Topics include Transportation, Dining Scene, United States: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Historic Highway 101, which connects the entire approximately 400 miles of Oregon’s coast, is the only artery going north and south along the coastline.
Here is a thumbnail sketch of all the towns located along Highway 101 in Oregon. For additional information, please check the relevant TripAdvisor pages and forums.
Although nearly every town has lodging, food and fuel, when the term “all services” is used, the town also has department store(s), a drug store, hardware stores, veterinarians and many other city services.
This guide to towns goes from north to south.
Astoria - Astoria is located on the Columbia River and is the farthest northerly point of the coastal Highway 101 in Oregon. It’s a large town of about 10,000 people, and with a strong history of logging and fishing it retains an every day, working class character. Since much of it is built on hills, it is sometimes called “little San Francisco”. The dominant feature is the Astoria-Megler Bridge. All services are available.
Warrenton - At just a few miles south of Astoria, this town is home to many larger stores that serve a wide area, such as Fred Meyer, Home Depot and Costco. Warrenton is inland a few miles, although it encompasses the nearby tiny fishing village of Hammond, located on the river.
Gearhart - Gearhart is a very quiet, very small town that is known for its golfing. It has a nice flat beach that is seldom busy, even in high summer. It is only a few minutes from Seaside and Astoria. Limited lodging.
Seaside - The only town on the Oregon coast with a carousel, arcade and fun zone, Seaside has been a bustling family resort for over a century. The Promenade is the best known feature of the town, and stretches for 1.5 miles along the sandy beach. With a full time population of about 6,000 plus thousands of visitors, Seaside is very busy and is usually very congested during the summer months. All services are available.
Cannon Beach - This is an upscale, trendy little town with a very nice beach and the famous “Haystack Rock”. It's compact, easy to stroll around (or take the free shuttle bus) and has a plethora of small shoppes. It is more expensive than most towns on the coast. Ecola State park, often considered the “crown jewel” of Oregon coast parks, is located just a couple of miles north of town and has great hiking and picnicking. Cannon Beach has a permanent population of only about 1,200 but swells to many times that between March and late October, and weekends year round, making it busy and congested.
Arch Cape - A tiny quiet “bedroom community”, some visitors opt to stay here rather than in busier Cannon Beach. Some vacation rentals, a few B&Bs and a small store are the only visitors’ services.
Manzanita - Located off Highway 101, this is a quiet town that is slightly "new-agey" and much of it is easily walkable. Oceanfront lodging is limited to one older but serviceable motel and an upscale inn with minimum stay requirements, but there is additional lodging that is a few blocks from the ocean. The beach is long and flat, and ends at Neahkahnie Mountain to the north – a huge granite outcropping that has a legend of buried treasure!
Nehalem - This small town is located along the north bank of the Nehalem River (not on the ocean) and is known for its' collection of antique stores. Lodging and services are limited, and there is a boat ramp just south of town.
Wheeler – This is a small fishing village on the edge of Nehalem Bay. It’s an excellent place to kayak and rentals are available. It has more sunshine and less coastal wind than many oceanfront towns and is compact and pleasant with an unhurried atmosphere.
Brighton - A “wide spot in the road”, Brighton is known for bay fishing. There are a couple of RV parks here, but not much else.
Rockaway Beach - This is a long string of a town built beside the rarely-used railway tracks. There is plenty of oceanfront lodging along the long flat beach. Restaurants are limited but there are a few fun shops and friendly low-key folks.
Garibaldi - The old mill smokestack, dormant for many years, dominates the skyline of this pretty fishing village nestled against the hillside. This is a quiet, down to earth town on the bay with some lodging and dining opportunities. There is a large RV park here on the site of the old mill.
Tillamook - Located a few miles inland in a valley of lush green pastures, Tillamook is a friendly, conservative farming community. The world famous Tillamook County Creamery – usually called the Tillamook Cheese Factory – attracts many thousands of visitors every year, particularly in the summer months. Tillamook is also home to the largest wooden structure in the world, a WWII blimp hangar. All services are available.
++ At Tillamook, travelers have the option of staying on Highway 101 -or- taking the Three Capes county road.
… Hwy 101 passes through coastal farming areas with pastures, rivers and creeks. The three tiny towns of Beaver, Hebo and Cloverdale offer a glimpse into life in small farming communities. Services are limited.
… The Three Capes drive, begins at Tillamook and goes west from there toward Netarts, then south to Pacific City (home to the 'other' Haystack Rock), passing through Oceanside and Netarts. The road has limited ocean views. The road rejoins Hwy 101 south of Pacific City. Lodging and dining are available, but limited. ==> Important Note- The northern section of this drive is closed due to a previous landslide. The closure appears to be permanent.
++ Once again, going south on Highway 101:
Neskowin - This is an unincorporated community of about 200 people. It is very quiet, but there are some vacation rentals available as well as a motel; there is also a small store and two golf courses. The beach is pretty and is dominated by Proposal Rock.
Lincoln City - Another long string of a town, this town of about 7,000 is very busy and usually congested all year round. The current town is the result of five towns being combined in the 1960’s, so it stretches for about 8 miles. The beach is long and flat. Lincoln City is home to the world's shortest river, the D River. There is an Indian casino on the north end of town. All services.
Depoe Bay - Named for Chief Depoe, this little town bills itself as the "whale watching capital". Many small shops line the main thoroughfare, and there is a lot of lodging available, including oceanfront condos. During winter high tides the waves will splash up onto Highway 101, which skirts the edge of the bay.There is no beach here.
Otter Rock – Known for the picturesque Devil’s Punch Bowl, this is a residential community with limited lodging and a few very small businesses at the park.
Newport - One of the most popular and largest towns on the coast, this town of about 11,000 is congested in summer. Newport offers plenty of family attractions including two lighthouses (both open for tours), tide pools at Yaquina Head, and a real working historic bayfront with shops, deep sea fishing, crabbing off the docks, and a marina. The famous sea lions can be seen from just a few feet away along the bayfront. The award-winning Oregon Coast Aquarium is located south of the bridge. All services are available.
Seal Rock - This is a tiny unincorporated community with a few shops and two well known wood carvers. Seal Rock State Park has big rocks jetting out into the ocean that are home to seals, sea lions and birds. It is also a good place to observe interesting tide pool formations.
Waldport - This is a pleasant quiet small town located on the Alsea Bay. Crabbing off the marina docks is popular, and boat & kayak rentals are available. Waldport features an interesting interpretive center at the south end of the bridge.This bridge is the only one of the 1930's McCullough coastal bridges that has been replaced.
Yachats - Calling itself the "gem of the Oregon coast", Yachats is a quiet, picturesque village near the beach. There is a variety of lodging in all price ranges as well as a few restaurants. Although one of the most popular towns for visitors, it has a quiet small town atmosphere (pop about 700) and is easily walkable.There is a small river, nice beach and rocky shoreline here.
Florence - Sitting slightly inland tucked behind massive sand dunes, this stretched-out town of about 10,000 has a bayfront old town along the river with many unique shops and restaurants. There is a casino here. Dune buggy tours are very popular here. All services.
Reedsport - Reedsport is located slightly inland along the Umpqua River. It’s a working class town, well known for the Dean Creek elk viewing area just inland.
Winchester Bay - Although not on the ocean, Winchester Bay is a picturesque tiny town with a marina and huge dunes just to the south. It is the headquarters for dune buggy and off-highway-vehicle enthusiasts and the several campgrounds and RV parks in town are busy much of the year.
Lakeside - A small town of about 1,200 people, the main part of Lakeside is located a couple of miles east of Hwy 101 on the shores of Tenmile Lake, one of Oregon’s most popular lakes. Fishing is very popular here.
North Bend / Coos Bay - Although two separate cities, North Bend and Coos Bay are located side by side on Coos Bay and with a combined population of about 25,000 this is the coast’s largest populated area. The ocean is several miles away from this bustling area. Lodging, dining and shopping opportunities are plentiful here, and there is a large casino on the bay. North Bend has the only airport on the coast that offers commercial jet service.
Bandon - Bandon (also called Bandon-by-the-Sea) is a pleasant town with a picturesque “old town” and marina located on the Coquille River. The dramatic sea stacks complement the nice beach and there is a good selection of oceanfront lodging here.
Langlois - Once the home of a bleu cheese factory, Langlois is now just a wide spot in the road.
Port Orford - The westernmost incorporated city in the continental USA, Port Orford is blessed with a spectacularly lovely beach. It is still a working fishing port with one of only two “dolly docks” in the USA (and one of only 6 in the world). Lodging and dining options, whilst still limited, have improved over the last couple years to where there are some excellent options.
Gold Beach - Named for gold which was found on the beach in the late 19th Century, Gold Beach sits at the mouth of the Rogue River. The river is famous for both its fishing and the exciting jet boat rides. It is also the last resting place of the remains of the Mary D Hume steamship, visible on the south bank.
Brookings-Harbor- Although technically two towns, Brookings-Harbor is considered by most people to be one community. The combined population is about 10,000, with Harbor being far smaller than Brookings. This is a lively, vibrant town with lovely beaches and the pretty Chetco River. Known as the “Easter Lily Capital of the World”, the Brookings-Harbor area produces 95% of the world’s potted Easter lily bulbs. All services.
Smith River - A small, slightly inland community with limited services. Known for the 90 year old ocean-going yacht located on land next to the highway.
Crescent City - This busy town marks the beginning of the coastal redwoods, and has a variety of interesting visitor attractions but you must get off the main highway to appreciate them. Crescent City has the only lighthouse on the west coast which is accessible only at low tide across a causeway, plus dramatic headlands and the famous 'crescent shaped' beach. All services available.
Enjoy your journey along the beautiful Oregon coast :-)
To see photos and read reviews... http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction...