• Astoria to Newport: Oregon Coastal Vistas

      175 miles, about 5 to 7 hours

      When it comes to preserving and sharing coastal treasures, Oregon does it right. Around 80 state and national parks, recreational areas and scenic overlooks and nine historic lighthouses line Highway 101 south of Astoria. Oceanfront fishing villages boast friendly folks, fresh Pacific Coast cuisine and delightful diversions.

      Enjoy these highlights along the coast:

      Astoria, OR (starting point)
      This scenic sojourn kicks off at mile marker 0, the starting point of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (US Highway 101 south), in Astoria. Panoramic views are worth the climb to the top of the Astoria Column on Coxcomb Hill. Don’t miss the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

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      Ecola State Park (27 mile)
      Just north of Cannon Beach, follow signs to Ecola State Park. A perfect picnic spot with coastal views of Haystack Rock and Terrible Tilly Lighthouse.

      Tillamook Cheese Factory (71 mile)
      US Highway 101 turns inland through forests and farmland of Tillamook County. Cows outnumber people here. Tillamook is home of Tillamook Cheese Factory. Take a tour and chow down on free samples.

      Three Capes Scenic Loop (82-115 mile)
      Outside Tillamook, follow signs to Three Capes Scenic Loop. Climb a measly 28 steps to the top of the beautifully restored Cape Meares Lighthouse. What fun! Cape Lookout State Park is next, followed by Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. Scan the coast for a glimpse of fishing dories barreling onto the beach at full speed near Pacific City.

      Yaquina Head Outstanding Area and Lighthouse (172 mile)
      Time arrival at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area at low tide for close-up views of sea lions sunning on the rocks and tidal pools teeming with colorful marine life. Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest, still active beacon on the Oregon Coast.

      Newport (175 mile)
      The Oregon Coast Aquarium is rated as one of the top aquariums in the country. Remember Keiko, the star of Free Willy? This was Keiko’s home. Capture a shot of the Yaquina Bay Bridge (one of America’s most photographed bridges) silhouetted against sky at twilight. Celebrate the drive with dinner on the harbor at Local Ocean Seafoods.

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      Waves pound the Oregon coastline at
      Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach