Did someone say Oregon Coast road trip???
Isn't there just something so freeing to be out on the open road, taking time to explore wherever your heart desires vs. having to get from point A to point B in exactly two hours?
If you love road trips + scenic vistas as much as I do, grab your favorite road trip snack and let's wander down the Oregon Coast together! Check out my four day road trip guide to the Oregon Coast below!
(And if road trips are just not your thing, it's an even more #FelizFriday because I went on a road trip for ya + you get to come along via my photos! Scroll on through to see the beauty of the Oregon Coast sans sitting shot gun!)
You ready to explore the mystical Oregon Coast? Heck yea! But first, let's talk about some basics!
Where is the best place to start and end your Oregon Coast road trip?
I flew into Seattle to sync up with a friend (and former Costa Rica photography client!), so we started our trip from the Seattle area. Our first stop on the coast was in Long Beach, WA. If you just wanted to do the Oregon Coast, fly into Portland (PDX), hop in a car, and head west to the coast! We ended our Oregon Coast road trip in Florence, OR at Oregon Dunes National Park. If you drove straight through, it's roughly 200 miles and 5 hours. If we had more time, we would have loved to explore all of the Oregon Coast!
(Hint: Wanna explore the southern Oregon Coast with me next year?!)
What is the best time of year to explore the coast?
I explored the Oregon Coast at the end of September. We were very lucky to have two whole days of blue skies + sunshine. Our third day it was fogged in on the coast all day. The fourth day was overcast, but the visibility was much better than heavy fog! Summertime attracts more visitors and as a result, places to stay are in high demand. As long as the coast is not fogged in (and you can't see anything), you'll have a beautiful road trip!
Where did I stay?
We stayed in AirBnBs that were dog friendly -- Gidget loves road trips too! We spent our first night in Rockaway Beach, OR, and two nights at a super cool, renovated vintage Silver Streak trailer just north of Yachats. Because there were so many beautiful places on the coast to explore and were not covering a ton of miles, we ended up driving back and forth a bit.
Where are the best places to watch sunset?
We watched sunset on the beach in iconic Cannon Beach our first night. Photographing sunset at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach definitely was top on my #sunsetchaser location list!
Day two, I would have loved to watch sunset from Pacific City at Pelican Brewing, but we were pressed for time as our AirBnB was still 45 minutes down the road. We decided to drive with more day light and catch sunset on the road -- and luckily, we stumbled upon a beautiful driftwood beach in Lincoln City just as the sun was starting to dip over the horizon!
Day three the fog hid the sunset, but Yachats would have been a perfect spot! AND don't forget about sunrise too -- if you missed my sunrise chasing tip on the Oregon Coast two weeks ago, click here!
Know the tides!
Like Costa Rica, there is a large tide swing between low and high tide on the Oregon Coast. The best time to go explore the tide pools to find beautiful starfish is during low tide.
Did I go surfing?
If the conditions were right, I definitely would have loved to -- yes, Costa Rica has definitely spoiled me with warm water and clean waves! But let me tell ya, surfing in cold water is no joke and I have so much respect for cold water surfers! Even though wetsuit technology is pretty darn awesome and a good wetsuit helps you stay toasty warm inside while surfing in 55 degree water (brrrrrr!), the brain freeze (surfers affectionately call these ice cream headaches) when your head goes beneath the water is 🙈🙈🙈🙈.
And there is so much more prep work before and after surfing in cold water — wetsuit, booties, gloves, changing in and out of your wetsuit — vs. grabbing my bikini, surf hat, and sunscreen in Costa Rica!
What about coffee? I've heard coffee is really good in the PNW!
If you love a good cup of coffee as much as I do, then you're going to love road tripping on the Oregon Coast even more! All you need to do is drive a couple of miles and you'll find a small, drive through roadside coffee stop! Say goodbye to watery coffee and hello to coffee the way it's supposed to be!
What about craft beer too? I've heard the beer in the PNW is soooooo good!
Yep, I pretty much spent my mornings drinking delicious coffee and late afternoons enjoying amazing craft beer. A lot like coffee in the PNW, every couple of beach towns there are craft breweries to check out. (And when you head back to Portland, it's craft beer heaven...mmmmmm so good!)
Go check out my Instagram Stories of the Oregon Coast!
Go behind the scenes with me during my road trip on the Oregon Coast with my Instagram Stories! Head on over to my Instagram (@sambatothesea) and click on PNW highlight in my stories section to explore even more of the beautiful Oregon Coast!
And now, we're ready to adventure down the Oregon Coast...
There are so many beautiful places to visit and things to do on the Oregon Coast -- I definitely could go back and spend a long weekend in coastal towns like Cannon Beach or Pacific City. Below is my recommended list of where to stop + explore on the Oregon Coast!
Long Beach, WA
Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment
Late afternoon lunch at Pelican Brewing (love the Kiwanda Ale!)
Golden hour beach walk + sunset at Cannon Beach (if I could go back and change, would have loved to hike Neahkahnie Mountain)
AirBnB in Rockaway Beach (If I could go back and change, would have loved to stay in Cannon Beach area but since we only had four days, we wanted to get further down the coast.)
Pastel sunrise + full moon set at Rockaway Beach
Arch Cape, Oregon --> this is where this photo below "Into the Mystic" was taken!
Coffee in Mazanita
Get lost in the Nehalem Bay Dunes
Lunch at Tillamook creamery (free cheese tasting!)
Cape Meares Lighthouse
Hike the huge sand dune at Cape Kiwanda State Park in Pacific City
Sunset in Lincoln City on a driftwood beach
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Explore Yaquina Head's tide pools
Hike Drift Creek Falls because the coast was fogged in! (We wanted to hike God's Thumb along the coast in Lincoln City, but boo fog!)
Happy hour at Yachats Brewing
AirBnB in Yachats
Coffee + pastry at Green Salmon in Yachats
Heceta Head lighthouse and bridge
Oregon Dunes National Park
Drive to Portland
*[Blog post originally posted on 10/26/18, updated 5/28/21]*
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May 21, 2021
When a season of waiting is confusingly beautiful,
drink the sunrise 🌅 for breakfast
and kiss the balmy palms 🌴 at night --
making the most of everything. ✨
May 14, 2021
May 14, 2021
Do you have a blank space on your wall that’s begging for some sunset magic? 😍🌅🖼
But you need the artwork to be custom sized? And you’re stuck deciding which sunset photo to hang?
I can help with that!