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Overview

Visitors to Oregon's coast are never far from nature. Although there are plenty of fine hotels and an increasing number of good restaurants, they're all superseded by the waves crashing in to the shore, and the rocky headlands reaching out to the ocean. From tiny tide pools to huge offshore rocks teeming with bird life, nature is endlessly fascinating here, and the scenery, often draped in mist, turns anyone with a camera into an obsessive photographer.

The coastline is all publicly owned, and the many state parks make it easy to access. Especially along the southern part of the coast, beaches are uncrowded. Don't expect to go ...

Visitors to Oregon's coast are never far from nature. Although there are plenty of fine hotels and an increasing number of good restaurants, they're all superseded by the waves crashing in to the shore, and the rocky headlands reaching out to the ocean. From tiny tide pools to huge offshore rocks teeming with bird life, nature is endlessly fascinating here, and the scenery, often draped in mist, turns anyone with a camera into an obsessive photographer.

The coastline is all publicly owned, and the many state parks make it easy to access. Especially along the southern part of the coast, beaches are uncrowded. Don't expect to go swimming (although it's possible during warm spells), but surf shops are plentiful and rent wetsuits and boards.

At the northern end of the coast, the quirky town of Astoria is more oriented to the Columbia River than to the Pacific, and is full of cool old Victorian homes. Cannon Beach was once called an "artists' colony" and retains a bit of class — it's an easy drive from Portland. Newport is a busy place; visit the bayfront or historic Nye Beach if its charm eludes you as you drive along Highway 101. Yachats is tiny and beautiful, and Bandon, with its nearby world-class golf resort, is the hub of sophistication (and money) on the southern coast.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Early fall or winter (storm watching is popular then)