Close your eyes and imagine the essential beach town on the Oregon Coast. It’s complete with miles of scenic shorelines, hiking trails, a funky shopping scene, delicious dining options, popular annual events and a rich fishing village heritage that still colors the local culture. Now open your eyes, and you’ll find yourself in Florence, Oregon. This charming city overlooks the mouth of the Siuslaw River where it feeds into the mighty Pacific. It’s a playful combination of outdoor and beach-oriented activities that surround a town rich with arts, culture and liveliness.
Maybe you want a taste of Florence, Oregon’s, urban side. Stroll through the Old Town district and explore the eye-catching – or nose-catching – shops and restaurants housed in historic buildings. For a night that pulsates with energy, take your chances at the casinos’ tables and slot machines. You can also play it safe in their on-site concert venues that feature local and touring musicians.
Play in Florence, Oregon
Think of Florence, Oregon, as a massive outdoor playground. With that in mind, what things to do in Florence, Oregon, will speak to you? Comb the beaches for sea glass, shells and critters. Tour the Heceta Head Lighthouse and the accompanying Queen Ann-style lighthouse keeper’s home. Set out into the Siuslaw River with your fishing rod and a crab pot. Follow the Hobbit Trail into a remote corner of the wilderness, pitch a tent and camp out under the stars. Take an ATV to the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, appropriately referred to as Dune City by the locals. Get an up-close interaction with local wildlife when you descend, via elevator, into a sea cave and meet a colony of sea lions.
Dine in Florence, Oregon
Similar to Florence, Oregon’s, seemingly endless activities, the rich food scene here keeps the fare fresh and foodies’ and gourmands’ mouths watering. Variety colors the dining scene, and you won’t have to look long or hard to satisfy cravings for Italian pasta, Chinese stir fry, tacos, sushi, grill classics or pub food. That said, you’d be remiss if you dined in Florence and didn’t sample some of the best flavors from around the coast. Farm-to-table and coast-to-table ingredients dominate the menus at many Florence, Oregon, restaurants. Chefs often design their menus with a focus on what’s fresh and available with each season. So don’t miss the opportunity to try chinook salmon, razor clams and halibut at their peaks. Some of the eateries deliver amazing glimpses of the surrounding area, so you can pair your meal with views of the Siuslaw River Bridge or sunsets on the Pacific.
Cruise the Shops in Florence, Oregon
Sure, Florence, Oregon, is an awesome spot for playing in the wilderness and filling your lungs with fresh air. But when rainy days chase you inside – or you’re ready to try a different sort of activity – head to any of the local, independents shops. To get your retail therapy fix, head to the shops in Florence’s Old Town district. This picture-perfect stretch of town spans the length of Bay Street to the dock. The historic buildings lining the streets house shops, restaurants and local attractions, and it lends a charming ambiance to many of them. You’ll discover funky finds here that you won’t elsewhere. The array of art galleries, boutiques and shops for kick-knacks showcase the area’s thriving arts community. Of course, with all of the outdoor adventures sure to accompany your time in here, you’ll need Florence, Oregon, shops to supply you with the appropriate gear, hiking shoes and outer wear. Just as Florence’s shopping scene channels whimsy and flair, practicality is abundant too.
Stay in Florence, Oregon
When you arrive in Florence, it’s easy to jump right in on outdoor activities, visiting the shops, savoring the local restaurants’ cuisine and more. With the pressure to do it all and experience everything, you need not worry about fitting it all into one day, thanks to the area’s plentiful places to stay. Florence, Oregon, hotels offer accommodations for all travel interests. Tuck yourself away in a quiet haven at a lakeside inn, or insert yourself in the heart of downtown at a boutique hotel within walking distance of shops and restaurants. For longer stays or if you just want to feel more at home, opt for a Florence, Oregon, vacation rental. Many of these beach box cottages, oceanfront houses, cozy cabins can conveniently place you near the particular Florence, Oregon, activities that drew you to the town.
Experience Florence, Oregon
In addition to the visiting the many Florence, Oregon, activities, shops and attractions, leave room in your schedule to check out Florence, Oregon, events as well. This beach town likes to shake up the scene with different events and festivities that appeal to both residents and visitors. Food, music and arts festivals make appearances throughout the year. Support the local artisans at weekend craft shows and markets during the summer. See the headlining musical acts at casinos. Immerse yourself within Florence’s community by participating in beloved annual traditions. However you spend your time here, you know that you’ll leave with memories.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Florence, Oregon?
Most of the Central Coast’s visitors arrive by flying in to Portland Airport. From there it’s about a three to four-hour drive to Florence, Oregon, taking I-5 South to Oregon 126 West. The closest airport to Florence, however, is the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, which is about 48 miles away on Highway 101.
What can I do on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area?
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is part of the Siuslaw National Forest, located at the southern end of Florence, Oregon. Dune City, as the locals call it, is divided into four different areas, each distinguished by their own recreation. South Jetty is a go-to for one of the most popular activities here: taking to the dunes by an off-highway vehicle (OHV). This area also gives visitors access to the beach. There’s Siltcoos, which hosts campgrounds and plenty of walking and hiking trails along the Siltcoos River. However, there’s so much more here than just rolling through the sand: There’s hiking, paddling in the Umpaqua River, playing on the beach, birding, camping – you can do it all!
What is the Florence, Oregon, Rhododendron Festival?
The annual Rhododendron Festival occurs annually in Florence every third weekend in May. This event attracts visitors from all across the state, looking to experience this vibrant community’s celebration of the even more vibrant wild rhododendron that blooms throughout Florence’s fields and hills. The city pulls out all the stops for that quintessential, Americana celebration with parades, a carnival, live music, car show and much more.
How do I access the Sea Lion Caves in Florence, Oregon?
Seeing sea lions is an exciting activity all by itself, but seeing them in Florence’s Sea Lion Caves is a one-of-a-kind experience to add to your to-do list. The Sea Lion Caves are part of the Oregon/Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. The country’s largest sea cave is 11 miles north of Florence, Oregon, and tucked away in a steep sea cape. You enter the Sea Lion Caves building at ground level and descend into the ground, by elevator, until you reach the cave at sea level. From there you can watch hundreds of sea lions come and go in their natural habitat.