The Northern Oregon Coast is a beautifully diverse region that’s full of possibility for fun and adventure. It’s an outdoor playground offering more than 100 miles of pristine beaches, sea cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and intriguing vertical rocks in the sea known as stacks.
On this site you’ll learn all about the North Oregon Coast, which stretches from the mouth of the Columbia River to Cascade Head. This region of the Oregon North Coast includes some of state’s most popular vacation destinations, including Seaside and Cannon Beach, as well as small towns with coastal charm, like Astoria and Manzanita. Our local writers fill you in on what the locals know: where to eat, where to shop, where to play and, of course, where to rest your head after all of that North Oregon Coast exploration. If you want to know the real scoop about this area, look no further than this site.
Recreation on the Northern Oregon Coast
To explore the North Oregon Coast, roadtrippers hop on U.S. Highway 101. Also known as the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, this seaside highway links the towns of the North Oregon Coast, climbing over headlands with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and zipping by stretches of undeveloped beach. Because of its proximity to Portland and Willamette Valley, the North Oregon Coast is a popular road trip destination — and once you experience its rugged beauty for yourself, you’ll understand why.
Your biggest dilemma will be deciding what to do first. Will you explore the tidal pools around Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach or hike to a high whale-spotting vantage point in Ecola State Park? Will you hit the seaside links in Gearhart or ride the carousel and walk the Pom in Seaside? Dine on some of the world’s finest clam chowder or explore quaint art galleries and shops? Taste the local delicacies at a foodie festival or hit the microbreweries? You’ll find all the information you need to make these tough decisions here.
Explore Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula
On this site you’ll also find out everything there is to know about Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, which is a nearby and easily reachable destination from the Oregon North Coast. From Astoria, at the very tip of the North Oregon Coast, it’s just a hop across the Columbia River on the spectacularly scenic, 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge, followed by a 20-minute drive to Ilwaco.
This 28-mile-long spit of land, bounded by Columbia River, Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay, is known for its Pacific Ocean beaches, dunes and woods, local seafood, seaside resorts, events, festivals and year-round outdoor adventures ranging from hiking, camping and biking to beachcombing and surfing. From the amusement parks and small motels in seaside towns on the Pacific side to the quiet Willapa Bay shores, Long Beach Peninsula is a place where time slows down and the worries of the mainland are forgotten.
If you love seafood, Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula is a must visit. Willapa Bay is one of the top oyster-producing regions in the United States. Local restaurants take advantage of this bounty as well as many other regional delicacies. Explore this site to find out about all of the restaurants, shops, things to do and places to stay from Cape Disappointment on the southern end of the peninsula to Leadbetter Point State Park on the northern end.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get to the Northern Oregon Coast?
From the north or south, the sole route is U.S. Highway 101, also known as the Pacific Coast Byway, which stretches from Southern California to northern Washington. Three routes from the east connect to U.S. Highway 101 – U.S. Highway 30, which runs parallel to the Columbia River, U.S. Highway 26, which is the route west from Portland, and OR Route 6, which leads to Tillamook.
How far is it from Portland to the Northern Oregon Coast?
It’s 97 miles from Portland to Astoria, a drive of about 2 hours. From Portland to the Seaside/Cannon Beach area, it’s 80 miles, a drive of about an hour and a half. The North Oregon Coast is a popular road trip destination for Portland residents, which means the local roads and Highway 101 are often congested in summer, so plan accordingly.
How far is it from Seattle to the Northern Oregon Coast?
The 200-mile car trip from Seattle to Cannon Beach takes about 4 hours. Astoria is a little closer, about 3 hours and 20 minutes.
How long does it take to drive from the Northern Oregon Coast to the Long Beach Peninsula?
About 30 minutes. From Astoria on Highway 101, you cross the Columbia River via the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The bridge deposits you in Washington. Then it’s about a 20-minute drive to Ilwaco on the Peninsula.
What is the weather like in the Northern Oregon Coast and Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula?
The weather in these coastal areas is moderate. In winter the average low is just under 40° F, while the high temperature is just above 50° F. The average high is around 70° F. The most rain occurs in November and December, averaging more than 11 inches each month. July and August are the driest months, averaging less than 2 inches of rain each month. Most days are cloudy or partly cloudy throughout the year, though the summer has the most sun. Always check the forecast before heading out, and bring layers as the weather can change quickly.
Can you swim in the Pacific Ocean on the Northern Oregon Coast or Long Beach Peninsula?
Ocean swimming is not recommended in these areas due to cold water, rough conditions and deadly currents. The water temperature ranges from the 40s to the mid-60s, with the average, even in summer, at around 55 degrees. The ocean currents are strong and dangerous no matter what the tide. Even wading is not recommended as there is also a real threat of sneaker waves, which come up high on the beach without warning and can sweep you off your feet. Officials advise to keep a close eye on children and never turn your back to the ocean. Surfing is allowed and is a popular watersport in the region for those with appropriate skills.
What do I need to know about the tides around the Northern Oregon Coast?
For any excursions along the sea coast, such as tidepooling, shelling or walking, be sure to know the times of the high and low tides. Incoming tides can isolate rocks from headlands and the shore. Avoid the temptation to stroll out to rocks without knowing when the tide is coming back in. You could easily become stranded as passageways that were once free become suddenly inundated with water. Tide table booklets can be found in gas stations, marinas and visitors centers.
Are earthquakes and tsunamis a threat to the Northern Oregon Coast and Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula?
Earthquakes and the tsumanis that can result from them are a real but rare threat in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Tsunami Clearinghouse has a wealth of information on how to prepare, react and evacuate in such an emergency.
When can I see the whales from the Northern Oregon Coast?
Whales are visible from Oregon’s coast all year long, but some seasons are better than others. From mid-December to mid-January, nearly 20,000 gray whales pass off the coast as they travel south to Baja. From late March to June, the whales travel back north toward Alaska. Some whales are visible feeding along the coast from June to mid-November.