Oregon is one of the best states out there! I may be a little biased because I live here, but it truly is a great state! From the beach to the mountains and lakes, there is never a dull moment if you’re a nature lover. If you are ever visiting Portland, make sure you check out these day trips! Today, we’re going to go more in depth into the roadtrip from Portland to the Oregon Coast. The coast is one of our favorite places to go within Oregon, mostly because there is so much to see and do, but it’s also a great place to go and relax for the weekend. If you’ve never been to the Oregon Coast, be forewarned that it is nothing like the beach in Southern California or Florida. It is usually cold and overcast, and even sometimes stormy. Very rarely is it perfect blue sky and hot! Don’t plan on sunbathing in your suit! But, the Oregon coast is BEAUTIFUL! The Oregon coast runs along the Pacific Ocean, stretching over 360 miles! Typically the Oregon coast is divided into 3 regions- North, Central and South. We’re going to focus on the central Oregon coast- from Lincoln City to Florence. Lincoln City and the surrounding beauty is our favorite part of the Oregon Coast. You’ll see why soon enough!
What You'll Find in This Post
Oregon Coast Roadtrip
Getting to the Oregon Coast
The drive to the Oregon Coast is one of the most scenic drives in Oregon, especially if you spend time along highway 101. The Central Coast has great cliffs, bays and plenty of fishing! You can see the sandstone cliffs as you are driving along the 101 and they make for some great contrast with the blue ocean! From hiking, biking, surfing, fishing there are plenty of outdoor activities for everyone, including kids.
Making the trip to the Oregon Coast is easy. From Portland it takes about 2 hours to get to Lincoln City. It is an easy drive as it goes along highway 99w and highway 18 until you reach highway 101. You’ll drive through Mcminnville, Dundee (also a must-see if you like wine), and some great greenery before you arrive at the coast.
We have broken down the Central coast into three main stops: Lincoln City, Newport, and Florence with where to eat, where to sleep, and places to see at the Oregon Coast.
Here’s a video of our trip to the coast for more awesome views of the Oregon Coast
Cities to Visit Along Oregon’s Central Coast
What to do in Lincoln City
- Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint- a great place along the highway to have a picnic and enjoy the sandstone cliffs
- Devils Punchbowl- During winter storms, water from the restless ocean slams with a thundering roar into a hollow rock formation shaped like a huge punch bowl. The surf churns, foams, and swirls as it mixes a violent brew
- Chinook Winds Casino- Oregons premier casino, overlooking the ocean
Where to Eat in Lincoln City
- Hwy 101 burger- local burgers and fries
- Pirate coffee company- great coffee and beautiful looking pastries (although we didn’t indulge this time)
- Kyllo’s seafood and grill- Get a window seat if possible, and of course great seafood
- Baywalk cafe- Gluten free clam chowder and fish and chips
Where to Stay In Lincoln City
- Looking Glass Inn– South end of Lincoln City, close to the wonderful bay with ocean views, easy beach access, and many dog friendly rooms.
- Coho Oceanfront Lodge- beachfront hotel with spa
What to do in Newport
- Oregon Coast Aquarium- The Aquarium was home to Keiko, the orca who starred in Free Willy
- Yaquina Bay Lighthouse- built in 1871 and is located in the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site
Where to Eat in Newport
- Saffron Salmon- Clam chowder, Dungeness crab, shrimp cakes
- Chowder bowl- fish tacos, clam chowder
- Mo’s Chowder- A true favorite along the coast-the original clam chowder (also in Lincoln City and Florence)
Where to Stay in Newport
- The inn at nye beach– Direct access to the beach with beach views
- Agate Beach Motel- Cozy inn above the beach with great views
What to do in Florence
- visit the Sea lion caves– America’s largest sea cave and the year-round home of the Steller sea lion, although they are wild animals, so they aren’t always in the caves.
- Cape Perpetua- the highest point on the Oregon Coast at 803 feet, has incredible views and great hiking trails
- Jessie M Honeyman memorial state park– canoe, kayak, paddle board or swim
- Heceta Head Lighthouse- the most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon coast because of its picturesque setting
Where to Eat in Florence
- Waterfront Depot– oysters, crab cakes, clam chowder
- Bridgewater Fish house and Zebra bar- lobster melt, oysters
Where to Stay in Florence
- Old Town Inn– 5 minute walk from Old Twon Florence
- The Landmark Inn– hilltop setting overlooking the sand dunes
- Blue Heron Inn– 1940’s country home with river views and just five minutes from the center of town
Best time to visit the Oregon Coast
If you like stormy weather, winter is a great time to visit the coast. Summer months are popular time because kids are out of school, but there is also a higher chance of drier weather. If you are visiting the Oregon Coast during the summer, beware of traffic during the weekend. While you can do the coast in a day, we HIGHLY recommend spending a couple days to truly explore the whole coast!
For other things to do in Oregon:
- Must see day trips from Portland
- 83 Fun and Weird Things to do in Portland
- Things to do in Bend, Oregon
- Go Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley
- Cool Places to Stay in Oregon
- Best Breweries in Oregon
- Exploring Tualatin Valley
Have you visited the Oregon Coast? What is your favorite place to visit?