Is there a bad time of the year to visit Oregon (i.e. when is the rainy season)? We are thinking of a visit along the coast and across the Columbia River Gorge in July or august in a couple years; however, we are open to any suggestions of a better time of the year.
No, there is not a bad time of year to visit the Oregon Coast, but there is a rainy season. Between November and January, many parts of the coast average over 10 inches of rain each month. Many people come to the coast during this time to experience the awesome storms that can whip the seas into a frenzy and showcase the dramatic forces that shape the landscape. It can be wet and windy, but many are attracted to this quieter season at the coast. Hotels offer great off season rates too.
July and August are the most dependable months for dry weather and sunny skies. It is also the busiest time of year. My favorite time of year is September and early October. There are typically smaller crowds and the weather can still be nice, though slightly cooler than summer. Fall can offer scenes of fog, mist and cloud formations that can be stunning.
Whatever time of year you come, you will want to be prepared for cool temperatures and the possibility of rain. If you are prepared, you will be able to enjoy the magic of the coast in any season you visit.
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My favorite time of year, to visit anywhere in Oregon, is May. So many things in bloom, everything is super green, just beautiful! Sometimes in August, when it is hot in the Willamette alley, it will turn cold and be 60 at the coast That’s why they sell sweatshirts in the gift shops, lol. I agree, September is a great time for the coast, but I think April and May are the best times to go through the Columbia Gorge. Be sure to plan a visit sometime to Crater Lake (August is best, very high altitude + late snows); it is like nothing you have ever seen, I promise! BREATHTAKING!
Other questions about Coast
- We’re coming to Oregon this summer. We want to rent a place on the beach, walk, eat well, see local sites and shop in art galleries. We also want to spend a couple of days in Portland. There are four of us and none of us have ever spent time in Oregon before. Do you have any suggestions for how to set up a couple days in the city and four days on the coast? – Elaine R.
- We’re interested in renting a home on or near the beach in Oregon for a few weeks this summer. We have kids ages 5, 6, and 12 and are looking for a sandy beach, relaxed quiet community with great fishing, biking and playgrounds. What areas do you suggest? – Lauri
- We are planning a road trip along the entire Oregon Coast next year. I would like to know when is the best time for whale watching, what wouldn’t you miss, and how long a trip should we take to make it worth our while? We like to hike and would love to do some fun things as well as the scenery and tide pools. Where are the best places to camp along the way?
About Ask Oregon Expert Gary Hayes
Gary Hayes is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Pelican Productions, Inc, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside. Gary is a native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast. An extensively published photographer, Gary now lives in Cannon Beach and loves exploring the Northwest’s dramatic landscapes and capturing its natural wonders. He does clean up nicely though and he may also be found sampling Northwest wines and fine regional cuisine at every opportunity. He is a food and wine writer and is the Executive Director of the SavorNW Wine Awards.