6 Cool Oregon Coast Towns To Check Out That Make For An Unforgettable Escape

coos bay oregon
Beautiful capture of Coos Bay, Oregon at night, 2021 (Wayne Hsieh / Flickr)

The Oregon coast, with its serene beaches and charming coastal towns, offers an unparalleled escape. For those planning an Oregon coast road trip or simply looking for a refreshing getaway, this guide covers six must-visit beach cities in Oregon. Discover the unique allure of Lincoln City, Gold Beach, Coos Bay, Rockaway Beach, Depoe Bay, and Seaside.

Lincoln City - A Gem On The Central Oregon Coast

Massive Whale kites and many smaller colorful kites being flown on the beach at Lincoln City.
Photo via the Lincoln City Facebook page.

Lincoln City, sitting between Tillamook and Newport, isn't just a beach town; it's a hub of activity and natural beauty. Recently voted as one of the best beaches in the U.S., it’s a destination where picturesque beaches, stunning sunsets, and outdoor adventures await.

Things To Do In Lincoln City

The grassy knoll known as God's Thumb high above the ocean.  There's a well worn path through the grass to the top.
God's Thumb in Lincoln City (photo by m00npixx / Flickr)

Outdoor Activities And Stunning Coastal Beauty

Hike Cascade Head Oregon Coast
Cascade Head. Photo by Jeremiah Leslie via Flickr CC2.

Lincoln City boasts a plethora of activities. From aerial adventures, to hiking trails like Cascade Head, God's Thumb and the stunning Drift Creek Falls, nature lovers are in for a treat.

The aerial park at Salishan Coastal Lodge.

The city's beaches are perfect for kite flying, and the annual Kite Festival is a vibrant, colorful event that attracts visitors from all over the Pacific Northwest.

Lincoln City Cultural Experiences

The Lincoln City Cultural Center, established in 1992, offers an array of artistic activities. Housed in the historic DeLake School, the center is a community hub for art, dance, music, and theater, enriching the cultural life of the town.

Shopping And Dining In Lincoln City

Siletz bay and the city after dark.
Siletz Bay on the South end of Lincoln City after dark. Photo by Dennis D via Flickr CC2.

No visit to Lincoln City is complete without a trip to the Lincoln City Outlets. With a variety of stores offering discounted prices, and cool coastal gear (seriously, you have to check out Scout Northwest), this cool coastal town is a shopper's paradise. Don't forget, there are sections of Highway 101 perfect for walking and exploring the many unique kite shops, antique stores and little candy shops full of homemade saltwater taffy and fudge! For dining, the city offers a wide range of options from the casual J's Fish and Chips to the upscale Bay House at Salishan.

Unique Attractions To Check Out In Lincoln City, Oregon

Glass Floats on the beach at sunset.  There's a red float and a blue float.
Nearly 3,000 colorful glass floats are hidden every year along seven miles of the Oregon Coast, between Roads End and Siletz Bay, as part of the Finders Keepers treasure hunt. (Photo courtesy of the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau)

Lincoln City is known for its glass art, and the Lincoln City Glass Center allows visitors to blow their own glass pieces. The Finders Keepers treasure hunt, where handcrafted glass floats are hidden along the beach, adds a touch of magic to the coastal experience, and new floats are dropped along the Lincoln City beach areas all the time!

Where To Stay

The outside of Salishan Coastal Lodge at night, with warm lights spilling out the windows.  The building has wooden siding and looks very nice.
Salishan Oregon Resort. This is one of our favorite places to stay on the coast. Going to Salishan Coastal Lodge is like going home.

For those looking to stay in Lincoln City, Devil’s Lake Campground offers a picturesque setting close to downtown Lincoln City and within walking distance to the beach.

Devil's Lake in Lincoln City, Oregon at sunset.
Devil's Lake In Lincoln City Oregon at sunset. Photo by Subsurface87 via Flickr CC2.

For a charming and leisurely resort, check out Salishan Coastal Lodge, which is one of our favorite spots to spend a weekend relaxing.

Gold Beach - The Coastal Jewel Of The Oregon Coast

gold beach oregon

Gold Beach, located at the meeting point of the Pacific Ocean and the Rogue River, offers a blend of history, pretty landscapes, and adventure. Known for its temperate climate and old-world charm, it's one of the best Oregon coastal towns for a relaxing getaway.

Things To Do In Gold Beach

MAY 31, GOLD BEACH, OR, USA - Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge, also known as the Rogue River Bridge Gold Beach, Oregon

Oregon Coastal Town Outdoor Adventures

Gold Beach is an adventurer's paradise. From hiking trails like the Oregon Coastal Trail and the Cape Sebastian Trail, to paddle sports on Meyers Creek there's something for everyone here.

Local Restaurants In Our Favorite Little Coastal Town

When it comes to food, this is one of those beach towns that doesn't disappoint. Barnacle Bistro offers fresh, locally-sourced seafood, while Gold Beach BBQ and Port Hole Cafe are local favorites for a casual meal.

Shopping And More

The outside of Gold Beach Books.

Gold Beach Books, with its vast collection of books, is a haven for book lovers. For those visiting during the holiday season, The Christmas Shoppe offers a wide selection of festive décor and gifts.

Coos Bay - The Heart Of The Oregon Coast

The Welcome To Coos Bay Sign on a rainy day.  It's surrounded by other road signs.
Welcome To Coos Bay Sign. Photo by Oregon Department Of Transportation via Flickr CC2.

Coos Bay, the largest city on the Oregon coast, is rich in history and natural beauty. From the bustling downtown to serene beaches, there's much to explore in this charming coastal town.

Things To Do In Coos Bay, Oregon

Exploring The Great Outdoors In Coos Bay

Coos Bay offers numerous parks and trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park provide stunning views and a chance to connect with nature.

Shore Acres State Park
Massive waves at Shore Acres State Park / via Danielle Denham @thepdxphotographer

Shore Acres State Park, perched on the majestic sandstone cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, is a testament to the diverse beauty of the Oregon coast. Once the grand estate of timber baron Louis J. Simpson, the park is renowned for its meticulously curated gardens that bloom year-round, featuring a dazzling array of plants and flowers from across the globe.

Visitors are drawn to the Japanese-style garden with its tranquil lily pond and the vibrant rose gardens, ensuring a splendid floral display in every season. Beyond the garden's cultivated elegance, a trail leads adventurers to Simpson Beach, a secluded cove offering intimate encounters with the ocean's raw power.

tide pools oregon coast
Shore Acres State Park / Image via / Danielle Denham / thePDXphotographer

Another path skirts the cliff edge, presenting awe-inspiring views of the tumultuous seas, especially during stormy weather, and the chance to spot migrating whales from December through June. Whether you're seeking the refined beauty of expertly landscaped gardens or the untamed allure of the Oregon coastline, Shore Acres State Park is a destination that captures the heart of the Pacific Northwest's natural splendor.

Cape Arago State Park
The Cape Arago Lighthouse on an island in the Pacific Ocean.
The Cape Arago Lighthouse. Photo by Matt Cook.

Cape Arago State Park, situated at the scenic terminus of Cape Arago Highway and about 15 miles southwest of Coos Bay, offers a remarkable blend of history and natural splendor. This captivating headland, which has long served as a significant site for native Americans, was first observed by European explorers during Sir Francis Drake's expeditions in the late 1500s.

The Cape Arago Lighthouse with a huge wave crashing against a rock in the foreground.
Cape Arago Lighthouse. Photo by Diana Robinson via Flickr CC2.

Cape Arago State Park is a spectacular vantage point for observing a diverse array of marine life, including migrating whales, seals, and sea lions on Shell Island, a designated National Wildlife Refuge. The south cove trail leads down to a picturesque sandy beach and offers access to excellent tide pools, inviting visitors to discover the vibrant marine ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the north cove trail is ideal for fishing, beachcombing, and absorbing the breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and offshore colonies of seals and sea lions. The park’s picnic areas, equipped with tables and restrooms, provide a perfect setting for a day of exploration and relaxation amidst the raw beauty of the Oregon coast.

Culinary Delights In Coos Bay On The Oregon Coast

The red Cranberry Sweets And More Sign in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Cranberry Sweets And More Sign in Coos Bay, Oregon. Photo by Rick Obst via Flickr CC2.

Cranberry Sweets is a must-visit for those with a sweet tooth, offering unique candies and chocolates made from local ingredients.

Coos Bay Cultural Attractions

Coos Bay Boardwalk. There are American flags along the boardwalk.
Coos Bay Boardwalk. Photo by Carissa Rogers via Flickr CC2.

The Coos Bay Boardwalk is a great place to learn about the town's history and enjoy the scenic views. The Coos Art Museum, with its rotating exhibits, offers a glimpse into the artistic side of town.

Rockaway Beach - Where Tradition Meets Adventure On The Oregon Coast

Twin Rocks.  It's a huge arched rock in the ocean surf.
Twin Rocks. Photo by Thomas Shahan via Flickr CC2.

With seven miles of uninterrupted sandy beaches and lively festivals, Rockaway Beach is a blend of tradition and modern excitement. It's one of those quaint beach towns where the spirit of Oregon's coastal life is alive and well.

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach On The Oregon Coast

Rockaway beach as viewed from the balcony of a hotel above the beach.
Rockaway Beach. Photo by James Stewart via Flickr CC2.

Beach Activities And More In Rockaway Beach

From beachcombing to whale watching, Rockaway Beach offers a plethora of activities. The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad adds a touch of nostalgia, providing a unique way to explore the area.

Beachcombing Adventures In The Pacific Northwest Near Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach. There's driftwood in tall green grass, and a sandy strip of beach behind it with the Twin rocks in the background out in the ocean.
Rockaway Beach. Photo by Luke Jones via Flickr CC2.

The thrill of scouring the shoreline for hidden gems, from intricate shells to smooth, sea-polished trinkets and elusive glass floats, is unmatched. The joy of stumbling upon a unique find is unparalleled. Rockaway Beach's expansive seven-mile stretch of coastline brims with unique treasures and charming keepsakes, perfect for commemorating your visit.

Nestled along the Tillamook Coast, Manhattan Beach stands out as a prime spot for beachcombing enthusiasts. Here, the tides generously gift the sands with an ever-changing array of wonders, including distinctive driftwood, an assortment of seashells, and much-coveted agates. With each visit to Manhattan Beach offering a new and unique experience, the shoreline invites you to discover its ever-evolving secrets.

Adventure On The Northern Coast

The Three Graces near Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi at sunset. The silhouette of three rock stacks in the ocean at sunset. There's a spindly tree on top of one of the large rock stacks.
The Three Graces near Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi at sunset. Photo by Ben Brooks via Flickr CC2.

Rockaway Beach is surrounded by natural beauty, with hikes like Neahkahnie Mountain offering breathtaking views. The lakes and parks provide ample opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and simply enjoying the great outdoors on the Northern coast of Oregon.

Depoe Bay - The Whale Watching Capital Of The Entire Oregon Coast

orca on whale tour
Amber Humber / Oregon Coast Whale Watchers / Facebook

Depoe Bay is renowned for its whale watching opportunities and its status as the smallest natural navigable harbor in the world. This quaint town has unique geological features, such as the spouting horn, which adds to its charm.

Things To Do In Depoe Bay (One Of Our Favorite Oregon Coast Towns)

Depoe Bay Harbor aerial shot via Wikimedia Commons.

Pacific Northwest Whale Watching And Ocean Views In Depoe Bay

Worlds Smallest Harbor where to stay in Depoe Bay Oregon
Depoe Bay is home to the World's Smallest Harbor. Photo by Doug Kerr via Flickr CC2.

The Whale Watch Center and various charter boats offer up-close experiences with these magnificent ocean creatures. This cozy beach town has numerous observation decks which provide stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Exploring Nature In Depoe Bay

Where to stay in Depoe Bay Oregon Travel With Purpose
Entrance To The Harbor in Depoe Bay. Photo by Steve Guttman NYC via Flickr CC2.

