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Hello and welcome to WhatAWanderousWorld!
The Oregon Coast is one of my absolute favorite destinations! It is by far the destination that I have visited the most and for a multitude of reasons but mainly because it is absolutely GORGEOUS! There are so many beaches to choose from, the nature is unbelievable, the food in the area is awesome, and best of all it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to vacation there! (If you do it right).
Lincoln City is by far my favorite part of the OC specifically for it’s central location and affordability. Here is a list of my favorite stops, restaurants, beaches, and things to do in the Central Oregon Coast/Lincoln City area!
Oh man, don’t get me started on Mo’s! Mo’s has been a tradition amongst my family for as long as I can remember; if we were going to the coast, we were stopping at Mo’s for sure! Mohava Marie Niemi, founder and face behind Mo’s, was described as “Newport’s crusty, big hearted, chain smoking mother” and she certainly lived up to that name! Mo Niemi started the restaurant with her friend Freddie, originally calling the restaurant “Freddie and Mo’s”, but she later bought Freddie’s share after he became ill thus “sealing the legacy of Mo’s”. Mo herself put Mo’s Restaurant on the map with her “warm hospitable personality” and some mighty fine clam chowder if I do say so myself!
Mo’s is most famous for their Cannon Ball Bowl; a fresh baked loaf of sourdough bread, hollowed out, and filled with Mo’s famous clam chowder! They have been nationally recognized in newspapers, magazines, and even celebrated as one of the “Best American Regional Foods” by the Smithsonian Institute! So it’s pretty easy to say that Mo’s is an absolute MUST on the Oregon Coast!
2. Pig n’ Pancake
As far as breakfast goes, no one is better than Pig n’ Pancake! The original Pig n’ Pancake was founded in Seaside, Oregon in 1961 by Bob and Marianne Poole. It didn’t take long for the restaurant to become a hit and has been expanding ever since. Pig n’ Pancake restaurants can now be found up and down the Oregon Coast in Astoria, Cannon Beach, Newport, and of course Lincoln City! Pig n’ Pancake is a must stop on the OC, well, if you like drool-worthy pancakes that is!
1. Road’s End State Park
The OC is known for it’s gorgeous state parks and beautiful beaches and Road’s End State Park is no exception. A little ways off the beaten path, Road’s End is situated at the bottom of a hill surrounded by some of Lincoln City’s prime real estate, most of which you can rent! (for more info on rentals click here!) Road’s End, being situated off of the main road, is not quite as busy as other beaches in Lincoln City. The main beach goers here are locals and those renting the surrounding properties.
2. D River Beach
D River Beach is the main beach in Lincoln City and by far the most popular. Right off of Highway 101 in the heart of Lincoln City, D River Beach is a central location to dining, gift shops, and hotels.
If you like to watch kites and kite surfing, this is where you need to be! Professionals and amateurs alike come from miles around to catch the wind and waves at this beach! There are even shops in town that offer lessons if you wanna try your hand at surfing yourself! In fact, there is an awesome kite shop right across the street called NorthWest Winds Kites and Toys! This is not a kite surfing shop, just regular kites but the shop is worth checking out none the less. My family and I stop in here almost every trip to the OC to pick up kites for our days at the beach, which the kids LOVE doing! Even if you don’t get a kite, walking around the shop is fascinating! The kites are gorgeous and so interesting! Definitely worth the stop!
3. Siletz Bay
Siletz Bay is one of the last turns at the very south edge of Lincoln City but definitely worth your attention and is actually home to my favorite restaurant, Mo’s! Here, you can dine on awesome sea food and gaze out at this beautiful bay! This beach is a quieter one and not very busy. Many enjoy beach bonfires here when the sun goes down! (Bucket List!!).
4. Otter Rock Beach
Otter Rock Beach is another one that is a bit off the beaten track. This beach is accessible from a small park next to The Devil’s Punch Bowl (we’ll get to that soon) or from the surrounding residential area (also rentable). Otter Rock Beach is very secluded and not busy at all, the main reason for this I believe is that it is quite a trek to get down to the beach and most paths to the water are easily missed. (Otter Rock is also a great place for beach bonfires 🙂 )
Now there’s something that you should know about Lincoln City Beaches that makes them a little extra special, during spring and early summer, local glass blowing businesses hide glass floats on beaches for people to find! These glass floats are hand crafted and absolutely gorgeous!
(Hint: Go to the beach early in the morning before anyone else, as you’re walking down to the beach from the parking lot, start looking all around the pathway to the water, this is where they like to hide them.-Local) What is a glass float? Find out more here!
1. The Devil’s Punch Bowl
The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a most interesting sight, especially at high tide! Devil’s Punch Bowl is essentially a large, naturally carved hole in an outcropping of a cliff. It got its name from the red tint on the rock inside of the “bowl” and when the tide is high, waves come crashing in sending splashes of water chaotically up the sides of the rock! It really is a beautiful sight and definitely worth the stop!
2. Devil’s Lake
Devil’s Lake sits right in the heart of Lincoln City and serves as the perfect spot for camping, hiking, and more! A campground in the middle of a city? What? Yes, I know it sounds strange, but despite it’s location Devil’s Lake is still a gorgeous escape from the “modern world” for campers and lake goers!
Whether you plan on camping or just stopping for the day, Devil’s Lake is worth checking out! Did I mention that they have one of the coolest parks ever??
3. Depoe Bay
I love Depoe Bay! I’m not crazy about staying there but love visiting for the day! (The roads are very steep and narrow, driving off the main road is a nightmare).
As you drive into town from Lincoln City, on your left the street is lined with awesome gift shops, all of which I recommend checking out! While on your right the trees open up to reveal a breathtaking, vast ocean scene making Depot Bay a wonderful place to go whale watching! (They even offer guided boat tours).
(Hint: If you plan on getting anything from the gift shops here, go to all of them, pick out what you like, and look for it at other shops, chances are you will find that item for cheaper at another shop on that strip.)
4. Yaquina Head Lighthouse and State Park
Yaquina Head is another turn that is easy to miss but worth the attention. Just as you are driving into Newport from Lincoln City, look for the signs on the right!
Yaquina Head Lighthouse sits high on a picturesque cliff looking out over the ocean (as most lighthouses do) with trails leading down to the beach! This beach has tide pools, seals on nearby rocks, and much more! However, Yaquina Head Lighthouse and State Park is highly regulated meaning that you must pay to get in (it was $7 for the whole car I believe) and you cannot take anything from the beach.
5. Tillamook Cheese Factory
(Under construction as of 05/20/18 – Similar attractions held in annex building)
You can’t go to the central Oregon Coast and not go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I’m pretty sure that it’s a sin. It is a little over an hour drive away from Lincoln City but well worth the drive. (The drive itself is a gorgeous adventure!)
The Tillamook Cheese Factory offers free self guided tours through cheese packaging, milk processing, and more! Here you will walk on the floor above and watch the employees hard at work on the cheese that we all love so much! The tour also offers a cheese sampling station, a grilled cheese restaurant, an awesome gift shop, and an ice cream counter!
6. Mariner Square
Nestled down in the heart of Newport, Oregon sits Mariner Square, the Oregon home of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and The Wax Works Museum! Here you can watch fishing boats as they come into harbor, visit some cool shops, eat at some awesome restaurants, or take a walk around the pier.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Newport, Oregon is a small museum filled with interactive displays of various strange traditions, myths, creatures, and history! And when I say strange I mean it! The kids absolutely love this one! I’m talking about mummies, heads in jars, and Big Foot? Yup, Big Foot! The bit hairy guy in the front, you can’t miss him!(I do have to warn you though that some displays may be shocking especially to children ie; maniquines depicting death, torture, intense abnormalities; simply be cautious about taking young children, maybe call the museum and ask exactly what they have on display at that time)
The Wax Works Museum
The Wax Works Museum showcases several, very detailed, life-sized wax statues of famous people throughout history! They have on display icons like Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Depp, and the characters of Star Wars!!! A stop at The Wax Works Museum is both fun and educational (they have historical figures on display as well).
Where To Stay!
When visiting the Oregon Coast I absolutely 100% recommend renting a house. Renting a house allows; a lot more freedom to come and go as you please without having to trek up and down hotel stairs, you have your own kitchen so you don’t have to eat out every night, you get private parking, and way more space than in a hotel room. Best of all, it is the same price if not cheaper than renting a hotel room! It’s a no-brainer! Seriously!
To rent a house for your next trip to the coast, check out these awesome rental agencies: