The Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful coastlines to explore. Oregon law allows free beach access to everyone, so you are free to stop and explore anywhere you want along the way. With its sea cliffs, beaches, bays, and haystacks, the coast never gets boring. The hardest part is deciding which things to do on the Oregon Coast, so here are my favorites, the ones you don’t want to miss.
Things To Do On The Oregon Coast
1. Drive On The Beach At Sunset Beach
If your idea of a beautiful beach is long and sandy, then Sunset Beach is the place to start. Located in Warrenton, Oregon, you can drive on this beach. Make sure to take a kite and join the many others who are flying kites, having picnics, building bonfires, and enjoying their day at the beach.
2. See Haystack Rock At Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock is definitely one of the most popular things to do on the Oregon Coast, so you won’t have it to yourself, but, if you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely worth stopping to see. There are beautiful tide pools around it with starfish, anemone, and other sea creatures. The trails at nearby Ecola State Park are also worth hiking on if you have more time in this area.
3. Realize How Immense The World Is (And How Small You Are) At Gleneden Beach
What could be more perfect than being surrounded by giant waves, orange sandstone bluffs, and whispering pine trees? Just outside of Lincoln City, this is one stop you want to add to the list. You might get lucky and even spot a few seals and sea lions in the area.
4. Gape At The Scenery At Boiler Bay
This scenic basalt rimmed bay is worth walking all the way around. It starts out calm, and then gives you some exciting churning wave action to watch once you get near the rocks. It’s also a great area to spot whales and ocean birds like pelicans and albatrosses.
5. Watch The Sunset At Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint
One of the most stunning sunsets I witnessed was from this viewpoint. You can’t really do better than this being 500 feet above the ocean with views of Cape Foulweather and Devil’s Punchbowl. This is also another great spot to watch whales from. Watching the sunset is a definite must when it comes to things to do on the Oregon Coast.
6. Watch Devil’s Punchbowl At High Tide
If you go at low tide like I did, you miss the churning action that Devil’s Punchbowl is known for, but there are still pretty views. Make sure to walk all the way around for the full panoramic view of the Oregon Coastline.
7. Eat The Best Fish and Chips On The Oregon Coast At South Beach Fish Market
Just south of Newport, make sure to stop at South Beach Fish Market for the best fish and chips you’ve ever had. (Make sure to order the halibut. It’s worth it!) The fish is lightly battered and perfectly crispy and crunchy. I’ve eaten a lot of fish and chips up and down the Oregon Coast, and this was the best of them all. I wasn’t a fan of the chowder which was a little thick and floury for my liking. There’s also a fish market, so you can take seafood with you to cook later, too.
8. See Seals At South Beach State Park
South Beach State Park in Newport is a great place to see seals and for all kinds of recreational activities. In the summer, you can take kayak tours, rent a bike, jog on the paved path, and there’s also an equestrian trail to the beach. You can also camp at this 500 acre beach park, and there are hiking trails to the beach over the dunes.
9. Eat One Of The Best Meals On The Oregon Coat At The Drift Inn
The Drift Inn in Yachats is one of my very favorite restaurants anywhere. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I go to Yachats. It’s so good, I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner here the day I was in the area. It’s got a fun whimsical atmosphere, live music in the evenings, and if you start wondering if you can just move in after you try the food, you can! They have a few rooms upstairs that you can book. The seafood chowder was perfect, and the crab melt on their homemade bread was to die for. I can’t wait to go back and try the wood-fired oven pizza next time.
10. Explore The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is another reason to stay in Yachats. There are so many beautiful areas here that you shouldn’t miss.
Devil’s Churn will be your first stop on the loop. Watching the water crash along the cliffs is mesmerizing, and again, the best time to go is at high tide.
Everywhere you look there are astounding views. I went both in the early morning and late afternoon. You definitely want to take advantage of the best light.
Thor’s Well is a wonder to behold. This hole in a rock appears to actually drain water from the ocean. It’s best watched at high tide. It’s very dangerous to get too close, so I’d recommend keeping your distance and not getting too close to the edge.
Cape Perpetua Headland
The Cape Perpetua Headland is 800 feet above the ocean, and is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the Oregon Coast. It’s a spectacular place to watch the sunset and to see miles of coastline at the same time.
11. Warm Up With Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Or Tea at Green Salmon
The Green Salmon is my favorite coffee shop I’ve ever been to. Like in the entire world. This coffee shop is great because they have many sustainable practices they’ve put in place to make this world better, it’s where the cool hippies of Yachats hang out, and they have some of the best warming drinks around. The lavender rosemary hot cocoa hit the spot on a cold day. Their ginger kopi brew is another one of my favorites, and the tea lattes will make you swoon. There’s seriously no other coffee shop like The Green Salmon.
12. Heceta Head Lighthouse
This cove at the mouth of Cape Creek is picture book scenic, and you can take a short trail to the lighthouse. This is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the coast and sea lions and whales can often be seen from the beach.
13. The Florence Sand Dunes
With forty miles of sand dunes beginning just south of Florence, this area is a sight to behold. You will pretty much have the beach to yourself, and it’s a great spot to find shells and the occasional sand dollar. I prefer just walking in the silence, but if adventure is more your style when looking for things to do on the Oregon Coast, make sure to take a guided dune buggy ride.
What are your favorite things to do on the Oregon coast? Let me know in the comments below!