Are you thinking of taking an Oregon Coast road trip? Want to know when the best time to visit the Oregon Coast is?
If your answer is yes, you are in the right spot!
Recently, my husband and I decided to take an Oregon Coast road trip and this post will be dedicated to helping you know exactly when to go and where to stop along your way to get the best Oregon Coast pictures!
We started in the northwest corner of Oregon, all the way up in the beautiful seaside town of Astoria (can anyone say Goonies?), and finished at Cape Perpetua!
An Oregon Coast road trip is one of the most breathtaking trips you will ever take! Let’s explore this amazing area!
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Best Way to Travel the Oregon Coast
This is an Oregon Coast road trip right?! Well, obviously you will need a car. You may be driving in from another state or flying to a nearby airport.
If you are flying in and renting a car don’t worry about getting anything special. We had a basic car and were able to navigate the roads in this area just fine.
One idea for your Oregon Coast road trip is to rent an RV. RVShare is a great company that is similar to Airbnb but for RVing. It is a great way to experience this area. There are many campsites along the coast. If you like the outdoors this may be a great option.
Plan an Oregon Coast Road Trip
To start off, because I think this piece of information will help you out the most, I created a mile marker reference sheet.
This should help you know exactly where you need to stop to hit the major beautiful landmarks.
We used a reference sheet just like this on our Oregon Coast road trip and it was a lifesaver!
Top Places to Stop on Your Oregon Coast Road Trip
- Astoria’s Historical Attractions
- Seaside’s Turnaround and Promenade
- Three Capes Scenic Loop
- Tillamook Bay Heritage Route
- Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
- Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
- Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
- Cape Arago
You can refer to the chart above to know exactly which mile marker you need to pull off the road.
How Long is Oregon Coast Road Trip if you Drive Straight Down?
The total drive along the Oregon Coast is 10-12 hours without stopping. Obviously, you are not going to want to drive straight through. You will want to plan for a few days to a week to enjoy this area.
We did not travel the entire coast but we did hit a lot of it on our Oregon Coast road trip.
What is the Best Time of Year For an Oregon Coast Road Trip?
We went in July and thought it was amazing. The temperatures were perfect. The crowd levels were low. Having never witnessed anything this spectacular before we were in awe.
However, according to the locals, the best time to go is September through October. Some call it an extended summer because there is less wind and temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees.
We started our Oregon Coast road trip at mile marker 0, which is Astoria, OR. Astoria is in the Northwest corner of Oregon.
It is known for its fishing community and crazy enough Hollywood presence! Many movies have been filmed in this location!
Depending on how much time you want to spend here, there is plenty to see and do. We did not focus a huge amount of time in Astoria. I had previously visited the area and wanted to see more of the coast.
We started our tour with the Astoria Column. This may not be the best picture as it was extremely windy! This is a great place to see this amazing town from an aerial view.
This 125 ft column standing on top of Coxcomb Hill, overlooks the mouth of the Colombia River. There is a spiral staircase that ascends to an observation deck at the top.
I imagine that this is one of the highest, if not the highest, points in Astoria. Not only is the tower tall, but you also have to drive up a windy road and gain altitude to get to the base.
The tower has 14 murals painted on the outside depicting early Oregon history including the significance of Astoria with the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Captain Grey’s discovery of the Colombia River.
Please note that a parking lot surrounds the tower. There is a booth at the entrance of the lot, and you will need to pay a parking fee. The lot was pretty full when we went, but we were able to find a spot.
The Astoria Trolley will pick you up if you wave a dollar bill at the conductor. This is a very fun and informative way to explore the riverfront.
The train is run by volunteers who do an amazing job. You can take a 3-minute ride to the Maritime Museum.
Seal Watching at the East End Docks
If you love wildlife, this is the place to stop. You will get a great view of seals lying around enjoying themselves. The seals that live in Astoria are California Seals.
Other Attractions Worth Visiting
Hollywood Film Tour
I have friends that grew up in this area. The first time I went I was able to have a city movie tour from my friends. It was so awesome! There have been so many movies filmed in Astoria such as Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, Ninja Turtles, Benji, and many more.
Columbia River Maritime Museum
The Colombia River Maritime Museum is a must-see. It is very small but well planned out. There is a 3D movie and very interesting facts about the Colombia River. This is worth the stop!
Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach
Our next stop on this ultimate Oregon Coast road trip was Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach. From where we parked, it was at least a mile walk to get to Haystack Rock. We loved the walk and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Something you may want to plan beforehand is figuring out a good spot to park. We parked in what we thought was a legal spot but saw something on a dashboard when we got back to the car. Luckily it was only a warning! But lesson learned. Get there early, plan, or pray for luck.
Watch the Tide
If you want to walk along Cannon Beach, one thing to keep in mind is the tide. As we started our walk we were able to pass across an inlet of water that was very shallow. But later, as a result of the tide, the water came chest-deep on our return to the car! Let’s just say I was soaked!
My husband, quite a bit taller than I, avoided most of the damage. He got a great picture of the look on my face as I waded through the water. My shirt that day said “Be Happy,” and I wasn’t very happy.
How Long Should I Spend at Cannon Beach?
Now, if you want to relax and enjoy yourselves you could spend hours here. We didn’t relax on the beach, but instead walked most of the time, primarily to get a closer look at Haystack Rock. You can get quite a bit closer than we did when the tide is out.
I think we spent about an hour and a half in the area and decided to move on down the coast.
Ecola State Park
Something else you may want to check out is Ecola State Park. Although I believe recent landslides may have impacted the park.
Tillamook Cheese Factory was our next stop on our Oregon Coast road trip. I love this tourist attraction! What could be better than free cheese samples! We toured around the factory and learned how it is all processed! It was a pretty neat experience!
There is a restaurant inside the factory, which serves the most amazing ice cream! We are lucky enough to live in a state that sells Tillamook, so we know the quality is amazing. If you don’t I suggest buying a variety of products to try (yogurt, ice cream, cheese) I highly recommend stopping here!
Tillamook is a cooperative of local farmers that pool their resources to deliver their raw product to the factory to be processed and shipped.
Where to Stay – Oregon Coast Road Trip
The hotel had a rustic feel, the rooms were large and very nice with a view of the golf course.
The private beach was pretty far away from the lodging area. This did not bother my husband and me as we are runners. We took the opportunity to get some exercise and run to the beach. This may be an issue if you aren’t up for a walk.
Sunset at the Beach
What was hard for us is we wanted to see the sunset and did not plan for the private beach to be so far away. We ran along the path through the golf course (which you get to after crossing the main road) and finally arrived at the beach just in time to see the sun disappear below the western horizon.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
The rest of our trip was absolutely the best! The beauty all around was breathtaking! My main goal was to get to Cape Perpetua Recreation Scenic Area.
As we drove down to this amazingly beautiful area I could not help but pull over the car and get out at multiple locations. The scenes were unreal!
Thor’s Well is a must-see! We came at low tide and thought it was so impressive! High tide is supposed to be even better!
What is comforting about this is no matter what time of day you come you will get to see a performance from the well.
I highly enjoyed the first part of our trip which included Astoria, Cannon Beach, and Tillamook. However, my favorite part of the Oregon Coast was Cape Perpetua and the stopping points along this 20-30 miles stretch. The ocean was incredible with all of its power.
I don’t even know how to describe this area because it was an overwhelming beauty that pierced my soul and made me fall in love.
Oregon Coast Road Trip
My biggest piece of advice is to take your time and enjoy yourself. I loved that we did not have to be in a rush and could enjoy the areas we stopped at.
Our Experience on Our Oregon Coast Road Trip
As we began our Oregon Coast road trip, I didn’t quite know what to expect or even what I was looking for. Sometimes it is nice to see a picture and know that you are in the right spot. Hopefully, watching this video will help you identify where exactly you are headed and what to look for!
Have Fun On Your Oregon Coast Road Trip
I hope you are excited about your Oregon Coast Road trip! There are so many amazing stops along the way that you will be talking about for years to come.
If you have any questions join my Facebook Travel Community. You can ask any questions you have about upcoming trips and everyone is happy to help you plan your trip. I also try to give exclusive travel deals that companies send me. It is a great group to join.
Eating on the Oregon Coast
Also, if you are looking for great places to eat in Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Lincoln City, and Depoe Bay grab our Free Oregon Coast Eats Restaurant Guide!
We ate some amazing places as we traveled. Most of these recommendations came from our friends that live in the area.