So you’ve got a long weekend to explore the Coast, but want to stay off the beaten path? Plan a road trip to Oregon’s low-key Central Coast, where the area’s pristine beaches, trails, waterways and quaint downtowns make for a rejuvenating retreat. Spend a day adventuring in each coastal village, but caution — you may never want to leave.
Day 1: Shopping and wildlife viewing in Toledo
There’s an artsy vibe here in this postcard-worthy wooded community, nestled on a bend of the Yaquina River, seven miles inland from Newport. Set off on foot exploring Toledo’s walkable downtown scene — a 5-block day stretch of specialty shops and art and craft galleries. Carry a picnic to the city’s gorgeous new Waterfront Park. Bring your binoculars to spy the ships, trains, osprey and river otter at the city’s public viewing platform, and if you’re so inspired, launch a canoe from Paddle Park to catch the coastal vibes from the water.
Day 2: Agates and hiking at Seal Rock
Less than 20 miles south of Toledo, back along the coastline, the five miles of sandy beaches at Seal Rock are the main attraction. Bring your buckets for superior agate hunting at Seal Rock State Park and wayside, then take an invigorating 1.7-mile trail hike along the rocky coastline to Brian Booth State Park, also known as Ona Beach. Known for its black rocks and other Instagram-worthy geologic oddities at low tide, it’s a secret you’ll want to keep. Afterward, head into the tiny town to browse the few antique shops and art galleries. Fuel up with a Maple Shot at Seal Rock Espresso & Bakery and homemade Evil Brownie at Indulge Sweets.
Day 3: Crabbing and biking in Waldport
Five miles south of Seal Rock, at the mouth of the Alsea River, the picturesque arches of the Alsea Bay Bridge welcome you to Waldport. It’s worth planning your trip around an early visit to Pacific Sourdough Handcrafted Specialty Bread, open only Thursdays and Saturdays, for some of the best artisan bread in the region, plus sandwiches and cookies. Bring your provisions for a two-wheeled cruise along the Lint Slough trail. Back in town, you can explore the shops and make your way to Old Town Waldport, where you can rent a boat and crab trap at the Port of Alsea and catch your own dinner.
Day 4: Hiking in Yachats
Finding your way south on the 101 you’ll come across Yachats, gem of the Oregon Coast. From here to Florence is a grand 25 minute drive through the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, where you’ll find the highest viewpoint on the Oregon coast and iconic hiking trails such as the Amanda Trail or Cummins ridge trail. If you’re looking for something right off the road, be sure to stop at Devil’s Churn or Thor’s Well. Before heading out of town, pick up fish and chips from Luna’s (voted best on the Oregon Coast) or coffee from Green Salmon. Looking for a place to cozy in for the night with an ocean view? The Overleaf Lodge and Spa offers exceptional accommodations close enough to the ocean you can feel the spray from the crashing waves.