Oregon’s rugged and unspoiled coastline is a treat no matter the time of year, but it holds a special charm in the spring. Spring on the Oregon Coast is a time of extremes, with some of the lowest tides of the year uncovering untold treasures, and unpredictable weather putting on sometimes dramatic shows. While you’ll rarely find swimsuit-worthy weather on the Oregon Coast (in any season), visitors in the spring will be rewarded with fewer crowds, lower prices and expansive natural spaces without another person in shouting distance.So where should you start? Here are 10 of our favorite springtime destinations on the Oregon Coast, from north to south.
Located where the Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River, the town of Astoria has a long history as a fishing town. In fact, anglers from all over the country head here to catch the spring run of salmon, plus steelhead and crab, depending on the season. This city of fewer than 10,000 residents is also brimming with historical sites, among them Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and Fort Stevens State Park, where you can see the remains of a 1906 shipwreck.
One of the most popular beach destinations on the Oregon Coast, Seaside is a true resort town, with family-friendly attractions like an old-fashioned arcade, miniature golf, oceanfront promenade, watersports rentals and broad, sandy beaches. Seaside can get crowded in the spring, as families from Portland (just 90 minutes away) flock to the beach for spring break fun.
3. Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is known for its unspoiled natural beauty, especially towering Haystack Rock which, on a gloomy spring morning, seems to rise out of the fog. Cannon Beach has a quaint and low-key vibe, and the town is the perfect home base for outdoor adventures. Consider spending a day at Ecola State Park on the northern end of town. It offers walking trails, unspoiled beaches and truly breathtaking views.
4. Three Capes Scenic Loop
Just off scenic Highway 101 between Tillamook and Pacific City is the perfect mini-road trip for nature lovers: Three Capes Scenic Loop. It leads you to incredible views at Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. Cape Meares boasts a restored 1890 lighthouse, colonies of nesting tufted puffins and (if you’re lucky) views of seals sunning on the Cape Meares Rocks. Cape Lookout rewards hikers who traverse the five-mile, out-and-back trail with incredible coastline views, and Cape Kiwanda ushers you into the beach town of Pacific City.
Tillamook is for cheese lovers. Yes, really. This farming town on the Oregon Coast is home to the famous Tillamook Creamery, and many cheese fans travel here just to get a behind-the-scenes look at the cheesemaking process, sample delicious ice creams and take home a package of famous “squeaky cheese” (cheese curds). Of course, there’s more to this part of the coast than just cheese. Tillamook and the surrounding area offer scenic views, beautiful beaches and plenty of spots for hiking.
Newport, on Oregon’s central coast, is home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which welcomes 40,000+ students and hundreds of thousands of nature lovers every year. Visitors can observe the seabird aviary, marvel at a giant Pacific octopus, view sea otters and harbor seals, and walk through the shark tunnel. Other Newport highlights include Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, charming Victorian architecture and a picturesque marina.
7. Devil’s Punchbowl
Without a doubt, Devil’s Punchbowl is one of the coolest spots on all of the Oregon Coast. Located between Newport and Depoe Bay, this geological formation is a collapsed sea cave, and whether you see it from above and below, it’s simply captivating. View it from above via a 0.8-mile out-and-back walk to view the waves crashing in the bowl. Or, during low tide, you can hike into the bowl itself and explore the tidepools — just be aware of currents and tide tables.
8. Oregon Dunes
Just outside Coos Bay is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a true wonderland for adventurers. Incredibly, these dunes were formed when coastal sand spread 2.5 miles inland, piling up to 500 feet above sea level in places. There are plenty of ways to explore the dunes: hikes, ATVs, dune buggies and sandboards. Best of all, no two visits are the same. Shifting winds mean the dunes are always changing shape and elevation.
Further south still, the town of Bandon is an anchor point on the southern Oregon Coast. This area is warmer in the spring than points north, allowing for more exploration. The Bandon area’s offshore rock formations make it one of the most beautiful stretches of oceanfront in the state. Bandon is also home to the famous Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, with six Scottish-style courses perched high atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
10. Gold Beach
So far south that it’s almost at the Oregon-California border, the town of Gold Beach offers plenty of perks, including warmer weather than you’ll find on most Oregon beaches. Gold Beach is located where the Rogue River meets the Pacific Ocean, which means that both saltwater and freshwater adventures await. Hike through Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor for incredible views, go fat biking on the beach or try whitewater rafting on the Rogue River.
The Oregon Coast awaits
No matter which beach town on the Oregon Coast suits your fancy, there’s nothing quite like it. Become a coastal regular when you buy a Pacaso second home in Oregon. Relax in style as the co-owner of a luxury second home, soaking in everything this rugged corner of the world has to offer.