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An Oregon coast road trip is the best way to experience the Pacific Coast in the northwestern United States!
Characterized by dramatic cliffs and long stretches of sand, the Oregon Coast is absolutely stunning. Epic lighthouses, beautiful nature trails and incredible viewpoints are top Highway 101 Oregon attractions – and we include them all (and more!) in our Oregon Road Trip Itinerary.
Planning an Oregon Coast Road Trip
There are hundreds of things to do along the Oregon Coast – which can make it extremely overwhelming to plan an Oregon Coast Trip.
We have driven the coast on numerous occasions in various seasons. Our Ultimate Oregon Coast Road Trip includes the best places to stop and top attractions to see along the Pacific Coast.
For each day of our Oregon Coast Itinerary, we detail the route – including the best stops, where to stay and what to eat.
However, because US road trippers may have various timeframes or different interests than we have featured in our Oregon Coast driving itinerary, we also share tips for alternate stops along the same route.
Furthermore, we understand that there is a lot more to planning the best Oregon road trip than deciding which things to see along the Oregon Coast.
Therefore, in our Oregon Coast trip planner, you will also find our recommended accommodations, packing tips, an Oregon coast road trip map and more useful Highway 101 Oregon road trip tips.
With our Oregon Coast drive itinerary, you do not need to stress about planning your trip – we’ve already done all the hard work for you!
Oregon Coast Trip Planning Organization
Planning an Oregon Coast Itinerary will still require some organization. In order to keep track of all the details of your Oregon vacation – from sightseeing to reservations – we recommend using a travel planner. Our Trip Planning Printables can help you plan your Ultimate Oregon Road Trip!
Oregon Coast Highway 101 Road Trip Itinerary FAQs
Before we jump into the details of what to see along the Oregon Coast, let’s review a few of the frequently asked questions.
What is the Best Place to Visit on the Oregon Coast?
In our opinion, there isn’t just one best place to visit on the coastline; that is why we are detailing an Oregon Coast drive that will take you to several of the most beautiful places along the shoreline.
Throughout our Oregon Coast itinerary, we highlight the best stops and top things to do along the 101 in Oregon from the North to Central Coast.
Additionally, we provide tips to extend your trip down the coast of California at the end of the article.
How Many Days for a Coastal Oregon Itinerary?
Oregon coast trips can be quick 1-day adventures or span several weeks.
For this Oregon Coast scenic drive, we are detailing a 3-night, 4-day Oregon road trip. That said, this Oregon 101 road trip can easily be modified for more (or less) time with just a few adjustments.
Whether you are planning 2 days on the Oregon Coast or a full 1-Week Oregon Itinerary, we’ve got you covered!
How Long is The Oregon Coast Trip from Portland?
Our Oregon road trip is designed in a loop that begins and ends in Portland. The total distance is about 400 miles.
Travelers often wonder, How long does it take to drive the Oregon Coast? – but, there is not one straight forward answer. How long the Oregon Coastal drive will take depends on a multitude of factors – including your interests, number of stops and traffic.
In fact, our 4-Day Oregon Coast travel route could even be completed as an Oregon Coast day trip from Portland (although it would be a very long day with limited stops). Likewise, driving the Oregon Coast from Portland could easily be extended into a 1-week US West Coast road trip adventure.
You will need to decide how long to drive the Oregon Coast based on your preferences and timeframe.
Use our Oregon Coast Travel Itinerary to Plan Your Time
To help you plan your trip, for each day of our itinerary, we have noted the driving distance in miles – as well as provided an estimated Oregon Coast drive time for each day.
Keep in mind, those times are for actually driving the Oregon Coast – and do not account for stops and sightseeing along the way or any traffic you might encounter.
What Vehicle to use on a Road Trip to The Oregon Coast?
In our opinion, a mid-size SUV is the best car for your Oregon Coast driving tour. In addition to the extra comfort, sitting higher off the road, you will have a better view of the incredible Pacific shoreline.
If you will be traveling the Oregon Coast from Portland – and arriving there by plane – use our tips for finding the best airfare to Portland before you book your flight.
Once you get your flights organized, you will need to reserve a car for your Oregon Coast Hwy 101 road trip. Read our top tips for renting a car so that you can find the best rate, then hop over to Expedia to book your car rental.
Oregon Coast RV Road Trip
An RV is another vehicle option for Oregon road trips. However, with the narrow, curving roads, we would only recommend experienced RV drivers attempt driving the Oregon Coastal Highway in a recreational vehicle.
