Asa has done a phenomenal amount of work researching points of interest along the Oregon Coast. A good amount of the text was copy and pasted from various sources Asa found through the web from personal reviews from people to articles on Trip Advisor – so we’ll be using these as a guide so that we don’t miss anything. Have a look:
- Depoe Bay has the smallest natural navigable harbor in the world consisting of six square acres. Because of the proximity to the ocean, fishermen or whale watchers can be from dockside to viewing or fishing in a matter of minutes. Waves run beneath lava beds and build pressure to spout water as high as 60 feet into the air. These are known as spouting horns and are visible during turbulent seas and stormy weather.
- Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint: A miraculous and rugged, basalt-rimmed bay, Boiler Bay is a great place to watch wild surf action on the rocky spurs. This splendid panoramic viewpoint presents a good opportunity to see migrating and resident gray whales. In 1910, an explosion sank the J. Marhoffer, and you can see the ship’s boiler at low-tide.
- Newport has been a playground for visitors since the late 1800’s. Nestled between the Coast Mountains, Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay, the natural beauty of the area draws those seeking a unique and exciting coastal experience. Yaquina Head is the site of Oregon’s tallest and second oldest active lighthouse. The 93- foot-tall structure was completed in 1872. The lighthouse is located at a natural area that was created by lava flow more than 14 million years ago. Historically, the Bayfront was Newport’s economic backbone, housing a port for the commercial fishing and wood products industries. Today, the Bayfront is still home to one of Oregon’s largest commercial fishing fleets and is a working waterfront on which visitors can enjoy shops, art galleries, chowder houses, restaurants, fish processing plants and family attractions in turn-of-the-century storefronts from a bygone era.
- Otter Rock: Just north of Newport is Otter Rock, where the Devil’s Punchbowl creates a boiling cauldron of maniacal wave action. It’s a sea cave where the top fell through ages ago, letting you peek inside. Because of rock structures surrounding this small headland, waves pick up lots of energy and become enormous, smashing into the rocks around the Punchbowl.
- Hatfield Marine Science Center: The Hatfield Marine Science Center is Oregon State University’s marine research facility. The Visitor Center has aquariums, displays and exhibits that highlight the research conducted by 200 marine scientists. The Visitor Center offers programs for groups, guided nature walks, films, and talks.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is home to more than 15,000 marine animals including sea otters, sea lions, octopuses, sharks, tufted puffins and an array of tropical fish. Take an adventure through our clear underwater tunnel, and you’ll know what it feels like to be completely surrounded by sharks, rays and thousands of fantastic fish. The Oregon Coast Aquarium has been consistently rated one of the nation’s top ten aquariums.
Oregon Oyster Farms
‘Nuff said :)
- Toledo, situated on a bend of the Yaquina River and surrounded by wooded hills, is just seven miles inland from the Central Oregon Coast, the only inland coastal community with a deep-water channel. The historic town cascades over the hillsides to the river. Once a bustling lumber mill town, Toledo’s industries today include lively boat repair businesses and Port of Toledo facilities, which support the fishing industry; a vibrant arts community, and a modern paper products mill. When the wind starts to blow on the beach, Toledo is often warm and sunny.
- Toledo’s restaurants are one of a kind, including Pig Feathers, designated by Fodors as the best barbeque in the Northwest. And their business has recently expanded to include a a microbrewery in the proud Oregon tradition. Several world-class artists make their homes here, taking inspiration from the small town atmosphere and beautiful river, estuary, and rural vistas.
- Toledo is the only city on the Oregon coast which has a downtown on a city street, not on a throughway or highway.
- The first settlers on the peninsula floated downriver on the Alsea River in the late 1870s and named Waldport. The name stems from the German word “wald” for forest and “port” for the location. In October of 1879, David and Orlena Ruble laid out the City of Waldport, using the nighttime stars as their survey guide. The city was chartered in 1890 and incorporated in 1911. The townsite is an old Indian burial ground. A point south of town bears the name of Chief Yaquina John, one of the last of the Alsi tribemembers.
- Waldport is especially proud of the Alsea Bay Bridge, completed in August 1991. Adjacent to the bridge is the Visitor Center, with displays and video material covering the history of the area, the building of this new bridge, and demolition of the old. Waldport High School’s Business Entrepreneurship class operates the WHS Kayak Shack, which provides guided kayaking excursions on the Alsea River.
- Woodlands Trail: The Woodlands trail offers visitors a peaceful environment for exercising, traversing or simply enjoying the sights, sounds, and scents of the forest. The wood chip trail meanders up and down hills, across a creek and across some access roads. Benches are situated along the route. There is one steep area with a switch back that has a rope rail. You may encounter the following: various trees, ferns, berries, mushrooms, skunk cabbage, birds, banana slugs, squirrels, frogs, insects, salamanders, garter snakes and more. You might even see a black bear or deer. The lower trail head begins behind the Kendall Ball Fields on Starr Street. Ample space is available in the gravel parking area. The upper trail heads are located at the playground and the adjacent skate park on Crestline Drive. The playground has parking along the road. The skate park allows for off street parking in the small paved lot.
- (pronounced YAH-hots) is derived from the Chinook Indian word, Yahuts, meaning “dark waters at the foot of the mountain.”
- Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse: Cleft of the Rock lighthouse is placed on a bluff near Cape Perpetua, and attached to the home of its former keeper, Jim Gibbs. This lighthouse is somewhat mysterious, as it can only be seen from highway 101. It was also originally designed as a private navigation device for the United States Coastguard.
- Reedsport and neighboring Winchester Bay are known as the “Heart of the Oregon Dunes.” With a population of about 5000, it is the headquarters for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a forty-seven mile stretch of sand dunes running from Florence on the north and to North Bend on the south. Lovely, quiet hiking trails lead through the forest, out onto the dunes, and through the beachgrass – straight to the beaches.
- Umpqua River Lighthouse: This lighthouse has a 65-foot tower, which started in 1890. It is located near Reedsport and Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. First illuminated in 1894, Umpqua River lighthouse gives off very distinct red and white flashes. Visitors can check out the inside of the lighthouse, nearby park, or Lake Marie.
- Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area: Just a couple miles west of Reedsport on Hwy 38 this area is maintained by the state of Oregon and provides lots of documentation on why the heard is there as well as their habits and behavior. You can get up close and take some great pictures. It’s a very popular stop and usually has plenty of parking with room for RV’s. Quite peaceful.
- Umpqua Discovery Center: This center is small but packed with history beautifully displayed. Interesting for adults and children alike. I was surprised to find myself comparing the quality of the exhibits and layout of the path through the center with my visits to the High Desert Museum in Bend. The Discovery Center was much smaller, but there was a lot of good information, well presented, and there was even a slide in the “bear’s den”!
- The City of Lakeside, located on the Southern Oregon Coast, has a population of 1,545. In the early 1940’s Lakeside was a known retreat for Hollywood’s rich and famous. Tenmile Lake has 42+ miles of shoreline and encompasses 3,000 surface acres of fishing and water sport fun. Many Pro Bass tournaments are held at the lake. A marina is available to rent small boats or you can enjoy the fishing dock and try your skills at catching largemouth bass, steelhead, black crappie, yellow perch or rainbow trout along with other fish species. Several resorts are in the surrounding area that accommodate RV and/or tent campers.
- Wildlife species found around the area include, elk, deer, beaver, raccoon, opossum, river otters, muskrats, nutria, red and gray foxes, bear, and cougar, majestic bald eagles, osprey and great blue heron as well as several duck species.
- Charleston is a quaint fishing village just eight miles from Coos Bay and North Bend and is located just inside the entrance to the bay. he harbor is the heart of this community and serves as a home port to a large commercial fishing fleet. You’ll find a bustling marina serving charter boat operators, sports fishermen, crabbers and recreational boaters. The harbor area includes restaurants, tackle, seafood, and specialty gift shops.
- Bastendorff Beach is a favorite among surfers, kiters, beachcombers and locals and tourists alike. You’ll find an uninterrupted beach and ocean views can be enjoyed here. Bastendorff Beach is defined by Yoakam Head and the south jetty at the entrance of the bay.
- Surrounded by the Pacific shoreline with its beautiful dunes and lovely beaches, Oregon’s Adventure Coast is located between the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on the North and Shore Acres State Park, an impressive botanical garden on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on the South. The area features a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, clamming, wildlife, bird watching, sea lion and whale watching, tours, cycling, and 4-wheel rides in the dunes. The Port of Coos Bay is an active commercial area.
- Shore Acres State Park: Oregon state parks provide enhancements for those travelers who picnic, camp and hike. This location has trails along the rugged coast and to the Arago light house. In the winter the parking for those activities is ample as visitation is relatively low especially on weekdays. Local visitors come primarily on the weekends. This park is a must see and once you have been there, it sticks with you and you want to go again. The gardens are beautiful year round and even if it starts to rain, cover up and enjoy because after all, it is the Oregon coast. Don’t forget your camera!
- Horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, camping, exploring the lighthouse and dunes, shopping, crabbing, golf, and more are available in Bandon. Don’t miss the cranberry bogs! These colorful fields can be seen just outside of town along Highway 101.
- Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint: Unless you are closely watching as you drive along Hwy 101 there is a good chance you will drive right pass the turn off to Face Rock State Park. Even then it will take some exploring to finally make your way to the entrance to this small state park. Once there you will find a small parking lot, some windblown trees, a couple of picnic tables, and a wooden fence outlining the western borders of the park. For the most part the little park is not that remarkable except for its location. On the other side of the wooden fence sits, what I consider one of the top ten vistas of the Oregon Coast. Nature has spent millions of years carving an amazing landscape of rocks, waves and beaches which might inspire anyone carrying a camera to suddenly think themselves Ansel Adams.
- Small, friendly, quirky, with a relaxing energy in a naturally beautiful setting…Port Orford is filled with nice people, an unhurried atmosphere and no stop lights. The oldest platted town site on the Oregon coast, the most westerly city in the continental U.S., and the northern gateway to the America’s Wild Rivers Coast, Port Orford honors its rich history.
- Visit Battle Rock Historical Park, the site of a famous battle between Indians and the first whites trying to settle here. Visitor information center at the park. Stop by the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum, which features a restored Coast Guard Station, shipwreck memorabilia, and many artifacts from the years when the Coast Guard Station was providing services to ships off one of America’s most dangerous headlands. It is the only natural, open-water port for 600 miles and only one of six “dolly” ports in the world.
- Battle Rock Park: Battle Rock State Park is more than just a rock, it’s an entire beach plus picnic sites overlooking the beach and the rock where the battle took place. There is a visitors’ center with bathrooms, paraphernalia and someone to answer questions, although you’re less likely to find someone for those questions in the off seasons. The park also overlooks the dock at Port Orford. The beach is the beginning of a beautiful panorama of headlands and beaches to the south. It is somewhat protected and is considerably warmer than some of the other beaches further north because of its southern exposure.
- Cape Blanco State Park: The beautiful colored stones on the beach are amazing and the driftwood scattered all over the back of the beach was neat. It’s not a crowded beach either because it’s far away from major cities. Drive out and take a walk. The lighthouse is located on the furthest western most point of the contiguous United States. The Lighthouse is intriguing and the Park has a great campground. You can even bring in horses for trail riding. Lots of hiking paths. If you walk down to the ocean on the south side and turn toward the lighthouse, you may find shell fossils along the way. If you walk down to the ocean on the north side, you’ll enjoy a great walk seeing stack rocks and seeing seals. There is a trail below the Hughes House that leads along the Sixes River to the same beach.
- Gold Beach, Ore., is located just 50 miles north of the California border. It is clearly different from other coastal towns for its blend of forest, river and ocean. The early story of Gold Beach is a weaving of Native American cultures and wars, Spanish explorers and European fur trappers, ranchers, gold miners, loggers, fishermen, mill workers and town folk — all building a special kind of life in an amazing place that has never lost its natural allure.
