Destinations

Road Trippin Through Oregon

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Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Visiting this state is one of the primary reasons we planned our epic coastal road trip last year. The beauty and scenic landscapes far exceeded my expectations of this 364 mile extraordinary journey of nature carved coasts, historic lighthouses, and bountiful meadows.

The Visitor Center is a wealth of information as we began our expedition into Oregon driving in from California. We didn’t realize that we have embarked into an area where one the oldest towns in the West is home to, the world’s largest sea cave, and all the gorgeous stopping points at nearly every mile post along the coast.

This road trip is not your typical long boring drive in your car kind of trip. Nope, this extraordinary road trip begins at Crissey Field State Park where the Oregon Welcome Center and US Forest Service is located, and is also at the end of the Oregon Coast Trail.

The large parking lot has easy access to the beach and Winchuck River estuary and is a great stop to use the restrooms, pick up brochures and maps and plan for the endless stops you will be making. Oregon has so many cool stops along this coastal route, that we decided to choose a handful of stopping points that; in our opinion, are unique, intriguing, and have stunning views of the coast.

I am listing most of the stops for informational purposes below as well as including more photos and information on the stops we explored further.

Mile Post Points of Interest and Stops (South going Northward)

Southern Oregon Coast

Mile Post Number
363: Crissey Field State Park Visitor and Welcome Center
362.8: Winshuck Ponds/Reavine Road
Ludlum Campground; Redwood Natural Trail; this is a rough
roadway on Winshuck River Road.
360.7: Chetco Valley Museum
The world’s largest Monterey cypress tree planted in the 1850s, calls
this place home.
357: Brookings – the largest town in Curry County.
-Brookings is the center for one of the largest flower growing
industries; the Azalea festival event occurs every Memorial Day
weekend. Here you will find shopping and art galleries, hiking, ocean
and river fishing.
-River Trail and Redwood Trail at the North Bank Chetco River Road
-Enjoy fresh seafood and clams at the different docks.

Photo Credit: Sam J.

356: Harris Beach State Park- Camping sites, trails, large tide pools, and
offshore island with puffins.
353: Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor includes the following:

  • Lone Ranch; beachcombing, tide pooling, clamming and hiking options.
  • Cape Ferrelo Loop; this is a 1 mile loop trail that climbs a grassy slope that takes you past gorgeous wildflowers and up to breathtaking views of the magnificent coastline.
  • House Rock (immediately past Cape)- This is a longer hiking trail that takes you to beautiful viewpoints.
  • Whaleshead Trail(Beach): A steep trail that leads you to the Whaleshead viewpoint pullout.
  • Indian Sands Trail: Historical Indian camps
  • Thomas Creek Bridge: A 345 foot bridge which is the tallest in Oregon.
  • Natural Bridge: Short trail that leads you to beautiful views and more hiking.  
  •  Secret Beach:  Trail that leads you from the parking lot to the beach.
  • Arch Rock: Easy walking trail, restrooms, and rest areas to enjoy the gorgeous viewpoints.

339: Pistol River Scenic Area – Ocean views
-Surfing and kiteboarding, clamming, beach, horseback riding.
334: Cape Sebastian State Park, second highest point along the Oregon
Coast
328: Gold Beach; Gold was found in this area around the mid 1800s. A
great place for year round fishing, shopping, beachcombing, and
other outdoor activities.
305: Humbug Mountain State Park; hiking and Camping.
301: Port Orford – Oldest town on the Oregon Coast                     
-Battle Rock Wayside – whales, fishing village,
-Port Orford Heads State Park; museum, recreation areas, birding
area.


296: Cape Blanco Lighthouse – oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon
Coast.
278: Beach Loop Drive – along the ocean.                                                
Bandon Rocks, Face Rock State Park Scenic viewpoints, restaurants
and hotels.
Bandon – Old town and port, shops and art studios,               
Old Coast Guard station, Facerock Creamery – cheese tasting.

Exit Rudolph Rd           Bandon Dunes Golf Club (Photos)

Bandon Dunes Golf Club

My husband is an avid golfer and enthusiast so of course this stop was an extra special treat for us!  Bandon Dunes Golf Course is comparable to the links in Scotland, and we may even through in the weather as well. Most of our epic road trip offered beautiful sunny weather; we had a chilly but sunny day on our visit to Bandon Dunes.

We are just gleaming as we walk through the club house facility and glance at the putting greens on that gorgeous Summer day in July. Learn more about this incredible place of golf here:

259: Coquille River Lighthouse
237:  Coos Bay/North Bend – largest city on the Oregon Coast and dining options are plentiful! You can find some the most delicious fish and fries!

      -Bay front boardwalk
-Mill Casino and hotel
      -Museums and historical railroad museum
      -Sunset Bay Sate Park-Camping
      -Shore Acres Sate Park-botanical gardens
     -Cape Arago Lighthouse
      -Simpsons Reef- sea lions
      -McCullough Memorial Bridge – built in 1936

Central Oregon Coast

233:    Oregon Dunes – scenic area

The Dunes. Photo credit: Sam J.

215:    Umpqua Lighthouse – 1894
211:    Reedsport – western city of Douglas County
200:    Oregon Dunes Overlook
          -Viewpoints of ocean (Recreation pass required)
          -Largest coast sand dunes in North America
          -Camping and hiking
190:    Florence – Old town; dining with views of Siuslaw River
185:    Darlingtonia Botanical Gardens
          -Hiking and Picnics
179:    Sea Lion Caves
          -Gift shops
          -Cavern view points
178:    Heceta Head Lighthouse
          Historic lighthouse; 1893; tours available from May-Sep
          Assistant lighthouse keepers house now is a B&B, and this area is
great for whale watching. The picturesque scene is so beautiful that
it is worthy of being a post card theme.

169:    Strawberry Hill – Sea lions
168:    Cook’s Chasm
168.5: Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint – A great location to watch for
whales, and enjoy tidepools; restrooms and picnic tables.

167:  Cape Perpetua- Highest point on the Oregon Coast
-Hiking; off the Cape Cove trail leads to Thor’s Well (a giant sinkhole)
166: Devils Churn- Narrow channel in basalt rock forming a sort of water
display.
164.4: City of Yachats – known as the ‘Gem of the Oregon Coast’ – Visitor
Center.
160:   Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center
151: Seal Rock State Park
-Birding area and tidepools
          -Offshore rock
          -Picnic areas and restrooms
143: South Beach State Park
142: Newport; Oregon Coast Aquarium
140: Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
134: Devil’s Punchbowl – state natural area
126: Boiler Bay scenic view point

Northern Oregon Coast

113: Lincoln City
104: Three Rocks Road; Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery
68: Tillamook Air Museum
65: Tillamook

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook is a quiet, charming, up and coming small town full of retail shops and theater, pubs, and dining. The infamous cheese factory is a wonderful stopping point to tour the facility, and try cheese tasting and ice cream.

Tillamook Air Museum

More attractions include the Tillamook Farmers Market, Cape Meares Lighthouse, Tillamook Bay, Pioneer Museum, the Naval Air Station Museum. You can also enjoy lots of fishing and hiking.

50:    Rockaway Beach
30:    Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR

A beautiful quaint small beach town named for a cannon that washed upon the beach in 1846. In order to maintain the character, look, and feel of this town, the structures such as the small shops and restaurants use a particular shingle siding in their build outs.

Haystock Rock at Cannon Beach, OR Photo Credit: Sam J.

Cannon Beach has been a hot spot for Hollywood films to capture scenes for movies. Films such as The Goonies, Point Break, and the Twilight film saga series have shot scenes in and around the areas. While on our visit here, we also learned that the town residents work very hard to retain as much of its natural beauty as possible.

20: Seaside; Shops, arcades, museums, and aquarium.
3:   Astoria
       -Maritime museum
      -Lighthouse Columbia
      -Astoria Twilight Creek Eagle Sanctuary

Learn more about these stopping points and many others, take a look at the Oregon Coast Magazine. Click Here:

Cannon Beach is our last stop in this coastal area of Oregon before we made our way back onto Highway 101. From here we proceed to pick up highway 26 heading toward Portland. It was difficult to leave Cannon Beach with all its beauty and nature. Our spectacular Oregon road trip has not ended yet as it became even more interesting. We were forced to take a detour on the return route because of wildfires.

Our detour ended up being one of the best things that could have happened. We were able to see more landscapes, unique landmarks, and the quiet town of Eugene. As a result of this unexpected detour, one of the stops included Diamond Peak!

Diamond Peak is a volcano that is part of the Cascade Range and is that of 8,748 feet in elevation. It is the centerpiece of Diamond Peak Wilderness and is the base backdrop to several lakes. As well, several miles of the Pacific Coast Trail is also incorporated through this area.

As we were nearing the end of our amazing road trip through Oregon, we spent our last night in Eugene. This couldn’t have been a better evening to close our journey and proceed South back into California heading towards home. We were able to capture this spectacular sunset! Wow!

Eugene, OR

Oregon is an incredible place of natural beauty and landscapes with its bountiful meadows, creeks, trees, and stunning coastlines.

Elk Photo credit: Sam J.

As a result of all this spectacular beauty and nature, we are not the only ones who enjoy these settings. The Oregon coastal areas are the perfect habitat for wild animals as well. These include cougars, black bears, elk, coyote, bobcats, squirrels, snakes, and more. https://oregonforests.org/content/wildlife-variety

Several creatures call Oregon home including the cougar; aka mountain lion, and black bears. Some interesting facts about cougars and black bears may help you survive a negative encounter if you are remain alert and make note of these guidelines.

Cougars or Mountain Lions (Recreational)

Have situational awareness and always be aware of your surroundings.

  • Keep your children close to you.
  • Maintain clean campsites.
  • Never feed wildlife.
  • Store food in animal proof containers.
  • Do not approach any wildlife.
  • Be alert when you are resting or sitting quietly.
  • Be aware especially at the times of dawn and dusk- when the cats are most active.
  • Get familiar with animal calls and animal kills – they can attract a cougar.
  • When encountering a cougar, DO NOT RUN! Stay calm, and back away slowly, maintain direct eye contact.
  • Report sightings.

NOTE: Cougar tracks versus dog tracks:

Cougar tracks do not usually include claw marks – (cougar claws are retractable.)
The heal pad has three lobes at the base and indented at top.
Dog tracks usually do have claw marks.
The heal pads are more rounded.

Black Bears (Camping & Hiking)

  1. Contain food and trash.
  2. Store food in airtight containers in the trunk of your car, bear boxes or on platforms.
  3. Hang bagged food at least 10 feet high, and far enough away from tree trunks (6-10 feet away)
  4. Do not leave food items or pet food outdoors or in tents.
  5. Dispose of trash in bear proof cans.
  6. Do not bury garbage – bears can dig it up.

Hiking:

  1.             Avoid trails with bear tracks or bear signs.
  2.             Make noise when hiking, talking or music.
  3.             When or if you see a bear, leave the area.
  4.             Keep away from bear cubs.
  5.            Keep your dogs on a leash.
  6.             Don’t go hiking after dark.
  7.             Carry bear pepper spray.
  8.             Carry a whistle.

Find the entire checklist for campers and hikers at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Learn more here:  www.odfw.com

Visiting the state of Oregon definitely did not disappoint. It has been on my bucket list for quite some time. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to explore the spectacular coastal cliffs, gorgeous landscapes, and amazing nature. It is truly amazing when you encounter something unexpected and it significantly enhances your overall experience. We hope to return someday and journey even further into this gorgeous state! Hint: Look for more hiking adventures!

⭐️⭐️Have you been to Oregon? What did you enjoy most? Did you explore any hiking trails? Please comment and let me know if you have more ideas of other areas we can explore throughout Oregon.

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