Planning Your Time
It’s easy to spend a few days exploring the central coast. Although Lincoln City has abundant hotel rooms and is a good fall-back during busy times of the year, tiny Depoe Bay is a great place to spend a night, perhaps with an early rise to take a fishing or whale-watching trip. And though Newport is a big city by Oregon coast standards, it’s definitely worth spending a couple of nights here…in fact, if you’re looking for a base for central coast explorations, Newport is well situated to visit sites from Lincoln City down to Florence.
While in Newport, you may simply want to poke around the Nye Beach and Bayfront neighborhoods, beachcomb on Agate Beach, and check out the tide pools and lighthouse at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area; or you might decide to devote a day to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the nearby Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Personally, when we have the opportunity to plunk down at the coast for a long weekend, we almost always head to Yachats to enjoy the low-key atmosphere, the incredible natural beauty, and the good restaurants of this tiny town. If you are touring the coast, we think it’s worth a full day and night of your time.
Florence is a short hop from Yachats and is a good alternative if you’d rather stay in a slightly larger town with a lively Old Town and easy access to the north end of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a fantastic landscape of dazzling white-sand mountains and jewel lakes stretched along nearly 50 miles of shoreline.
Although anglers may want to stay at Winchester Bay, for most coast travelers this little town is a good stop for fish-and-chips, but not an overnight destination. Nearby, Reedsport is in the heart of the dunes country, and is a good place to camp while exploring the dunes, but it does not have a huge wealth of fancy hotels and restaurants.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel