The Oregon Coast is justly famous for its scenic vistas, attracting people from around the world to its shores. Oregonians refer to their ocean border as "the Coast". Say "We're going to the ocean" and you'll mark yourself as a visitor to this Pacific Northwest state.
No matter whether you live here or not, there are many places to visit and discover along the Pacific Coast Highway from the southern Washington state line to the northern California border.
For Eugene residents like my wife and me, the central Oregon Coast is an hour's drive away, making it a great destination for a day trip or weekend stay. We can drive north or south along the Coast as far as time permits and have unique experiences virtually every mile along the way.
Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site
We'll usually pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at a well-placed picnic table. Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site in Lincoln County is one of the many great places to visit in the Oregon State Parks system.
Bob Creek Wayside
A little bit further south is Bob Creek Wayside. The creek meets the ocean nearby. This picnic table provides sweeping ocean views, punctuated by the sounds of the surf and seabird calls.
Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint
Drive south on Highay 101 to Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint. The vistas are stunning, but usually a little crowded on nice days as the cover photo shows. The picnic tables beside Cape Creek a short walk away in the overflow parking area can provide a peaceful respite.
Honeyman State Park
Just south of Florence are two freshwater lakes in Honeyman State Park. The sounds of the ocean waves are discernible at night, but the picnic experience is beside serene lakes bounded by forest and sand dunes.
The Cleawox Lake Day Use Area is just north of the Honeyman State Park Campground. In summer it is popular for swimming, boating, hiking, and playing in the sand dunes. Whatever the time of year, we've enjoyed relaxing here and camping in a nearby yurt.
Across Highway 101 from Cleawox Lake is Woahink Lake, a popular day use area and dive site.
Cape Arago State Park
Continue south on the Pacific Coast Highway, passing many excellent picnic sites on the way, to Coos Bay and a little further south to a trio of spectacular state parks - Sunset Bay, Shore Acres, and Cape Arago.
At Cape Arago is a picnic table with a million dollar view. This vase of flowers was left by somebody who also appreciates this spot. An inlaid plaque in the table proclaims that this is the couple's favorite spot on earth. Who couldn't enjoy a picnic lunch here?