Top 5 Must See Locations from the Central to Northern Oregon Coast

Thinking about traveling along the Oregon Coast?

From North to South, here are the Top 5 "Must See" Locations between Washington and Central Oregon, that are sure to leave you breathless. We've also included a few fun places to check out in-between!

Photographed by Jake Colvin Photography

Gazing the sunrise at Ecola Park

1. Warrenton and Fort Steven’s

Peter Iredale Shipwreck

They say that a captain goes down with the ship but what happens if the ship doesn't quite go down..?

Well, you get one of the most amazing places to visit in the Pacific North-West!

On the blustery night of October 25th 1906, just as soon as the ship was ready to enter the mouth of the Columbia river, a strong crosswind brought this enormous 285 ft vessel to rest on the beach of Hammond Oregon.

Now it's a popular tourist attraction! This one definitely needs to be in your books of things to do in Oregon! Go for sunrise to beat the crowds but make sure to come back for sunset for a dramatic shipwreck photo!

Not only will you see the shipwreck but just around the bend are 2 retired military installations that are open to the public for exploration, (Fort Stevens and Battery Russel). Be sure to check out those destinations while you're in the area.

Jake Colvin Photography @jake.pnw jake.pnw

Also, be on the lookout for Herds of Elk! They are plentiful in the Astoria and Warrenton areas! Large crowds of Elk are known to congregate just off the side of the road.


Ecola State Park

2. Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is one of the most popular spots among tourists, along the Oregon Coast and it's for good reason. The unique rock formations and tide-pools are so abundant that it can easily take all day to see all of the natural sites.

Claimed to be the third tallest inter-tidal structure, this 235 foot rock can be seen for miles!

Caution should be used while exploring, to not disturb the sea life and there are signs posted to NOT climb on the rock. Otherwise, this place is all yours to explore!

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3. Hug Point Caves and Oswald West

Have you ever wanted to watch the sunset in a cave, on the beach, by a waterfall? Here you can do just so!

If you can manage finding the right (unmarked) trail and brace a steep, slippery hike down to hug point caves, you will be rendered speechless by the serene beauty!

Do take precautionary measures while traversing this beach. The tides change drastically and it's very easy to fall or get swept away!

Caves, waterfalls, and waves at sunset.

Go a few miles further south to find Oswald West State Park, which is home to an old growth forest trail, an awesome suspension bridge, some of the best surf in the State, as well as another beach waterfall!

Inn at Arch Cape

Looking for a high class yet affordable Inn, smack dab in the middle of all these amazing adventure spots? Stay where we stay and "Get Cozy" at the Inn at Arch Cape

Just a few steps to the beach and located right between Oswald West State Park and Cannon Beach, this private inn will surely exceed your expectations. This inn is home away from home, to many traveling landscape artists who recognize the beauty and convenience of this picturesque location. So stay where the pros stay and Get Cozy at the Inn at Arch cape, and who knows, you may just run into a Celebrity Artist!


Cape Lookout Hike

Cape Lookout seems to be foggy all year round! A very muddy and narrow hike, which leads to incredible ocean views! Recommended to experienced hikers!

Cape Kiwanda

Visit in July to watch the whales, while the sun goes down! Cape Kiwanda offers great surf, Hiking, Hill Climbing, Whale watching, Restaurants, Bonfires and on-shore parking! This amazing beach has some spectacular views but Extreme Caution and or *Avoidance (recommended) should be exercised while hiking atop the cliffs and hills. Many people have slipped and lost their lives while traversing beyond the cable barriers.


God's Thumb (Lincoln City)

Located on the most northern end of Lincoln City, this short but steep hike leads to one of the coolest viewpoints on the Oregon Coast! Watch your step and wear your boots for this muddy hike! More info on this hike HERE

God's Thumb Lincoln City, OR

Taft Beach

Located on the southern side of Lincoln City,

this awesome little beach has tons of driftwood

and seashells!

Also, the river running through here is the Siletz Bay and has a great salmon run during the right season. Fishing Tip: Use elongated squid spinners for the best chance at catching a chrome Chinook but watch out for the seals, they have been known to steal your fish!

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Drift Creek Falls

Just east of Lincoln City, this easy 3 mile round trip trail leads to an amazing waterfall and 100 foot high suspension bridge! With lots of evenly spaced trees and wild mushrooms, this place makes for some really amazing photo opportunities!



Whale Cove

Easily accessible to people of all ages and physical conditions. This side-of-the-road viewpoint is an awesome spot to watch the waves crash along the rocky shore and watch whale migrations in December and March when nearly 20,000 Grey Whales migrate, just off shore!

Located between Depoe Bay and Otter Rock.

Viewpoint off HWY 101


4. Newport

(The Heart of the Oregon Coast)

As soon as you are about to enter Newport

you will come across the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Amazing Views, Hiking trails, Tide Pools, Museum, Lighthouse, Migrating birds, Bald eagles, and Peregrine Falcons... The Yaquina Head Lighthouse has it all!

Fun fact: This lighthouse was used in the 2002 Horror film "The Ring".

Newport Historic Bayfront

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Yet another Lighthouse in Newport, the Yaquina Bay Light is a lighthouse that was built in 1871, soon after the founding of the city of Newport, Oregon, in the United States. It is located on the north side of Yaquina Bay.

Other Fun Attractions:

Ripley's Believe it or Not

The Wax Works

Undersea Gardens

Best Place to eat: Gyro guys (Mediterranean Food)

Best Local Brand: Specifically Pacific (101 Brand)

Made in Oregon! Shop Local!

Yaquina Bay Bridge


Where to go: South Jetty

What to Catch and Bait to use:

Lingcod - 6" Rubber jigs

Sea Bass - 3" Rubber jigs

Greenling - Sand Shrimp

*Disclaimer: The rocks on the south jetty can be very dangerous, with holes leading all the way down to the water. Be especially careful on days when the rocks are wet. Also, keep in mind that the water conditions can change at any time and waves are known for crashing all the way over portions of the jetty.

We highly recommend going with a friend and not traversing this area alone.

Other Perks of Newport

Long Uncrowded Beaches

Marine Science Center (free)

Whale Watching

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Get ready to have your nautical minds blown! Probably one of the coolest places to visit on the entire Oregon Coast!

From crustaceans to giant Seven-Gilled Sharks, the Oregon Coast Aquarium has it all! Explore the touch tide-pools, undersea shark tunnels and many other extraordinary and breathtaking exhibits!

It's hard to say say just how much you and your family will enjoy your visit at this special place but take a look at a few of our highlight shots down below. Also, you can learn more about what the Aquarium has to offer by visiting their website. Just click the link right below:



5. Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua keeps making our lists! This is a spot on the coast that is pretty easy to drive right through and miss if your not looking for it but stopping might just be worth your while.. Home to "Thor's Well" and the "Devil's Churn" This area can be dangerous, with powerful, unexpected waves and strong ocean currents. Though, with the right precautions, this place can make for an epic adventure. Located just south of Yachats.

Driving up to the Cape Perpetua viewpoint will give you an awesome view from 820 feet above the sea. There are a few exposed areas along the trails, at the upper viewpoint and those with a fear of heights should exercise caution while traversing. Also, be sure to watch the water surge and spray out of Thor's well, down below! Do exercise caution, for if you fall in, who knows where you might end up..

This scenic area has so much to offer, things to do, and places explore.

Check this place out during sunrise or sunset to get the best views and experience!


We sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading about these wonderful adventure destinations on the Central to Northern Oregon Coast!

This is only a very small sample of what this awe-inspiring area of the Oregon Coast has to offer. Therefore, we encourage you to get out there and explore it for yourselves!

Help us to Inspire Adventure by sharing this post with your friends and family!

Photos by Jake Colvin Photography

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