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Best Oregon Coast Towns You Shouldn't Miss

Guest Post by Annika B.

The Oregon coast is a place that everyone should visit in their lifetime. There is beauty all along the coastline that stretches all along the 363 miles. Sunrises are beautiful and the sunsets are even more mesmerizing.

Check out our favourite Oregon beach towns and some things to do in each of them

Astoria Oregon

First up is Astoria. Astoria is one of many coastal towns that has a rich history. Founded in 1811, Astoria holds the distinct honour of being the first permanent United States settlement on the Pacific coast.

This amazing place to visit in Oregon is located near the mouth of the Columbia River where the treacherous stretch of water is home to many shipwrecks, and is so dangerous even huge ships cannot cross safely without help.

Astoria Oregon one of the first major cities on the long chain of beach towns in Oregon.

Astoria Oregon one of the first major cities on the long chain of beach towns in Oregon we highly recommend visiting.

One fun place to visit in Oregon, or more specifically in Astoria, is the Astoria Column. Dedicated in 1926, the concrete and steel 125 foot tall column towers over a breathtakingly gorgeous hill. If you’re feeling up for it, visitors are able to climb up the tower and see for themselves the incredible views from the top.

This amazing monument is visited by over 400,000 people per year, while Astoria itself is only home to 10,000 citizens. It is truly an amazing piece of art in one of the best Oregon beach towns.

There's many other fun things to do in Astoria Oregon. Foodies will love the selection of independent Astoria restaurants. Be sure to swing by the fan favourite Columbia Maritime Museum, the Oregon Film Museum, or take a tour of the famed Goonies locations.

Astoria Oregon is an up and coming town, with lots of new independent shops and things to do. Many transplants find it's one of the best Oregon coastal towns to live in.

Seaside Oregon

Seaside best oregon coast towns
Don't miss the fun things to do in Seaside Oregon

Seaside Oregon is the next fun place to visit in Oregon

Up next is Seaside. This is one of the slightly newer Oregon coast towns. It was not until 1912 that the city of Seaside was incorporated. Which ultimately means, Seaside is one of the best Oregon beach communities for families of all ages.

We see everyone from young babies to older folks gathering for fun activities in this awesome place to visit in Oregon. The beach is beautiful and the kids will never get bored here. There's lots to do in Seaside Oregon, and many consider it the Coney Island of the Oregon Coast.

One supper fun activity to do while you’re in Seaside is to go to the Funland Seaside Arcade. This game center has isn’t just for kids, but they'll love it too! Playing skeeball and riding bumper cars are an awesome way to spend part of your day. We highly recommend Funland.

But Seaside isn't just about Funland. The beautiful Seaside beach is a favourite of many, along with other fun things to do in Seaside like the small Seaside Aquarium and a visit to the Lewis & Clark Salt Works.

Don't forget the beautiful beach and easy Seaside hiking trails. Or if you're up for shopping, stop by the Seaside Outlet Mall!

Many locals make Seaside Oregon their home, as it's one of the most affordable Oregon Coast towns.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is our next stop and the most well known beach town in Oregon

Next up is Cannon Beach. Debatably one of the most well known beach towns in Oregon, Cannon Beach is the perfect harmony of relaxed getaway and small town bustle. If you don’t recognize Cannon Beach by it’s name, perhaps the iconic Haystack Rock will jog your memory. This is the landmark for one of the popular beach towns in Oregon.

While Haystack Rock is a sight in itself to see in Cannon Beach, there's lots of things to do in this favorite northern coast town!

Kids do love shopping, and there's fun to be had in downtown Cannon Beach. Bruce’s Candy Kitchen is a must try for anyone who enjoys a little sugar now and then! Bruce’s Candy Kitchen is one of my personal favorite places to visit in Oregon. The kids will want to go every time you visit the Oregon Coast. Or stop by Geppetto's Toy Shoppe for a fun game to play on your vacation or beach toy.

Food is always a winner for kids. Stop by the Cannon Beach Bakery for treats or some fresh Haystack Bread with a slice of Tillamook Cheese. Or start the day by sampling a terrific breakfast at one of the great Cannon Beach restaurants. Lazy Susan Cafe and Pig and Pancake are fan favourites.

Search through the wonderful tide pools around Haystack Rock, ride a fun cycle around the beach, or take a hike in Cannon Beach or the nearby beaches.

Some of the better Cannon Beach Oregon hotels are located centrally on the beach, attracting many vacationers to this charming oceanside town.

Manzanita Oregon

Manzanita Beach is the Best Oregon Coast Town

Manzanita Beach is the Best Oregon Coast Town

Next up, is the highest ranking beach town on my list of best places to visit in Oregon, Manzanita. I grew up spending my vacation days here, so I’m a little biased, but it really is the best of the Oregon coast towns if you want a relaxing getaway!

One of the smaller Oregon coast communities, Manzanita is the Spanish word for little apple. If you visit this beachfront community you’ll understand why it is called the little apple. This small town has a population of only 598, which was taken in the 2010 census.

This is truly one of the quieter, creative and scenic towns on the Oregon coast, which in my opinion makes it the top of the best Oregon beach spots.

You'll find lots to do in and around Manzanita.

One really exciting thing to do in coastal communities, particularly Manzanita, is to go horseback riding. Horse riding on the seven mile Manzanita sandy beach is perfection.

Check out Oregon Coast Beach Rides, located Nehalem Bay State Park. The whole family can go riding on the beach! This is a great way to get outdoors and see the beautiful area of Manzanita. I highly recommend this as one of the most fun places to visit in Oregon, and the whole coast.

Enjoy the two state parks that surround Manzanita, Nehalem Bay State Park and Oswald West State Park.

Don't forget to check out our list of family friendly Manzanita Oregon activities! You'll find a ton more things to do in the Manzanita area, including boogie boarding, searching through tide pools, collecting the sand dollars that dot the beach, riding fun cycles, and much more.

Don't forget the wonderful family friendly Manzanita restaurants Oregon style! Independent and creative, and very yummy!

Nehalem Oregon

Nehalem Oregon Beach River Trip

Nehalem is a quiet Oregon Beach destination that people love

Next up is another one of the coolest places to visit in Oregon, Nehalem. Nehalem is even tinier than Manzanita with just 285 people, which was taken in the 2016 census. This is one Oregon coast spot you won’t want to miss.

Because of its small size it is easy to drive right past this amazing town located on the Nehalem River. This is one of the places to visit in Oregon that is just a few minutes from the ocean, but also tucked away, which makes it one of the best towns in Oregon for a quiet getaway.

One thing that makes for a fun day in one of the cutest beach towns in Oregon is to go wine tasting at Nehalem Bay Winery. For adult vacationers, this charming winery offers many amazing wines to sample and purchase. This historic winery is nestled in the Nehalem Valley on Highway 53. The first production of wine at this Winery was actually their blackberry offering in 1974. The Nehalem Bay blackberry wine remains a top choice at the.

These type of quiet activities make Nehalem one of the places to visit in Oregon.

Try kayaking Nehalem river and Nehalem Bay. And don't forget a yummy breakfast at Wanda's Cafe. There's a reason it's a fan favourite Nehalem restaurant!

Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach Kite Festival

Rockaway Beach is one of the Oregon beach vacation areas you shouldn't miss

Following Nehalem comes another one of the quaint Oregon coast city. This relaxing beach town in Oregon was named after Rockaway Beach on Long Island New York. You'll find this beach town in Oregon is bigger than both Manzanita Beach and Nehalem.

Rockaway hosts 1,312 residents since the 2010 census. Don’t worry about this slightly larger number of residents interfering with your relaxing vacation. It is still one of the Oregon coast areas I highly recommend visiting.

I have to admit, I’m a little biased about this activity to do at Rockaway Beach. Crabbing and fishing is a big fan favourite. I have been to Kelly’s Marina for crabbing more times than I can count with family and friends. I am a city girl. I don’t normally go out crabbing, but this is my all time favourite thing to do when I’m down on the coast.

Kelly’s makes it easy for anyone of any level of crabbing to have fun. Simply take a bunch of your closest family members and friends and get into boats and go!

This is one of the places to visit in Oregon I hope you try the most! You don’t even have to like eating crab, which Kelly’s will cook for you if the crab you catch are big enough, because there’s always someone in the group who will gladly eat it for you!

Manzanita Beach Life insiders tip: the earlier you go the better your chances of catching a crab are.

But there's lots to do around Rockaway Beach. Fun cycling, take a ride on a nostalgic steam engine on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, or take in one of the many Rockaway Beach lively events, such as their colourful kite festival.

Like Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach hotels right on the beach, making it a favourite vacation spot for many.

Tillamook Oregon

Tillamook is a popular Oregon coast community

Tillamook is a popular Oregon coast community

Up next is another one of the Oregon coast towns that you have probably heard of is Tillamook. Home to the first landing of Europeans on the Oregon coast on August 14th, 1788, Tillamook is one of the best towns in Oregon to visit. With so much history here, no wonder it is so well known as one of the best places to visit in Oregon.

Or, this could be due to the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Before Tillamook settled in its name, the community it was unofficially called Lincoln and Honquarton. These were believed to translate to “the landing," due to it being the first place on the Oregon coast Europeans landed.

While the Tillamook Cheese Factory is a must visit, the Tillamook Air Museum is actually one of the less crowded, terrific tourist places to visit in Oregon. I personally can attest, even though I am not super interested in planes and blimps, this is a pretty impressive museum to visit with people of all ages and interests.

This is one of the reasons I love visiting Tillamook. I have seen small children running around the planes in the hanger and adults enjoying the amazing architecture of this historic museum. As far as Oregon coasts vacations go, when visiting Tillamook I highly recommend visiting the Tillamook Air Museum.

Pacific City Oregon

 Pacific City Oregon

Pacific City is one of the sleepy, beautiful places to visit in Oregon

Last up, but certainly one of the amazingly beautiful places to visit in Oregon, Pacific City. Pacific City is home to 1,035 citizens. One of the best beach towns in Oregon, Pacific City was a place for numerous early pioneers to arrive by via seagoing steamers. Pacific City, among of the many beach towns in Oregon, became a source of trade and supplies for these early settlers.

Pacific City has often been named one of the best small towns in Oregon. This town still remains a place for boats to go launch from the beach. This truly is one of the Oregon coast towns you should visit.

One really fun thing to do in Pacific City’s fun activity to do list is beachcombing. We all like to get back to our childhood of searching for cool sea creatures and treasures.

Pacific City is one of the perfect places to visit in Oregon to do this. Be sure to look for Oregon sea glass. This is the place to do it! As you can see, this one of the Oregon coast towns is prime real estate for beachcombing.

Or arrive early and watch the dory launch from the beach. It's really incredible and rare for the coast.

Or have lunch or dinner at Pelican Brewing right on the beach, overlooking the other Haystack! It's a true Pacific City restaurant experience to remember.

All this fun will make a perfectly relaxing and enjoyable day at the beach in one of the best Oregon beach towns to visit.

Be sure to check out these other Oregon Coast activities while you're in the area.

The best northern Oregon Coast wineries to visit.

Railrider Cycling - formerly Oregon Coast Railriders - is a favorite vacation activity for many.

Our list of wonderful Oregon beaches beloved by kids.

Our helpful list of continually updated northern Oregon Coast events.

Enjoy traveling to our favourite Oregon Coast towns ~

We hope our list of our favourite towns helps make your trip even more wonderful!

Interested in staying with us at our Oregon Coast rentals? Call us or drop us a note. We love to help!

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The more the merrier! Feel free to share our Manzanita Beach Life blog post about the best Oregon coast towns using the links below ~



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