: Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint by Kenji Sugahara

Take an Epic RV Trip Along the Oregon Coast

Your day-by-day guide to the best places to eat, play and park your home on wheels.
June 25, 2020 (Updated March 6, 2023)

It’s one of the most iconic RV road trips not just in Oregon but also in the United States: the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, stretching 363 miles from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south. My family and I have been RVing along the Oregon Coast for more than 20 years and have driven every glorious mile — and plenty of miles off US-101, too — in search of stunning scenery, succulent seafood and secret spots shared by friendly locals. I’ve combined all those family favorites in one weeklong RV adventure for you. While this itinerary is detailed from north to south, you can easily reverse the direction. So grab your sunscreen, your raincoat and your hiking boots (yes, Oregon Coast weather can be dramatic), and hit the open road. 

Note that the byway corresponds with the Oregon Coast Bike Route, a heavily used and world-renowned bike-tour route. Be aware of cyclists and drive with caution — and only pass when it’s safe.

Sun shines through the wreckage of a 1906 ship.
The 1906 shipwreck of Peter Iredale is the centerpiece of Fort Stevens State Park. (Photo by Dylan Van Weelden)

Day 1: Sea Lions and Shipwrecks

Start your road trip in Astoria, where the mighty Columbia River spills into the Pacific Ocean. Watch the magnificent ships and look for sea lions as you stroll the historic boardwalk. Stop into Fort George Brewery or Buoy Beer Company (temporarily located at the Astoria Food Hub) for some of the finest craft beer and pub fare in Oregon. Then take a self-guided tour of the many classic Astoria movie spots around town, including “Free Willy,” “Kindergarten Cop” and “The Goonies” — part of the Oregon Film Trail

Set up camp at Fort Stevens State Park in neighboring Hammond. Tour the Civil War-era fort, swim in a freshwater lake, bike to the beach and see the 1906 shipwreck Peter Iredale in its rusted glory. The campground has 174 sites with full hookups and 302 sites with electricity and water.

A surfer catches a wave in front of Haystack Rock in Pacific City.
Pacific City has its own Haystack Rock, located 60+ miles from the one in Cannon Beach.

Day 2: Kayaking and Sunset Views

Break camp early, drive 30 minutes south and take the first Cannon Beach exit. Try breakfast at Crêpe Neptune (see the website for seasonal hours) or The Lazy Susan Cafe; you’ll find RV parking at East Second Street and North Spruce Street, if you arrive early. After breakfast head south on Hemlock Street, grab a latte at Sleepy Monk and then park in the large lot at Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site. Spend time on the beach near Haystack Rock, and remember to never turn your back on the ocean.

For lunch, find dozens of options as you travel south along the North Coast Food Trail, including the Tillamook Creamery, where you can lunch on triple-cheese mac and milkshakes in the airy food hall and on the outdoor patio, then learn the story behind the dairy, founded in 1909, through its state-of-the-art visitor center. 

In the afternoon, set off to some of the less-crowded sites along the Tillamook Bay Heritage Route, such as Kilchis Point Reserve, with a lovely 2-mile trail (check in with the nearby Pioneer Museum to help find parking if it is limited). This important historical site — once home of one of the largest permanent Native American villages on the Northern Oregon Coast — includes a native plant garden and a bird-watching station, so bring your binoculars. Nearby, treat yourself to a guided kayaking trip with Kayak Tillamook. Some tours even combine paddling with digging for clams.

To end the day, make your way to Cape Kiwanda RV Park in Pacific City. The campground offers full hookups, a pool, a playground, and a killer location just across the street from the beach and Pelican Brewing Company, where you can relax on the patio with your toes in the sand and your eyes on the setting sun.

A glassblower adds heat to their creation.
Lincoln City is known for its glass floats — and the Finders Keepers program that hides the floats along the beach.

Day 3: Glass Art and Wildlife

Head 30 minutes south to Lincoln City and get ready to fly a kite (if you don’t have one, visit any of the numerous kite shops in town). Devils Lake State Recreation Area is a superb spot to spend a lazy afternoon, depending on whether you prefer the surf or the lakeside, where you can lounge on a tube or raft or set out for a paddle — check out Safari Town Surf for gear rentals and friendly advice. In town, watch behind plexiglass as local artists make beautiful handblown glass pieces at the Lincoln City Glass Center in town, or book an appointment to make your own. Years later, my kids still cherish these special self-made souvenirs. 

Enjoy the variety of great outdoor dining options, and be sure to check out the Central Coast Food Trail. Soak up the sunshine on the spacious deck and patio at Beachcrest Brewing Company in Gleneden Beach, or grab takeout from one of Lincoln City’s Thai restaurants like Best Thai or Thai Bay — and check in at Premier RV Resort on the south end of town. My family likes this full-hookup park because of the easy access via an underground tunnel to the beach on the other side of Highway 101.

Four fat bikers pedal on the beach.
Newport is home to several fat-bike routes, with rentals available in town. (Photo by Dylan VanWeelden)

Day 4: Tide Pools and Bike Rides

This morning, drive south to Depoe Bay, whale-watching capital of Oregon and home of the world’s smallest harbor. Visit the Whale Watching Center in March and December for your best chance at spotting whales, but it’s possible to see whales feeding offshore year-round. Just 6 miles south, stop at the Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area, site of a hollow rock formation where the sea churns and swirls. Don’t forget to visit the tide pools on the north side of the punchbowl, if the tide is out. Arrive early, as parking can be limited.

As you approach Newport, consider renting bikes at Bike Newport if you didn’t bring your own. Make camp at nearby South Beach State Park, just south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, and stretch out to relax. The park offers plenty of recreation: beachcombing, hiking, crabbing, disc golf, horseshoe pits and a playground. Hop on your bikes and explore the South Jetty Trail, a paved ADA-accessible path that is a 1-mile link between the park and the South Jetty recreation area. The Old Jetty Trail parallels the paved trail through a shore-pine forest and dune habitats of the park. The park’s 227 RV sites have electricity and water.

Four-wheeling in the Oregon Dunes is a popular activity for locals and visitors alike.
Head to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for an exciting dune-buggy tour. (Photo by Tatum Shaw)

Day 5: Crabbing and Dune Buggies

Head south toward the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in the morning to find ample RV parking at the visitor center. Grab a map and then hike to Cook’s Chasm, Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn — delightful natural features along the coastline full of pocket beaches, tide pools, blowholes, creeks, old-growth Sitka spruce and wildflower meadows. Pay close attention to the tide tables, and stay on trails and off the rocks.

Worth a slight detour, Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint is 11 miles south, just off Highway 101. It’s just one of many stunning photo-worthy spots along this section of coastline, so photo buffs, have your cameras handy and always make sure to be sensitive to fragile ecosystems when finding your perfect angle. 

You’ve likely worked up an appetite, so drive into the charming Old Town Florence district for lunch. Outside of Florence, you’ll find the impressive Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world. Head to Sandland Adventures for a white-knuckle dune-buggy tour, or check out Sand Master Park to surf the dunes on a sandboard (think snowboard but on sand) with the inventors of the sport. Want to spend some time on the water instead? Try your hand at crabbing for Dungeness in the Siuslaw River.

Recover from your jam-packed day at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, the second-largest state park in Oregon with 47 full-hookup sites and 121 electric sites with water. You have access to two freshwater lakes here for swimming and canoeing.

A landscape view of Sheep Ranch golf course overlooking a sandy area and the ocean.
Play a round of gold in front of panoramic oceanfront views at Sheep Ranch. (Courtesy of Bandon Dunes)

Day 6: Golf and Sand Art

If you’re a golfer, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to play one of the five championship courses at world-renowned Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and its Sheep Ranch golf course, with a mile of panoramic oceanfront views. However, there’s more to the town of Bandon than just golf.

From roughly April to August, check out Circles in the Sand, an elaborate low-tide labyrinth created by local sand artists Denny Dyke and Christine Moehring below Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint. (Check the summer schedule here.) Saddle up for a beachfront horseback ride with Bandon Beach Riding Stables. 

For fresh-caught fish ’n chips and more local seafood, head to Bandon Fish Market on the waterfront for lunch or check out the delicious offerings along the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail. Then stroll Old Town, stopping to see ocean debris turned into large-scale sculptures at Washed Ashore. If you happen to be visiting in September or October, catch a harvest tour at Bowman Bogs cranberry farm. Don’t forget to buy a bottle of Grandpa Jack’s cranberry syrup for the road.

Leave time to traverse Bullards Beach State Park, a star in the state park system with 103 full-hookup sites and 82 electric sites with water. Paved bike paths lead to the uniquely shaped Coquille River Lighthouse and a wide-open beach.

A view of Arch Rock from land.
Enjoy the view of Arch Rock in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.

Day 7: Jet Boats and a Secret Beach

An hour south of Bandon, board a jet boat at Jerry’s Rogue Jets in Gold Beach and take a whitewater ride up the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. Afterward, check out this map and head to what, in my opinion, is the most stunning section of your entire RV road trip: the 12-mile Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Stop at the first parking area to have a picnic and take in the view of Arch Rock at the end of a short trail. As you continue the drive, stop and do a few short hikes: Thunder Rock Cove to Secret Beach, Natural Bridges and Whaleshead Viewpoint. Pro tip: The road to Whaleshead Beach is too rough for RVs. 

Your epic RV adventure ends in the town of Brookings, about as far south as you can go on the Oregon Coast. Full-hookup sites are available at Harris Beach State Park, AtRivers Edge RV Resort and Beachfront RV Park.

If You Go:


  • When hiking, remember to practice safety by following posted signs and staying on marked trails.
  • Before you leave home, check TripCheck.com to see real-time road conditions and closures.



About The

Shellie Bailey-Shah
Shellie Bailey-Shah is travel writer who has the distinction of having visited all seven continents, but she favors her home state of Oregon. She lives with her husband and sons in Portland and has logged thousands of miles behind the wheel of the family's RV.

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