A rugged coastline dotted with lighthouses, sweeping sand dunes, and a dramatic cliff’s edge make the journey down the Oregon Coast an epic road trip. This ultimate Oregon coast road trip itinerary goes into detail on what to do, where to stay, and the best places to eat all along the coast. So check it out and plan your perfect trip!
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Best time of year to drive the Oregon Coast
Each season is beautiful in its own way, it really depends on what you are wanting. They have their positives and negatives. Whichever time of year you visit, be prepared for cool temperatures and rain!
Oregon summers are typically moderate with dry(er), sunny days. Not to mention, the longer summer days are perfect for extending your time outdoors along the coast.
Downside? Summertime is the busiest! The roads are often crowded, which can cause delays, overcrowded sightseeing spots, and expensive accommodations.
Fall brings beautiful changing leaves, with a fairly moderate climate and cooler nights. Personally, I think fall, (after Labor Day Weekend), is the perfect time to visit. Fewer crowds, nice weather, and prices tend to drop. Fall can also offer scenes of fog, mist, and crazy cloud formations along the coast which are cool to see.
Winter brings lots of rain and is known as the off-season, however, it is a great time of year to experience storms off the coast. It is going to be wet, windy, and stormy, but lots of people are attracted to the quieter cost and off-season rates.
Springtime in Oregon is lovely! Flowers are beginning to bloom and the skies are generally blue with, of course, some gray drizzle mixed in. Spring is a nice time to visit after the dreary winter months and before the hoards of summer, tourists arrive.
How many days to drive the Oregon Coast
Like any trip, it never feels like enough time to see and do it all. But luckily, the entire Oregon Coast drive only takes about 7 hours allowing you to see a lot in a timely manner. I would suggest at least 4 to 5 nights along the coast. It is worth stretching out the road trip to enjoy each area.
Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary Map
You can use my itinerary map in Google Maps as a reference. The pins below represent places to go with links and descriptions. The map is separated into four different days by color and map layer. (For reference, I did the Oregon Coast in 4 nights and 5 days).
Day 1 – Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Portland to Port Orford
Arrive in Portland on an early morning flight. Today will be your long travel day, but it is still a beautiful drive. Pick up your rental car and take the I-5 to Port Orford, Oregon. Google Map Link. The drive is about 5 hours.
As you enter Port Orford you will be welcomed by the stunning view of Battle Rock beach.
Check into the WildSpring Guest Habitat, and have dinner at Redfish, while watching the sunset. After dinner, head back to the WildSpring Guest Habitat. End your evening by enjoying a soak in the hot tub while watching the stars and listening to the waves crash along the coast. It is quite a magical experience.
Looking for a different type of stay? Check out my pre-filtered Port Orford hotel list.
Day 2 – Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Port Orford to Florence
Today is your first full day along the coast! Take a morning hike around Port Orford Heads State Park before driving up the coast to Florence, Oregon. There are a few hike options in Port Orford Heads State Park, so you can choose depending on how much time you would like to stay in this area.
Drive along the coast to Bandon:
- Overlook Face Rock
- Coquille Point lookout area
- Stroll through the town of Bandon. Visit the cute shops and have a delicious seafood lunch at Tony’s Crab Shack or Bandon Fish Market.
- Check out Coquille River Lighthouse (only if you have time)
Drive along the coast to Florence:
The main attraction of the Florence area is the expansive coastal sand dunes. There are a few ways to experience the dunes. Option One: Hiking. There are many treks you can take through the dunes. Option Two: If you are looking for a more exhilarating way to explore, rent ATVs or take a guided sandrail tour! Option Three: Is a slower-paced alternative, the Big Buggy tour. A giant buggy takes you through the sand dunes.
- Explore: Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area
- Hike: John Dellenback Dunes Trailhead
- ATV Rentals: Spinreel
- Sandrail Tours or Big Buggy Tour: Sandland Adventures or Sand Dunes Frontier
Mel’s Travel Tip: Some of the ATV rental companies and Big Buggy Tour companies are only open during the summer months, so if you are visiting during the off months (fall, winter, spring) call ahead of time to see if they are open.
Spend the Night in a Lighthouse:
After a busy day of touring, be prepared for tranquility and stay the night in one of America’s most unique Bed and Breakfasts, Heceta Light House Bed and Breakfast. Overlooking the dramatic edge of the Pacific Ocean, this 1964-constructed B&B has only six victorian style rooms. You will be welcomed with local wine and cheese as you sit on the porch and enjoy the views. The best part of the B&B is you can walk up to the lighthouse at night time! Also, make sure you wake up hungry because you will be served a 7-course meal followed by a tour of the property.
If Heceta Light House Bed and Breakfast is sold out, check out my list of hotels in Florence. This area is super cute and most hotels are within walking distance of the shops and restaurants. Even if you stay at Heceta Light House Bed & Breakfast, I recommend having dinner in this area to see the little town. Below is a list of restaurants in Florence for breakfast, lunch, or dinner:
- Waterfront Depot (make reservations)
- River Roasters
Day 3 – Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Florence to Newport
Today will be a shorter drive, but filled with lots of hiking and sightseeing! Your first stop will be the sea lion cave. You will take an elevator about 300 ft down and be welcomed by hundreds of screaming seals! There is also a great view of the Heceta Head Light House.
Mel’s Travelers Note: If you did not stay at the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B, you can still go there during the day and hike to the lighthouse.
Drive along the coast to Newport:
- Thor’s Well Trail Head
- Thor’s Well
- Sprouting Horn
- Cape Cove Trailhead
- Devil’s Churn
- Cape Perpetua
- Check out the town of Yachats
Have lunch and a delicious beer at the Rogue Brewery before checking into the Newport Belle.
Spend the Night on a Steamboat:
Ready to experience another unique stay on your drive along the Oregon coast? Come aboard a world of luxury when you embark on the Newport Belle! The Newport Belle is a paddle-wheel boat that has been converted into a charming Bed & Breakfast on the water.
With five beautiful staterooms, a large saloon area, and an enclosed sundeck, you will experience a romantic and relaxing stay. Not to mention, the homemade breakfast is D E L I C I O U S!!
If The Newport Belle is sadly sold out, check out my list of hotels in Newport.
Things to do in Newport:
- Nye Beach
- Moolack Beach
- Historic Bayfront
- Yaquina Head Lighthouse
- Oregon Coast Aquarium
Where to eat in Newport:
- Mo’s Clam Chowder
- Rogue Brewer’s On the Bay
- Local Ocean Seafoods
- Nana’s Irish Pub (Fun place for drinks)
- Clearwater Restaurant
Day 4 – Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Newport to Cannon Beach
Woo! You have made it to one of my favorite days, mainly because I absolutely love cheese. You will start your day with some more sights along the coast, then have a cheese-filled lunch at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
Drive along the coast to Cannon Beach:
- Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area
- Whale Cove
- Depoe Bay to go Whale Watching
- Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint
- Top 3 Cape Scenic Drive lookouts: Map Route
- Cape Kiwanda
- Cape Lookout
- Cape Meares
- Tillamook Cheese Factory!
- Arch Cape
- Oswald West State Park
- Neahkahnie Viewpoint
- Angora Peak
Spend the Night in Cannon Beach:
Cannon Beach is a quaint, but vibrant town. Check into your hotel, I stayed in the McBee Cottages, they are very cute and homey. There are many hotel options in Cannon, however, most of them require a two-night stay, so if you are looking to extend your trip an extra night this would be the place to do it!
Things to do near Cannon:
- Haystack Rock
- Bruces Candy
- Neahkahnie Mountain Hike
- Toms Fish n Chips
- Lazy Susan Cafe
- Cannon Beach Smokehouse
- Cannon Beach Chocolate Factory
In the morning, sadly head back to Portland for a late afternoon flight and wave bye to the beautiful Oregon Coast.
I hope this blog post on how to plan the perfect “Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary” is helpful and inspires you to add Oregon to your travel list! If you happen to use this Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary, tag me on Instagram @Mels_Scene and I will happily share your trip on my stories!
If you need any help planning or have any questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. Which hotels did you stay in? Which ones are your favorites? Newport Belle was definitely my favorite! Tell me in the comments.