Rugged coastline, deserted beaches, and lush greenery are just some of the amazing things you’ll find on the Oregon Coast. The entire coast is packed full of amazing sights, but the northern half in particular has a lot worthy of exploration. Not sure what to see? Our guide begins in Astoria and moves south through Cannon Beach and Tillamook, stopping at plenty of gorgeous attractions along the way.
Astoria & Fort Stevens State Park
Astoria was the first permanent United States settlement on the West Coast, founded by and named after John Jacob Astor as part of his fur trading company. Today, Astoria has retained a historic charm while simultaneously making room for trendy restaurants and stores. Walk along the water and check out the iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge, then stop for a bite to eat at Frite & Scoop, a shop specializing in creative flavors of ice cream and fries. We like the savory-sweet “London Fog” ice cream, flavored with earl grey and vanilla.
Less than a half hour from Astoria, you’ll find Fort Stevens State Park. The park has multiple pristine beaches and a jetty that will take your breath away, but its must-see feature is the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, which rises right up out of the sand.
Cannon Beach & Ecola State Park
Your next stop is Cannon Beach, a quaint town with an impressive collection of gorgeous beaches. Check out the art galleries and boutique shops in town, then head down to the beach to see Haystack Rock, a 235-foot rock that adorns the shoreline.
For great views and hiking opportunities, drive up into Ecola State Park. When you enter, turn left for Ecola Point, where you’ll find an unbelievable view of the coastline and beaches below. Ecola Point is also the starting point for multiple hikes through the park, including a few that go down to Crescent Beach and Indian Beach.
Stay at the Stephanie Inn, a boutique Cannon Beach hotel that’s a mere 28 steps to the beach. The Stephanie Inn has incredible guest experiences – you’ll enjoy a wine and beer gathering, an evening nightcap, and gourmet breakfast. You can also sign up for complimentary classes on mixology, ice cream making, and more. For some evening fun, choose the Beach Bonfire package. It comes with firewood, fire starter, a “fire butler” to help start you off, your choice of wine, cider, or beer, s’mores ingredients, and a beach mat and tote.
While you drive down the coast to Tillamook from Cannon Beach, keep an eye out for the scenic pullouts, where you can catch sweeping views of the ocean. Once you hit Tillamook, you’ll understand why it’s called the “Land of Cheese, Trees, and Ocean Breeze.” Tillamook has beautiful scenery like the rest of Oregon’s coast, but it also has the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where they make 170,000 pounds of cheese every day (that comes out to 60 million pounds a year!). At the Visitors Center you can sample cheese for free, browse merchandise, and grab some of their freshly-made ice cream – they have over 30 flavors to choose from.
3 Capes Scenic Drive
Next, take the 3 Capes Scenic Drive, a 40-mile route that includes Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda. Cape Meares features a restored lighthouse from the 1800s and the aptly-named “Octopus Tree,” while Cape Lookout offers beautiful stretches of beach and hiking trails. At Cape Kiwanda, you’ll find a huge sand dune that you can clamber up for an amazing view of the beach below. In between capes, you’ll get to experience one of the coast’s prettiest drives.