Oregon Coast Road Trip: Best Attractions Along Hwy 101

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Highway 101 is a beautiful, winding highway that leads you through quaint coastal towns and past spectacular views on the Oregon Coast. Believe it or not, the attractions along the way are almost as captivating as the drive itself! If you’re looking for the best beaches in Oregon, and other awesome places to visit in the Beaver State, take a trip this weekend to the Oregon Coast and you will not be disappointed. Whether you love to ride buggies on the dunes, go crabbing, or just want to relax on the ocean, the Oregon Coast has something for everyone.

You can start at the top, bottom, middle, you choose. Heck, only go to one, or three, or all 10 places on the list! But if you do, you better tell us about it in the comments.

11. Crescent Beach

10. Astoria

Linda Tanner | Flickr
Linda Tanner | Flickr

When people think of Astoria they generally think of that massive bridge connecting the two states of Oregon and Washington, but there is so much more to this little Oregon coastal town than that!

If you want the best beer battered fish-n-chips on the West Coast then you’ll have to stop at BowPicker on your way through town. It’s the only restaurant shaped like a boat, and there is generally a long line all the way out to the street.

9. Indian Beach, Ecola Park

Loren Kerns | Flickr
Loren Kerns | Flickr

Stop here for a beautiful relaxing stroll through the trees. The timber traces the ridgeline that plunges down into the ocean, and opens up for spectacular views!

8. Rockaway Beach

Luke Jones | Flickr
Luke Jones | Flickr

This slumbery little town used to be the hot spot for vacationers back when the well-to-do still had to “cross the cascades” to get to their summer home on the coast.

7. Cape Argo | Coos Bay

 

Just off the Coast Highway southwest of Coos Bay, you will come across three incredible State Parks on Cape Argo: Sunset Bay, Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks. The viewpoints here are out of this world, the walking paths are easy, and you can even see some seals and sea lions from Simpson Reef. The Cape Arago Lighthouse is also another sight you don’t want to miss here. You will find plenty of hiking trails connecting the three parks.

 

6. Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City

Thomas Shahan | Flickr
Thomas Shahan | Flickr
Thomas Shahan | Flickr
Thomas Shahan | Flickr

Cape Kiwanda is a DO NOT MISS on your trip up or down the coast. Cape Kiwanda is the smallest of the Three Capes Scenic Route, which includes Cape Meares and Cape Lookout. It’s a beautiful experience of the many coastal shapes and forms. Some of the cliffside areas of the park are fenced off for a reason! There are incredible views from the established viewpoints, but beyond these fences the sandstone cliff edge can crumble without warning. Since 2009, seven people have lost their lives falling into the ocean and onto the rocks.

5. Florence

Stephanie Sarles | Flickr
Stephanie Sarles | Flickr

You won’t regret stopping by Florence on your trip along the coast. A cool attraction to do while you’re there is dropping deep into the largest sea cave in North America. You get to the bottom and can see all the sea lions barking. Florence, like other awesome little coast towns in Oregon has all sorts of fun little shops to stop in, and great places to eat.

icm restaurant
ICM Restaurant in Florence

One of the most popular restaurants to eat on the Oregon Coast is Mo’s, but also be sure to checkout ICM which is next door and also has great food. Last two times I went to ICM I got their tasty fish and chips for only $10. It’s also worth mentioning the service was top notch, as our waiter took very good care of us.

4. Newport

Ben Grewell | Flickr
Ben Grewell | Flickr

Newport is a great town for family vacations, and is known to have some of the best beaches in Oregon. You’ll be greeted with a friendly, educational atmosphere along with plenty of fun activities for all ages, and tons of shoreline to explore. If you ever get a chance to visit Newport on the 4th of July, you’ll will be in for a breathtaking show over the waterfront.

 

3. Yachats and Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua Yelp
Cape Perpetua Yelp
Luke Jones | Flickr
Luke Jones | Flickr

I advise visiting Thor’s Well; it’s a really cool experience for people who’ve only ever seen the ocean rolling up on beaches. Make sure you have enough time to explore for a good chunk of the day, you won’t want to miss low tide for the tide pools, or the high tide for the blowhole!

2. Bandon Dunes

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Ryan Healy | Flickr

The rolling dunes backed by the blue sky and ocean waves make the Bandon Dunes a beautiful spot for photographers to test their landscape photography and golfers to hone their craft!

1. Coos Bay and the famous gardens of Shore Acres

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Jasperdo | Flickr
Jasperdo | Flickr
Jasperdo | Flickr

As you can see in the picture above, Shore Acres State Park stretches out along the edge of the cliffs offering its visitors dramatic views of the Pacific and beautiful scenery throughout the garden. The Shore Acres Garden is a wonderful place to take friends and family who’ve never visited southern Oregon before. The colors and views are spectacular.

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