Oregon Coastline Vacation ~ Southern Oregon Coast heading North ~ Pictures, Beaches and Attractions

Southern Oregon Coast

Southern Oregon Coast
Southern Oregon Coast | Source

Southern Oregon Coast

This portion of my mother's, niece's and my Oregon vacation will focus on the Oregon coastline and many pictures will be shown of that resplendent, wild, rocky and fascinating border between land and the ever active waves of the Pacific Ocean. Numerous beaches and attractions were seen and savored.

Two weeks were spent viewing many different areas of Oregon starting with our arrival in Portland from Houston, Texas. Wish that it could have been two months!

After seeing some of that city we headed inland along the Columbia River Gorge viewing countless waterfalls. Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake National Park, and a jet boat ride on the Rogue River were just a few of the highlights that we experienced.

We had only spent one night in the very northwestern tip of California to primarily take in viewing the tall and majestic redwoods in the Redwood National Park.

Thus this journey begins as we head up the southern Oregon coast heading north.

Pacific ocean from Oregon coastline

Pacific Ocean along the Oregon Coastline.
Pacific Ocean along the Oregon Coastline. | Source

Route 101

This scenic highway hugs the coastline of all the Pacific Ocean bordering states from Los Angeles in California, through Oregon and on up to Port Angeles in Washington State.

For anyone having the time to take this route, the scenery presented along this highway is breathtaking. Sometimes it winds a few miles inland, but often it hugs the coastline offering sweeping views of the Pacific from the road. It is curvy and twists and turns with the outline of the land and also the topography...so for people in a hurry, Interstate 5 which is further inland is probably the best way to go.

We opted to take route 101, also called the "Oregon Coast Highway" in Oregon and were in for a sensual treat.

Southern Oregon coastline

Southern Oregon Coastline
Southern Oregon Coastline | Source

Harris Beach State Park

Harris Beach State Park

There are a number of State Parks as one drives south to north heading up the Oregon coast. Harris Beach State Park is located just north of Brookings and is a great place for beachcombers.

Walking along the windswept beach we started adding to a rock collection that we would take home as souvenirs of this Oregon vacation.

We would soon find out as we progressed north that just about at every beach location, the rocks amazingly varied. Some were multi-colored and irregularly shaped while others were grey to black and smooth and polished just like the ones commonly found in Japanese gardens.

Rocky Oregon coastline

Oregon coast
Oregon coast | Source

Sea anemones

Sea anemones at Lone Ranch along the Oregon Coast
Sea anemones at Lone Ranch along the Oregon Coast | Source
Walking along the barnacle encrusted rocks at Lone Ranch.
Walking along the barnacle encrusted rocks at Lone Ranch. | Source

Samuel H. Boardman State Park

This park stretches for about 11 miles along the coast and has signs posted to the various beaches and places to pull off the road if one wishes to photograph the scenery, hike some of the trails or picnic at some of the provided tables that are situated in scenic locations.

At Lone Ranch we spotted our first sea anemones attached to the rocks in tidal pools. The rocks were also encrusted with barnacles.

The morning fog enshrouded the distant rocks and views and the humid and salty breezes made sweater wearing comfortable for us even though the time of year was August.

Sound effects of the constant din of the breaking waves washing ashore added to the muffled sounds of people talking and the plaintive cry of seagulls skimming the air.

Oregon coastline at Lone Ranch

My mother and niece at Lone Ranch along the Oregon coastline.
My mother and niece at Lone Ranch along the Oregon coastline. | Source

At this location (pictured below), anyone collecting driftwood would have had a great selection of sea-washed pieces.

Driftwood along Oregon coastline

Notice the driftwood that has been washed ashore?
Notice the driftwood that has been washed ashore? | Source

Scouring the beach for that perfect souvenir rock!

Southern Oregon coast and beach

Beach scene - southern Oregon coast
Beach scene - southern Oregon coast | Source

There are seemingly endless terrific vistas of ocean and coastline as one continues traveling up highway 101 along the Oregon coast.

