• Newport, Oregon to Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, California

      230 miles - allow a full day

      This is a truly wonderful coastal drive, taking in rugged cliffs, picturesque lighthouses, endless sand dunes and arguably the most beautiful beach in the whole of Oregon. And at the end of the route thereís the majestic wonder of California's redwoods. There's even time to take in a classic roadside attraction in the form of a collection of life-size dinosaurs.

      Heading south from Newport, here are some of the highlights along the way:

      Newport (starting point)
      The route starts in Newport, a bustling fishing port with plenty to offer the visitor, including an estimated 80+ restaurants, diners and cafes. Its most popular destination is the Oregon Coast Aquarium other attractions include a choice of beaches, two famous lighthouses, a thriving arts scene and virtually endless possibilities for the more active visitor including surfing, hiking, fishing, kayaking and biking.

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      Sea Lion Caves (mile 36)
      Sea Lion Caves is home to a large breeding colony of Stellar sea lions. The visit involves a 208 feet elevator ride right down into the cave itself (while you're waiting, scan the sea below to see if you can spot a whale spouting). At one end of the cave are the sea lions, at the other is a superb view of the nearby Heceta Head Lighthouse.

      Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (mile 65)
      The Oregon Dunes are a magnet for 'off-highway vehicle' users (didnít we used to call them dune buggies?) and, as a result, you can feel slightly out of place if you're not towing, unloading, riding or fixing an ATV. But even if you're just passing through, there are plenty of short trails - some which have been 'boardwalked' - that allow you to experience the amazing scale of the place: some dunes rise to over 500 ft above sea level.

      Bandon (mile 115)
      Bandon-by-the-Sea is a picture postcard-pretty town with a good choice of hotels and places to eat. If time permits, I'd recommend breaking your journey and staying overnight here. Whatever you do, be sure to visit the beach. It's wide, empty and incredibly photogenic. There are rock pools, anemones, starfish colonies, wonderfully clean and smooth sands and amazing sea stacks rising out of the water.

      Prehistoric Gardens (mile 150)
      Oregonís Prehistoric Gardens are home to 20 or so life-size dinosaurs created in concrete, and then painted in vivid colors, by sculptor Earnie Nelson. Set in a genuine rainforest, this quirky roadside attraction has been charming visitors since the early 1950s.

      Whaleshead Beach (mile 183)
      Situated just north of Brookings, Whaleshead Beach is great place to get out and stretch your legs. It gets its name from the sea stacks that sit just off the beach and are supposed to look like the head of a whale. In the right conditions, the sea apparently spurts like a whale spouting.

      Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park (mile 230)
      Nothing quite prepares you for your first redwood. Almost inconceivably massive, these magnificent trees have a presence that forces you to recalibrate your idea of plant life. The 10,000 acre Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park offers trails, an excellent campground and the Smith River, where you can swim, float or just sit quietly and watch the deer as they come down to drink.

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      Heceta Head Lighhouse, as viewed from
      inside the Sea Lion Caves.

      Comments 3 Comments
      1. Eris's Avatar
        Eris -
        Enjoyed reading the article on the trip from Newport to the redwoods. It is without doubt a road journey full of interest and scenery all along the way.

        Now for the not so good news – a very big omission. As a Yorkshire man there is a man who stands very tall for me – Captain James Cook ( a Yorkshire man) and he sailed along the Oregon coast in 1778 naming Cape Perpetua , ( 7 March - St Perpetua Day). Near Yachats. He also named Cape Foulweather but being north of Newport I’ll be more forgiving on that one. Someone has to look after our Yorkshire folk.

        There is a visitors center - see here:


        Interestingly there was an American on board with Capt Cook, a sailor called John Ledyard, and he has written about the voyage. Probably the first American to discover that area. Thomas Jefferson, the president, met and wrote about him saying of him, “ a man of genius, of some science, and of fearless courage and enterprise."

        John Ledyard – see here:

      1. Peter Thody's Avatar
        Peter Thody -
        By 'eck Eris, tha's reet an all. (A translation for non-Yorkshire folk: "Yes Eris, you're right"). I have to admit that Cape Perpetua is a new one on me.

        I have only two things to offer in my defence:
        1) I did mention Captain Cook in a previous piece when I visited the wonderfully-named Cape Foulweather (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...hlight=vambo25)
        2) I am just an honorary Yorkshireman having only moved here in 1965; you have to have lived here a lot longer than 45 years before you can claim to have Tetley's beer running through your veins.

      1. Eris's Avatar
        Eris -
        Thee is a reight gud sooart Peter - (you are a right good guy) - thanks for seeing the funny side.

        Just read your excellent Oregon article covering Cape Foulweather which I had missed – so I’ll take myself to task for not paying attention. Being a Capt Cook fan I have read his journals and when on the Big Island I had the good luck to kayak across Kealakekua Bay to see his memorial erected where he was killed in 1779. And Whitby, Yorkshire, where he started out as a young man, is a favourite visit.

        Kealakekua Bay - see here:


        We are blessed with a few good breweries in Yorkshire and can vouch to Tetley’s in my veins – good beer when served well. And talking of beer I sampled a few Rogue ales, a well known brewery in Newport OR, and liked the brew so much I purchased one of their pint glasses – still in good use.

        For the beer drinkers –


        Cheers. Eris.