Craving for the sounds of crashing ocean waves, bustling marine life, and short on time? It is possible to explore the Oregon coast in 2 days, as a lot of “must-see” places located very close to each other.
Bring your little ones, as Oregon Coast is very family-friendly!
Oregon Coast – what so special about it?!
While sharing the same shore with Washington (in the north) and California (in the south), Oregon Coast is genuinely different. It’s much more impressive, lush, and diverse than California’s coastline, yet less known and underrated, wild and rugged.
We knew nothing about it until we moved to the West Coast. All we knew about Oregon was Portland :).
Oregon Coast in 2 days
1. Hours, current conditions, might change during Covid-19. Please verify all the essential information for the destinations before you go.
2. Keep in mind Oregon Coast is pretty long: roughly 363 miles and full of natural wonders. We made 5 trips there in 3 years and still didn’t see all. There are so many beautiful and unique things to see and do that you’ll have to give up on some.
1. Best of Oregon: historic coastal city of Astoria
Time to explore: from a brief visit to a full day.
Driving time: from Seattle: 3 hours; from Portland: 2 hours.
Astoria is a great starting point on the way to explore Oregon Coast. Many people skip it, heading to the popular towns like Seaside or Cannon Beach, but it has a lot to offer. Hundreds of California sea lions, underground tour, microbreweries, etc… We made a separate post about Astoria adventures.
2. Seaside: bonfire and seals
Seaside is known as Oregon’s Coney Island: it has an amusement park, indoor carousel mall, promenade, and dozens of souvenir shops.
Now, forget it all: the best-kept secrets of Seaside are bonfires at the beach at night and feeding seals at the local aquarium. Sitting at the bonfire at night, with the sounds of ocean waves crashing nearby is pure magic! You can get firewood at the stores nearby Seaside Beach Oregon.
Feeding seals at Seaside Aquarium was supposed to be an activity for kids but all of us were happy to interact with those guys:
The aquarium is small but nice. The top thing is definitely watching and feeding the seals. Highly recommend!
3. Ecola State Park: best panoramic views
If you looking for an iconic picture of the Pacific Ocean and Oregon Coast, go to the Ecola state park. The views are vast and dramatic:
Ecola park is easy to explore: no need to hike at all if you don’t want to. Beautiful views open up after just a couple of minutes of walking from the parking lot. Restrooms and picnic tables are available on-site:
Indian Beach, part of Ecola State Park, is great for exploring sea life creatures during low tide, and our next destination in Oregon.
4. Cannon Beach
Time to explore: from a couple of hours to a full day.
Driving: 7 min from Ecola State Park, 1.5 hours from Portland.
Cannon Beach is the most famous spot on Oregon Coast. We love this place for multiple reasons, and one of them … – puffins! Lots and lots of tufted puffins could be found at Haystack Rock from April to August. Come during low tide and don’t forget binoculars.
There are so many things to do in Cannon Beach, we made a separate post. It is a wonderful, full of life in any season, small coastal town.
Puffins nest on the grassy meadow on the north face of the Haystack Rock, the right, flat, an upper side of the rock, in the picture below:
5. Oregon Coast in 2 Days. Hug Point: picturesque cliffs, waterfall, and caves.
Time to explore: from a brief visit to a couple of hours.
Location: 10 min drive from Cannon Beach.
Hug Point is one of the best beaches along the Oregon Coast. It has everything travelers could ask for: an easy, short trail to the secluded beach, the waterfall you can climb on (during low tide), and multiple caves along the way.
Hug Point is great for tide pooling (during low tide as well), watching the sunset, playing in the sand. Kids and we, adults, were squealing with excitement when we discovered this place:
6. Short Sand Beach, top surfing spot
Time to explore: from a brief visit to a couple of hours.
Driving time: 6 min from Hug Point State Recreational Site.
Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park is one of the most popular spots for surfing in Oregon, but also great for visiting with a family. Short Sands trail, an easy 0.5 miles hike leads through the beautiful rainforest to the Smugglers Cove. In the picture below surfers walking at the beach during sunset:
The long Short Sand beach is perfect to watch the sunset, explore piles of driftwood, and a nice place for tide pooling during low tides. There are picnic tables right in front of the ocean, you can have a great lunch if the weather is good. In the pic below views of the Oswald West State Park from the top:
Best of the Oregon Coast in 2 Days. Essentials
Oregon Coast is popular to visit year-round. Summers might be hot or might be as fall, winter, and spring: mild, wet, and windy.
- Appropriate jackets, shoes are essential, as well as changes of clothes for kids. Being swept by the icy-cold waters despite a calm-looking ocean is very possible.
- Check the tide schedule before tide-pooling, puffin-watching, and other low-tide related activities
- Never turn your back to the ocean.
- Bring binoculars. And a kite (we have this one, in the pic below). Oregon Coast is kite’s flyers paradise!
Oregon Coast in 2 days on My Maps
Where to stay during Oregon Coast trip in 2 Days
Cannon Beach is the most popular place for short stays on the Oregon Coast. Hotel rates are better at Seaside, it’s only 13 minutes drive away. We enjoyed River Inn at Seaside and were staying there 3 years in a row. Usually, we book through Priceline.
Renting a house overlooking the Pacific is in high demand year-round:
You can rent one through Airbnb. Cannon Beach is a tempting place to stay, and available houses disappear very quickly. Book as far in advance as you can, especially for the best rates.
Portland, Oregon: how to make the most out of your visit
Oregon Coast road trip: the ultimate guide and 18 amazing places to visit. 19 top things to do on Oregon Coast
Thank you for reading, friends! Have fun and enjoy the Oregon Coast!