! That said, the most popular town on the coast is Cannon Beach, followed closely by Newport and Pacific City

I also think Rockaway Beach deserves a run at the title of “best beach town in Oregon,” although it’s not as popular as other spots. It’s quiet and peaceful – the best beach town in Oregon to relax, in my opinion.


What is the most affordable beach town in Oregon?

When it comes to visiting a town as a tourist, affordability is often tied to the popularity of that location. So, smaller towns on the Oregon coast like Coos Bay, Bandon, or Rockaway Beach offer great value and are some of the most affordable beach towns in Oregon. 

Popular destinations like Cannon Beach or Pacific City are bound to be more expensive as both a visitor and a resident.


Is it worth going to Cannon Beach?

Yes, Cannon Beach is worth going to! It’s famous for a reason, after all! The beach itself is beautiful, and the famous Haystack Rock is simply iconic. The town is quaint and has tons of cute places to stay, eat, drink, and shop. 

There are certainly more tourists in Cannon Beach than in other coastal towns in Oregon, which can also make it more expensive. So, if you really don’t like that, it might not be the place for you. I personally don’t find it too busy, though, and have enjoyed visiting Cannon Beach a number of times!


Is Seaside or Cannon Beach better?

Seaside and Cannon Beach are two towns on the Oregon Coast, just 8.8 miles away from each other. They both have excellent beaches and quaint towns to explore. Since they are so close together, most people will choose one to stay in for a few nights. 

So, is Seaside or Cannon Beach better? As always, it depends. Overall, Cannon Beach is more popular, but some people will say it’s overrated. Seaside is known for its promenade along the beach and as a family-friendly destination.

These two destinations are so close together, though, so why not go to both and decide for yourself!


Can you swim in Oregon beaches?

The short answer here is yes, you can swim on Oregon beaches. The longer answer is that you might not want to! The Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast can be very, very cold. The ocean can be icy cold even during the summer months. Some people will rent wetsuits, especially if they plan on going surfing. 

Another reason to be wary of swimming in Oregon is because of the rough waters and undercurrents. The coastline can be pretty rough with changeable weather patterns, so the waters can be dangerous to swim in. 


Which is better, Seaside or Astoria?

Seaside and Astoria are towns located almost 17 miles apart. Astoria sits at the northernmost tip of Oregon, just across the state border with Washington. It is known for its rich culture and historic sites. Seaside is a quaint beach town, perfect for relaxing and fun beach days! Both are great towns and worth a visit. 


Can you swim in Coos Bay?

Coos Bay is a popular beach town to visit in Oregon. Hotspots include Cape Arago State Park and Sunset Bay State Park. The latter is a protected bay with calm waters, ideal for boating and paddling. Like anywhere in Oregon, you can technically swim in the ocean, but it can be very cold. 


About the Author

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Alyssa is a freelance writer with her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies degree. Alyssa is passionate about travel and has been to over 20 countries – and counting! Living in Vancouver, Canada, she loves to take advantage of the mountains and ocean by getting outdoors as much as possible. When she’s not writing, Alyssa is probably walking by the river, caring for her many houseplants, or grabbing a coffee with a friend. You can keep up with her on her personal blog.