Big views, long hikes along bluffs and beaches, and fresh fare from local fishing villages await on this rugged stretch of Oregon coast. Get ready for a weekend of cheese, crab, and beer.
Part two of our Seattle to San Diego road trip traces U.S. Highway 101 down the stunning Oregon coast, from the broad flats of Cannon Beach to the Rogue River outlet at Gold Beach. See leg one, Seattle to Cannon Beach, here.
Mile 40: Tillamook: Cheese Pilgrimage
Long before artisan cheese was a glimmer in the eye of culinarians, a group of small creameries banded together to produce the timelessly delicious cheddar that bears this town's name. Tour the factory (open daily year-round), taste, and take blocks of delicious cheese to fuel your progress. Love French Brie? Make sure you stop in at Blue Heron French Cheese Company, which also stocks Pacific Northwest wines and gourmet deli treats.
Mile 101: Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area: Nature Break
Take a breather to watch big surf churn in the rock formation shaped like a huge punch bowl, and keep an eye peeled for migrating whales and intrepid surfers.
Mile 109: Newport: Feast and Sleep
With its rich fishing tradition, Newport provides opportunities for old-school feasting, like creamy chowder at Mo's or crab at Local Ocean Seafoods, and new-school craft beer at Rogue Ales Public House. Bed down at the historic Sylvia Beach Hotel, which lures book lovers with author-named bedrooms that are WiFi- and TV-free.
RELATED: The Best Seafood Dives in Oregon
Mile 147: Heceta Head: Lighthouse Love
Take your sweet time making this short reach by slowing down to explore Cape Perpetua and Yachats. Then pull in for the evening at one of the coast's most spectacular lighthouses, and the keeper's quarters/B&B where you'll spend the night.
Mile 286: Gold Beach: Natural Highs
A mecca for long walks and driftwood-spotting, this is also the mouth of the wild Rogue River, which will take you east to the magical Tu Tu' Tun Lodge for a final night on this wild and stirring coastline.
RELATED: The Best Coastal Breweries
Detour Worth Taking:
From Newport, head east on U.S. 20 to Corvallis, home to great breweries, cider houses, and meaderies (get a Mid-Valley Sip Trip map at the visitor center), and a hot small-batch distillery scene. Check out Vivacity Fine Spirits, Spiritopia, and 4 Spirits Distillery.
Roadtrip by the Numbers:
286 miles driven
9 historic lighthouses
50 average speed on the Oregon coast
0 gas stations where you can pump your own gas *except at night and in rural areas
20K number of gray whales that migrate along the Oregon coast twice a year