Hot spots like the Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area offer a chance to explore the rugged beauty of the Oregon coast.

Inside Devil's punchbowl at low tide.
Devil's Punchbowl at Low Tide. Photo by Oregon Marine Reserves via Flickr CC2.

Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint is another spot not to miss, with its dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Boiler Bay Depoe Bay SCP Hotel
Boiler Bay near Depoe Bay Oregon. Photo by Kirt Edblom via Flickr CC2.

There's a lot to do and see near this Oregon coast town.

Where To Stay In Depoe Bay, Oregon

SCP Depoe Bay front counter.
SCP Depoe Bay

SCP Depoe Bay redefines coastal lodging by combining minimalistic design, wellness, and eco-consciousness, making it one of the most distinctive and forward-thinking places to stay on the Oregon coast. Embodying the ethos of Soul, Community, and Planet, this surf lodge isn't just about providing a place to stay; it's about offering a holistic experience. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in an environment that nurtures personal well-being, encourages social good, and respects the planet.

Gorgeous wood dining table at SCP Depoe Bay
SCP Depoe Bay

With its stunning views of the World's Smallest Harbor, SCP Depoe Bay is crafted from sustainable, locally sourced materials, reflecting the natural beauty of the Oregon coast. The lodge's Fair Trade Pricing program empowers guests to pay a price at checkout that reflects the quality of their stay, underscoring SCP's commitment to fairness and guest satisfaction.

The power of the ocean, Deope Bay, OR. Image via Danielle Denham / thePDXphotographer

SCP Depoe Bay stands out not only as a tranquil retreat but also as a testament to the harmonious blending of luxury, community connection, and environmental stewardship.

Seaside - The Fun Capital Of The Oregon Coast

The Seaside Oregon sign.  It's a wooden sign with red, blue, and yellow.  The sign is fun and playful, like Seaside, Oregon.
Photo by Betty Autier via Flickr CC2.

Seaside is a town that promises fun and adventure. From kite flying to bumper cars, and the Seaside Aquarium it's a place where every visit is filled with excitement and joy. If you're looking for a fun filled weekend, this is one of the best Oregon coast towns you can check out.

Things To Do In Seaside On The Oregon Coast

Seaside at sunset.  It's a view of the beach covered in water with the sunset reflecting off of the still waters.
Seaside Oregon. Photo by Marvin Bowen via Flickr CC2.

Outdoor And Indoor Fun

High Life Adventure Park at night. Photo via High Life Adventure Park Facebook.

Whether it's enjoying the scenic views on the Promenade, exploring High Life Adventure Park, kayaking the tranquil waters, or exploring the vibrant downtown, Seaside has something for everyone.

High Life Adventure Park. Photo via High Life Adventure Park Facebook.

The town's numerous parks and trails offer a chance to explore the stunning beauty of the Oregon coast.

Beach Fun In Seaside, Oregon

Seaside Roundabout And Promenade.  People walk along the beach and sit on steps leading down to the beach.  There's a hotel on the edge of the beach.
Seaside Roundabout And Promenade. Photo by A. F. Litt via Flickr CC2.

Seaside has long scenic stretches of sand to explore. Whether you'd like to take a walk by the water, fly a kite, make a sand castle, or have a picnic by the ocean, you're sure to find the perfect spot in Seaside. Painted Rock Beach and Seaside Beach, are great spots to spend the day relaxing with friends and family.

Dining And Entertainment In Seaside

The outside of Billy Mac's Bar And Grill.
Billy Mac's Bar And Grill. Photo by Aaron Johnson via Google Local.

Billy Mac's Seaside Bar and Grill is just one of the many dining options in town. With its wide variety of foods and beverages, it's a great spot to relax and enjoy coastal vibes.

With its stunning landscapes and diverse towns, the Oregon coast offers a unique experience for every visitor. Whether it's the pretty views in Lincoln City, adventure in Gold Beach, the charm of Coos Bay, the traditions of Rockaway Beach, whale watching in Depoe Bay, or the fun of Seaside, each town has its own special allure. Plan your Oregon coast road trip today and discover the magic of these coastal towns for yourself!