If you read my last post, you know that I am doing something a little different until I go on my next trip in April
I thought I would post some of the itineraries that I have put together for trips that we haven’t been able to take yet due to COVID causing us to cancel!
My last post was our 7 day itinerary for Yosemite, Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks.
This post will be the itinerary I had put together for Oregon.
This will be a 10 day itinerary but can be tweaked to fit your travel needs.
Click here for the top 25 rated attractions in Oregon
After flying into Portland, OR, we would be picking up our rental car.
If you decided to start your trip in Portland, here are the top things to see/do:
Arrive in Portland, Oregon
1. Voodoo donut – Read reviews here – there are two locations or Blue Star Donuts
2. Japanese Garden – $19.95 for adults – purchase tickets here & Read reviews here
3. Aerial Tram – $5.65 per round trip ticket – Read reviews here
4. Lan Su Chinese Gardens – $14 for adults – $11 for ages 6-18 – Read reviews here
5. Portland Oregon White Stag Sign – Erected in 1940, the sign has been shining across Couch Street for over 80 years.
6. Powell City of Books – largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block – Read reviews here
7. Rose Garden – the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the US – Read reviews here – Click here to read about other rose gardens to visit in Portland
8. Food trucks
9. Tom McCall waterfront – Read reviews here
10. Pittock Mansion – The mansion was originally built in 1914 as a private home for London-born Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife. $14.50 for adults – purchase tickets here & read reviews here
11. Oregon Zoo – read reviews here
12. Pearl District – the Pearl District is a shopping destination with hip brands, indie boutiques and the massive Powell’s City of Books. Reclaimed warehouse spaces house – read reviews here
13. Click here for the best coffee in Portland, here for the best restaurants, here for the best hotels & here for the best budget hotels. Click here & here or the best things to do in Portland.
Tip: You could also visit the nearby Willamette Valley – it’s 1 hr from Portland. Read more here & if you are visiting in March or April, don’t miss the Tulip Festival just 45 mins from Portland. Read more here and if visiting in May, you can visit the Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. It’s located 45 mins from Portland.
Drive the Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon, 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, that meanders past cliffs, spires, and ridges set against nearby peaks of the PNW’s Cascade Mountain Range.
There are 90 waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge.
Read reviews here & click here for a great map and description of the waterfalls
UPDATE: In 2022, you were required to have a timed permit to drive this “waterfall corridor“. The sites include Wahkeena Falls recreation area, Oneonta Trailhead, Horsetail Falls recreation area, and access to Multnomah Falls for visitors using the Historic Columbia River Highway parking lot. So, keep an eye on that in case it’s required again for 2023.
Tip: Another option would be to visit the Silver Falls State park. The park is famous for its abundance of picturesque waterfalls. It’s located approx. 1 hr from Portland. Read reviews here.
Our stops today will be in this order:
1. Vista House – built in 1917 on one of the most beautiful scenic points on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Read reviews here – 30 mins from Portland
2. Latourell Falls Loop – easy 2.4 mi loop – 224 ft waterfall – 7 mins from 1st stop
3. Bridal Veil Falls – 0.7 round trip – 120 ft -You can choose to do the 1/2 mile lookout only or do the full 2/3 mile hike closer to the falls. The lower trail is a steep, 0.3-mile descent to the base of the magnificent waterfall. The ½-mile Overlook Trail offers magnificent views of the Columbia River along the paved loop. – 5 mins from last stop
4. Multnomah Falls – the most popular falls along this drive – 620 ft tall it’s Oregon’s tallest waterfall – there is a timed permit required in order to visit this waterfall – check out the Multnomah Lodge – 8 mins from last stop – Tip: If you make lunch reservations at the lodge restaurant, you can bypass the timed permit.
Tip: After Bridal Veil Falls, you could make Wahkeena Falls & Fairy Falls your next stop. You can hike up the short 0.2-mile trail to the stone bridge overlook and you’ll be rewarded with ice-cold spray from these 242-foot cascading Wahkeena falls. Click here for 6 beautiful waterfalls to visit along this drive
5. Horsetail & Ponytail Falls – 0.9 mi round trip – as you arrive you’ll see Horsetail Falls raging across from the parking lot. A lot of people only get out to take a few pictures of these falls, but I recommend taking the short hike up to Ponytail Falls (also known as Upper Horsetail Falls) – 6 mins from last stop
6 .Elowah Falls – 2 mi round trip – 213 ft – 7 mins from last stop
7 Wahclella Falls – 2 mi round trip – 5 mins from last stop
8. Bonneville Dam & Fish Hatchery – 5 mins from last stop
9. Punch Bowl Falls – 4 mi round trip – 35 ft tall – 7 mins from last stop
10. Bridge of Gods – is a toll bridge spanning the Columbia River to connect SR-14 in Washington to I-84 in Oregon. – 6 mins from last stop
Tip: Your next stop could be Dry Creek Falls – it’s a 4.4 mi r/trip hike
11. Starvation Creek Falls – 0.2 mi round trip – 15 mins from last stop
Here are some roadside waterfalls that you may want to include:
12. Drive the 35 mile Hood River Fruit Loop – This route provides visitors with a unique rural farm experience filled to the brim with farm stands, wineries, U-pick farms with fresh produce & so much more! Click here to see a map with stops along the drive & for the best stops along the drive click here & here.
Tip: Click here to book a train ride through the scenic valleys of the Columbia River Gorge
13. Rowena Crest Viewpoint – this roadside viewpoint offers some of the area’s most epic vistas. Many visit Rowena Crest for its iconic views of the Historic Columbia River Highway’s horseshoe bend. Thanks to Instagram, the U-shaped curve in the road is one of the most well-known Columbia Gorge attractions. – If you bypass the River Fruit Loop Drive, the Rowena Crest Viewpoint is 30 mins from Starvation Creek Falls
14. The Dalles Lock & Dam – 20 mins from last stop
15. Mary Hill’s Stonehenge Memorial – a war memorial that is a replica of Stonehenge – 20 mins from last stop
Click here to see other stops along this drive & here for 20 incredible things to do along the drive & here for the 25 best waterfalls along the drive
Stay at the Best Western Plus Columbia River Inn or the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn or the Historic Hood River Hotel
Today we are heading to Bend, OR.
Tip: Another option is to head to Painted Hills & Johns Day Fossil Beds. It’s 3 hrs from the hotel or 1 hr 45 mins from Bend. It is one of the 7 wonders of Oregon. The closest place to stay while you visit the Painted Hills would be Mitchell. Click here & here to read everything you need to know about this area. Have plenty of gas and cash if you visit this area.
Bend is located approx. 2 hrs 45 mins from your hotel in Hood River.
Your stops today will be in this order:
1. The Historic Timberline Lodge – Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, Timberline Lodge is one of Oregon’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing nearly two million visitors a year. The hotel served as a location in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. 1 hr from your 1st hotel – Read reviews here & here for 14 things to do in this area – 15 mins from the lodge is the Trillium Lake Trailhead – it’s a 2 mi loop – this is a great place to capture a reflection shot of Mt. Hood – another option in this area is the 100 mile Mt Hood Scenic Byway
2. Peter Skene Ogden viewpoint – 1.5 hrs from your last stop – If you enjoy vertical basalt cliffs and scenic river canyons, this viewpoint is for you. The park is perched at the top of a striking canyon. Read reviews here – *You could make the Little Crater Lake Trail stop #2 – it’s 25 mins from the Trillium Lake trail and 40 mins from the Timberline Lodge – The trail is only 0.3 mi round trip. On your drive from Little Crater Lake to Peter Skene, you will go through Warm Springs Indian Reservation. It’s 1 hr from Little Crater lake. After Warm Springs and before you get to Smith Rock, you will come to Madras.
3. Smith Rock state park – 10 mins from last stop – If you enjoy scenic views of deep river canyons or rock climbing, Smith Rock State Park is the place for you. Read reviews here & read about the hikes in the park here. You definitely want to spend 1-2 hrs here.
4. Your next stop could be Redmond – click here & here for things to see/do
5. Your next and last stop is Bend – you could spend several days here. Since it will be late when you arrive, you can spend 2 nights here or just stop over for the night until we move on to our next destination.
Some of the top attractions in Bend are:
1. High Desert Museum – read reviews here
2. Newberry National Volcanic Monument – read reviews here & click here for best hikes
3. Tumalo Falls – About 10 miles west of Bend, Tumalo Falls is one of the most popular sights in the area. The 97-foot waterfall plunges off a sheer wall to the roaring river below. Read Reviews here
4. Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint – 10 min drive from Bend – read reviews here
5.. Old Mill District – historic district with shopping & restaurants – Read reviews here
6. Mt. Bachelor – ski resort – just a 30-minute drive from downtown, this 9,068’ Stratovolcano holds the title of the 6th biggest resort in North America – read more here
7. Cascades Lake Scenic Byway – it is a 66-mile, 3-5 hours drive through to Mt. Bachelor
8. Deschutes National Forest – read reviews here
Tip: 1 hr 15 mins from Bend is where you will find the amazing Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool). This is a 4.2 mi round trip hike….and located 25 mins from the Blue Pool is one of the most photographed waterfalls called Proxy Falls.
Click here & here for the best things to do in Bend, Click here for the best restaurants & here for the best hotels & here for the best budget hotels
Today we will be driving 2 hrs to Crater Lake National Park.
Tip: If time permits, on your way to Crater Lake, you can stop off at the Umpqua Hot Springs. It’s 2 hrs 15 mins from Bend & 1 hr 20 mins from Crater Lake or the popular Toketee Falls...it’s located 2 hrs 10 mins from Bend & 1 hr from Crater Lake. The falls are located 15 mins from the hot springs. Other popular stops nearby are Diamond Lake & Watson Falls.
Tip: You may be interested in driving the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway – this is a 500 mile byway that begins in Mineral, California, one of several gateways to Lassen Volcanic National Park. It’s not a linear road—the scenic highway includes several loops around lakes and through parks.
Crater Lake National Park lies in the Cascade Mountains of southwestern Oregon. It is not actually a crater, but rather an ancient caldera of an extinct volcano, Mount Mazama, which erupted over 7,000 years ago. Today, lava cliffs rise to heights of up to 2,000 feet around the intensely blue and extremely deep lake.
There is a $30 entrance fee to the park.
See a map of the park here
Once you arrive to Crater Lake, here are the top things to do and see:
1. The Rim Drive – The historic 33-mile Rim Drive circles Crater Lake with views from 30 overlooks. Opportunities to photograph landscapes, the lake, and wildflowers are countless. Rim Drive, the main route through the park, is only open in its entirety from mid-July to mid-October. You can read more about historical opening and closing dates here. Click here for a mile by mile guide along the Rim Drive. The drive will take 2-3 hrs w/stops. Read review here.
2. Hiking – there are 90 miles or hiking trails in the park
3. Boat Tours – There is a 2.2-mile round-trip trail (down to the boat dock and back) that drops approximately 700 ft. Due to the strenuous nature of this trail, it’s not recommended for anyone with medical or physical issues. The hike down to the dock takes approximately 30-45 minutes.
4. Swimming – the only trail that leads you to the shoreline is the Cleetwood Cove Trail.
If you wish to overnight in this area, click here to read about the best hotels located in/near Crater Lake.
After visiting Crater Lake, we will continue our drive along the Umpqua Rogue Scenic Byway through national forest all the way down the Cascade Mountains.
The scenic byway is a total of 172 miles – we will be driving 1.5 hrs to Grants Pass where we will be spending the night.
On this 1.5 hr stretch of road, there will be several overlooks and waterfalls along the way.
Tip: You could book a jet boat ride on the Umpqua Rogue River. It’s located 30 mins before you arrive to Grants Pass. Read reviews here
Overnight in Grants Pass – Click here for hotels in Grants Pass, here for restaurants & here for things to see/do in Grants Pass – other things to see/do in Grants Pass includes glass blowing, Grave Creek covered bridge, pharmacy soda fountain and stay in a Tree House. Read reviews here and don’t miss the Wildlife Images and animal rehab.
Today we will be heading to Jedediah Smith Redwood Park.
The park is located approx. 1.5 hrs from Grants Pass.
Read here for a complete guide of the park
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is the northernmost state park in California’s Redwoods National Park, which also includes other state parks like Henry Cowell, Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and the Humboldt Redwoods.
Unlike other national parks, Redwoods National Park is a system of unconnected state parks that fall under federal and state jurisdiction. Together, these parks protect almost half of California’s remaining old-growth redwood trees, whose average age is 500 to 700 years old.
A World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, Redwood National and State Parks protect 45 percent of California’s remaining old-growth redwoods—an area almost four times the size of Manhattan Island.
Tip: If you plan on camping in the park, visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date
For a map and description of the drives and hikes that you can do in the park, click here.
There are only two drives that you can do through Jedediah park. One is called Howland Hill Road and the other is called Walker Rd.
Read reviews here
Howland Hill is 6 miles long and Walker Rd is a 3 mile loop.
Your stops after leaving Grant’s Pass will be in this order:
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
- Walker Rd
- Howland Hill Rd
- Stout Grove Trail
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
- Trees Of Mystery
- Klamath Tour Thru Tree
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park –(there’s a 10 mi scenic drive you ca do in this park)
- Fern Canyon (in 2022, permits were required for this area – read more here)
- Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail
- Redwoods National and State Parks Sign – if you want a picture in front of the park’s sign, then this would be your next stop
For maps of the park click here & click here for 59 things to do in this area & click here for more scenic drives in this area
Located in Klamath, CA, the Trees of Mystery is a 1/3 mile journey through the forest tree tops via the unique SkyTrail gondola ride. This is your chance to get an up-close downward perspective from the tops of redwood trees that measure 100s of feet in height.
A total of 8 Gondola Cars continuously make the approximately 8-10 minute, 1570 foot trip up the mountain each day.
There are also other activities located here such as the Canopy Trail, amazing redwood trees, a museum, trails and a cafe.
Read reviews here
For a unique experience, stay in the Motel Trees Hotel in the heart of the Redwood National Forest at the Trees of Mystery. Here is where you will find the huge statue of Paul Bunyan and his pal, Babe the blue ox.
Read reviews for the hotel here & for more cool things to see/do in Klamath click here
Most of the parks are free to access! However, some of the day use and campground areas do require fees. Read more here.
The best things to do in the Redwood Forest:
Hike the Stout Grove Trail – one of the most magnificent and highly photographed groves of old-growth Redwoods in the national park – 0.7 mi round trip
Hike the Lady Bird Johnson Grove – one of the most spectacular groves of ancient, old-growth Redwoods in the world. – 1.3 mi round trip
Explore the Fern Canyon – Fern Canyon is a stunning, world-renowned destination, made famous by it’s appearance in the Jurrasic Park movie franchise. Literally dripping with ferns from wall to wall with a creek flowing through. 1.1 mi round trip. In 2022, day use permits were required from May 1 – Sept. 30th.
Visit or camp at the Gold Bluffs Beach – a beautiful spot on the Pacific ocean named for the the iconic golden colored bluffs that overlook it.
Drive through the Klamath Thru Tree – a drive through tunnel for vehicles was carved in the Klamath Tree in 1976 using a chainsaw. The tree was carved in such a way that it survived and continues to grow and live today.
Note: If time permits, you could hike the Boy Scout Tree Trailhead – it’s 5.5 mi round trip.
Read all about what there is to do and see in the Redwood Forest here
Optional – Drive the Avenue of Giants – a magnificent 31.5 mile drive that weaves you through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park located about an hour south of Eureka. While this area is not technically part of the “national park” I included it anyway because it’s so close and not to be missed. This is 1 hr 45 mins from the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.
Tip: 35 mins from the Humboldt Redwoods State park is the Redwood Sky Walk. Read reviews here.
We will be spending the night in Crescent City, CA which is only 10 mins from your last stop at the park sign or an hour from the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.
Click here for hotels in Crescent City, here for restaurants & here & here for things to see/do in Crescent City.
Don’t miss the Battery Point Lighthouse & the Crescent City Harbor where you can spot sea lions or Agate hunting on Crescent beach!
Today, we will be starting our drive along the coast on the scenic Hwy 101 and heading to Bandon.
Spanning 363 miles, Highway 101 is an All-American Road that winds down the entire Oregon coast from Astoria on the Columbia River to the California border.
Tip: Click here for the best towns to stay in along the coast & here for the best stops along the coast
Bandon is approx 2 hrs 15 mins from Crescent City, CA.
We will make several stops along the way so get an early start!
Our first stop will be Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area located just 30 mins from Crescent City.
Tip: You will pass Clifford Kamph Memorial Park, Pelican State Beach & Crissey Field State Recreation area on your way to Pyramid Point so you could stop at those first if you wanted.
Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area is California’s Northern-most marine protected area. Nestled up against the Oregon border, it provides unique habitat not often seen in other California marine protected areas. The landscape includes both sandy and rocky beaches, each with offshore rocks that can harbor seabird colonies, and shallow rocky reefs.
Tip: Near this stop, you will see the Oregon Redwoods Trail – from what I’ve read, I wouldn’t stop here. It’s underwhelming.
Next, you will come to Brookings.
Click here for the 20 best things to do in Brookings, here for hotels & here for restaurants.
Tip: Don’t miss Oregon’s largest Monterey Cypress tree – the tree was planted in 1857.
Next, you will head to Chetco Point Park.
Chetco Point Park has oceanfront trails, tide pools, a scenic point & picnic areas are the draw at this local beach park.
Read reviews here
Next, you will head to Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor.
Tip: Since there’s so much to see at Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor, you may want to make this your first stop. It just depends on how much time you have.
Tip: You will pass Harris Beach State Park & McVay Rock State Park on the way to Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor. McVay is a well-hidden park noted for surf fishing, clamming, whale watching, and plenty of space to walk on the beach.
The Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is often referenced as the most scenic 12 miles along the Oregon Coast, there are 11 designated stops along the scenic corridor.
The area is full of huge Sitka spruce trees, a rugged coastline, and small sandy beaches. You can also walk 27 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail within the corridor.
Although you can hike the park to see all the connected viewpoints, if you don’t have a lot of time and just want see as much as possible, you can stop by all of these spots. The parking lot usually takes you directly to the view or the viewpoint is just a short walk from the lot.
For the best views on the drive click here & click here for the best stops.
Here are the stops you will do and in this order:
- Lone Ranch Picnic Area (Mile 351.9)
- Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint (Mile 351.2)
- House Rock Viewpoint (Mile 349.3)
- Whaleshead Viewpoint (Mile 348.6)
- Indian Sands (Mile 347.8)
- Thomas Creek Bridge (Mile 347.4)
- *North Island (Mile 346.0)
- *Natural Bridges (Mile 345.8)
- Thunder Rock Cove (Mile 345.0)
- Spruce Island (Mile 345.0)
- Arch Rock (Mile 352.6)
Click here for a detailed guide of this area
From Crescent City to Arch Rock takes 50-60 mins without stopping.
From here, we continue our drive along the coast.
IF time permits, you can hike the Indian Sands Loop. This s a 1.1 mile moderately challenging hike. This hike is located at the Indian Sands stop.
Next, we will head to Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor.
Tip: On the way, you will pass the Pistol River Bridge & Meyers Creek Beach Viewpoint
At Cape Sebastian, a deep forest of Sitka spruce covers most of the park and a 1.5 mile walking trail takes you out to the lower levels of the cape. If you’re lucky, the trail will give you a chance to enjoy awe-inspiring views of the gray whales on their bi-annual migrations.
Read reviews here
Next, will be Kissing Rock.
Kissing Rock is a big rock formation you can see if you enter Gold Beach from the south. There are a variety of versions of how the name was given to this Gold Beach landmark, but the most common version is that this spot is where local lovers met.
Tip: While in this area, you could do a boat tour with Jerry’s Rogue Jets.
Next, you will come to the town of Gold Beach.
Next, will be the shipwreck of the Mary D. Hume.
Mary D. Hume is a steamboat with a pretty unique history. Built in 1881, this was the longest-serving vessel of the Pacific Coast. After 97 years of service, in 1977 the boat was retired and restored for purposes to be a museum. In 1985 Mary D. Hume accidentally sank in the Rogue River and since remained on the shoreline. The boat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Next and if time permits, you could stop at Otter Point State Recreation Site.
Otter Point is a gorgeous park defined by strange sandstone formations and sweeping views of the Pacific. Hiking trails lead to cliff-side viewpoints and sandy beaches below. You won’t see any signs for the park on Highway 101, but you can find it off Old Coast Rd. north of town.
Next, we will head to Port Orford.
You will pass Humbug Mountain State Park on the way.
Click here for 19 must visit state parks along the coast
Port Orford is a small, artistic fishing town in the Southern Oregon coast where the mountains and the forests meet the ocean. The oldest platted town site on the Oregon coast, the most westerly city in the continental U.S..
Tip: Don’t miss the 1.2 mi Port Orford Heads Trail
Click here & here for the best things to do in Port Orford.
Don’t miss the Cape Blanco Lighthouse! & If you want to visit a cranberry farm, don’t miss Cape Blanco Cranberries or Peters Cranberries.
Read reviews here
From Port Orford, you are 30 mins from Bandon and there is still plenty to see in that 30 min drive!
Next, you could make a stop (in this order) at the following places on the way to Bandon:
Port Orford Heads State Park, Agate Beach, Paradise Point State Recreation Site, Cape Blanco State Park (the Cape Blanco Lighthouse is located here, Hughes Historic House, Blacklock Point-Floras Lake Trails, Foras Lake State Natural Area, Denmark, Boice-Cope Park, Langlois, West Coast Game Park Safari, (read reviews here), Bandon State Natural Area, Devils Kitchen – Oregon State Parks Vista Point & Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint.
Tip: If you’re in Bandon Sept 8-10, 2023, Don’t miss the 77th annual Cranberry Festival. Bandon is the cranberry capital of Oregon! If you are visiting between Oct-Dec, don’t miss touring Grandpa Jack’s Cranberry Farm where you can tour the cranberry bogs!
Tip: 20 mins before you arrive to Bandon, located in Langlois, is a cranberry farm that offers “glamping style” accommodations. It’s called Cranberry Overlook at Black Moon Farms.
Some of the stops above are located in Bandon so you could wait and do them the next day.
Our next stop is the hotel.
Tip: Don’t miss eating at Tony’s Crab Shack & Face Rock Creamery!
Click here for hotels in Bandon, here for restaurants & here & here for best things to do in Bandon. Don’t miss the Circles in the Sand and the Beach Loop Drive – a 5 mile drive.
It’s truly amazing how many stops you can do in this 2.5 hr drive from Crescent City to Bandon!! You really do have to pick and choose your favorites or stay in a town half way between both!
Today, we will be driving to Newport.
Newport is located 2.5 hrs from Bandon.
But first, take time to visit Bandon with its incredible ocean vistas, charming stores and restaurants, historic lighthouse and thriving art community.
Click here & here for the best things to do in Bandon
Tip: Don’t miss Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint, Elephant Rock at Coquille Point, the Coquille River Lighthouse & Devils Kitchen Vista Point
After checking out the sites in Bandon, you can begin your drive to Newport.
You can either drive West Beaver Hill Rd to Charleston and up to North Bend & then hit Hwy 101 or take Hwy 101 to our next stop at Coos Bay.
North Bend is home to the towering 500-foot sand dunes of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, historic McCullough Memorial Bridge, beautiful Horsfall Beach and plenty of quaint shops, antique stores and restaurants. Click here to book a dune buggy tour of the dunes.
If you continue along Hwy 101, the scenic beauty will captivate you every stretch along the coastal drive.
Along Hwy 101, our first stop will Coos Bay, located 30 mins from Bandon.
Coos Bay is one of most scenic areas on the Oregon Coast…here you can eat fresh seafood and explore miles and miles of sand dunes — some reaching 500 feet high — at the southern entrance to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
One of the best ways to explore this area is by hopping on the Cape Arago Highway from Coos Bay. This 11-mile road diverges from Newmark Avenue in Coos Bay and navigates toward the ocean. Several scenic pitstops line the entire route.
Alongside scenic state parks (Sunset Bay, Shore Acres & Cape Arago State Parks), other roadside attractions on this drive include Simpson Reef and Shell Island.
These two marine habitats entice visitors with abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. Specifically, hundreds of seals and sea lions find refuge in these oceanic locales. Don’t miss the Cape Arago Lighthouse.
Click here & here for things to do in Coos Bay & click here to book a dune buggy tour.
Your next stop would be North Bend if you stayed on Hwy 101.
Next, you will head to the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.
Next is Reedsport.
Click here for things to do in Reedsport.
Tip: Don’t miss Dean Creek Elk Viewing area & there are more sand dunes nearby so you could do a dune buggy tour here as well.
Next stop will be the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area. You can make this a quick stop or do some of the hiking trails.
Next stop is Florence.
From Newport to Florence is the most scenic and dramatic coastline on the central
The historic downtown area in Florence is a charming,walkable neighborhood right on the riverfront. There is a really great boardwalk that is fun to explore, along with historic buildings, tourist shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
The not to be missed attractions here are: Sea Lion Cave – read reviews here, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Bob Creek tide pool located along Neptune State Park, Thors Well & Spouting Horn in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Devils Churn & Cape Perpetua Scenic Overlook (in this order).
Click here for the best restaurants in Florence, here for hotels & here for best things to do
Next stop is Yachats – you could stop here to eat or see the Yachats covered bridge.
Click here to see a list of covered bridges in Oregon – for coffee & baked goods, don’t miss the Bread & Roses Bakery or for the best fish & chips on the coast, have lunch or dinner at Luna!
Next stop is Seal Rock.
On the way to Seal Rock, you will pass Waldport, OR, Bayshore, OR & Driftwood Beach – Skip these areas unless you just have the time – not much to see/do here.
The top things to do in Seal Rock are: See seals & sea lions at the Seal Rock Recreation Area, Seal Rock State Park is one of the best places to see tidepools, anemones, starfish, and sea life & check out Elephant Rock at the north end of Seal Rock beach.
Next stop is Newport.
On the way you will pass Brian Booth State Park, Ona Beach, & South Beach State Park.
Check out the 32 best things to do in Newport here
You definitely want to spend some time in Newport checking out the historic bayfront.
Other not to be missed attractions are: Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Nye Beach, Yaquina Bay Bridge, Oregon Coast Aquarium & the sea lions!!
We will overnight in Newport.
Click here for hotels in Newport & here for restaurants – Don’t miss eating at Mo’s Seafood & Chowder!
Today we will be making the 2.5 hr drive to our next destination, Cannon Beach.
We will be making several stops along the way.
Our first stop will be Otter Rock where the popular & not to be missed Devil’s Punch Bowl is located just 15 mins from Newport.
You will pass Agate & Beverly Beach on the way.
The Devil’s Punchbowl is a large hollow rock formation created from sandstone and siltstone.
Click here to read how you can get inside the “bowl” at low tide.
Your next stop is the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint.
Your next stop is the Otter Crest Loop Drive. This is a short 10 min loop drive that is approx. 4 miles long. Read more here.
On this loop drive you will see: Rodea Point, Rocky Creek Bridge, Rocky Creek Falls & Cape Foulweather scenic point.
Your next stop is a quick stop at the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot a whale!
Next stop is Depoe Bay.
Known as the “whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast”, Depoe Bay seems to draw whales to its horizon like clockwork every March through December.
Depoe Bay’s harbor is noteworthy for being the smallest natural navigable harbor in the world.
Top things to do here is: Watch for whales, Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint, walk the Depoe Bay Coastline, take a whale watching boat tour, eat fresh seafood. Click here for more things to do and here for hotels in this area.
Next stop is Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint.
Next stop will be Lincoln City.
On the way, you will pass Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area, Lincoln Beach, Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site, Kernville, & Siletz Bay Wildlife Refuge
Top things to see/do in Lincoln City: Hike to Drift Creek Falls, Catch a movie at the Bijou Theater (built in 1937), buy some chocolate at the Chocolate Frog, See the Drift Creek Covered Bridge (built in 1914), learn to blow glass at the Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio, Visit the Roads End State Recreation Area, play golf or the slot machines at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, see the annual Kite Flying Festival or visit the Devil’s Lake State Recreation area. Click here for some hikes you can do and don’t miss eating at Mo’s! Click here for more things to do.
Next stop will be Neskowin.
Tip: You could hike the 4.2 mi r/trip hike to the Cascade Head Lower Viewpoint. Read reviews here. When here, look for the Oregon silverspot butterfly. These brown and orange butterflies are found in only five places in the world and this is one of the most important.
The top things to see/do in Neskowin is: Neskowin Ghost Forest, Neskowin Beach State Recreation area, & Proposal Rock.
Next stop will be Pacific City.
You will pass the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
In Pacific City, don’t miss the Cape Kiwanda State Natural area & the Three Capes Scenic Drive which includes Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout & Cape Mears. In Cape Mears, see the lighthouse & the Octopus tree. Read reviews of the drive here.
Click here for more things to see/do in the area or here to read about a nearby waterfall hike.
Tip: When driving the Three Capes Scenic Drive, you could make a stop at the Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refeuge. It’s between Cape Lookout & Cape Mears. Puffins & sea lions can be seen here.
Next stop will be Tillamook.
Don’t miss taking a self guided tour of the Tillamook creamery or just stop for some ice cream!
Click here for more top things to do in Tillamook.
Next stop will be Rockaway.
Don’t miss Rockaway Beach, the Twin Rocks of Rockaway Beach, the Three Graces rock formations, the annual Rockaway Beach Kite Festival, main street, see a 900 yr old tree at the Cedar Wetlands Preserve and you can even take a scenic train ride. Click here & here for more things to do.
Next you could make a quick stop at the small beach town of Manzanita or Neahkahnie Beach.
On the way, you will pass through Brighton, Wheeler & Nehalem.
Next will be Oswald West State Park. – Don’t miss the views of Nehalem Bay – the views are breathtaking!
Click here for 4 places in the park that you can’t miss!
Next will be Hug Point State Recreation Site. Read Reviews here.
Tip: See the old stagecoach ruts carved into the rock. Before the highway was built, the beach was the only way to travel along this stretch of coast.
You will pass through Arch Cape, OR on the way.
Next will be Cannon Beach.
You will pass Arcadia Beach State Park & Silver Point Interpretive Overlook on the way.
Click here for hotels in Cannon Beach, here for restaurants & here & here for best things to do in Cannon Beach.
Today we will explore the Cannon Beach area.
Named one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places by National Geographic, this remarkable landscape will take your breath away.
Spend time on Cannon Beach and don’t miss Haystack Rock!
Haystack Rock is one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks, home to colorful tidepools and diverse birdlife. It has been featured in countless novels, television programs, and movies such as The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.
At low tide, you can walk right up to it and find colorful sea stars and other fascinating tidepool creatures in its intertidal area. Puffins can be observed on Haystack Rock from early spring to mid-summer, offering the most accessible viewing of Tufted Puffins in the Northwest.
Other things not to miss here is: Go Puffin Watching, explore the tidepools in front of Haystack rock, Indian Beach at Ecola State Park (it’s been featured in quite a few movies, including The Goonies and Twilight) – read reviews here, hike 1.5 mi to Crescent Beach in Ecola State Park
Next, head to the nearby town of Seaside.
Click here for the top things to do in Seaside & here fore restaurants.
Tip: 45 mins from Seaside is the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area where you can view Elk – they also offer an Elk feeding tour Dec – Feb – Reservations are required
Next is Fort Stevens State Park.
Don’t miss the Wreck of the Peter Iredale. The remains of a shipwreck that happened in 1906.
Read reviews here
You could continue to Astoria or book a later flight out on Day 10 so you could explore Astoria before you end your trip.
If you continue to Astoria, you could spend the night there or stay in Cannon Beach for 2 nights and explore Astoria on Day 10 before you end your trip.
Astoria is 40 mins from Cannon Beach and 20 mins from Ft Stevens State Park.
Click here & here for the top things to see in Astoria.
Don’t miss the Goonies filming locations in Astoria!
Click here for a nearby cranberry farm called Cranberry Kitchen
Click here for hotels in Astoria & here for restaurants & here for lighthouses you can visit
Today, you can either explore Astoria or head back towards Portland to fly back home.
Astoria is approx 2 hrs from Portland and Cannon Beach is 1.5 hrs from Portland.
As you can see this itinerary has you moving to a different hotel each night however, you can tweak this itinerary to fit your needs.
Click here for 4 must stops along the coast
Click here for 25 top attractions to see in Oregon
Click here for 30 incredible things to see & do along the coast
Click here for a 10 Day Oregon itinerary
Click here for the best attractions along Hwy 101
Click here for a 5 day itinerary along the Hwy 101
Click here for the best places to see seals & sea lions in Oregon
Click here for a detailed description of each town along the coast
Click here for the lighthouses along the coast
Click here for the 7 wonders of Oregon + 4 more
Click here for the 10 day forecast
Click here, here & here for things you should know before visiting Oregon.
In Oregon, there’s been a ban on pumping your own gas at the gas station since 1951!!
Click here for the hot springs in Oregon
Click here & here for ghost towns
Click here for the 23 Most Beautiful Places in Oregon
Click here for the 50 best things to see & do in Oregon
Things you should definitely pack on your trip to Oregon:
Good hiking shoes
Binoculars – to spot whales & other wildlife
Layers – it’s usually cool & cloudy on the coast
Click here & here for things to pack for your trip
Hope this helps you plan your own trip to Oregon!!
*Pictures used for this blog post are not my own*