Columbia River Maritime Museum: We’ll gladly visit this museum in any kind of weather, but when storms rage outside, it gives visitors special insight into the dangerous jobs of those who guide ships across the Columbia River’s bar and up its braided channel.
Fort Clatsop: Lewis and Clark wrote of being “cold, wet, and miserable” here. Here’s your chance to relive history. (Remember, they were here all winter.)
Arcades: It’s the tackiest sort of beach fun, but sometimes the whole family needs to pile into bumper cars.
Jennifer Sears Art Studio: Blow your own glass float or paperweight at this Taft neighborhood studio. Other galleries in the area feature glass and other art.
Oregon Coast Aquarium: Trance out watching jellyfish or walk through the Passages of the Deep, a 200-foot-long acrylic tunnel offering 360-degree underwater views in three diverse habitats, from Orford Reef to Halibut Flats to Open Sea, where you’re surrounded by free-swimming sharks. It’s easy to spend several hours here.
Sea Lion Caves: Join about 200 Steller sea lions in this cliff-side cave north of Florence. These sea lions occupy the cave during the fall and winter; in spring and summer, they breed and raise their young on the rock ledges just outside the cave.
Face Rock Creamery: After several cheeseless years, Bandon once again is home to a cheese factory. Stop in for some Grand Opening Cheddar or Black Jack; Umpqua ice cream is another extremely popular option.
Bars: Back when we first started coming to this part of the coast, the Pine Cone Tavern was the logger’s bar, and the Sporthaven was for the folks working on fishing boats. Now, they’re both considerably less seedy—the Pine Cone’s almost hip and the Sporthaven has pretty good food—but they’re still good places to soak up the local atmosphere.
Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Coastal Oregon.