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    Oregon coast: on the road to discover the main wonders of the state

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    Martí Micolau

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    If you are thinking of organizing yours vacation in Oregon you can't help but start planning your Pacific North West road trip starting from one of the many magnificent natural attractions that stretch along the coast of the state.

    Faraglioni that rise from the waters of the Pacific Ocean, observation points that allow you to admire the entire coastline that extends below you, cities with a historical past such as Astoria, splendid parks where nature still resists uncontaminated; In short the Oregon coast it has everything you need to make your vacation memorable.


    • Cannon Beach
      • Haystack Rock
      • Chapman Point e Bird Rocks
      • Ecola State Park
      • Where to sleep in the area
    • Three Capes Scenic Drive - Itinerary of the three promontories
      • Cape Mears
      • Cape Lookout State Park
      • Cape Factory State Park
    • God’s Thumb
    • Cape Perpetua
      • Cape Perpetua Overlook
      • Devil’s Churn
      • Thor’s Well
      • Where to sleep in the area
    • Oregon Dunes National Area
      • Accomodation
    • The most important cities along the coast
      • Astoria
      • Newport
      • Depoe Bay
      • bandon

    Cannon Beach

    There will be a reason why National Geographic magazine in 2013 declared Cannon Beach as one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world. As well as being a pretty seaside town, its immediate vicinity is also home to some of Oregon's most beautiful attractions and wildlife parks.

    Haystack Rock

    Certainly the most visible rock formation in all of Cannon Beach and the most popular on the Oregon coast. It is actually a magmatic rock that stands just over 70 meters above the sea level. To the more attentive it could remind the Morro Rock which is located on the Californian coast and, more precisely, in the town of Morro Bay.

    During low tide, especially in summer, it is possible to reach it on foot and closely observe its numerous natural cavities where numerous marine species have formed their natural habitat. He also made an appearance in the popular 80s film The Goonies.

    Chapman Point e Bird Rocks

    It is from here that the characteristic rock formations of the Bird Rocks that emerge from the waters of the Pacific Ocean and, over time, have become the home of the guillemots that nest in this area (hence the name of the rocks). If you have binoculars with you it is not uncommon to spot the characteristic white-headed eagles flying over the area in search of their prey.

    Ecola State Park

    This natural park extends over more than 14 kilometers of coastline. Unmissable, if you have time, are the routes that reach the Pacific Ocean from the inside. It is especially recommended to enjoy the view fromEcola Point and the charming beach of Indian Beach. Entrance to the park costs $ 5 per vehicle.

    From the highest vantage points of Indian beach it is also possible to glimpse the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, one of Oregon's many lighthouses.

    These two panoramic points can be reached either by walking along the paths or, more comfortably, by car. In the latter case, a little more attention must be paid to the road which is narrower and more winding than normal American roads.

    Where to sleep in the area

    Cannon Beach offers numerous accommodation solutions, if you want to check availability during your visit you can check by clicking on the link below.

    Search for hotels in and around Cannon Beach

    Three Capes Scenic Drive - Itinerary of the three promontories

    Thanks to this itinerary of just over 60 kilometers you can cross three Oregon parks, reaching as many fascinating promontories, and be able to enjoy splendid views of the coast. Never as in this case more than words count the images from which, in a single glance, you can understand the beauty that awaits you.

    Cape Mears

    Located inside the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, is perhaps the best known of the three promontory, both because it hosts one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Oregon, and because you can find the strange tree Octopus Tree, Both for the Three Arch Rocks, three particular rock formations that emerge from the ocean in front of the town of Oceanside, which can be easily photographed from the top of Cape Mears.

    Cape Lookout State Park

    If you are looking for a campground you are in the right place because here is one of the most popular in all of Oregon. If, on the other hand, you are just passing through, do not fail to park your car and take one of the routes that branch off into the interior of Cape Lookout, a long and narrow strip of land that extends towards the sea.

    Especially recommended is the Cape Trail (about 7 and a half kilometers round trip) which will take you to the tip of the promontory. Along your way you will be surrounded by trees until you come out on the coast to enjoy the view of the ocean in front of you.

    Cape Factory State Park

    Although it is the smallest promontory this does not mean that it is the least fascinating. It is located in the area of Pacific City and the panorama that can be observed on the coast below is embellished by the detail faraglione emerging from the sea; one of the three Haystack Rocks that can be observed in Oregon, even if the aforementioned Cannon Beach remains the most famous.

    One of the area's best-known non-natural attractions is the Pelican Pub & Brewery located directly on the beach which, in addition to offering a dream view, is particularly renowned for the quality of its beer and food. An excellent choice, therefore, if you want to take a moment of refreshment along your itinerary.

    God’s Thumb

    This particular rock formation with a curious shape stands out imposingly along the coast, so much so that it deserves its high-sounding name.

    The path to reach this scenic viewpoint on the Oregon coast does not officially exist but is still walked by hundreds of people every year. Start at the end of Port Drive in the small town of Roads End. Getting to the start of this route can be a bit cumbersome because there are no parking spaces along the narrow Port Drive road, which only overlooks private homes. For this reason, if you really want to take this walk, you will have to leave your car at the Roads End State Park parking lot and continue on foot to the start.

    The last stretch is also particularly challenging both for the slope that leads to God's Thumb and because there is often mud along the route, especially in winter. Also take into account that you have to travel at least 7 kilometers there and back (starting and returning to Roads End State Park).

    Until recently there was also a shorter version of this path that started at the end of Logan Road but, as it crossed a stretch of private property, for some time now the controls have become more careful and strict. .

    Cape Perpetua

    That is where the forest meets the ocean. In this area that develops south of the town of Yachats there are at least three attractions not to be missed located within the scenography Siuslaw National Forest. For more information on all that the area reserves, the advice is to go to the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center a short distance from US-101.

    To access the trails and visit these natural attractions you need to purchase a pass at a cost of $ 5 per vehicle or have an Oregon recreation pass that you can also buy online.

    Cape Perpetua Overlook

    The privileged observation point from which you can enjoy one splendid view all over the coast below. It also has the not inconsiderable advantage of being one of the highest viewpoints in the state that can be easily reached by car. Coming from Yachats, take the US-101 to the intersection with Forest Road 55 which you must take and after just over a kilometer turn right on Cape Perpetua Lookout which will take you to the promontory. At the end of the road you will find a parking lot.

    Devil’s Churn

    In this narrow inlet the breaking of the waves on the rocks of the coast causes a particularly evocative phenomenon. During windy days the waves breaking on the rocks produce splashes that reach tens of meters high. Obviously you will have to pay particular attention.

    The parking lot to access the path that will take you to sea level is on US-101, the path you will have to take is the short one Restless Waters Trail.

    Thor’s Well

    What apparently looks like a bottomless chasm that swallows the waves of the ocean and spits them out in a continuous jet is Thor's well. In reality it is a crater no more than 6 meters deep which, thanks to the continuous emptying and filling of water, forms a fascinating perpetual motion especially during periods of high tide.

    Perhaps it is obvious to say it but know that you are in a very dangerous place, so do not get too close otherwise you will run the risk of being sucked into the vortex (as unfortunately has already happened in the past). For this reason, the advice is to stay at a safe distance and still ask the rangers of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center for information.

    Where to sleep in the area

    As mentioned, the closest city to this particularly fascinating coastal area is that of Yachats. You can check the availability of hotels by clicking on the link below.

    Look for a hotel in the area

    Oregon Dunes National Area

    This natural park extends for more than 60 kilometers along the Oregon coast. It is bordered to the south by the Coos River and to the north by the Siuslaw River near the city of Florence and is the perfect opportunity to visit sand dunes and forests overlooking the Pacific Ocean in one go.

    If you want to visit it, given the vastness, the advice is to stop atOregon Dunes NRA Visitor Center which is located at 855 Highway Ave in the small town of Reedsport. Here you can find information about the trails, the conditions of the park and find useful tips on how to optimize your visit.

    If you have little time available, given that some dunes reach over 100 meters in height, you can also observe some of them simply by taking the US-101, and stopping from time to time along the lay-bys. If, on the other hand, you can afford a stop, definitely not to be missed is a tour on the dune buggy along the sand hills.

    The cost to access the many areas of the Oregon Dunes National Area is $ 5 per vehicle.


    The city most equipped with hotel facilities is certainly Florence which also has a small downtown where it is pleasant to take a walk.

    Search for a hotel in Florence

    The most important cities along the coast

    The Oregon coast is dotted with large and small towns. Listing them all would be dispersive, which is why I would like to point out the main ones both for the activities they offer and for the curiosities they hide.


    One of the best known cities of the costa dell’Oregon particularly renowned for its history. Not everyone knows that the arrival point of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition is today Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Always linked to this event is theAstoria Column, built in 1926, on whose walls are depicted stories that refer to the epic of exploration and colonization of the west. The most interesting thing is that you can climb to the top of the column and enjoy a splendid view from above of the whole surrounding area.

    Strolling along theAstoria Riverwalk it is impossible not to notice the imposing Astoria-Broker Bridge which connects the state of Oregon with that of Washington through the Columbia River.

    Still on the subject of history, the Fort Stevens State Park which, among other things, houses the spectacular wreck of the Peter Iredale.

    Search for a hotel in Astoria


    The best known panorama of this area is the one that can be admired from Yaquina Head Lighthouse which we talked about in more depth in our article dedicated to Oregon lighthouses.

    The two ocean-facing state parks to the north and south of the Yaquina River (South Beach State Park and Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site) are perfect places to take a stroll along the coast. The characteristic bridge that connects the two banks of the river is practically the symbol of the city.

    Newport is also the city that hosts theOregon Coast Aquarium, the visit of which is particularly recommended especially if you are traveling with children who will surely be impressed by the underwater tunnel and by the numerous marine species that can be observed, among which the friendly otters and sea lions undoubtedly stand out.

    Search for a hotel in Newport

    Depoe Bay

    This small town of just over a thousand inhabitants is famous for being the whale watching capital of the world and for hosting the smallest port in the world. This is why a visit to the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center (119 SW Highway 101) and consult the official website to find out what is the best time of year to be able to observe these splendid mammals.

    Panoramas recommended those that can be observed from Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint just north of Depoe Bay.

    Search for a hotel in Depoe Bay


    Bandon is one of the favorite cities of storm watchers. There old town moreover, with its restaurants and typical shops it is particularly suggestive compared to the other towns of Oregon. Do not miss a visit to the Bandon Fish Market and the characteristic restaurant Tony’s Crab Shack in business since 1989.

    The Kronenberg Park in which the famous is located is also worth a visit Dot Shell which offers spectacular views

    Il Coquille River Lighthouse is one of the many lighthouses that can be found along the Oregon coast, located between the mouth of the Coquille River and the long beach of Bullards Beach, is open to the public from mid-May until September. The times to visit the lighthouse are every day from 11 to 17. Take a look at the official website anyway to avoid surprises.

    Search for a hotel in Bandon

    Finally, a little curiosity; along the Oregon coast is the only town in the continental United States "bombed" during World War II.

    It is Brookings where a single Japanese pilot dropped firebombs on the nearby forest to cause a huge fire but, as it had rained heavily the day before, the mission was unsuccessful.

    In 1962 the pilot Nobuo Fujita was invited to visit the city to which he donated the samurai sword that his family had been handed down for 400 years as a sign of friendship and peace, which today is on display in the local library. Shortly after his death, the city administration decided to award him honorary citizenship.

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