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What are your top 5 places to spend a night (or two) on the Oregon Coast?

My choices would be Cannon Beach, Newport, Yachats, Bandon and Gold Beach for the following reasons:

Cannon Beach is a good base for nearby attractions like Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park, Oswald West State Park, Hug Point and towns like Seaside, Astoria and Manzanita. Follow the Three Capes Scenic Route (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and cape Kiwanda) as you drive south to Newport.

Newport has many local attractions like Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, the historic bay front, Oregon Coast Aquarium and easy day trips to Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock, Cape Foulweather (Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint) and the town of Depoe Bay. Visit Seal Rock State Recreation Site as you drive south to Yachats.

Yachats is not far from Newport, but it offers the best access to the many attractions of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area including hiking trails, Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well and panoramic views from the top of the Cape. Heceta Head Lighthouse makes an easy day trip. Explore the town of Florence and the Oregon Dunes as you drive south to Bandon.

Bandon offers a spectacular beach with interesting rock formations, a nice Old Town area and the Coquille River Lighthouse. The three State Parks on Cape Arago make a great day trip from Bandon if you don’t have time to visit them as you travel between Yachats and Bandon. The Cape Blanco Lighthouse is an easy day trip to the south of Bandon. Explore the town of Port Orford, Port Orford Heads State Park and Battle Rock Park as you travel south to Gold Beach.

Gold Beach is a great base for exploring the wild and scenic Rogue River, the stunning Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor to the south and other great stops include Meyers Beach and Cape Sebastian. Otter Point State Recreation Site is a nice short trip north of Gold Beach.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on July 6th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What is Cannon Beach’s most secluded, away-from-tourists beach?

Relatively speaking, a quiet beach in Cannon Beach during the summer is a bit of on oxymoron. However, Crescent Beach, just north of Cannon Beach, is much more secluded than other Cannon Beach area beaches because it is a hike-in location from Ecola State Park. Generally speaking, the further you get away from Haystack Rock to the north or south, the less populated the beaches will be. Ecola Creek and limited parking isolates the north end beach from the biggest crowds. The beach stretches much further to the south and becomes much less crowded between Silver Point and the Arcadia Beach parking area.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on June 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

I’m a big ‘Goonies’ fan… where do you recommend we visit?

Astoria is famous for being the filming location of the 1985 hit classic ‘The Goonies,’ as well as a handful of other popular movies. Astoria of  has a wide range of accommodations from luxury hotels on the riverfront to historic downtown boutique hotels, chain hotel brands and a good selection of bed and breakfasts. So, depending on your definition of quaint and not necessarily pricey, there are probably a few good choices for you. For a quaint motel, consider the Astoria Crest Motel. It is just east of downtown Astoria in a fabulous view location on a bluff and prices are reasonable.  For budget minded hipsters, downtown boutique hotels include the Commodore Hotel and Norblad Hotel and Hostel. You’ll have to check them out online to see if they’re your cup of tea. If you enjoy bed and breakfasts, consider Rose River Inn, Clementine’s and Crosby House.

Related to the The Goonies, I would definitely suggest a visit to the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria and you should consider a day trip to Cannon Beach, home of Goonies Rock (Haystack Rock). Ecola State Park offers great views as seen in the movie. Check out this page on the TravelAstoria website for more Goonies ideas. My other favorite Astoria area attractions include the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop and the Peter Iredale shipwreck on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park. On a clear day, a stop at the Astoria Column will offer great views. The Astoria Riverwalk makes for a nice stroll or you can hop on the historic trolley to tour the riverfront.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on June 13th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

How can one drive on the sand near Sunset Beach?

Driving on the beach between Fort Steven State Park and Gearhart is allowed with some seasonal restrictions. You can reach the beach access at the west end of Sunset Beach Road, just past the State Park parking area. Many other regulations and restrictions  are enforced for those driving on the beach. Speed limits must not exceed 25 mph and drivers can be cited for driving, even at lower speeds, if driving poses harm to the beach environment, ocean shore resources or creates a hazard to humans or wildlife. Drivers and vehicles must be legally licensed and all provisions of motor vehicle laws of the State of Oregon are applicable and enforceable.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What are the not-to-miss golf courses on the Oregon Coast?

There are many wonderful golf courses along the Oregon Coast, ranging from all levels of difficulty and pricing. If you start south and head north, a really cool place to play is Salmon Run in Brookings. The Jack River crosses the course several times.

Two hours north is Bandon Dunes, considered the world’s most famous collection of courses with now five courses total. Bandon Dunes Resort is a must for the serious golfer looking for a memorable “bucket list” kind of experience. And there are a variety of accommodations, restaurants and accessible oceanfront so you can really take in the Coast. Just a few miles from Bandon Dunes, another enjoyable golf course is Bandon Crossings. And if you choose to stay in Bandon, the Bandon Inn is a lovely place to stay and tour the town.

 

As you head up the coastline, you must try to play Sandpines Golf. It is in the city of Florence and is considered one of the better public play courses in Oregon. Across the way from Sandpines is a fun, fun course named Ocean Dunes. It is modestly priced and you can play it well under four hours.

 

As you continue up the coastline, there are several other courses you can put on your “must-do list.” Salishan resort course in the town of Gleneden is known for tasty crab.  Manzanita Golf Course in the city of Manzanita is lined with trees, has ocean views and is really fun to play. Hawk Creek Golf in Lincoln City is a gem of a track and kind of a secret place mostly locals play. Gearhart Golf is one of the first courses to populate Oregon and again, is a lot of fun to play.

 

In all cases, you can’t miss celebrating the Oregon Coast with its views, good energy and fun, fun golf!

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on May 27th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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Where are the best places for RV camping on the Coast?

There are several options along Oregon’s 363 mile coastline for RV camping adjacent to the beach. I personally prefer the State Parks camping experience (forested, close to great natural areas) to most private RV parks that are primarily paved or graveled parking lots.

A few State Parks offer campsites adjacent to the beach, though not necessarily offering views from a campsite. Beachside State Park between Waldport and Yachats is likely your best bet for oceanfront RV spaces within a State Park. The trade-off is this park is bordered by Highway 101. Two of my other favorite State Parks with campgrounds adjacent to beach access and views a short walk away include Cape Lookout State Park near Tillamook and Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.

There are several other private RV parks that offer oceanfront sites. You could consider Sea & Sand RV Park in Depoe Bay, Sea Perch RV Resort in Yachats, Oceanside Beachfront RV in Charleston, Oceanside RV Park in Gold Beach and Beachfront RV Park in Brookings.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 18th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

In case of rain, what are some indoor activities between Cannon Beach to Yachats?

Cannon Beach offers great shopping and art galleries, most within the two block downtown area. Mo’s offers casual dining with an ocean view and Wayfarer Restaurant offers more upscale dining with views. One of my favorite things for a rainy day is a visit to Icefire Glassworks in midtown Cannon Beach where you can often watch glassblowers at work. Other indoor attractions include the Cannon Beach History Center and live theater at the Coaster Theatre Playhouse.

As you travel south, you could consider a stop at the Tillamook County Creamery visitor center, home to Tillamook Cheese. There is a self-guided tour, samples, food and shopping. In Lincoln City, the Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio is another opportunity to watch glass blowing, or blow your own piece of art glass with the help of the artists there. Lincoln City also features a large outlet shopping center connected by covered walkways. There are a number of ocean view restaurants, but my top choice for views would be Fathoms on the 10th floor of the Inn at Spanish Head. Chinook Winds Casino is the other major indoor attraction in Lincoln City.

In Depoe Bay, the Whale Watch Center operated by Oregon State Parks is one of the best places to spot whales nearly year-round on the Oregon Coast. Tidal Raves offers nice ocean front dining and you can watch for whales from your table. In Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium makes a great rainy day stop. Other indoor attractions include a maritime museum, wax museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not on the historic bay front where you will also find interesting shops and bay view dining. Georgie’s Beachside Grill offers ocean view dining. Yachats is just minutes away from the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area that features an indoor visitor center. A little further down the coast is Sea Lion Caves offering an elevator down to a large sea cave often occupied by sea lions during inclement weather.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 9th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where can we go whale watching?

You can spot whales nearly year-round on the Oregon Coast. Gray Whales migrate along the Oregon Coast twice a year, once in spring as they are headed north and in winter when headed south. There are about 200 whales that only migrate as far north as Oregon and can be seen nearly year-round until they return to their breeding waters off Mexico where they stay between December and February.

During the non-migratory times, the best place to spot whales is along the Central Oregon Coast between Lincoln City and Newport. Depoe Bay is one of the best places to see whales during the non-migratory times. Oregon State Parks operates the oceanfront Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay where parks personnel assist visitors in spotting whales and offer interpretive information. Another good bet is The Lookout at the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint, another facility operated by Oregon State Parks. The towns of Depoe Bay and Newport also offer whale watching boat excursions.

During the annual migrations, Oregon State Parks coordinates Whale Watch Weeks in late December and late March when the number of migrating whales is typically at its peak. Of the migratory periods, the Spring migration offers the best opportunity to spot whales as the trip is taken at a leisurely pace and the whales travel closer to shore. A few whales migrating north will be seen into the summer including slow traveling mothers with newborn calves.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on April 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where can we go crabbing and boil our catch afterwards?

On the North Oregon Coast, one of the best places to go crabbing is Nehalem Bay. There, you will find Kelly’s Marina and Jetty Fishery, both of which offer crabbing gear rentals, crabbing docks or boat rentals and you can have your crab cooked just steps from where you caught it and enjoy the freshest crab ever.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on April 20th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Astoria is a port of call for our cruise ship — can we walk into town from the dock?

It is a little over a mile from Astoria’s cruise ship dock to the heart of downtown Astoria. It is about 1.3 miles to the beginning of Astoria’s main downtown commercial district and about two miles to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria’s largest attraction on the riverfront.This can be a pleasant walk along Astoria’s paved Riverwalk that passes restaurants, brew pubs and working waterfront businesses. Another fun transportation option is Astoria’s historic riverfront trolley that runs parallel to the Riverwalk.

There is bus service from the Port of Astoria to downtown departing every 15 minutes (route 11). An all day pass is available for $7 that includes on and off privileges and is good for the trolley too. An all day pass for the trolley is only $2, but check the schedule to make sure it fits your needs (typically noon to 6 p.m. in spring and summer, but it’s weather dependent too).

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on April 12th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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