5 Best Ways To Spend A Weekend Along The Oregon Coast

5 Best Ways To Spend A Weekend Along The Oregon Coast

Beautifully nestled along the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon coast is a gem that’s hard to miss if you’re up for a Northern road trip. Its fair share of beautiful beaches, relaxed towns, and unique landscapes is more than enough reason to spend at least a weekend just touring around and hopping from one scenic spot to another.

Weekend trips are just the right kind of relaxation you need if you can’t afford to be away from home or work for several days to more than a week. As long as you know how to plan your itinerary, you can enjoy this quick getaway to the fullest. The Oregon coast is perfect in that way—a quick yet hard-to-forget trip that you and your companions can always look forward to.

Planning For Your Trip

A trip well planned is a trip you can enjoy and maximize from start to finish. While there are some travelers who like spontaneous and out-of-the-blue decisions, it’s still better to go on a vacation with a meticulous plan laid out for everybody to follow. Doing your research can go a long way in preparing for your weekend getaway, especially if it’s your first time embarking on such a journey. It's better to know what to expect on your trip to make your adventure worthwhile.

Make a list of everything you need to bring for the road trip, including food, water, and other essentials. If you plan on hitting the beach, prepare clothes that are beach-friendly. However, pack as lightly as you can, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking and wandering around.

Don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance, particularly if a holiday is coming up. There's nothing worse than excitedly planning for a vacation only to be disappointed because you can no longer find a suitable hotel you can check into. Another option is to look for Oregon coast vacation rentals, which are more flexible and private if you prefer your stay to be just that.

How To Make The Most Of The Oregon Coast

No one wants to come home from a spontaneous trip and find out they’ve missed several amazing places during their stay due to lack of preparation. So that won’t happen to you once you get to the Oregon coast, here’s a list of the best things you can do in the area over the weekend:

  • Let The Adventure Begin From Astoria

One of the best routes to take when starting your Oregon coast road trip is going southward by Astoria, just right along the Columbia River. This port city at Clatsop County is filled with history and has beautiful stories to tell. Being Oregon’s oldest city, Astoria is like a Candyland for history buffs who are into historical landmarks and museums. 

Bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River, the city has a little bit of everything for any type of tourist and traveler. To start your day, you can first visit the Astoria Riverfront where you can get a good serving of brunch (or any kind of meal, really) at any of the restaurants in the area.

Take your time and perhaps ride the Astoria Riverfront Trolley if you want to leisurely but conveniently roam around this part of Astoria. This low-fare streetcar line operates from March until September, and it’s a great way to experience the local scenery of the Astoria Riverfront. Then, you can also consider doing some downtown shopping or making a quick visit to the Oregon Film Museum.

The other places you can visit in Astoria include the following:

  • Astoria Column
  • Garden of Surging Waves
  • Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
  • Fort Stevens State Park

If you plan on spending the night in Astoria, there are several mid-range and luxury hotels that could accommodate you and your group. If you want a majestic window view, book hotels that are adjacent to the Columbia River and overlooking the water. 

  • Hit The Cannon Beach

What’s a weekend trip without a taste of the beach? The Oregon Coast boasts of a beautiful stretch of sand where you can go surfing, ride horses, watch birds, go hiking, or just lazily lie down in one corner and read a book or take amazing photos. Really, there’s no shortage of fun and relaxing things to do at the beach and you probably know that already.

One of the best beaches on the Oregon Coast would be the Cannon Beach. What makes this spot unique is it’s not what you’d normally expect on a beach; no endless sunshine, palm trees, or tropical vibes. Instead, you’ll be greeted with a rugged and rocky landscape where cool storms are often experienced. Be prepared with a rain jacket particularly if your visit will be sometime around October to March, as those months are often rainy and windy, too. 

There are several lodging options near Cannon Beach to choose from. You can also go camping if you have the gear and tools for it. Should you decide to camp out, a state park campground is available nearby, the Nehalem Bay State Park. There’s also the Wright’s for Camping that’s close to the beach and is equipped with amenities like showers and restrooms.

Here are some activities that you can do while at the beach:

  • Grab breakfast or coffee at any of their coffee shops
  • Explore the Oswald West State Park
  • Go whale watching
  • Tour the Tillamook Creamery
  • Visit the Hug Point State Park

Don’t forget to take a lot of great photos, especially since Cannon Beach has been used as a filming location in different films such as Point Break, Goonies, and Twilight. Be sure to check out the iconic Haystack Rock, a unique monolith that towers beautifully over the beach.

  • Have A Picnic At Ecola State Park

After hitting Cannon Beach, you can conveniently pass along Ecola State Park, which should be just around 10 minutes away. If you’re yearning for another beach encounter, you can take a quick drive to the other side of Ecola State Park where you’ll find Indian Beach, which is frequented by surfers and tourists alike.

The park is perfect for some clean daytime fun with kids and adults. You can go on a picnic or watch birds and whales. You can also take a trail from Ecola Point down to Crescent Beach, although this may not be recommended if you have children with you because of the exposed tree roots and muddy drop-offs.

  • Head Over To The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

After a fun-filled time at Ecola State Park, you can head over to the north of Coos River in North Bend to see North America’s largest expanse of coastal sand dunes: the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. People who’ve been here say it’s a place like no other where you can experience adventure and relaxation in one.

You'll find sand dunes that are sculpted by the wind, towering up to 500 feet above sea level. There's also year-round access to the beach, so it doesn’t matter what time of the year you plan on taking your trip. Some of the activities you can try in this recreation area are:

  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Off-highway vehicle use
  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking
  • Photography

There are also dune buggies, sandboards, and ATVs for both kids and adults that you can rent in order to have the complete dune experience. There are even sandboard parties that can be arranged during summer.

  • Do Visit The Small Town Of Bandon

When it’s almost time to end your trip and head home, don’t forget to check out this charming little town called Bandon. Beautifully located on the southern part of the Oregon coast, Bandon can give you a dose of fresh seafood bouts and delightful gift shops where you can pick souvenir items before going home.

In this town, you’ll find an otherworldly view as offered by Coquille Point, which is home to marine animals and native wildlife. If you’ll silently observe from a distance, you’ll be able to spot sea birds, gray whales, sea lions, and seals having the time of their lives.

Another popular activity you can do in Bandon is storm watching. Tourists from different locations travel all the way to this town just to participate in this activity and see a spectacular show of seaside storms. All the attractions you’ll find in Bandon are always open and ready to indulge locals and tourists alike any time of the year.

A Weekend To Remember

Visiting the Oregon coast for the first time is magical and unforgettable. While doing so on a weekend may feel like you keep running out of time at every spot you go to, it can also be a great experience if you’re usually the adventurous type who enjoys driving from one place to another, hitting one beach after the next.

As you can see, the Oregon coast has so much to offer. With beaches, state parks, museums, and local food scenes to check out, your weekend will surely be packed with a lot of memories and beautiful pictures to remember them by. It also has several lighthouses that are pleasant to look at, but perhaps you can save those for your next visit. Given that there are more than enough things to do and see in this corner of the world, there’ll surely be another weekend that you’ll be planning for soon.