Travelers planning an Oregon Coast RV trip can easily use our route for their road trip on the Oregon Coast, but we do not have any experience on overnight RV parking. We can tell you, however, that there are many places that do accommodate RVs along the way.
Where are the Overnight Oregon Coast Road Trip Stops?
One of the biggest questions when planning a coastal vacation is, Where should I stay on the Oregon Coast Road Trip?
Our Oregon Coast Itinerary 4 Days Route includes 3 overnight stays – Cannon Beach, Pacific City and Florence.
We carefully chose these specific Oregon Coast cities for their location along the route, places to eat and things to do.
Where To Stay on Oregon Coast Road Trip?
For this Oregon Coast Trip Itinerary, we recommend staying in hotels. Our specific hotel recommendations for each stop are included in the itinerary.
As we already mentioned, it is possible to drive and stay in an RV when traveling the Oregon Coast.
Likewise, it is completely doable to plan an Oregon West Coast camping road trip using our trip plan as well.
While we don’t have specific RV parking or campground recommendations, you can use a site, like RV-Camping.org, for helpful directories.
When is the Best Time to Travel to Oregon Coast?
Every season has pros and cons for an Oregon Coast road trip – so it can be a bit difficult to pin down the absolute best time to drive the Oregon Coast.
Summer and Autumn Oregon Coast Travel
From our personal experience, we think the best time of year to take a Pacific Northwest Coast road trip is in the summer or autumn.
Oregon Coast weather is typically cool throughout the summer – and gets cooler in the autumn – but it tends to be dry and, overall, very pleasant. Longer summer days are perfect for enjoying the outdoor Oregon Coast attractions along the route.
That said, the summertime is the busiest time on the Oregon coastal road. The heavy crowds can cause road trip delays, stressful sightseeing and more expensive accommodations.
Winter and Spring Oregon Coastline Road Trip
Winter and spring tend to be rainy and windy, making an Oregon winter road trip less favorable weather-wise.
Furthermore, the winter Oregon Coast sunset time will likely limit your exploration.
However, the upside is that the crowds are lighter and accommodations are cheaper.
While not our personal favorite time to make the drive, traveling the Oregon Coast in spring and winter can still be enjoyable.
Which Direction Is Best On An Oregon Coastal Road Trip?
Our 4-Day Oregon Coast road trip is planned from north to south – which is the best direction, in our opinion.
Oregon Coast North to South
There are two reasons why we planned the road trip from Portland from the north to the south. First, we prefer driving south along the ocean so that we have a full view of the coast (rather than looking across traffic).
The second reason our Oregon Coast road trip planner goes from north to south is that it allows drivers easy access to the numerous scenic roadside overlooks and Oregon Coast viewpoints.
Oregon Coast Road Trip South to North
Of course, you could plan a trip to the Oregon Coast in the opposite direction. To do so, simply reverse our outlined Best Oregon Coast Road Trip Plan.
Oregon Coastal Road Trip Day-by-Day Itinerary
Now that we have covered the FAQs, it is time to dive into the specifics of our Oregon road trip. Our Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary is packed with detailed information so that you can easily plan your trip. Organized to be completed over 4 days, our Oregon Coast road trip planner includes the best attractions, short hikes and outstanding Oregon Coast views.
This Oregon Coast Trip Itinerary includes everything you need to know. Save, Bookmark or Pin It for planning your trip to Oregon!
Day 1: Portland, Oregon Road Trip to Cannon Beach
Embark on your Oregon Coast road trip from Portland early in the day. The drive from Portland to the Oregon Coast leaves the city behind, weaves into forests and crosses over the Coastal Mountain Range.
A good mid-way stopping point to stretch your legs (or hop on a bicycle if you have one) is near Buxton on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.
The paved path was formerly railroad tracks that connected the cities of Banks and Vernonia and was used to haul timber. The trail extends 21 miles, has multiple trailheads and can be used by hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
For lunch, stop at Camp 18 Restaurant. The log cabin eatery, which is decorated in classic mountain motif, offers hearty home cooked meals, huge cinnamon rolls and an on-site museum that details the logging history of the region.
Cannon Beach: An Oregon Coast Must-See
Named for a cannon that floated onto the shore in the mid-1800s, Cannon Beach is a top Oregon Coast destination. The small beach town is highlighted by locally owned shops and restaurants and is one of the best stops on any Oregon Coast road trip.
The iconic Haystack Rock, a sea stack monolith that rises 235-feet-high, sits at the south end of the flat, wide beach.
North Oregon Coast Travel Tips and Sightseeing
Sights near Cannon Beach include Ecola State Park (hiking trails and viewpoints), Seaside (a cute touristic town) and Neahkahnie Mountain (a challenging summit trail with amazing views south of Cannon Beach).
Fun Fact: Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock have been featured in numerous movies, including The Goonies, Twilight and Point Break. These movies have inspired many people to take road trips in Oregon.
Where To Stay in Cannon Beach, Oregon
As one of the top Oregon Coast destinations, there are many places to stay in Cannon Beach.
We think the best place to stay is at Hallmark Resort, which faces the ocean and offers impeccable views of Haystack Rock. In addition to the multiple pools, the resort also has an on-site spa and fitness center, free movies and popcorn along with fresh cookies in the lobby. Check rates and availability!
Alternate Oregon Road Trip Ideas for Day 1
While Hwy 26 is our preferred method of driving from Portland to the coast, it is not the only route. In fact, there are two other popular roads that can be used for trips to Oregon Coast from Portland.
Highway 30 via Astoria
Also called the Columbia River Highway, Hwy 30 leaves Portland to the north and follows the Columbia River west to Astoria, where it meets up with Highway 101.
Travelers who want to take a coastal Oregon road trip that covers the entire length of the Oregon Coast from north to south should take this route.
The distance to Cannon Beach using Hwy 30 is 120 miles and takes about 2.5 hours. We do recommend stopping in Astoria to see some of the top sights – like the shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park, the fort at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, the famed Astoria Column and the impressive Astoria-Megler Bridge (connecting Oregon to Washington).
Highway 6 through Tillamook
Another route to the coast from Portland is to take Hwy 26 to Hwy 6. This route meets the coast south of Cannon Beach at Tillamook.
Drivers taking a day trip to Oregon Coast from Portland could use this route to shave some time off the return trip
2-Day Northern Oregon Coast Itinerary
For a quick 2-Day Oregon Coast Itinerary of the North Coast, you could take Highway 30 to Astoria, then drive to (and stay the night in) Cannon Beach. On Day 2, drive south to Tillamook and use Hwy 26 and 6 to complete your loop back to Portland.
Day 2: North-Central Oregon Coast
After a leisurely breakfast, depart Cannon Beach and continue on your Oregon trip itinerary by traveling south on Highway 101.
If you are up for a big hike (and didn’t do it the day before), stop at Neahkahnie Mountain to hike the trail to the summit. Otherwise, make your way leisurely down the coast through the towns of Manzanita and Rockaway Beach to Tillamook Bay.
For lunch, stop at Tillamook Creamery – one of the best stops while driving the Oregon Coast. The local creamery is a cheese factory, museum and restaurant all in one. Take a self-guided tour of the facility, then tuck into a cheesy lunch…but definitely save room for an ice cream dessert!
Day 2 Road Trip Oregon Coast Highlight: Three Capes Scenic Drive
Just south of the Tillamook Creamery, detour off the 101 onto the Three Capes Scenic Route. One of the Oregon Coast highlights, the route includes Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda.
Stop at the Cape Meares Lighthouse, which was built in the 1890s, and if time permits join one of the free lighthouse tours. Other attractions at the lighthouse include super ocean viewpoints (look for whales and seals!), walking trails and the famous “Octopus Tree.”
Continue your Oregon Coast sightseeing drive around Cape Meares to the Netarts Bay Shellfish Preserve along Whiskey Creek Road – then on to Cape Lookout State Park.
Make this one of your Oregon Coast stops and hike the length of the Cape Lookout Trail. The hike features a lush forest lining the top of the Oregon Coast cliffs. The often-muddy trail leads to spectacular viewpoints – and, in our opinion, is an Oregon Coast road trip must-see!
After your hike, continue your Oregon coastline road trip on the 3 Capes Scenic Route to Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City.
Pacific City: An Oregon Road Trip Destination
A laid-back beach town, Pacific City is a perfect place for a relaxing night on the coast – and one of our favorite Oregon road trip stops.
Highlights of the town are the gigantic haystack rock (named Chief Kiwanda Rock), a 240-foot sand dune on Cape Kiwanda and the local beachfront brewery.
Pacific City Travel Tips and Sightseeing
After getting settled into your accommodations, head straight for the Cape Kiwanda Beach – you can either walk or drive right onto it! Fly a kite, sink your feet in the sand or start a beach bonfire and enjoy the Pacific Ocean view and the sound of the waves.
