The Oregon and Washington coastlines are a few of the most beautiful places in the entire United States to explore. Along the more than 500 miles of road sits waterfalls, beaches, history, vistas and food that will keep you coming back again and again for more. This guide is merely here to help you enjoy your time to the fullest with a four-day itinerary and a lot of recommendations for how to make the most of your time. I also wrote about driving the coast of California here if you want to make your journey longer. Enjoy your drive and let me know what I left off in the comments.
- Length: 500+ Miles
- Recommend at least 4 days
24 Best Stops on the Oregon / Washington Coastlines
Here are my 24 favorite stops along the Oregon and Washington coastlines.
Located in the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, the Natural Bridges are large rocks in the ocean with arches in the base.
Meyers Beach is the first part of the coast you will get to that will take your breath away. There are many large rocks in the water here with a North and South Beach.
Wreck of the Mary Hume
This wreck in the northern part of Gold's Beach is not to be missed. With the green moss growing on it, it is a great spot for photography.
I love fun roadside attractions and this is one of the best along this drive. The Prehistoric Gardens are like walking through the Jurrasic Period where dinosaurs walked the Earth.
Cape Blanco State Park
Whether you come for the coastal views of the lighthouse, Cape Blanco State Park is a little off the highway but it is not to be missed.
Oregon Dunes Overlook
The Oregon dunes are one of the largest in the USA. There are many places to check them out at, but I recommend the Oregon Dunes Overlook at the end. There are trails and viewpoints within walking distance of the parking lot.
Sea Lion Caves
Another popular roadside attraction, the Sea Lion Caves are one of the largest coastal caves in the USA. Accessed via an elevator you can take it down into the cave itself.
One of my favorite stops on the entire drive, Thor's Well is a majestic blowhole right on the beach that sends gigantic plumes of water into the air. Don't get too close but be sure to check it out.
Yaquina Head Light
The second lighthouse on this drive, Yaquina Head also has amazing coastal views and history. Be sure to head down to the beach and check out the tide pools as well.
Devil's Punchbowl State Park
Devil's Punchbowl State Park is basically a large sea cave. You can park and view it from above or you can walk down to the beach and see it from below as well. I recommend both.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
No trip up the Oregon coast is complete without visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory. This spot has tons of free cheese tastings, a museum, and a full restaurant.
Hug Point State Park
Just south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point State Park is a less trafficked and beautiful beach with a hidden sea cave and waterfall.
Cannon Beach is the Oregon coast's most popular attraction. A visit to the famous Haystack Rock is a must on your road trip.
This national park is located to be near the end point of the Lewis and Clark trail and it features a full replica of Fort Clatsop, the fort they built at the end of their journey.
The Wreck of the Peter Iredale
At over a century old, The Wreck of the Peter Iredale is located inside a state park on the tip of Oregon. The remains are situated on the beach and you can walk out and explore them during low tide.
Astoria Film Museum - Goonies
In Astoria, explore Goonies history at the Astoria Film Museum. This museum is located in the Astoria Jail and even though it is small, it has a lot of charm.
At the top of the hill in the middle of Astoria, there is a large tower that you can pay to climb. From the top of the tower you have an amazing view of the coastline and the city below you.
Kurt Cobain Park
Crossing over into Washington and driving for a while will take you to Aberdeen which was the home of Kurt Cobain. There is not much here to see related to him but this small park.
Lake Quinault Lodge
Lake Quinault is a beautiful body of water right off the highway. Lake Quinault Lodge is the famous and historic hotel that sits right on the water. Even if you are not staying here you should still go check it out.
In the heart of Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach is one of my favorite stops. The beach is littered with driftwood and it is majestic to see as the fog rolls in.
Rialto Beach on the outskirts of Forks, WA is an amazing spot to catch a sunrise or sunset. It is never very crowded so you can enjoy a quiet morning at a beautiful place.
John's Beachcombing Museum
John's Beachcombing Museum is a labor of love from one man who has spent the last 35 year collecting the things that wash up on the beach. You will be amazed by what you see here.
On a little bit off the highway, this short .25 mile trail takes you to a beautiful 40 foot waterfall.
Olympic Game Farm
Olympic Game Farm is a drive through animal preserve which rehabilitates and provides a retirement home for old circus animals. It is home to the popular waving bears.
Four Day Road Trip Guide
Here is my recommended itinerary for each day on this drive.
Here is a video I made of the 4 days I spent driving up the coast.
There are lots of great places to stay on the road trip, but here are a few of my recommendations.
- Too many great spots to recommend in Seattle, pick your favorite from this list
What would you recommend? Be sure to leave it in the comments.