With its ample accommodations, a multitude of restaurants and central location, Lincoln City makes the perfect home base for family excursions on the Oregon Coast. Lighthouses, air museums, whales and history are all within an hour’s drive.
Oregon Coast Day Trips
Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachats, will take a full day. Sights there include the Devils Elbow, the Cape Perpetua Trail, Heceta Head and many other wonderful scenic features.
A longer trip south, about 80 miles (128 km), is to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area near Florence – 32,000 acres of mountainous dunes, freshwater lakes, beaches and marsh. Stop by the Sea Lion Caves, the largest of its kind in the world.
Coast Aquarium, Ripley’s & Wax Museum
Go south to Newport on Highway 101 to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium and its with many other marine birds, mammals and fish. Right next door is the Hatfield Marine Science Center with excellent scientific displays. Along the historic bayfront are the Undersea Gardens, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Wax Works museum.
Deep Sea Fishing
Just minutes south of Lincoln City is Depoe Bay. You can find many deep sea fishing excursions and whale watching charters that will take you out for a day on the Ocean. Dress appropriately and make sure you have your sea legs!
Make it a day for lighthouses at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and in Yaquina Bay, see the visitors center, nature and tidepool walk. After visiting the ghost in the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, drive east to the Coast Guard Station to see all of the rescue craft.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Driving north to Tillamook on Highway 101 you’ll see the Tillamook Cheese Factory, which is owned and operated by local dairy farmers. See cheese being made and packaged in the short self-guided tour, then sample the ice cream and other products in the extensive gift shop. On the way home, see the Tillamook Air Museum, a former blimp construction hangar that now houses World War II-era and other vintage aircraft on display.
Evergreen Aviation Museum and Water Park
Evergreen Aviation Museum and Waterpark, located in McMinnville, OR, less than an hour east of Lincoln City, is home to Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose and the Blackbird SR-71. Also check out their new water park! 503-434-4180
Salmon River Fish Hatchery
Head east to the Otis Junction, then turn north (left) on the Old Scenic Highway to North Bank Road, then east about one mile to the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. Biologists there will show you huge salmon (if the season is right) and how they hatch fish for release in the river. Then, get back on the Old Scenic Highway to Highway 101. Cross it to end up on Three Rocks Road, then take Three Rocks Road across to Cascade Head, the home of the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Folks there will show you what they do in art, sculpture and writing.
East of Lincoln City on Highway 99 is the Willamette Valley, where some of Oregon’s best grapes are grown. The combination of fertile volcanic soil and temperate climate make this area comparable to the vineyards of Europe. Take a driving tour, stop in and sample some vintages and meet the special people of the Oregon Wine Industry.