Oregon’s central coast, from Lincoln City to Reedsport and Winchester Bay, embraces such contrasts that it’s difficult to generalize about the region.
In the north, Lincoln City’s dense mix of lodgings and shopping opportunities, combined with its Indian-run casino, generates the coast’s worst traffic jams, especially on holidays and weekends. The sprawling town isn’t everyone’s first choice for a quiet getaway, but it must be doing something right.
A necklace of small state parks adorns the shore every couple of miles all the way from southern Lincoln City southward; inland, the Siuslaw National Forest safeguards several wilderness areas and groves of rare old-growth coastal forest, beckoning hikers to explore the primeval landscapes.
Just north of Newport, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area offers excellent vantage points for up-close whale-watching and bird-watching, plus tide pools accessible to wheelchair users.
The bustling harbor at Newport is home to the state’s largest commercial fishing fleet and second-largest recreational fleet, which runs charters year-round for rockfish and seasonally for salmon, tuna, and halibut. Newport also boasts the state-of-the-art Oregon Coast Aquarium, former residence of Keiko the beloved orca, and the bohemian resort community of Nye Beach, which has been attracting tourists since the 19th century.
Just south of Yachats, the panoramic view from Cape Perpetua can, on a clear day, extend 75 miles in each direction. Down at sea level, the tide pools here are some of the most fascinating on the coast.
Close by, photographers spend more time trying to capture the perfect image of Heceta Head Lighthouse than any other sight along the entire coast.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel