With beach towns that run the gamut from family fun to artsy and beyond, where to stay on the Oregon Coast can seem a little tricky. After all, there are 363.1 miles of it so there’s a lot to choose from. Personally, I favor (and know a whole lot more about) the North Oregon Coast as it’s one of my main vacation spots, but there are places to stay the entire span of coast that will suit you, whether you like quiet hideaways or amenities surrounding you.
Also, if it’s not on this list, chances are it’s fairly quiet. All up and down the coast are quiet little spots with maybe a small hotel or two or some vacation rentals.
Let it be known that you can also camp up and down the Oregon Coast in campgrounds ranging from KOAs to little indie campgrounds.
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From north to south…
To be fair, Astoria is not actually on the coast an it doesn’t have beaches as a result, but it deserves to be included for its historic charm and proximity to the coast. Wander antique shops, peep at sea lions honking on the docks, climb the Astoria Tower, or ride the trolley through downtown and admire the Victorian appeal. The town is right on the banks of the Columbia River on one side and the Young River on the other, so you’ll find plenty of waterfront. You’ll even find little patches of beach (there’s a super cute one under the Megler Bridge near the Holiday Inn Express, but it’s very small!). Hotels dot the Columbia River side of town, adjacent to the downtown core. You’ll have your choice of nicer chain places like the Holiday Inn Express, Best Western Astoria Bayfront Hotel, Comfort Suites Columbia River and Hampton Inn & Suites Astoria (both of which will get you near one of the main sea lion docks!), as well as smaller motels with character like the Atomic Motel.
Best for: Goonies fans, people who love historic towns, people who want to be near the coast but not necessarily right on it.
Seaside is one of the Oregon Coasts bigger towns and it’s filled with things to do and places to stay. Enjoy an expansive beach with picturesque Tillamook Head in the distance, hop between fun shops along Broadway, dine out on everything from ice cream to Thai food to pub food, or get outdoorsy. Ecola State Park is located right between Seaside and Cannon Beach and makes a great place for some day hiking. Seaside is filled with hotels, including several that line the boardwalk (called the Prom). You’ll pay a bit more for an oceanfront room, but there’s no finer way to enjoy the sunset or watch the waves day and night. Prom hotels include a range of choices, from the huge WorldMark Seaside, to chains like the Best Western Plus Ocean View Resort, to local spots like the Hi-Tide (my favorite). If you want to save some money, you can also look to hotels off the beach, and Seaside is unique because you have a choice between waterview hotels not on the ocean as there’s a river that runs through town. Look to places like the Rivertide Suites right on the Necanium River that winds through town. There are also lots of vacation rentals in the area, both on and off the water.
Best for: Everyone! Unless you really don’t like having lots of fun things to do, yummy restaurants, and a lovely oceanfront boardwalk.
Cannon Beach is just a ten-minute drive from Seaside and offers a very different experience. Where Seaside has kind of a Coney Island appeal with carnival rides and sweet shops and a boardwalk, Cannon Beach is more reserved, artsier, and a little more sophisticated. It’s also a little more spread out as there’s no boardwalk to center on. Most of the town is located near Haystack Rock. Hotels right on the water with a view of the towering monolith are fairly pricey, and include spots like the Hallmark Resort Hotel & Spa and the Surfsand Resort. There are plenty of hotels just off the water and without a view if you want to save some money, though, and mostly are local and non-chain. Look to the historic Cannon Beach Hotel, Inn at Haystack Rock, or more modern Lighthouse Inn.
Best for: Couples looking for a romantic getaway, families whose kids don’t mind popping into an art gallery or two, and birdwatchers as Haystack Rock is home to about a million birds.
At just a little larger than Manzanita, Rockaway Beach offers a nice balance of a quiet beach vacation, but with enough to do nearby that you won’t have to just spend your days watching the ocean (because that would be so terrible). Within a short drive, you’ll find Tillamook Cheese Factory, the various things to do in nearby Garibaldi, and plenty of charming shops and restaurants to explore right in Rockaway Beach. Hotel options include the oceanfront Silver Sands Motel as well as places like the Rock Creek Inn Condo Rentals. There are also plenty of other vacation rentals and places to camp close by.
Best for: Anyone who loves some restaurant and shop options, and doesn’t mind a little drive for attractions any more major than that.
Garibaldi is a neat little town that fisherpeople will love with a 700-foot-long pier, kayak and canoe rentals, and fishing charters all on tap. But make no mistake – it’s not all about fishing here. In fact, you can cobble together a very diverse set of activities in Garibaldi from jaunting off for some cheese in Tillamook, to riding the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, to checking out the Three Graces rock formation, to walking along the long pier. There are not a ton of hotels in Garibaldi, though. Garibaldi Inn at the Bay and the Garibaldi House Inn are fine options.
Best for: Families with at least one fisherperson, or anyone who wants to have a bit of an eclectic beach vacation (but this town is located in a bay so its beaches are less wide open).
Lincoln City in Central Oregon has a bit of everything. Visit the Lincoln City Glass Center if you enjoy the arts, shop at the Lincoln City Outlets, or try your luck at Chinook Winds Casino. Lincoln City is also home to a bunch of events throughout the year, none of which is cooler than the on-going Finders Keepers where local glass artists hide about 3,000 glass floats up and down the seven miles of beaches here. If you find one, you can keep it as a really awesome souvenir. You’ll find plenty of lodging in town, from chain hotels like Best Western Plus Lincoln Sands Oceanfront Suites, to local places like the Beachfront Manor Hotel, to bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals.
Best for: Everyone, especially if you love hunting for “treasure” (glass floats) on the beach. Lincoln City has lots to offer.
Newport is one of the Oregon Coasts larger towns. Like Seaside, it’s filled with things to do and family fun galore. Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, learn about the critters living out in the ocean at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, book a deep sea fishing charter, watch a glassblowing demonstration at Oregon Coast Glassworks, or delve into the strange discoveries at Ripley’s Believe It or Not. And there are equally as many places to stay in Newport, too. Stay right on the sand at Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites or at the historic Sylvia Beach Hotel. Chain hotels like Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn (and, yes, it’s on Agate Beach and near Yaquina Head Lighthouse so…bonus) are also plentiful. There’s even a “bed ‘n beer” here too where you can stay right at Rogue Public House!
Best for: Also everyone! There’s lots to do in Newport.
Coos Bay makes a fine jumping off point for an outdoorsy and beachy vacation (and Florence just to the north offers the same as well as similar access to the dunes). It’s not far from the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, if you want to speed over the dunes in a quad or dune buggy. Take a fishing charter out for a deep sea fishing adventure, book a paddling tour of the area’s estuaries, gamble at the Three Rivers Casino, or explore the town’s shops and restaurants. Hotel options include the Best Western Holiday Motel, Edgewater Inn, as well as smaller hotels and vacation rentals.
Best for: Those who love the outdoors.