- Rogue River Bridge: This bridge is a great photo opportunity and crosses over the wild Rogue River at Gold Beach Oregon. The bridge and driving down to the north and south points and the harbor were a great way to see the local environment. the views from the point were spectacular. It is a beautiful bridge in a beautiful setting. So many modern bridges are nothing more than concrete and steel slapped together, this bridge was built at a time when labor was a bit more plentiful and thought was given to building structures that would compliment their surroundings rather than just suiting a purpose.
- Golden Beach Books: Over 75,000 new and used books, including local authors, plus local art, a Rare Book Showroom, and special events schedule; the Biscuit Coffeehouse offers home-baked delicacies, soups, specialty coffees, and smoothies; free Wi-Fi. This is a gem! Every time we are up on the Oregon Coast we love to treat ourselves to Lattes and espresso. We stopped at the coffee shop at least 3 times in our short stay. Every time we were tempted by their delicious biscuits and baked goods. The staff was friendly and the coffee hit the spot on cool mornings.
- Arch Rock Brewery: We sought out the Arch Rock Brewery (not a brewpub) on the recommendation of quite a few people we met on our trip along the south coast of Oregon. They have a small tasting room (no food – just a tasting room) where they also fill growlers. We stopped in and tasted four really good beers (pale ale, IPA, Witte, and porter) – all of which we enjoyed – and chatted with the owners/brewers. Really good beer, really nice people. Their porter is a real standout. Its available up and down the south coast in various restaurants, and hopefully their other beers will soon be too. Definitely worth a stop. We wish them the best in their endeavors. Would definitely go back the next time we’re in the area and highly recommend stopping in!
- The Mary D Hume: This is a very old ship that is slowly falling apart and sinking. It has historic value. Makes a great picture. If you stop to view, there are billboards up telling you the history of the old ship. Worth seeing, she won’t be around too many more years.
- Brookings is located on the beautiful Southern Oregon Coast six miles north of the California border on U.S. Highway 101. It is bounded on one side by the Chetco River and Port of Brookings Harbor and on the north end, by Harris Beach State Park. The community of Brookings was originally established in 1913 by John E. Brookings, cousin to Robert S. Brookings of the Brookings Institute, when he moved his lumber business from the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
- Azalea Park: With azaleas blooming in the spring, the prime time to visit this park is in the spring. This time we were there end August so no azaleas, but still a pleasant and nice park to visit in Brookings, Oregon.
- Harris Beach State Park: Harris Beach is the easiest-to-find example of the spectacular ocean beauty near Brookings. There are three main beaches, each with great views of the ocean, sea stacks, and tide pools. The southernmost is accessible via a long black-topped path from the first parking lot as you enter the park; at low tide you can walk for a mile, at high tide about half a mile. The “main” beach is accessible from the ramps and stairs at the SE end of the day-use area; the farther SE you go, the more rugged the tide pools and sea stacks. You reach the north beach from the day-use area, too, at the NW end of the parking lot where a path goes down to Harris Creek; cross it and walk north (even better tide pools); at low tide, keep going past the rocks, and you can walk for at least a mile past little sea stacks with sea palms growing on them, all the way to Rainbow Rock Beach, which has more tide pools and even some caves. The conifer-covered camp sites give the park a majestic feeling. Harris is a lovely beach, great for strolls. It is very popular in the summer so make reservation as early as possible. Many sites are quite private, and some are close in (great for group camping).
- Brandy Peak Distillery: Found Brandy Peak doing some research on places to stop on a road trip down the Oregon Coast. It was a last minute decision to make the turn of 101 and the drive up the hill and I am glad I did. There was a warm welcome and a great little tour and lesson on brandy. The varieties were all very good, but I couldn’t avoid the sweet temptation of the Blackberry Liqueur. Definitely recommend stopping by if you are ever in the area.