Ideal locations for doing what? Each community has it's own charm. Also, tell us your budget. There is a wide variety of places to stay. Chuck...Edited: 3:08 pm, April 05, 2012
Will echo post #1 . . . and are you planning to visit in the summer? Do you have children?
What is your budget for lodging? After you decide on an area we can help with lodging suggestions. :)
I believe SyrahGirl has pretty much covered most of the West Coast (from San Diego to the Long Beach Peninsula) in her almost 500 reviews. As she noted, the Northern Oregon Coast is her favorite location, in her opinion. I personally prefer a few restaurants in Depoe Bay, Lincoln City, Pacific City and Newport. We have timeshares in Newport, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach and Seaside so rarely need to stay elsewhere. But, we do have a couple of motels we prefer if the need arises. "-)Edited: 8:13 pm, April 06, 2012
Besides what's already been asked, are you starting from Portland and returning to Portland, or continuing on down (or up) the coast?
Assuming starting from and returning to Portland, I'd suggest two nights on the north coast, and two nights on the central coast. My choice for the north coast stay would be either Cannon Beach or Manzanita; on the central coast, I like Yachats, but Newport is probably better located for sightseeing and other activities.
To your 500 review comment, OregonJohn, I'm reminded of the philosophical, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Besides that, while it's clear that syrahgirl has "dined" her way up and down the west coast, I don't know that she's actually stayed anywhere on Oregon's coast except for Seaside.
Who knows? Just from my own experiences though, if I'm having a nice dinner I'm almost certainly sharing a good bottle of wine (or 2) with my companion(s). And I'll definitely be staying overnight somewhere very close by. Actually, most of my overnights on long driving trips are decided by what great restaurants are available along the route. Thus, for example, the 301 Restaurant at the Hotel Carter is a given when driving Hwy 101 between California wine country and Oregon. Or New Sammy's Cowboy Bistro in Talent when I-5 is our route.
We like staying at the Sandcastle in Lincoln City. It's a 3 story motel in a quiet area, right on a sandy beach, with indoor swimming pool. Will be there this weekend.
The corner room on the top floor is our favorite, with a fireplace, jacuzzi tub, and kitchenette. The views of the sunsets are very pretty from the balcony. Miles of flat beach for walking or flying a kite.
Would be great if the OP would pop back in . . .