Oregon Coastline vista

Great Oregon coastline vista!
Great Oregon coastline vista! | Source

Natural Bridge Cove

A short 50 yard walk from one's parked car leads to this natural arch carved out of solid rock by the relentless pounding and scouring action of the surf. The coastline continually loses land to the sea by erosive actions over the course of years forming cliffs and islets and offshore rocks.

Natural Bridge Cove along Oregon coast

Natural Bridge Cove
Natural Bridge Cove | Source

Bike Free in Oregon - Humbug, breakfast

Humbug Mountain State Park

This state park is about a mile from the shoreline and is situated in a wooded canyon setting.

It is a beautiful picnic and camping site and perfect for hiking and biking.

Taking the time to stop for a short rest and walk, we found some wild blackberries bushes and apple trees and helped ourselves to some of that succulent blackberry fruit. While we were in a fairly secluded spot and strolling along enjoying the scenery, we decided to make a hasty exit.

Why? We spotted some very fresh bear droppings! Thinking it was probably best to leave the blackberries to the bear, we headed back to the coast.

Beaches and State Parks along the Oregon Coast

show route and directions
A markerHarris Beach State Park -
Harris Beach State Park, 1655 Hwy 101, Brookings, OR 97415, USA
[get directions]

B markerSamuel H. Boardman State Park -
Samuel H Boardman State Park, Brookings, OR, USA
[get directions]

C markerGold Beach, Oregon -
Gold Beach, OR, USA
[get directions]

D markerHumbug Mountain State Park -
Humbug Mountain State Park, Port Orford, OR 97465, USA
[get directions]

Coos Bay, Oregon

Coos Bay, Oregon
Coos Bay, Oregon | Source

Coos Bay

Passing Port Orford which is a commercial fishing village we next stopped at Coos Bay which is where the Coos River meets the Pacific. There is a sizable body of water inland connecting to the Pacific.

While we were visiting, there was a replica of a 16th century warship moored in this port city.

I have no idea if it is still there as a permanent exhibit or if it was just passing through this area on its way to some other location.

In any case this warship with flags furled made a striking appearance on Coos Bay grabbing our attention and I am certain the attention of many others as well.

Warship in Coos Bay, Oregon

Replica of 16th century warship in Coos Bay at the time of our visit.
Replica of 16th century warship in Coos Bay at the time of our visit. | Source

Coos Bay Oregon Dune Ride

Sand Dunes National Recreation Area

My mother, niece and I were surprised to see massive sand dunes that went on for miles and miles along the coastline of Oregon as we were driving.

We found out that it was a National Recreation Site. It consists of miles ( 40 along the coast! ) of entertainment for people who enjoy off road dune buggy riding; hiking; swimming...(yes, there are both large and small lakes in these dunes!) and other activities. In fact this Sand Dunes National Recreation Area is the largest expanse of dunes that run along a coastline in all of North America.

It certainly provides an attraction for vacationers in this part of Oregon and can be a destination all by itself for much fun and outdoor activities between Coos Bay and Florence, Oregon to the north.

Sand Dunes National Recreation Area near Coos Bay, Oregon

Sand Dunes National Recreation Area near Coos Bay, Oregon.
Sand Dunes National Recreation Area near Coos Bay, Oregon. | Source

Florence and Coos Bay in Oregon

show route and directions
A markerCoos Bay, Oregon -
Coos Bay, OR, USA
[get directions]

B markerFlorence, Oregon -
Florence, OR 97439, USA
[get directions]

Discover Newport Oregon

Newport, Oregon

Newport is a seaside town along the Oregon coast that has several attractions among which is the Yaquina Head Light-house; an aquarium and the Undersea Gardens.

On Newport's old bay front which is slightly reminiscent of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, although smaller, we decided to see the Undersea Gardens.

It was enjoyable. One actually walks down into an undersea theater and when the curtains expose the glassed tank area, a myriad of sea creatures are to be viewed along with some scuba divers showing off various things within that marine environment. It is a narrated show so that people understand what they are viewing.

Marina in Newport, Oregon

View of boats at the Embarcadero Resort Hotel and Marina in Newport, Oregon
View of boats at the Embarcadero Resort Hotel and Marina in Newport, Oregon | Source

By this time of our vacation we had settled into a great spot for lodging in Lincoln City, Oregon and were venturing out for daily sightseeing trips such as this one back down to Newport.

We decided to have lunch at the Embarcadero Resort Hotel and Marina where they pride themselves for every room having a view of the bay and marina. So did their restaurant.

Looking out of the picture windows while we dined on local seafood were these colorful boats moored just outside.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Light-House

Newport, Oregon is also the home to the Yaquina Head Light-House and my mother, niece and I decided to take a look at it.

It is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast and is still operational.

Comorants, seagulls and other birds roost offshore on the jutting rocks and while interesting to see and hear, I must admit, the odor originating from there wasn't great.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

See all the birds roosting on this rock outcropping near the Yaquina Head Light-House?
See all the birds roosting on this rock outcropping near the Yaquina Head Light-House? | Source
Yaquina Head Light-House and my niece.
Yaquina Head Light-House and my niece. | Source

Sneaker waves along Oregon coastline

Looking for agates...watch that ocean behind!
Looking for agates...watch that ocean behind! | Source
Here comes one of those "sneaker waves!"
Here comes one of those "sneaker waves!" | Source

Agate Beach

Just north of Newport is Agate Beach where collectors of these stones can occasionally pick them right up from the beach. Apparently if one gets there right after a storm or at least soon after the tide goes out, one has a better chance of finding some.

We looked but did not see any that we could identify as agates, although we found some pretty pebbles.

One has to be careful when walking along the Oregon coastline because what they label as "sneaker waves" can catch one off guard.

Every now and then the foaming waves of the ocean come in much further than one expects when walking along the hard packed sand of the beach.

My mother, niece and I were all fooled at least once and got the Pacific ocean in our shoes!

Devil's Punchbowl State Park - this video shows the punchbowl from the top and also from the bottom.

Devils Punchbowl State Park

A roof of two caves collapsed causing a large bowl-like effect which the ebb and flow of the Pacific Ocean regularly fills with salty water. During stormy weather this catch basin can apparently look like a boiling and steaming cauldron.

We simply looked down at it but the video shows it from the top as well as the bottom. It is a pretty site.

Nothing stays the same with the ever present forces of nature exacting their toll.

Barnacle encrusted rocks

Barnacle encrusted rocks
Barnacle encrusted rocks | Source

We would pass several more beaches and parks heading north of Newport going back to Lincoln City.

At Fogarty Creek State Park on the east side of highway 101, a path leads under the highway to gain beach access.

Gleneden Beach has the famous Salishan Lodge and had we wanted to blow our entire vacation budget, this would have been our choice of places to stay. But reason prevailed and we got to do and see many more things by staying in less expensive accommodations.

Oregon coastline

Oregon coast where hang-gliding enthusiasts have some fun.
Oregon coast where hang-gliding enthusiasts have some fun. | Source

Pacific City

There are several capes just north of Pacific City, Oregon.

At Cape Kiwanda we saw hang gliders catapulting off of the cliffs and soaring over the Pacific waters.

We were told that the waters are so cold that wet suits are almost mandatory and even with that precaution approximately 90 minutes in the water is the limit.

Cape Kiwanda - Pacific City, Oregon (HD)

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

An ancient lava flow created an area for hiking through forested areas in the Cape Lookout State Park.

Overnight camping is allowed and many people take advantage of the scenery as well as enjoyment of the beach along the Pacific.

Views of the coastline are nothing short of spectacular!

Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge

Cape Meares State Park

This was the most northern coastal site that we visited prior to turning east and heading back to Portland, Oregon for our return trip back to Houston. It lies on the coast just west of Tillamook, the famous dairy and cheese making region of Oregon. We regularly purchase Tillamook cheeses and have some in our refrigerator right now.

The historic Cape Meares Lighthouse was built in 1890.

From a bluff overlooking the ocean one can see roosting birds and this site would also be a great place to do some hiking.

On the beaches below the bluffs the tides continually wash ashore great specimens of driftwood. Alas...driftwood was too large to take home with us on the airplane, but we had our rocks!

Beaches and parks along the Oregon coastline

show route and directions
A markerNewport, Oregon -
Newport, OR, USA
[get directions]

B markerAgate Beach in Oregon -
Agate Beach, Newport, OR 97365, USA
[get directions]

C markerFogarty Creek State Park -
Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area, Depoe Bay, OR 97341, USA
[get directions]

D markerGleneden Beach -
Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, OR 97388, USA
[get directions]

E markerCape Kiwanda oregon -
Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, OR 97112, USA
[get directions]

F markerCape Lookout State Park -
Cape Lookout State Park, 13000 Whiskey Creek Rd, Tillamook, OR 97141-9499, USA
[get directions]

G markerCape Meares State Park -
Cape Meares State Park, Tillamook, OR 97141, USA
[get directions]

Oregon coastline - rock jutting out into ocean

Oregon coastline
Oregon coastline | Source

Lincoln city leisure time

Enjoying leisure time in our motel suite in Lincoln City.
Enjoying leisure time in our motel suite in Lincoln City. | Source
Building sandcastles!
Building sandcastles! | Source
Fodor's Oregon (Full-color Travel Guide)
Fodor's Oregon (Full-color Travel Guide)

I find these guides to be extremely helpful when planning trips.


Lincoln City, Oregon

Our home away from home for four days was at the Ester Lee Motel in Lincoln City where we had a cottage suite with kitchen, wood fireplace (which we used nightly) and great views of the Pacific Ocean.

One day while we were doing our exploring in different directions we came across a pick-up truck selling fresh ears of corn on the cob.

The hosts at the motel generously loaned us a large pot in which to boil our corn and that night we had a feast of fresh corn on the cob and vine ripened sliced tomatoes...one of my mother's all time favorite meals!

Watching large ships way out at sea going both north and south; feeding the seagulls right out of the sliding windows of our unit and watching the sun going down over the water just below were simple pleasures, but fun.

Instead of watching television at the end of each day, we played cards and conversed about our days activities or plans for the next day.

Sandcastles were built and memories created to last a lifetime.

Central point for the last 4 days of our exploration of the Oregon coast and attractions.

A markerLincoln City, Oregon -
Lincoln City, OR, USA
[get directions]

Sunset over Pacific from Lincoln City, Oregon

Sun setting over the Pacific as viewed from our motel room in Lincoln City, Oregon.
Sun setting over the Pacific as viewed from our motel room in Lincoln City, Oregon. | Source

Oregon Coast Sunset #2

Perhaps this has given you some idea of the sights that can be enjoyed on an Oregon coast vacation starting from the southern Oregon coast heading north. Obviously there are many more worthy diversions along the way but this can hopefully give one a general idea of the beaches, parks and attractions that we enjoyed on our vacation many years ago.

If you enjoyed these pictures, please leave a comment.

Happy traveling wherever you decide to go!

Does the Oregon coast look like a place that you would like to vacation?

  • Yes...have already done so and would do so again.
  • Absolutely...can't wait to go sometime!
  • I actually live along the Oregon coast so see it all the time.
  • I'm not an ocean or beach type of vacationer so would prefer doing other types of vacations.
  • Live too far away so probably won't have the chance, but thanks for showing these pictures and describing the Oregon coastline.
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© 2011 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed! 40 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi billybuc,

I'm so glad that you liked this...especially since you are familiar with this gorgeous Oregon coastline. Thanks for your comment.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

You did a fine job of representing Oregon with this one. I live in Washington but have spent quite a bit of time on the Oregon coast hiking and camping and this hub is a fine testament to the beauty of the area.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Rose,

I think that you will really enjoy visiting the Oregon coast someday. Hope you get to see it someday soon for yourself. Glad you liked the pictures. Thanks for your comment.

Rose Kolowinski profile image

Rose Kolowinski 5 years ago

I love rocky coasts and Oregon is on my list of places to spend some time. Thank you for your very thorough hub of all the great places to explore along the Oregon coast. And of course all of your beautiful pictures!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello again quester.ltd,

Wow! Camping along the southern Oregon coast would be wonderful. It is wonderful that you are able to do that! Nice that you have also explored more of the state. As to the redwoods...to me it is just like being in a sacred place...cathedral-like. Thanks for coming back and leaving another comment.

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