Originally a stronghold of the Alsea Indians, Waldport also has had incarnations as a gold rush town, salmon-canning center, and lumber port. This town of about 2,000, whose name means “forest port” in German, is pretty quiet today, with a nondescript main drag that gives no hint of the surrounding beaches and prime fishing and crabbing spots.
An influx of retirees in the early 2000s spurred new home-building, particularly on the Alsea spit across from the town, but this place is still decidedly low-key.
For those passing through, Waldport provides a low-cost alternative to the big-name destinations; you won’t have to fight for a parking spot or make reservations months in advance.
Highway 34 runs east from Waldport, following the Alsea River for several miles before veering northeast to Corvallis , about 65 miles away. This is one of the prettiest (and slowest) routes between the coast and the Willamette Valley .