7 Most Charming Waterfront Towns in Oregon

Located in the northwestern USA, Oregon overlooks the Pacific Ocean while surrounded by the neighboring states of Idaho, Nevada, California, and Washington. Today, this state is home to 4.19 million people, alongside 361 state parks, and over 5 million acres of trees. While straddling the Cascade Mountains, Oregon also offers an incredible view of the Pacific coast, especially along its beach towns. These beach towns are blessed with some of the best views the Oregon Coast has to offer.


View from Astoria, with the Columbia River

Nicknamed "Little San Francisco", Astoria exudes both new and old vibes. Founded as a fur trading post in 1811, Astoria is one of the oldest settlements west of the Rockies. This coastal town teems with Victorian-style houses atop other historical attractions like The Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Flavel House Museum. Most importantly, this small town enjoys a picturesque view of the Columbia River, which flows below the Astoria-Megler truss Bridge connecting Washington to Oregon.


The town of Yachats on the rough Oregon coast in a beautiful sunset scene

Straddling along the Oregon Coast Range, this cozy coastal town was named after the Yachats River. Derived from the local Alseas' word Ya'Xaik, Yachats is nestled in a temperate rainforest environment while overlooking the Pacific waters. Picnicking, hiking, and other outdoor activities can be enjoyed at the Yachats or Yachats Ocean Road State Parks. Otherwise, nature enthusiasts can enjoy a day of tide-pooling at Strawberry Hill Wayside or venture to the Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint.


The Bandon Lighthouse on the Coquille River at Bandon, on the southern Oregon coast

Sitting in Coos County in the southern stretch of the Coquille River, Bandon is a popular destination in southern Oregon. This family-friendly destination can be enjoyed year-round, with plenty of activities to partake like fishing, camping, hiking, or beaching. This coastal town is home to several beaches, such as the Seven Devils Wayside, a popular beach for picnicking and beaching within the Seven Devils State Recreation Site.

Gold Beach

Approaching the legendary roadside rock formation "Kissing Rock" in Gold Beach, Oregon

Situated in Oregon's Curry County, Gold Beach lies only 40 miles north of California. With a population of only 2,255 residents, there is a lot to explore in this small coastal town and its beaches year-round. Visitors can comb through Gold Beach to find tagged glass floats for a redeemable prize in April. Meanwhile, the town hosts year-round fishing excursions due to its population of salmon, trout, clams, and other marine life. Otherwise, visitors and locals alike can partake in other activities like jet boating, camping, hiking, whale-watching, and windsurfing.

North Bend

Panoramic view of Coos Bay Bridge on U.S. Route 101 near North Bend, Oregon

Founded in 1863, North Bend was formerly known as Yarrow. Situated along the Oregon Coast, North Bend enjoys a quiet population of only 9,789 residents. However, North Bend's claim to fame is its home to Oregon Coast's only airport, the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. Otherwise, it boasts breathtaking coastal views (and massive, 500-ft sand dunes) at Horsfall Beach. Besides hiking, North Bend is a popular destination for horseback riding, fishing, boating, and crabbing. 


Charleston Marina in Coos Bay, Oregon

Only a stone's throw away from Coos Bay and North Bend, Charleston is one of Oregon Coast's smallest communities. Though Charleston has its fair share of locally-owned stores and boutiques, its main attraction is the town's port, home to commercial fishing fleets and popular hangouts for avid fishers, crabbers, and boaters. Visitors can also find the Shore Acres State Park in Charleston, home to towering bluffs overlooking the Pacific coast.


Lewis & Clark End of Trail Monument in Seaside, Oregon

The beach town of Seaside also enjoys a reputation as a resort destination in northwest Oregon. This family-friendly boasts a range of attractions for a memorable vacation, from its famed Seaside Promenade (or "The Prom") to mini-golfing at the Captain Kid Amusement Park. Nature enthusiasts can also endlessly explore the natural landscape at Seaside like Tillamook Head and Ecola State Park. Additionally, history buffs can appreciate Seaside's collection of historical memorabilia, specifically the Lewis and Clark Salt Cairn monuments at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. 

There is more to see in Oregon besides Portland and Salem. Straddling the Pacific coast, Oregon boasts stunning ocean views against a backdrop of dramatic mountain ranges. Thus, the beauty of the Oregon Coast is easily visible while exploring the state's charming beach towns, from Astoria to Seaside.

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