When you have worked up a thirst and appetite, head into the Pelican Brewing Company oceanfront taproom for refreshing craft beers and satisfying eats.
If fermented grapes are your preference, unwind with a glass of Oregon wine at PC Pour or Twist Wine Company.
Where To Stay in Pacific City
When we visit Pacific City, we stay at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda – and couldn’t imagine staying anywhere else!
The ocean view boutique hotel is just across the street from the Pacific City Beach and Pelican Brewery – and mere steps from the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. The large, clean rooms have comfortable beds with a cozy fireplace and the hotel offers other amenities; like on-site bike rentals, a spa and Stimulus Coffee + Bakery to jump-start your day!
Alternate Oregon Coastal Road Trip Itineraries for Day 2
The Three Capes Scenic Route is one of the best spots on the Oregon Coast – so we do not recommend skipping it!
Plan a Longer Oregon Coast Driving Tour
In fact, we like the Three Capes region so much that if you are planning a longer Oregon Coast 101 Road Trip – like a 5 Day Oregon Road Trip – then we would recommend spending an additional night in the area.
Perhaps spend two nights in Pacific City or one night in Cape Meares and one night in Pacific City.
A Shorter Road Trip along Oregon Coast
On the other hand, if you really need to shorten your trip to an Oregon Coast 3-Day Itinerary, you can eliminate the overnight stay in Pacific City and continue driving south to the next destination, Florence.
You should still have time to take in the sights along the Three Capes Scenic Loop if you get an early start from Cannon Beach.
Day 3: Central Oregon Coast
In the morning, make the tough climb up the Cape Kiwanda sand dune for a solid morning workout. Pick up some delicious baked goods from the Grateful Dead-themed Grateful Bread Bakery on your way out of town and start driving south on the 101 Oregon Coast.
Pacific City to Yaquina, OR
The road winds through forests slightly inland until Devils Lake, where it meets back up with coastline. You can just enjoy the scenery for this stretch of your Oregon Coast trip until you get to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse…or you could make a few stops along the drive.
Day 3 Road Trip: Oregon Coast Stops
The coastal scenery along this section of coastline is utterly beautiful. While driving Oregon Coast from Pacific City to Yaquina, consider making one or more stops.
Roads End State Recreation Site is a good place to stop for a picnic. Fogarty Creek State Scenic Area is well known for its tide pools. Depoe Bay is an ideal Oregon Coast whale watching spot. Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area features a collapsed sea cave (and is a popular place for experienced surfers).
Ranking as the tallest lighthouse in Oregon at 93 feet, Yaquina Lighthouse has been in operation since 1873 and still utilizes the original lens – and it is open for tours (hours vary, so check ahead).
Make the short drive south to Newport, where there are a handful of sights – including the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the funky shops at Aquarium Village. Newport is also a good spot to stretch your legs on a beach walk at Nye Beach or South Beach State Park.
In fact, if you are planning an Oregon Coast family road trip, Newport is a top destination!
For lunch, dine at the Rogue Brewer’s On the Bay on the south side of the arched Yaquina Bay Bridge – one of our favorite eateries on our Oregon Coast road trip! Patrons can sign up for a brewery tour, sample one of the 40 Rogue beers on tap and feast from a full menu of pub grub.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
After lunch, continue south on your Oregon Coastal road trip to Yachats (cute town for a quick stretch of the legs) and then onwards to Cape Perpetua. The cape itself offers stunning shoreline views and trails, but the nearby attractions are worth stopping by as well.
Top area sights are Devil’s Churn (an inlet that sprays water when waves crash into the narrow waterway), Thor’s Well (a unique rock formation that appears to be draining the ocean at high tide), and Sprouting Horn (an ocean geyser that launches misty water into the air).
An absolute must-see stop for your Oregon Coast road trip planner is the Heceta Head Lighthouse. One of the most beautiful lighthouses on the Pacific Coast, Heceta Head cannot be missed on a Oregon road trip down the coast.
Visitors can park at Cape Cove, where there is plenty of parking (but a fee is required). If it is low tide, spend some time exploring the tidal pools before taking the short hike to the lighthouse.
Top Tip: Beyond the lighthouse a trail crosses over the Heceta Headland through a mossy forest and leads to a hidden beach. It’s one of our favorite hikes on the Oregon Coast – and we share the complete details in our article: Hikes Near Florence, OR.
Sea Lions and Scenic Viewpoints
The distance from Heceta Head to Florence is about 20 miles – and there are a few stops you might want to make along this stretch as well.
Shortly after leaving the lighthouse parking lot, pull into the small scenic overlook offering the best view of Heceta Lighthouse. Keep an eye on the sea, we’ve often spotted sea lions and whales just offshore!
Just beyond the viewpoint is the Sea Lions Cave, which is a very popular (yet smelly and noisy) coastal Oregon attraction.
Just as Hwy 101 begins to descend inland towards Florence, there are a few pullouts for phenomenal viewpoints that looks directly south over Heceta Beach.
After making these great Oregon Coast scenic stops, complete the day’s drive to Florence Old Town.
Florence: A Gem On Your Road Trip Along Oregon Coast
Old Town Florence, Oregon is nestled along the Siuslaw River – and easy to miss if you don’t follow the signs before crossing over the Siuslaw Bridge.
The charming town has a long history as a fishing village but is now more of a quaint tourist destination. The main street, Bay Street, runs parallel to the river and features souvenir shops, a variety of restaurants and fun bars and cafes.
After three amazing days on the best Oregon Coast road trip, spend your time in Florence strolling along Bay, Laurel and Maple Streets and popping into the local shops.
For dinner, eat at the delightful Waterfront Depot (make reservations in advance). Order their signature dish, Crab-Encrusted Halibut (believe us, it’s divine!).
Pro Tip: Florence is a fabulous spot to spend a day – or longer – checking out the immediate area. For all our tips, use our complete guide to the Best Things to do in Florence!
Where To Stay in Florence, OR
While there are numerous, mostly uninspiring, motels along Highway 101 in Florence, we know the best place to stay in Florence is right in the heart of the Old Town. The River House Inn has a prime waterfront location right on Bay Street.
If a beach stay is more your style, check out Driftwood Shores Resort, which is a short drive from the Old Town. The classic beach hotel offers incredible Heceta Beach access and excellent Pacific Ocean views.
Alternate Oregon Coast Road Trip Ideas for Day 3
Because we think the Central Oregon Coast is the most beautiful section of the drive, we include a lot of Oregon Coast road trip stops in Day 3 of our itinerary.
Add an Overnight Stay in Newport to your Oregon Coast Vacation Itinerary
If you have time to plan a 5-Day Oregon Coast road trip, we recommend stopping and spending the night in Newport, rather than continuing all the way to Florence.
This will break up your Oregon coast drive time into two days of Highway 101 sightseeing on the Central Coast for a more leisurely pace.
Day 4: Oregon Coast Back To Portland
Route: Florence to Portland; Highway 126 east to Mapleton (where you need to turn right to stay on 126), then use the 569 Beltline to bypass Eugene, and hop on Interstate 5 north to Portland. Distance: 162 miles. Time: 3 hours. Map (Map with Stops).
The final day of your Oregon Coast vacation itinerary is spent making the long drive back to Portland. Grab coffee and a pastry at the always delicious River Roasters, then breathe in the fresh sea air with a brisk morning walk along the Florence Harbor or at North Jetty.
When you are ready to complete the loop of your Portland-Oregon Coast road trip, take Highway 126 east to Mapleton.
After making the righthand turn to stay on 126, consider detouring to the Sweet Creek Falls trail (another one of our favorite Oregon Hikes).
Drive through the Mountains toward Eugene and I-5
Hop back on 126 and start the climb over the mountain range. Stop by the Gingerbread Village Restaurant for a tasty home-cooked lunch and super friendly service.
After lunch, continue driving east over the mountain pass toward Eugene.
If you are interested in visiting Eugene, it is a fun university city with a few museums, lots of bars and a working class yet youthful vibe.
Otherwise, veer north onto the 569 Beltline to I-5 and make the relatively flat and boring drive back to Portland. Or…
Columbia River Gorge
If you’re an early riser and ambitious driver, make a detour to the Columbia River Gorge. Just east of Portland, the scenic drive through the gorge features spectacular waterfalls and beautiful landscapes.
Use our guide for details about the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Drive!
Hopefully you’ve left time for some sightseeing in Portland, too. Explore the Pearl District and Chinatown before stopping into a local craft brewery – like Deschutes Public House – for good eats and local beers.
Check out our guide, The Best Things To Do in Portland for more tips and attractions.
Pro Tip: Vancouver, Washington – just north of Portland – is a fun city to visit or base yourself in, as well! Much smaller and easier to navigate than Portland, Vancouver is steeped in history and boasts a phenomenal craft beer scene. Use our guide to Visiting Vancouver, WA for tips on what to do and see!
Alternate Plans for Day 4 of Your Oregon Coast Driving Trip
Most of the final day of our 4 Day Oregon Coast Road Trip is spent on the road. While it is the direct way to get back to Portland, we do have a few alternate route suggestions if time permits.
Complete the Oregon Coastal Drive in Reverse
If the fast-yet-dull route back to Portland is not enticing, consider backtracking and doing the complete Oregon Highway 101 road trip in reverse.
The northbound drive – without stops – could take as little as 4 hours (depending on traffic). When completing this Oregon Coast travel itinerary in reverse, we recommend using Highway 18 from Lincoln City to get back to Portland, rather than traveling all the way north to Cannon Beach.
The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum – home to the famed Spruce Goose – is on Highway 18 and makes an interesting place to stop.
You may even have time to see any Oregon Coast sights that you might have missed traveling south.
Plan a One-Way Oregon Coast Travel Itinerary
We organized our Oregon coastline drive as a loop that begins and ends in Portland – but it doesn’t have to be done that way.
Instead, book your flights into Portland and out of Eugene for a one-way trip.
To save money, try to find a rental car company that will allow you to pick up in Portland and drop off in Eugene without extra fees.
Extend Your Oregon Road Trip Itinerary
If time allows, extend your Oregon Coast 4-Day Itinerary into a longer trip!
We provide tips below for an extended Southern Oregon Coast Itinerary that dips into California.
Alternatively, you could plan an longer Oregon Itinerary that includes top inland destinations, like Bend (one of our favorite Oregon cities). Before making your way back to Portland check out What To Do and See in Bend!
Oregon Road Trip Planner Map
This Oregon Coast Map features the recommended stops on our Highway 101 Oregon Road Trip.
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive Oregon Coast road map that shows detailed information. Once you open the map of Oregon Coast attractions, click on the icons for more info.
More Oregon Coast Road Trips
We have designed the ultimate Oregon Coast road trip from Portland. That said, there are an endless number of routes that explore the West Coast, which can be combined into our detailed trip plan.
We are highlighting a few of the top Oregon Coast trip ideas that we did not include in our above outlined Oregon Coast Itinerary 4 Days.
Portland to Southern Oregon Coast Road Trip
The Southern Coast can easily be added to your Oregon trip planner by adding 1, 2, or 3 days to your trip plan. Very different from the Central and Northern Oregon Coast, the Southern Oregon Coast features more rugged nature, secluded beaches and fewer crowds.
From Florence, travelers can continue driving south on Hwy 101 on a Southern Oregon Road Trip to Coos Bay. The route passes through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (a popular spot for ATV riding and challenging sand dune hikes).
While Highway 101 turns inland at Coos Bay, we recommend following Cape Arago Highway to the coast. There, three state parks – Sunset Bay State Park, Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park – are nestled along the shoreline and connected by a system of hiking trails.
Consider staying the night in the Coos Bay area – or continue heading south on Highway 101 until it meets back up with the coast at Port Orford.
The small town of Port Orford has two big claims; it ranks as the oldest town on the Oregon Coast and holds the title as the most westerly town in the Lower 48.
Although the town is a sleepy little stop, the viewpoint from Battle Rock of the rock strewn sea is stunning.
Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor
Highlighted by a spectacular viewpoint – aptly named the Cape Sebastian Viewpoint – the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor is a fantastic place to stop for a picnic lunch (so be sure to bring one along!).
Gold Beach, Kissing Rock and Myers Creek Beach Viewpoint also offer excellent vantage points.
Experienced hikers will want to lace up their boots and set off on the Cape Sebastian Trail that ends at the beach. Allow for a couple of hours to complete this hike.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
The drive through Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is one of the most stunning stretches of the entire Oregon Coast.
Visitors should plan on making stops at the Arch Rock Picnic Area (which has multiple scenic viewpoints) and Natural Bridge (which features a viewing platform and an incredible hiking trail that puts you right on top of the natural rock bridge).
The Thomas Creek Bridge – which ranks as the tallest bridge in Oregon – is an interesting man-made marvel along the corridor, as well.
Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint is another gorgeous place to stop – especially on clear days.
Crescent City, California
We know this is an Oregon Road Trip Itinerary, but Crescent City, California is just 20 miles south of the Oregon-California border and is well worth visiting! If you are planning on discovering Southern Oregon, we highly recommend extending your Oregon Coast highway road trip into Northern California – at least as far as Crescent City.
The small town has a handful of attractions (a beautiful lighthouse and a lively brewery among them) – but the top reason to make the trip to Crescent City is to visit Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
The park is home to some of the most incredible redwood groves in the world. Hiking, rafting and a scenic drive through the forest are top attractions.
Find out more in our blog post, Things To Do in Crescent City!
Oregon to California Road Trip
On an ideal 10-day to two-week West Coast road trip, visitors can make their way from Portland to San Francisco…or further south to Los Angeles or even San Diego.
What To See on an Oregon to California Coast Road Trip
To create your ideal California-Oregon Road Trip Itinerary on the Coast, use our outlined Oregon Coast Road Trip (including the additional Southern Oregon Coast section), then continue driving south on the 101 from Crescent City.
On this section of the Oregon to San Francisco road trip along the coast, highlights include the town of Eureka, Redwood National and State Parks (and the famed Avenue of the Giants), Mendocino County (and Fort Bragg) and California wine country. Consider overnight stays in Eureka and Mendocino before arriving in San Francisco.
If you’re going to San Francisco…use our San Francisco Itinerary for tips on what to see and where to stay in SF!
We highlight for you the best San Francisco sights – and recommend staying at least two days to really experience the city.
Pro Tip: If you are planning an Oregon Coast road trip from California, simply flip our itinerary around. Make a stop in Crescent City…and then drive up the Oregon Coast!
Oregon to Washington Coast Road Trip
Planning a Pacific Northwest coastal road trip that includes both Oregon and Washington is a fabulous idea!
Highway 101 crosses the Columbia River (and state border) at Astoria, making a Washington-Oregon road trip fairly easy to plan. Again, we recommend driving south, so a good route would be a Seattle to Oregon Coast Road Trip.
Use our Seattle Itinerary for tips on the best things to do in Seattle before starting your drive.
On an Oregon Coast Road trip from Seattle, drivers start at Olympic National Park, wind around North Bay and Willapa Bay to the Columbia River and cross into Oregon – then continue to our first stop, Cannon Beach.
Travelers could easily spend a week or longer on an Oregon-Washington Coast road trip.
Creating a longer road trip around Washington State? We recommend adding Spokane to your journey!
Sample Oregon Coast Itineraries
To help better plan your trip to Oregon, we are highlighting the sights you can see in a 1 to 7 day Oregon Coast trips. Use our Oregon Coast trip planner tips to make your best road trip to the coast!
Oregon Coast 1-Day Trip
The best way to plan a 1-day trip to the Oregon Coast from Portland is to go to Cannon Beach.
Sights on a Day Trip to Oregon Coast: Astoria, Seaside, Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach.
Oregon Coast Itinerary 2 Days
Travelers planning an Oregon Coast 2 Day Itinerary will have ample time to see some of the top sights.
Oregon Coast Attractions on 2 Day Trip: Astoria, Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Seaside, Neahkahnie Viewpoint, Tillamook Creamery.
Oregon Coast Itinerary 3 Days
On an Oregon Coast 3 Day Itinerary, travelers can see some of the best sights of the Northern and Central Oregon Coast..
3 Day Oregon Coast Road Trip Sights: Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Seaside, Neahkahnie Viewpoint, Tillamook Creamery, Cape Mares, Cape Lookout, Pacific City. Take Route 18 back to Portland and consider a stop in McMinnville to see the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum on the way.
Oregon Coast Itinerary 4 Days
We think it is best to use our above detailed outline of our 4 Day Oregon Road Trip.
That said, visitors could adjust their schedule for longer – or shorter – days of driving to create alternate 4 Days in Oregon trip plan.
Oregon Coast Itinerary 5 Days
On a 5 Day Oregon Road Trip on the coast, we recommend adding a stop on the Southern Oregon Coast near Coos Bay. (Alternatively, veer inland from Florence and spend a day in beautiful Bend, OR instead!)
5 Day Oregon Coast Trip Sights To See: Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Seaside, Neahkahnie Viewpoint, Tillamook Creamery, Cape Mares, Cape Lookout, Pacific City, Newport, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence, Coos Bay, Cape Arago.
Oregon Coast Itinerary 6 Days
On a 6 Day Oregon Coast Highway trip, you can visit the entire coast from north to south! We also recommend dipping into California to see the redwoods, too.
Sights To See on a 6 Day Oregon Coast Trip: Astoria, Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Seaside, Neahkahnie Viewpoint, Tillamook Creamery, Cape Mares, Cape Lookout, Pacific City, Newport, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence, Coos Bay, Cape Arago, Port Orford, the Samuel H Boardman Scenic Highway, Crescent City (CA) and Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park.
Oregon Coast Itinerary 7 Days
With a one week trip to Oregon Coast, visitors can add a couple inland destinations to their trip plan as well. On a 7 Day Oregon Coast Itinerary, consider adding top Oregon destinations like Bend and the Columbia River Gorge to your route.
7-Day Oregon Coastal Road Trip Sights: Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Seaside, Neahkahnie Viewpoint, Tillamook Creamery, Cape Mares, Cape Lookout, Pacific City, Newport, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence, Coos Bay, Cape Arago, Port Orford, the Samuel H Boardman Scenic Highway, Crescent City (CA) and Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, Bend, and the Columbia River Gorge.
Oregon Coast Tours
While road trips allow for freedom to explore, they also require an attentive and careful driver. Rather than coming up with Oregon Coast vacation ideas on your own and sitting behind the wheel, leave the details to a pro and join an Oregon Coast tour.
Oregon Coast Tours from Portland
Visitors who would rather leave the driving to someone else can join an organized, small-group, day tour from Portland.
The Oregon Coast day trip itinerary includes stops at Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park and Oswald West State Park. Reserve your seat here!
Oregon Coast Package Tours from Eugene
From Eugene, join an Oregon Coast travel guide for a full day tour. This Oregon road trip itinerary is organized by a professional tour guide and includes visiting Yachats, Heceta Lighthouse and Florence – three of the Oregon Coast must see destinations! Get the details here!
What You Will Need for an Oregon Coast Road Trip
Oregon Road Trip Map
Although we have shared our online map for an Oregon coastal road trip, we strongly recommend purchasing a road map. This Highway 101 Oregon Map by National Geographic is an excellent Coastal Oregon Map that is both waterproof and tear resistant.
In addition to buying a map of the Oregon Coast highway, we also recommend checking current Oregon Coast road conditions before and during your drive.
Weather Appropriate Apparel to Travel the Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast weather can be unpredictable – and the coastal air is often cooler than anticipated. Therefore, we recommend packing clothing that can be layered.
Anyone planning a trip to Oregon will likely want to hit a few nature trails. Most of the Oregon Coast trails we recommend in our itinerary are easy to moderate hikes. Even so, it is always best to hike with proper footwear – so you may want to add hiking boots to your packing list for the Oregon Coast.
Binoculars for Oregon Nature Spotting
The amazing viewpoints are one of the best things about the Oregon Coast! To get a better look at the best views on the Oregon Coast, we suggest carrying a good pair of binoculars. They are great for spotting whales and other wildlife.
Day Pack for an Oregon Road Trip
Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase for your Oregon Coast drive itinerary, we highly recommend using a day pack for your adventures. A great day bag will help to organize all of your necessities and everyday travel items.
Travel Camera for Your Oregon Coast Trip
While more and more people are relying on their cell phone cameras to take pictures, a good travel camera with a zoom lens is necessary to capture amazing photographs during your road trip on the Oregon Coast.
We use a Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens, which is perfect for the Oregon Coast. Best of all, the camera comes bundled with a complete accessory kit – which makes for a great budget camera for beginner photographers!
Playlist for an Oregon Coast Drive
The best road trips in Oregon are accompanied by great music! Before you set off to the Coast from Portland, create an epic playlist.
Some of the tunes we recommend for road trips from Portland to the coast are “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 and “Lumberjack” by Johnny Cash. We love folk music for road trip playlists, and would also add these songs from Oregon bands; “Furr” by Blitzen Trapper, “Half Moon” by Blind Pilot and “Down by the Water” by The Decemberists.
Books for your Vacation to Oregon
When planning a trip to Oregon, we recommend buying some books that are either about Oregon or are set in the state.
Practical books – like “Day Hiking Oregon Coast” (get it here!) – may be useful if you plan on lacing up.
A few fictional books that are fun for an Oregon vacation itinerary are “Trask” (a frontier story – buy it here), “A Thousand Summers” (set on the beaches of the Oregon Coast – get it here), ” Mink River” (a poetic book about a fictional Oregon Coast town – find out more), and “Mercy of the Tide” (a thriller set on the Oregon coastline – read reviews).
Travel Oregon Coast with Trip Insurance
Plans change, flights get delayed, luggage gets lost and people get sick – any of which can wreak havoc on your Oregon Coast vacation. Travel insurance may help protect you on your trip to Oregon. World Nomads offers extensive coverage for affordable prices.
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