On our recent trip down to Seaside, Oregon I did a ton of research on where to stop and the most beautiful places to see. I narrowed it down as I went as we only had a few days and we wanted to make sure we had plenty of beach time. Below are our top 8 places to stop along the North Oregon Coast (plus one overrated stop) and a few details about each area.
Starting on our drive into Oregon our first stop was in Astoria. On day two we drove up to Ecola State Park and then down the Coast as far as Garibaldi. Our last stop, which I added in at the bottom of the post, I wouldn’t really recommend. If you are driving down from the top of the coast just to see it. Though, if you are headed more South along the coast it is neat to just stop to say you went.
Top 8 Places to Stop Along the North Oregon Coast
View point Address: 205 Chelmsford St, Astoria OR
We drove down through Astoria from Abbotsford, BC and wanted to get as much coast views as possible. I had also seen beautiful images of the Astoria-Megler bridge so I wanted to stop and find some images of where to capture the full length of it. The day that we drove over was a super foggy day, but the photos still look super cool. From under the bridge we drove to The Hotel at the Pier and the ones from above we headed up the hillside as far as we could get.
Fort Stevens State Park // Peter Iredale Shipwreck
We stopped here on our way home from Seaside, Oregon back to Abbotsford and it was a perfect little pit stop ofter checking out. The sand was super dark compared to the other beaches in Oregon and there were lots of cars that drove right up onto the beach. This attraction is know for the shipwreck that happened in 1906. The best idea is to plan it so you get there for low tide and you can walk right up to it.
Place to eat: If you are looking for a place to eat along the coast we stopped into Uptown Cafe. It was SO good! It’s not a typical cafe with just a few pastries, it is more of a sit down restaurant, with a very large menu and very suitable for families.
Ecola State Park
Clatsop County, OR | Note: There is a $5 Entrance fee
This was one of my absolute favourite places. The view here is astounding! A lot of the paths were eroded so there were a handful that were no longer accessible, though there was still a lot of wandering to be down. You can also hike all the way down to the beach though signs recommend that it is only for advanced hikers. We spent a few hours here, so bring a lunch and prepare to explore the trails. The view below isn’t far from the parking lot so if you are just going for that then you won’t need more then ten minutes.
Seaside Carousel Mall
300 Broadway St, Seaside, OR
The two of Seaside is much different then most towns along the coast. There is a lot more to do for families and places are open later compared to other towns down the coast. We stayed in Seaside and did a lot of walking along the streets. Seaside Carousel Mall is pretty central and connects to many other places that you may be interested in checking out; Bumper Cars, Funland Arcade and Seaside Inverted Experience.
We stayed in Seaside, OR thought bookings.com and loved everything about it. I booked online to stay in our of their Beachside Condos, which had an amazing beachfront view connecting to the Seaside Promenade. It was very central and walking distance to pretty much all Seaside’s attractions. We would hands down book here again and stay for an even longer time period.
111 Broadway St, Seaside, OR
I saw a few of these along the coast as had to try it out. When I did a little research on them I found out that it was actually where the corn dog was created. Cool right! For sure worth the few bucks to give it a try, also just might be the cheapest lunch on your whole trip. Grab a Pronto Pup and then walk the Seaside Promenade if you are there for the day.
View from condo looking out onto Seaside beach and the promenade.
Cannon Beach, OR
You can actually see haystack rock above in the viewpoint photo up at Ecola State Park. Though we didn’t end up stopping and getting up close to Haystack Rock (darn kids nap schedule) I would still have it as a must stop! The kids thought it was super cool when we drove by and pointed out that that was the beach we could see from Ecola State Park. Remember to plan your visit with the tide if you want to be able to get up close and personal with those rocks.
Hug Point State Recreation Site
Arch Cape, OR
Hands down our favorite stop along the coast. Not only was it absolutely stunning with the waterfall, caves and ledges to explore but the sand was just immaculate. We saw so many sea urchins along the ledge that leads over to another beach, make sure you have great footwear for yourself and kids if you want to do some exploring. The parking lot to Hug Point State Recreation Site is super small, so come either earlier in the day or after dinner if you want to get a spot. This is a bit of a pain but it also makes for a not very crowded beach to explore too!
Just before Garibaldi, OR | Smokehouse address 120 US-101, Rockaway Beach, OR
This was a super cute town and gorgeous beach that we stopped into on our way down. We stopped at Old Oregon Smokehouse for lunch (so delicious!). Just a few shops over there is a super tasty bakery and ice-cream store one down from that. When travelling with your family this is the perfect place to stop to stretch the legs, get some food, snack and then play at the park direct
The last place that I wanted to add, but not include in my Top 8 is Pier’s End in Garibaldi, OR. This was the furthest South that we went when exploring the North Oregon Coast. It really wasn’t all that exciting. I read a number of lists about where to stop and this seemed to always make the list. Sure it’s a neat historic site, but really not all that exciting for anyone. The building was under-construction and there isn’t anything else around to do. For us it was a quick stop out of the car, walked the super skinny and long (not even that long) pier and then it was back in the car for more driving. The photos did end up being pretty cute, and if you’ve been driving for a long time it is another place you could stop just to say you were there.
I hope you have some amazing travels down the Oregon coast. We cannot wait to go back and explore more! If you have any most visit places to add to our list I’d love to hear in the comments below. Share everything, favorite places to eat and stay, you name it!