Categories: CampingDestinations

This Dreamy Oregon Coast Road Trip Showcases the Best State Parks, Natural Wonders, and Campsites

Forget hotels for your Oregon Coast road trip—we’re all about waking up to the sunrise over the Pacific and feeling the salty breeze while lighting a crackling fire at an oceanfront campsite.

The Oregon Coast calls with over 360 miles of sandy beaches and rugged headlands, all waiting to be explored. Ideal for RVers and roaming tent campers alike, the region is filled with well-kept roads that lead along windswept cliffs and unique rock formations to oceanfront panoramas. To ensure you don’t miss any of the most magical scenic stops, we’ve gathered the best things to do and places to stay all along the west coast, including secluded tent spots, RV campsites equipped for your home on wheels, Hipcamp cabins in the woods, historic inns, and dreamy glamping yurts—all within reach of the sounds of the Pacific Ocean’s waves.

Planning an unforgettable Oregon Coast road trip

Before reserving a campsite, you’ll want to decide which season is best for your trip. While many may think coastal road trips and beach days are only for hot summers, an Oregon Coast road trip is one of the best in America year-round—and not for its scorching heat. (Spoiler alert: The coast doesn’t really have any.) Even during peak summer months, temperatures only reach the high 60s, which makes for comfortable days on the rocky beaches and especially moody scenes. Road trips are great in winter too, when the mild climate rarely drops below freezing overnight and daytime highs hover in the low 50s.

And to achieve the dramatic photos you’ve seen of the Pacific Northwest, you’ll need to prepare for your oceanfront road trip’s inevitable chill, low-hanging fog—and possible rainfall during any season. Waterproof gear and a warm beanie are musts. Opt for a great raincoat, as well, since umbrellas are no match for gusty winds. 

Aside from the weather, campers should book campsites ahead of time, especially for summer dates when it’s busier. Then use your reservations as anchor points. 

And if that’s all the planning you want to do, stop there! Use this readymade, six-day Oregon Coast road trip itinerary to spend less time researching and more time exploring. Shooting out from Portland to coastal Astoria on the Washington border on day one and heading south to Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, Florence, and Bandon with a fitting finale in Brookings on day six, this is the best way to roadtrip the Oregon Coast.

Photo by Hipcamper Kim J. on the Oregon Coast

Day 1: Portland to Astoria (95 miles)

After a fresh cup of coffee and an artisanal donut in Portland (our team loves Pip’s!), there are three ways to get to our chosen Oregon Coast starting point of Astoria, each about a two-hour drive.

  • Head north up I-5 and take the exit for WA-432 to connect with US-30 West
  • For a somewhat quieter drive, take US-30 West all the way
  • Take US26 West, then merge onto US-101 North

Astoria is a spot where you’ll want that raincoat—it is one of the rainiest cities in the state. Once there, take the 1.6-mile Cathedral Tree Trail to see the sweeping views from the Astoria Column, or head 20 minutes out of town to snap photos of the 50-foot Youngs River Falls, accessed via an easy walk.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is also nearby, offering a family-friendly day trip into history while hiking or exploring Fort Clatsop. Those looking to see the most can also head north across the four-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge into Washington to visit the famous Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

Top campsites near Astoria

Photo by Kate Diago at Nehalem Bay State Park

Day 2: Astoria to Cannon Beach (25 miles)

Before heading down the Oregon Coast, visit Fort Stevens State Park, about 20 minutes west. Along with hiking and biking trails (try the Coffenbury Lake Loop), it’s also home to Battery Russell, a decommissioned 1904 military base. Or check out the nearby Wreck of the Peter Iredale, a sailing ship that ran aground on Clatsop Spit in 1906. During low tide, you can climb through the epic shipwreck at your own risk. 

Afterwards, continue south along Highway 101. About halfway between Seaside and Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park, offering a mix of rocky headlands, sandy beaches, tide pools, and coastal rainforest. Plus, there’s a must-see viewpoint at Tillamook Rock Lighthouse near the end of the Indian Beach Trail. 

Cannon Beach may be the busiest—and possibly the best—stop on your Oregon coast camping trip. Here you’ll find the region’s famous sea stacks, including Haystack Rock, the base of which you can walk up to during low tide. And the public parking lots in this coastal town are just a short walk to ocean views. Cannon Beach is also a seasonal home for tufted puffins from April to July—bring your binoculars! 

Top campsites near Cannon Beach

Photo by Emma Sron at Cape Lookout State Park

Day 3: Cannon Beach to Lincoln City (85 miles)

If you have time, make a morning stop at the sandy cove beaches of Hug Point State Recreation Site and Oswald West State Park—less than 10 minutes south of Cannon Beach—before continuing on. Soak in the views of epic waterfalls like Blumenthal Falls, which flows into the Pacific. Then, drive another 25 miles south to grab an ice cream at Tillamook Creamery and learn about cheesemaking.

Along the drive toward Lincoln City, enjoy more hiking trails and sandy beaches at Cape Lookout State Park, about 12 miles southwest of Tillamook. Other activities worth a stop include flying a kite at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area or spotting the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 

Finish the drive at Lincoln City’s D River, which flows for just 120 feet from Devil’s Lake. At 120 feet, the span once held the Guinness World Record for the shortest river in the world. Spend some time swimming and fishing at Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area right in town—you’re halfway through your Oregon Coast road trip.

Top campsites near Lincoln City

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Christine Yoo at River View in Florence

Day 4: Lincoln City to Florence (75 miles)

Once you pack up your campsite, it’s time to hit the road again. After enjoying some chowder in Depoe Bay, 12 miles south of Lincoln City, drive another five or six miles to check out Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area, carved into a rocky headland with secret underground coves. From there, it’s a quick trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and wide-open Nye Beach in Newport

The region around Yachats by Siuslaw National Forest is the next great spot to see on the coast. Bask in the power of the crashing waves at Devil’s Churn and the Thor’s Well sinkhole, and look for migrating pelicans at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Eleven miles farther south, the 19th-century Heceta Head Lighthouse is still working and offers views of Cape Cove. Just south of that in Florence is the privately owned Sea Lion Caves wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary.

Once you reach the old town of Florence, get ready for epic sand dunes. At the appropriately named Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, you can rent ATVs or take a dune buggy tour. Sandboarding and sand sledding are also available for the adventurous. 

Top campsites near Florence

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Nikki Neumann at Face Rock near ‘Far Away Yet Tranquil and Close’

Day 5: Florence to Bandon (75 miles)

If there’s time, take a quick stop at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park—just outside of Florence as you head toward Bandon—to take a hike around the park’s sand dunes and freshwater lakes. Another 30 minutes away, the John Dellenback Dunes Trailhead is also a nice stop for a walk in a coniferous forest, though the deceptively short hike is challenging due to the soft sand. 

Consider taking a short diversion off Highway 101 after you pass Coos Bay to the oceanfront Cape Arago State Park, home to a scenic headland that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Look out for migrating whales, most visible around the end of December and from late March to early June. 

Arriving in Bandon, head to the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Bandon State Natural Area. Both are great for beachcombing among landmark sea stacks. For a different view, take a horseback riding tour with one of the local stables. 

Top campsites near Bandon

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Christal Sharp at Cornerstone Ranch

Day 6: Bandon to Brookings (85 miles)

On the last day of your Oregon Coast road trip, take your time heading south out of Bandon. Stop by Floras Lake State Natural Area or Cape Blanco State Park on the way to Port Orford. Try paddleboarding along the pristine coastline or ride along the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway. 

Thirty minutes south, you’re likely to find uncrowded sands at Gold Beach, plus salmon fishing, mountain hiking, and windsurfing. Or take a romantic stop at the famous Kissing Rock formation. Continue down the Oregon Coast Highway to the epic Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, home to Arch Rock and Natural Bridges, a great spot for more coastline views—albeit along a sometimes treacherous hiking trail. The scenic corridor also take campers through the Oregon redwoods. Hike the 9-mile Redwood Nature Trail to see trees up to 250 feet tall and 800 years of age. Then, wind down in the small town of Brookings at Harris Beach State Park near the California border, riding a bike or paddling a kayak, before heading back home again. 

Top campsites near Brookings

  • On The Rogue, Wedderburn (2 miles outside Gold Beach and 30 miles north of Brookings)
  • Cornerstone Ranch, Gold Beach (3 miles north of Gold Beach and 32 miles north of Brookings)

Ready to get going? Discover more Oregon Coast camping to start planning your own road trip around the state’s most beautiful spots.

Photo by Hipcamp Mate Michelle Horsey at Anchor’s A-way

More camping road trip inspiration for you

We’ve got scenic spots and road tripping tips all over the US.

Michael Kwan is a freelance writer and content creator. Over his nearly two decades of experience, he has covered everything from consumer technology to travel and parenthood. A founding member of Five Dads Go Wild (#5DadsGoWild), Michael has written for POPSUGAR, Angi, Invest Surrey, Tourism Richmond, LoveToKnow Media, and British Columbia Mom. He has been featured by CBC News, Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project. Fueled by caffeine and wifi, Michael lives in Metro Vancouver with his wife and two children.

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