Stretching across a span of roughly 360 miles, the Oregon Coast is a spectacular place to see. The Oregon Coast is divided up in three separate regions: North Coast, Central Coast and South Coast. Massive sea cliffs overlook the ocean waters. The shores are dotted with rocky sands and large, unique stacks that have inspired many artists. Many of Oregon’s beaches consist only of stones and no sand. The serene sounds of the white waves crashing into the dark rocks can soothe any troubled soul. If you’re looking for a beachy place with a lot of rich history, picturesque scenes and cool temperatures, then the Oregon Coast is the place for you!
Let’s take a look at some awesome places to visit on the Oregon Coast!
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
Located on the northern coast in Astoria, the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park sits along the Columbia River. It’s a great place to take the family! They offer tons of trails, children camps, historical sites, picnic spots and much more.
Many visitors enjoy the reconstructed Fort Clatsop. This is the site where Lewis and Clark built the famed fort on their great expedition to the Pacific. They named the fort after the friendly Indian Clatsop tribe that had generously helped them. Lewis and Clark spent three months at Fort Clatsop before moving on. It was here that they anchored down during the cold winter. At the park’s reconstructed site of Fort Clatsop, you’ll enjoy learning the history and experiencing the real life props that offer a glimpse into this time period.
And if you don’t want to be led around the historical sites with a tour guide, the park offers you the ability to let your cell phone guide you around! Simply sign up for the service while at the park, and you can be educated about the history as you explore them at your own pace.
Here's a few of the places to visit at the park:
Columbia River Maritime Museum
Another great place to visit while in Astoria is the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Here, you can learn all about the Columbia River and how it’s been used throughout history as a water transportation route.
They have four exciting exhibits that allows you to interact and have fun! For example, you can control the helm in one of their tugboat wheelhouses.
If you’re a HUGE World War II history buff, then you’ll enjoy touring the spectacular World War II warship! You can walk through and explore the warship while mentally placing yourself in that moment of time.
Another awesome ship to board and explore is the historical Lightship Columbia. This National Historical Landmark was used to guide ships to safety from the ocean to the Columbia River. The waters off the Oregon Coast have a long history of being treacherous and dangerous. The Lightship Columbia was a reliable source for sailors and captains.
Ecola State Park
Nestled between the beaches of Cannon and Seaside, Ecola State Park resides on the northern coast of Oregon. It offers a nine mile stretch of incredible beauty, hiking opportunities, and sightseeing paths. Many of the popular photographs seen of the Oregon coastline worldwide are usually taken at Ecola State Park. People love to come here for a lunch picnic, to take photos and observe the wildlife. The stacks and rocks that sit in the shallow waters give you the feeling of being in the movies. It’s an exhilarating experience for photography and travel lovers!
Many of the trails at Ecola State Park take you to the high sea cliffs that overlook the pristine blue waters and dark, gray stacks. Imagine yourself standing on a sea cliff with tall, green grasses brushing against your legs. The whistle of the ocean breeze tickles the side of your face, and the strong scent of salt water greets your nose. The view of the ocean and it’s never ending horizon engulf you in waves of emotion and appreciation. This could be you on the Oregon Coast Trail that stretches as far as eight miles of environmental bliss.
If you’re looking for a historical trail, the Clatsop Loop Trail will capture your attention as well. All along the scenic trail, you can enjoy tidbits of history on the information poles. Each place is marked with something historical. It’s only two miles in distance and great for a stroll after a lovely picnic!
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
If you’re looking for an adventure on the southern coast of Oregon, then look no further than the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This place has the largest area of coastal sand dunes on the continent! In fact, it’s also one of the largest, temperate climate, sand dune areas in the world! Since the Oregon coast is known for its large amounts of rain and wind, this has allowed for thousands of years worth of sand to accumulate and create the dunes. Now, that’s some erosion, folks!
People flock to the area all the time to enjoy the off-highway vehicle driving. The sand dunes are a fun place to be! You can explore tiny tree islands, sand dunes, and swampy wetlands (watch out for quicksand!) with your off-highway ride. People also enjoy hiking, horseback riding, fishing, camping, canoeing, bird watching and viewing wildlife. You won’t want to miss out on it!
Finally, let’s take a look at the scenic Seal Rock located on the central coast of Oregon. When you envision the Oregon coastline, this is the place that comes to mind. In the shallow waters off-shore, there are large rock formations that are homes to many seals and sea lions. There’s one particular rock known as Seal Rock that stands tall at 20 feet. Hundreds of seals and sea lions used to rest upon that large rock; however, with the increase of human interaction, there are no longer hundreds of seals on Seal Rock.
The area consists of about two miles of scenic shoreline with the large rock formations that sit in the shallow waters. There’s is a single picnic area that many folks enjoy as they soak in the sights. It’s a great place for the whole family!
On the southern Oregon coast, there’s another scenic area that you’ll want to explore. Cape Arago. This is situated 15 miles south of Coos Bay and has a beautiful piece of earth that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. When visiting Cape Arago, you can enjoy the many sights of whales on the ocean’s blue horizon. People love to take their binoculars to clearly view the migrating sea mammals. It’s sight like no other.
There’s a southern trail that will lead you to the beach where you can enjoy the sights, plants and wildlife. The northern trail leads you to an area where you can fish and relax while scoping out the families of seals and sea lions that are off shore. It’s a perfect view of Shell Island, their protected habitat, that is a National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll want your binoculars for this view as well!
And if you’re a lover of lighthouses, you’ll want to check out the Cape Arago Lighthouse. Here, you can enjoy more views from the sea cliff of the wildlife and oceanic sights. It’s a peaceful and beautiful place to explore while providing you with an incredible experience of the Oregon Coast.
We hope that you enjoy your visit to the beautiful Oregon Coast!
With a 360 mile stretch of coastline, the Oregon Coast is a stunningly charming place to visit. The incredible rock formations and stacks, the rocky beaches, the tall sand dunes and the mesmerizing marine wildlife provide an experience that you’ll remember forever. It’s in these places that you can appreciate the beauty of our planet and can create memories in which you’ll cherish forever.
From the northern coast, to the central coast to the southern coast, there’s plenty to explore. Just don’t forget your camera and binoculars! The Oregon Coast awaits you.
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