Here is part of blurb I have stored, backwards for you, but it might help.
CANNON BEACH. Trendy place, nice beach, good shops, nice place to stroll around town. Costs a bit more. Downtown is off busy 101.
N TILLAMOOK CO. Several small towns, most on bays not ocean. Fun to poke around in them, more downscale than Cannon Beach. Rockaway Beach is on ocean
TILLAMOOK. Tillamook cheese is the best there is. Visit the cheese factory
S TILLAMOOK CO. Two options here 101 which is not on ocean. Or Three Capes Co Rd. Go west out of Tillamook toward Netarts, S to Pacific City back to 101 s of there. Road is a little narrow hangs on the cliff in a couple of places, but nice drive, not too busy. Sand Lake along here is dune buggy place.
NESKOWIN. Quiet place, beach is a little hard to access, but good one. Nice motel
LINCOLN CITY. 10 miles long 1 mile wide. Town is right on beach but 101 is not. New Indian Casino n end of town has increased traffic.
DEPOE BAY. Named for Chief Depoe. Very good stop with rocky shore line. Watch the ocean here. Spouting Horn. Beverly Beach SP CG south is popular
OTTER ROCK. Devils Punch Bowl, a good place to see tide pools to north and walk the beach to south. A bit of a walk to them. This is a favorite spot of mine.
NEWPORT I grew up 7 miles w of here. So may be partial. Yaquina Head Lighthouse n of town is open, tide pools here also. Agate Beach where you turn to LH, once aptly named you could always find agates. You still can at times. The waterfront in Newport is good. Shops, deep sea fishing, lots of boats, big bridge, MO's for chowder. Yaquina Bay SP has access to jetty and beach.
SEAL ROCK. State Park Big rocks in ocean, birds, seals?, tide pools. Another favorite stop
WALDPORT. My wife makes us stop at flea market downtown on 101. Some better buys than other beach towns.
YACHATS. Nice little spot, better for motels. but get ready for the next 20 miles. Some of the best coastline there is. Cape Perpetua, nice visitor center. On top was another WWII observation site. Heceta Head Lighthouse and House. House is haunted goes the story but you can visit it anyway. Sea Lion Caves. Costs but you can see the sea lions in their cave home.
FLORENCE. It has a bayfront old town too, but not as good as Newport. Parking is better. Honeyman SP is good camp site. Near Cleawox Lake but a bit of a hike across the dunes to the ocean.
OREGON DUNES. Managed by Forest Service. They start at Florence run 40 miles along coast to Coos Bay. You have to get out of the car to see these. 101 just touches on them. Dunes Overlook is a very good site.
As for eating place called Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay that looks over ocean and the rocky bay. Has some good reviews for food.
I would add Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves, just north of Florence. You'll know it when you get there!!! Also Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachats.
I would also recommend the Three Capes Scenic Route in Tillamook County. You depart Hwy 101 near Pacific City and drive north, eventually ending up in Tillamook. Very scenic!! Along the way you will see Haystack Rock and the Needles (not to be confused with Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach), Cape Lookout State Park and Cape Meares State Park and lighthouse.
If you have time, I would also suggest a short walk into Oswald West State Park, 10 miles south of Cannon Beach. It doesn't look like much from Hwy 101, but after a few steps down the trail, you'll know why I suggest it. It's about 1/2 mile down to Short Sands Beach, arguably one of the most scenic spots on the entire coast.
All good stuff, phirl and dengay.
I'll just add Cascade Head, another of the "arguably one of the most scenic spots on the entire coast." How much time did you say you had for this drive, JB?
As you note not much mention of food. That's cause we're all guys, and for us, food on the Oregon coast is an afterthought. How about packing a picnic?
Newport has some interesting little restaurants, and I would tend to stop there instead of Lincoln City to eat. But it has been a long time since I was down that way to check it out.
I am going to have to update my blurb. i should not have missed Heceta LH and Cascade Head.
Sea Lion Caves, not sure. How is it now? I went often as a kid on coast , that was when you had to walk down a rather dangerous trail, but the caves would be full of sea lions. it was either free or real cheap. Last time i wentt had to pay good sum and saw no sea lions. see more on the docks at Newport.
Re Sea Lion Caves: if they'd figured out how to better make the building fit the landscape, okay. But I agree, phirl, you don't have to pay a dime to see them in Newport.
RE; Sealion Caves. I was refering to the view of Heceta Head Lighthouse from Sealion Caves. Considered to be the most photographed area on the coast. For good reason IMHO!
Short Sands Beach is a great suggestion. My family learned to surf here last summer and it is very scenic. If you're interested in aviation, don't miss the Tillamook Air Musuem. The Tillamook Cheese Factory is also a fun thing to do.
Nehalem is also a very scenic little town. I like to photograph the fisherman out on the water. There is a great restaurant here also, the Nehalem River Inn and a row of antique shops.
Manzanita is also very pretty and worth a look. And why stop at Cannon Beach? Continue to Seaside where you will have gorgeous views of Tillamook Head and the Necanicum River and continue to Fort Stevens State Park. The wreck of the Peter Iredale makes a great photo subject. Fort Stevens State Park is also very scenic. Continue to Astoria, the Astoria-Megler bridge is awesome to photograph and the entire area makes for some gorgeous scenery. If I can think of more I'll let you know and have a great time! :)
Syrahgirl------ you asked.... Why stop at Cannon Beach? Are you trying to change their itinierary?
JB88- There are awsome views of Cannon Beach at a few lookout spots, and between Cannon Beach and Oswald West State Park (aka Short Sands) there are multiple little beach accesses, stop at a few of those each is unique.. some have caves, waterfalls etc.