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5 Must-See Places Along The Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast
Abhinaba Basu from Redmond, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5 Must-See Places Along The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is a quiet, picture-perfect destination for those in the West. What the area lacks in big tourist draws, it makes up for with beautiful natural destinations, cozy bed and breakfasts, ocean-themed restaurants, and lots of beaches. Check out our guide to some of the best spots to see and camp along this 363-mile stretch of Highway 101.

1. Astoria

If you start your coastal trip from the northern end, your first stop should be Astoria, the oldest city in the state. This historic town has lots to explore from museums to landmarks like the remains of an old shipwreck.

In addition to its historical charm, Astoria has great local beer, fun antique stores, and beautiful nearby hikes such as the hike to Cathedral Tree (1.5 miles). For some fun movie history, take a Goonies location tour!

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The Astoria-Megler Bridge, which spans over the Columbia River. Photo by Gary Windust, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

For camping, head over to the Klaskanine River RV Park or Lewis & Clark Public Golf & RV Park with 9-hole golf at your door. 

2. Cannon Beach

Your trip along the coast will hit many, many beaches, Cannon Beach being one of the most popular and family-friendly. There are activities for all in this coastal town from nature lovers to art lovers.

Cannon Beach is best known for its large offshore sea stack, known as Haystack Rock. Photo by Snapmann (Flickr Creative Commons)

Enjoy bird watching, surfing, whale watching, and horseback riding on the beach. Be sure to check out Hug Point, 5 miles south of Cannon Beach. This spot features a waterfall and mysterious sea caves during low tide.

Also at Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park, a haven of hiking trails, picnic areas and vantage points perfect for bird and whale watching. Take Indian Beach Trail for breathtaking views and to catch some of the surfers who frequent this beach.

For RV camping at Cannon Beach, head to Cannon Beach RV Resort for a full-service, full-hookup facility and to Sea Ranch RV Park and Stables which has cabins, tent sites, and RV spots.

3. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

This special place is a must-see on any Oregon road trip. One of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world, the views here are mind-blowing. The wind-blown dunes cover nearly 40 miles and some are as high as 500 feet above the ocean.

Oregon Dunes. Photo by Donnie Kolb, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Explore the dunes on foot or by ATV or even camp here! The dunes are also home to over 30 lakes and ponds for sailing, canoeing, water skiing, swimming, scuba diving, and fishing.

There are numerous campsites in this recreation area that accommodate RVs. Check out campsites in the Siltcoos area, South Jetty area, Spinreel to Horsfall Area, Sutton Campground, Tahkenitch area, and Umpqua Dunes area.

While visiting the sand dunes, check out the nearby town of Coos Bay, the largest town on the Oregon coast and the mid-point between Seattle and San Francisco.

Often called the Oregon coast’s “Bay Area”, this popular destination offers culture like art museums and the summer Oregon Coast Music Festival as well as plenty of outdoor recreation like canoeing on Ten Mile Lake, hiking, visiting nearby state parks and beaches like Bandon Beach.

4. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

This area is home to amazing natural wonders as well as beautiful ocean views and forested trails. The Cape Perpetua Headland is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the Oregon Coast; at 800 feet, it makes for stunning views.

Photo by Kirt Edblom, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area encompasses 2,700 acres which includes 26 miles of trail, old-growth forests, Native American shell middens, tidepools and more. One of its natural features, known as the Devil’s Churn, is worth a visit to see the violent waves that pound the narrow inlet. Visit another natural wonder, the Spouting Horn, a saltwater fountain driven by the ocean’s power and viewable from Highway 101. For more information on the area, the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center is located two miles south of Yachats. 

Cape Perpetua Campground is available for RV camping and is located off Highway 101 along the banks of Cape Creek. Each site has a picnic table and campfire ring and access to flush toilets and drinking water. In Yachats (pronounced YAH-hots), one of the nearest towns, RV camping is available at the Sea Perch RV Resort. The other closest town of Waldport is home to six RV parks: Alsea River RV Park & Marina, Happy Landing RV Park & Marina, King Silver RV Park & MarinaMcKinley’s Marina & RV ParkRover’s RV Park, and Waldport/Newport KOA.

5. Garibaldi Pier

Located on Tillamook Bay on the northern part of the Oregon Coast is the longest pier in the state at 700 feet. The pier is open year-round to the public to try their hands at crabbing, salmon fishing, recreational fishing, and even clam digging in the beds below. The town is extremely small with a population of just over 800 so don’t expect any touristy restaurants or gift shops. 

The longest pier on the Oregon Coast. Photo by Howard Ignatius, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The campground located closest to the pier is Barview Jetty Park & Campground which has a quiet beach area, 73 full hook-up sites, restrooms, and showers. Also near the pier is Port of Garibaldi RV Park which has full hook-up, back-in sites. Food and beverages are available at an onsite bistro. Other options are the Harborview Inn & RV Park and Old Mill RV Park & Event Center.

There are dozens of public and privately owned campgrounds along the entire length of the Oregon Coast. Search RV LIFE Campgrounds or plan your travels with RV LIFE Trip Wizard to find more great destinations along the way.

See also: