Oregon is a delightful destination for those looking to mix a relaxing beach holiday with sightseeing and time in the forest. Its rugged coastline spans 363 miles from California to Washington borders, and it’s far from flat like you see on the East Coast. On the west side of the coast is the Pacific Ocean and to the east is Highway 101, aka the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
Boasting a rugged coastline with stunning rock formations and greenery, the Oregon Coast is one of the most picturesque parts of the country. While temperatures might be cooler in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), these beach towns are some of the best and coziest in the USA, ideal to both live and visit. There are sandy …
Top Beaches and Coastal Towns in OR
Whether you’re looking for nature hiking trails or sensation sunsets, plan a visit to Oregon’s coast. The Beaver State has a beach town for everyone. There are those with soft sandy beaches and ones perfect for a golf outing. You could opt for ones with stellar fishing or those that are ideal for surfing. Whatever different feel or vibe you’re looking for, one of the beaches in Oregon is sure to please.
Guide to Visiting the Beaches in Oregon
From its stunning rock formations to forest-covered cliffs and vast shores, the 363 miles of coastline in Oregon are for adventure lovers. One of the best parts about journeying up this western coast is the numerous beaches and the easy access to them.
It might feel like an oxymoron to visit the mountains and beach simultaneously, but this is what the Beaver State’s westernmost parts can provide. Spend a few days at a luxury waterfront condo in Cannon Beach before trekking through the thick forests of Ecola State Park.
Visit the historic Fort Clatsop and retrace the footsteps of explorers Lewis and Clark, then browse the antique shops in Seaside or Astoria. After all of that, order a cold one while watching the waves roll in at Pacific City’s Pelican Brewery or the Newport Brewing Company.
Thanks to the Oregon Beach Bill, all beaches in the state are publicly owned and open 24/7. Visitors and residents can camp or use the sandy areas for free anywhere along the coast.
Unlike many other places, you can bring alcohol to the beach if it’s under 14% proof. Small bonfires are allowed in dry sand areas and are ideal for keeping warm on chilly days. Whatever type of experience you’re looking for, Oregon’s beaches have it.
From bustling touristy areas to remote beaches that look so unspoiled, you’ll think you’ve discovered them. Travelers can even whale watch from some parts of the coast while beachcombing for ancient treasures buried in the sand. Lots of marine life can be found in tide pools or by boardwalks, but local aquariums are great places for learning about the Pacific Ocean’s creatures too.
The coastline in Oregon can be very windy, misty, and even rainy. During the summer, when it’s warmest, the temperature highs usually reach the 80℉s. During winter, they can dip down to the 40℉s. Even on a relatively hot day, the sea breeze will make it feel cooler than it actually is, so be sure to bring layers.
The summer months from June through early September are the coast’s busiest time. Many beach towns host events for holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, meaning that accommodations are likely to be booked up and also more expensive.
However, a trip during the cold months might be the perfect excuse to bundle up and take brisk walks on the shore for some fresh air.
There are a couple of resort-style hotels on the Oregon Coast, but most lodging options are simpler hotels, motels, and vacation home or cottage rentals. One of the charming aspects of this edge of the country is the amount of unspoiled natural areas.
Even in the more developed places like Cannon Beach, there are escapes to nature at every corner. Camping is also popular on the coast, especially on the beaches where staying overnight is allowed.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it; the Pacific Coast can be pretty chilly and hovers around 55-58℉. Swimming and paddleboarding are doable at many of these beaches, but it’s recommended to wear wetsuits for thermal protection.
Most beach visitors still enjoy time in the sun by exploring tide pools, flying kites, beachcombing, whale watching, fishing, clamming, and crabbing. The land surrounding the shore also has plentiful hiking trails, historic sites, and local restaurants with a view.
Grab your windbreaker and trail shoes and discover what makes the Oregon Coast so unique. Don’t miss an opportunity to take in these seashore gems on your next trip to the Pacific Northwest.