If you’re planning a trip to see the Oregon Coast for the first time, or perhaps you’ve been there but want to explore more, you’ve come to the right place.
Not only have I crossed the entire coastline of Oregon, but I’ve also crossed the entire eastern and nearly the entire western shorelines of the United States overall.
Without hesitation, out of the 1,000’s of miles of nature that I saw during the span of all my trips, the Oregon Coast stands king and this post showcasing 10 spots I’ve seen there will show why.
- 1 Epic is the right word for what you’re about to discover about the Oregon Coast:
- 2 My first experiences with the Oregon Coast (what you can expect for your first visit):
- 3 Here are the 10 epic places I discovered throughout the Oregon Coast:
- 4 1) Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor:
- 5 2) Whaleshead Beach:
- 6 3) Natural bridges (My favorite spot on the Oregon coast):
- 7 4) Secret Beach:
- 8 5) Oregon’s Sand Dunes (right on the coast):
- 9 6) Thor’s well:
- 10 7) Florence, Oregon (you can see sea lions):
- 11 8) Cannon Beach:
- 12 9) Devils Punchbowl:
- 13 10) Astoria, Oregon (That Goonie town place):
- 14 My best gear recommendation to wear for any hiking & exploring the Oregon Coast:
- 15 Questions about the Oregon Coast:
- 16 What else is there to see near the Oregon Coast?
Epic is the right word for what you’re about to discover about the Oregon Coast:
- I’m going to show you some of the most exotic places on the Oregon Coast.
- I’m talking about the epic stuff you see on Instagram that make you wonder if it’s real (it is).
- The beauty is that all these spots all literally on the coast of Oregon State and are fairly easy to find.
- I will also grow this list as I keep exploring the Oregon Coast more and more (2 times so far).
My first experiences with the Oregon Coast (what you can expect for your first visit):
I had the Oregon Coast on my bucket list for many years and I finally got to explore it in 2019 on what I detailed as a west coast road trip. I labeled all the best looking spots I could find on Instagram and other online sources, found out the names of these places, plotted them on my GPS and went for it.
I was blown away and still am to this day at what the Oregon Coast offers. I may even move here one day if circumstances permit it. The exotic nature of this state’s coastline is unmatched in my opinion and while other states, like Washington and California all have their own beautiful coastal scenery (and even Minnesota whose coast is known as the North Shore), but Oregon is just in a league of it’s own, as you’ll find out.
I also explored this coastline again in 2020 during a western US road trip I did where I plotted even more places on this list to give you.
Trust me, this isn’t a “basic list” that’s been copied and pasted by lazy bloggers.
I saw a lot of that when I was first researching what to see on the Oregon Coast. Most sites and blogs just use rehashed pictures, most of which lack any taste and do injustice to Oregon’s beauty.
It’s the real deal and I want to hear what you think below after you finish reading it what you think. Let’s get started:
Here are the 10 epic places I discovered throughout the Oregon Coast:
- Samuel H. Boardman Park.
- Whaleshead Beach.
- Natural bridges.
- Secret Beach.
- Oregon’s Sand Dunes (dunes on a beach).
- Thor’s well.
- Florence (Sea Lions and caves)
- Cannon Beach.
- Devil’s Punchbowl.
- Astoria (Where the Goonies were filmed & where you can find sea lions too).
1) Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor:
One of the first locations I drove through after enter Oregon from the South was this park.
The road that takes you across this park is known as the 101 highway, but also goes by the name of the scenic corridor and once you enter it, you’ll understand why.
This park itself stretches for miles and miles across the Oregon coast and has at least 10 different spots where you can pull off the road and go exploring to the coast itself, including secret beaches, natural bridges, hiking trails and more.
In fact, the entire park is one big trail that zigzags across the coast and into the mountains, then back down again and it is a must do for any avid hiker and the trail WILL take you through each location within this park that I am recommending that you definitely see.
If you’re not into hiking, don’t worry, the drive itself (the scenic corridor) will take you through each location that you can check out without having to hike anywhere major.
Samuel H. Boardman park itself has at least 10 different and amazing locations you can explore and I could honestly fill up this whole article’s list with just the locations here, but this park is only a small chunk of the beauty that is the Oregon coast…
But I would be re missed if I didn’t mention the next 3 locations within this park that I honestly think you can’t afford to miss and they are location numbers 2, 3 and 4:
2) Whaleshead Beach:
I mentioned Whaleshead Beach and how awestruck I was when I got there in this article, so I won’t say the same stuff other than you should go here if you own a all wheel drive vehicle.
This is simply a beach that has a beautiful scenic view where you can spend hours at. If I had my way, I’d stay there all night, camp out and enjoy the view. Other than the rocky road that is a bit annoying to drive through, the parking lot near the beach is clean, organized and the beach is a few steps from there.
3) Natural bridges (My favorite spot on the Oregon coast):
Go. To. This. Place. I can’t be more anymore clear on this.
And here is exactly where Natural Bridges is on the Oregon Coast. And it’s also the first image you saw in this article by the way.
And quite frankly, out of all the spots in the park I saw on the road, this one, ironically was the easiest to access (and most beautiful in my opinion).
You can park right outside the viewpoint of this place and if you then wish to, hike down to it (that is a tough hike, and I explain how to do it in the link above, but fair warning, it can be dangerous). This area on the Oregon Coast also has numerous sea caves.
4) Secret Beach:
How’s that picture for a good reason to visit Secret Beach?
And it’s easy to reach too! Just follow these instructions to find Secret Beach and getting to this spot too!
It’s shortly past Natural Bridges and also a highly recommended spot. The first time I visited the Oregon Coast, I missed it, but the second time, I made sure to get there.
It’s really easy to get to, as well as hike down to reach the shore and it is a very beautiful place and it’s also one of the most beautiful day hikes on the Oregon Coast you’ll find.
Considering this and Natural Bridges are so close, the next thing I want to do is kayak at both spots.
5) Oregon’s Sand Dunes (right on the coast):
The 101 will undoubtedly lead you across a large beach mixed in with sand dunes. I only saw it from a distance, and regret not going (it was getting dark when I was passed through there).
But the sand dunes in this place are also worth looking at if you enjoy a combination of beaches, desserts and activities you can do on both.
6) Thor’s well:
Thor’s Well is a popular spot for tourists and honestly, it’s not even that big, but the whole location around Thor’s well is well worth looking at.
It is located on this amazing black rock that looks like it’s been made from lava and the entire landscape around Thor’s well is also impressive.
If you want to see the “geyser” like effect of Thor’s well, visit it during low tide like I did.
There are some other cool areas near Thor’s Well you can explore such as Hug Point, that features a beautiful waterfall right on the beach.
Just as well, sunsets around (or any area in Oregon) are absolutely stunning and I recommend staying for those too if you go.
7) Florence, Oregon (you can see sea lions):
Florence is actually a town right by the Oregon Coast and it has it’s own beach and nature spots, but the thing to look for here (besides the town) is the caves on the beach which often have sea lions in them. I don’t recall if they are accessible, but you can find the spot here:
8) Cannon Beach:
I missed this spot on my trip, but I can tell you that it’s a large beach with a single large mountain in the middle of it and it’s really something that an east coast native like myself is simply not used to seeing.
Although you can find these landscapes all across the Oregon Coast, Cannon beach is the one where you can get close to it without having to hike much as it’s literally off the beach and accessible during low tide.
9) Devils Punchbowl:
This was a location I tried my best to get to after Thor’s well but sadly, night hit me earlier than I hit this spot and I couldn’t actually see much while there, but it is highly recommended for you.
Update: I finally went to Devil’s Punchbowl! The picture above is from that trip I took there.
But a good way to describe what this place looks like is to imagine a meteor lands on land, makes a huge hole in it and then within that hole you can enter and see the ocean waves come in.
That’s basically what this location is and it’s amazing:
So if you decide to travel through the entire Pacific Coast Highway, mark that spot down as well as this one in Oregon.
10) Astoria, Oregon (That Goonie town place):
One of my favorite childhood movies was the Goonies and if you’ve ever seen that movie and wondered where it was filmed, the answer is Astoria, Oregon.
This was the last location on my trip that I took before I took the bridge into Washington State, but here I was able to see seals in large numbers and I really enjoyed that experience, so if you want to see seals more along the Oregon Coast, Astoria is where I’d find them.
My best gear recommendation to wear for any hiking & exploring the Oregon Coast:
The hikes you do on the Oregon Coast will be either on sand, rocks, maybe some trails here and there, but whatever the circumstance, these products will make that experience better in my experience:
Questions about the Oregon Coast:
Which part of Oregon Coast is the best?
In my opinion the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor has the best compilation of spots to see on the Oregon Coast.
What is the nicest coastal town in Oregon?
Cannon Beach city as it has a great combination of beaches, views and village areas to explore.
What is the Oregon Coast famous for?
For the most part it’s beauty. There are over 400 miles of coastal road that contain beautiful parks, beaches, sea cliffs, great sunset spots, sea caves and much more.
What is the best month to visit the Oregon Coast?
The best time to visit the Oregon Coast is in March because the weather is pretty cool, there are far less crowds on the coastal drives and you can also see the beginning of spring rise up.
What else is there to see near the Oregon Coast?
If these 10 places weren’t enough for you, then you may also want to see these other spots:
1) If you’re headed south of Oregon in general, you’ll obviously hit California and from there, you can see a number of awesome spots in the Pacific Coast highway, but specifically:
The Redwoods and Fort Bragg among other spots in California like Big Sur. In fact, it’s coastal area is also very beautiful, like Oregon, but is it better? You tell me: Here is a comparison of California’s coast vs Oregon’s.
If you’re looking for great hiking trails in northern California’s coast, click here.
2) And of course, if you’re visiting Oregon, you should also check deeper into the state and check out places like Columbia River Gorge.
3) To the north is Washington State and you should probably check out the Washington Coast too, as there are plenty of spots to see there too, some of which compare well to the beauty of Oregon’s coast too.
4) And if you’re willing to go even further than Washington State, there is also the very beautiful Vancouver Island I recommend seeing.
5) See this list of the best Oregon State Parks for amazing spots on the coast (and inland).
As for the Oregon Coast, if you have your own personal list of places to see, please let me know!