10 Best Oregon Coastal Towns: Where to Have a Beach Day in Oregon

Best Beach Towns in Oregon

The Oregon Coast has a way of getting under your skin. The smell of salt and pine needles mingled in the air, the fog rolling in like a cozy blanket some days, and the sound of seagulls squawking overhead. We've been chasing those quintessential beach town vibes up and down Highway 101 for years, and we're hooked.

But here's the thing about the best Oregon Coast towns: they're not one-size-fits-all. Some are perfect for quiet getaways, while others thrive on high-energy beach days. You'll find foodie havens, artsy enclaves, and towns where time has slowed to a delightful crawl. So, where do you even begin?

What Makes a Beach Town Truly Special?

Let's break it down. Everyone's ideal beach vacation will be a little different, but a few things are non-negotiable:

  • The Beach: Pristine sand, maybe a dramatic rock formation or two—that draws us to the coast!
  • Adventures Abound: Hiking trails, wildlife viewing, or quirky shops to explore when you need a sun break.
  • Memorable Meals: Fresh seafood shacks, cozy cafes, or even a splurge-worthy spot for a special occasion.
  • Lodging that Fits Your Style: Oceanfront hotels, quaint B&Bs, sprawling beach houses… Options matter!
  • That Feeling: Is the town friendly, laid-back, artsy? The right vibe makes all the difference.

Our Favorite Towns on the Oregon Coast: A Blend of the Iconic and the Understated

10. Coos Bay-North Bend-Charleston

This southern coast trio is like a choose-your-own-adventure. Coos Bay offers that bustling energy, with plenty of shops and restaurants. North Bend is smaller and steeped in old-fashioned charm. Charleston is your gateway to stunning nature—think towering sand dunes and dramatic Cape Arago State Park.

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live on the Oregon Coast, be sure to hit up Coos Bay in your home search; it’s one of the cheapest places to live in Oregon overall.

Must-Do: Spot seals and sea lions at Cape Arago, or even go for a whale-watching cruise.

Foodie Finds: The Blue Heron for upscale flavors and Charleston Crab for a classic seafood feast.

Stay Here: Budget-minded? Consider camping! Otherwise, motels and inns abound.

9. Gold Beach

Kissing Rock at Sunset in Gold Beach, OR

Nestled where the Rogue River crashes into the Pacific, Gold Beach delivers a dose of wild beauty. Jet boat tours upriver will pump your adrenaline, while walks on the beach reveal stunning sea stacks. There's more to this town than just lounging (although that's perfectly acceptable too!).

Must-Do: Gold Beach Books is a bibliophile's paradise (and the biggest bookstore on the coast!).

Foodie Finds: Barnacle Bistro wins for its oceanfront views, and Arch Rock Brewing satisfies craft beer cravings.

Stay Here: Oceanfront motels are affordable, or grab a cozy rental.

8. Seaside

Seaside is the quintessential family beach town and one of the best ocean beaches near Portland. The second you hit that iconic promenade with its arcades and ice cream shops, you get a blast of pure vacation nostalgia (even if you're an adult!). Sure, it can get crowded, but the beach here is vast, and the smiles are contagious.

Must-Do: Walk the entire beach—it's a workout! The Seaside Aquarium is surprisingly fun, too, even for grown-ups.

Foodie Finds: Dooger's Seafood for no-frills fish and chips, Zingers for the best homemade ice cream.

Stay Here: From beachfront hotels to big vacation rentals, Seaside has it all.

Pro Tip: Traffic here can be a nightmare in peak season. Embrace a leisurely pace, or visit in the spring or fall.

7. Depoe Bay

The Oregon Coast Town of Depoe Bay is a Great Place to Visit

The "Whale Watching Capital of Oregon" isn't just a marketing slogan—Depoe Bay delivers on those magical marine mammal sightings. But beyond the whales, this tiny town has a lot to offer: cozy oceanfront inns, delicious seafood, and a walkable, welcoming atmosphere.

Must-Do: Even if you don't spot whales on a boat tour, the Whale Research EcoExcursions are fascinating.

Foodie Finds: Gracie's Sea Hag for casual eats in a fun setting, Restaurant Beck for a special occasion splurge.

Stay Here: The Channel House has stunning views, Whale Cove Inn for a homey vibe

6. Astoria

Technically, it's not a beach town, but hear us out! Astoria is one of the best small towns to visit in Oregon and sits at the mouth of the Columbia River, with a unique blend of maritime history and modern-day energy. It's close enough to Fort Stevens State Park for beach adventures but offers much to do independently.

Must-Do: Climb the Astoria Column for epic views, explore the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and stroll the Riverwalk for shops and restaurants.

Foodie Finds: For a classic experience, go to Bowpicker Fish and Chips or Fort George Brewery + Public House for excellent brews and food.

Stay Here: The Commodore Hotel is full of historic charm, or find a vacation rental for a home-away-from-home feel.

5. Bandon

The Oregon Coast Town of Bandon is a Great Place for Oceanside Golf

Creativity fuels this Southern Oregon gem. Think sand labyrinths on the beach, quirky shops, golf galore... and some delicious eats. It's smaller than some on our list but packs a surprising punch.

Must-Do: Face Rock Creamery. Their flavors are legendary (try the sea salt caramel!). Walk the beach at Bullards Beach State Park and search for the lighthouse.

Foodie Finds: Tony's Crab Shack for a seafood feast, Bandon Fish Market for fresh-caught finds.

Stay Here: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is world-class; otherwise, look for cute beachside B&Bs.

4. Florence

Don't confuse it with Italy; Florence, Oregon, has a unique beauty. Picture dunes towering over the beach, a charming Old Town, and nature galore nearby. This town is a beautiful mix of outdoor adventures and cozy cafes.

Must-Do: Hike to the top of the dunes for breathtaking views, see the Sea Lion Caves, and if you're brave, try sandboarding!

Foodie Finds: Bridgewater Fish House, Mo's for chowder bowls, Homegrown Public House for a brew break and tasty pub grub.

Stay Here: Riverfront motels offer good value, or find a cozy rental near the beach.

3. Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is One of the Best Oregon Coast Towns to Live In

That famous Haystack Rock? It's here. Crowds flock to Cannon Beach because it offers excellent food, cute lodging, and stunning scenery (those tide pools!). Just be prepared for the high demand when you visit! This is a highly popular day trip from Portland, and it’s considered one of the best cities to live in Oregon, too.

Must-Do: Hike to Ecola State Park for panoramic views, browse the galleries on Hemlock Street, and search for puffins at Haystack Rock.

Foodie Finds: Lazy Susan Cafe is a breakfast must, Ecola Seafood for the freshest catch, and Wayfarer Restaurant for an upscale meal.

Stay Here: Choose from oceanfront hotels for easy beach access, the Surfsand Resort for a family-friendly vibe, or a rental if you have a group.

2. Yachats

There's something extraordinary about Yachats, known as the "gem of the Oregon coast." It's small-town charm at its finest, with a focus on natural beauty, friendly locals, and surprisingly diverse dining options.

Must-Do: Explore tide pools at low tide, hike the trails at Cape Perpetua, or just slow down and soak in the relaxed vibe.

Foodie Finds: Luna Sea Fish House for some of the best fish and chips and Ona Restaurant for a special occasion.

Stay Here: Oceanfront rentals offer incredible views, or find a cozy B&B for a quintessential Yachats experience.

1. Newport

Newport is One of the Best Places to Visit on the Oregon Pacific Coast

It's bigger than some other coastal towns in Oregon, but Newport reigns supreme. The variety of attractions, the central location, and the sheer energy of this place make it our top pick for an unforgettable Oregon Coast getaway.

Must-Do: Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, explore the Historic Bayfront with its shops and seafood spots, and stroll the beautiful Nye Beach neighborhood.

Foodie Finds: Local Ocean Seafoods is a must-do, Sorella for delicious Italian, and Rogue Brewery for waterfront brews.

Stay Here: There's something for everyone, from historic hotels in Nye Beach to bayfront motels and spacious vacation homes.

Find Your Perfect Oregon Coast Escape

The beauty of the Oregon Coast is that there's truly a perfect beach town for everyone. So, what's your ideal vacation vibe? With a bit of planning, you'll find that perfect spot to unwind, explore, and fall in love with this ruggedly beautiful coastline.

Want to live in Oregon? Call Matin Real Estate at (503) 622-9601 today to talk with a local agent who can help you find your dream Oregon home.

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