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If you’re planning a holiday, consider a road trip to the Oregon coast. There are many amazing sights and much beauty to behold when you travel this stretch of America, and it’s a trip you won’t soon forget.

Since there is so much to see and do, we have picked some of the best parks, beaches, and roadside attractions that we urge everyone to check out on their next Oregon road trip. These are fun experiences that will allow you to get the fresh air and excitement you may be missing. Below are the best places to stop and explore.

State Parks

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Photo by Linda Aksomitis.

The Oregon coast is home to some of the most diverse state parks in the country. Get your feet wet by visiting Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, where you’ll find one of the most historic lighthouses in the area. It’s also home to the Oregon dunes, where you can enjoy hiking and off-road adventures.

Another great spot is Fort Stevens State Park, which has a gorgeous beach, hiking trails, and a shipwreck! That’s right. History buffs love to explore the ruins of the famous remains of a boat sailed by British sailor Peter Iredale. Now, everyone can visit the ship that went aground over 100 years ago. It is truly a sight to behold.

Best Hiking Trails in State Parks

It is worth noting that the Oregon coast has some of the best hiking trails in the world. Depending on the timing of your Oregon road trip there may be limitations for the things you can do, so hiking is a great way to have family fun while you embark on your own little adventure. Plus, hiking has many other benefits as well, like decreasing stress and boosting your immunity.

When it comes to hiking spots, start with Neahkahnie Mountain, where you can enjoy the five-mile trail, and as a reward, experience a view of the entire beach at the top of the peak. The Clatsop Loop Hike is classified as an easy hike, so the whole family can go, and then enjoy the gorgeous cliffside views.

Finally, no trip is complete without visiting Cape Perpetua, which is home to unique rock formations, including Devil’s Churn, where you can enjoy water spray that goes 100 feet into the air!

Roadside Attractions

The former Jackson County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Oregon, United States.

The former Jackson County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Oregon, United States. The building was used as a museum until 2010. Geographer at English Wikipedia / CC BY

As you’re taking your Oregon road trip from park to park, take the time to stop at many fun roadside attractions that will always keep you on your toes.

Fans of fish and other aquatic animals will love the several vast aquariums along the coast, including the Seaside Aquarium and Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. Both have a vast selection of colorful sea creatures, and the Oregon Coast location is ranked among the top 10 aquariums in the country.

Paul Bunyan, Peace Candle, & Dinosaurs

During your trip, you absolutely must stop in Jacksonville, where the entire town is classified as a National Historical Landmark because it is where folks lived during the 1850s gold rush. The area oozes rustic charm, and you can take a walking tour or enjoy the sights on an old-time trolley.

In addition to the town, Jacksonville also offers vineyards, wine tastings, and many tasty restaurants.

The statue of Paul Bunyan in North Portland.

The statue of Paul Bunyan in North Portland. User: Cacophony (photograph)Victor A. Nelson and Victor R. Nelson (statue) / Public domain.

The road trip down the coast will also provide the chance to see many unique sights that you can only see in Oregon, such as the 37-foot tall Paul Bunyan statue that just recently received a fresh coat of paint. In Scappoose, Oregon, catch the Peace Candle of the World, which you can see from the road during a time when world peace and community is needed more than ever.

For a final thrill, stop by the Prehistoric museum where you can see awesome fossils and animatronic dinosaurs that only come along once every 60 million years.

End Up At The Beach

235-foot (72-meter) sea stack in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

235-foot (72-meter) sea stack in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image by Daniela Morescalchi from Pixabay.

Of course, the best part about visiting the Oregon coast is soaking up the sun at any number of the famous and gorgeous beaches. Cannon Beach is one of the nicest areas, which is great for those on a budget, as it offers many free activities, including many hiking trails, state parks, and the impressive Haystack Rock, which rises an epic 235 feet from the shoreline.

This is also one of the rare places where you can see the Tufted Puffin, which is a gorgeous bird. You absolutely must snap a picture here.

Cannon beach is also home to many amazing festivals, so no matter what time you go, there is something spectacular to enjoy. At the Fat Bike festival, the whole family can take their bicycle and enjoy a sunset beach ride, a visit to an epic waterfall, and tons of other bike-related activities. Then there is Haystack Holidays, where you can enjoy the holiday sights while also shopping in specialty shops for fun presents for your family at home.

Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon

Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon. Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA / CC BY-SA.

At just about any beach you visit on your Oregon roadtrip, you’ll find a unique trait that you’ll fall in love with. At Seal Rock in Waldport, the beach is famous for its unique shards of ancient lava and hundreds of seals that migrate there in the fall. Harris Beach in Brookings is a beach and a bird sanctuary where you can see unique fowl roosting on nearby bird island.

Planning Your Oregon Road Trip

This list is just the tip of the iceberg for all the amazing sights that you can see when you take your epic road trip down the Oregon coast. You never know what you’ll see, and that is the true adventure.

You’ll find the following links useful in planning your Oregon Coast Road trip:

Oregon State Parks

Jacksonville, Oregon

40 Best Roadside Attractions in Oregon

About the Author

Adrian Johansen lives, plays, and writes in the Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing her knowledge and learning new things from people online. You can find more of her work on Twitter.


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About the Photo

The photo in the header above is the 620 foot Multnomah Falls, which are the tallest falls of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, USA. They’re close to Portland, off Interstate-84. Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

About the Author

Adrian Johansen lives, plays, and writes in the Pacific Northwest.

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Visit Umpqua State Park to see this historic lighthouse.

See the stunning Multnomah Falls near Portland, Oregon.

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