The Magnificent Oregon Coast

A Scenic 10-Day Road Trip

U.S. Highway 101 runs 363 miles through Oregon, from the south bank of the Columbia River to the California border, mostly hugging the Pacific coast. You could drive it in a day, but that would be missing the point. The route offers glorious views of the Pacific around nearly every bend; dozens of state parks with broad, sandy beaches and rugged headlands; and small towns with galleries, curiosity shops and waterfront diners that serve wonderful fresh-caught seafood.

And then, of course, there's the wine country, where Pinot Noir is king. Here's an ideal 10-day itinerary, recommended by Andrew Harper Travel, which showcases some of the best of this surprising state.

Itinerary Highlights

Our itineraries are for your inspiration. Please contact a travel advisor to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.

  • Browse upscale boutiques in Nob Hill and the hip Pearl District in Portland
  • Visit Portland’s impressive Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Stroll through Cannon Beach’s shops and galleries
  • Tour the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • Beachcomb and relax on the beaches of Ecola State Park
  • Taste the delicious wines of Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley

Trip Overview

Day 1 : Nob Hill & Pearl District
Browse upscale boutiques and relax at a winery
Day 2 : Portland's Gardens
Enjoy Portland's splendid gardens
Day 3 : Cannon Beach
Visit shops, galleries and the beach
Day 4 : Astoria
Tour Astoria’s Maritime Museum and Historic Park
Day 5 : Ecola State Park
Take in views of Ecola State Park
Day 6 : Depoe Bay
Whale-watch and dine at Whale Cove Inn
Day 7 : Newport, Yachats and Florence
Explore lighthouses, charming towns and an aquarium
Day 8 - 9 : The Willamette Valley
Taste wines from Oregon's famed vineyards
Day 10 : Depart
Leave for the Portland airport

Day 1 : Nob Hill & Pearl District

Arrive in Portland and check in at your hotel. Relax, have a flight at one of the city's urban wineries, browse the upscale boutiques in Nob Hill and stroll through the hip Pearl District.

Where to Stay and Eat

The Sentinel Castagna
Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon - Josemaria Toscano

Day 2 : Portland's Gardens

Spend some time enjoying Portland's impressive gardens. The Japanese Garden is one of the best anywhere; the adjacent International Rose Test Garden showcases about 400 varieties of roses across five colorful acres; and the traditional Lan Su Chinese Garden is the largest of its kind outside of China. If you visit on a weekend, don't miss the Portland Saturday Market (also held on Sunday), a perfect place to find unique gifts and delectable treats.

Where to Eat

Higgins Restaurant
Japanese maple at Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland
Lan Su Chinese Garden

Day 3 : Cannon Beach

Pick up a rental car and drive two hours to Cannon Beach, the trendiest town on the coast, according to our editors. Wander the main street, lined with shops and galleries, and stroll the broad, sandy beach, overlooked by immense Haystack Rock, rising dramatically from the ocean a quarter-mile offshore.

Stephanie Inn

This New England-style inn is set along the Pacific shoreline in a quiet Cannon Beach neighborhood.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach - phillipschip / istock / getty images

Day 4 : Astoria

Spend the day in Astoria, about 25 miles to the north. Recently spruced up in celebration of its bicentennial, this city of 10,000 features steep hillsides dotted with Victorian-style houses, a revitalized 1920s-era downtown and sprawling former waterfront canneries converted into galleries, offices and restaurants. Tour the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park before lunch at Bridgewater Bistro. After some shopping, return to Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach. 

Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River
Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River - Jenniferzz/IStock/GettyImages

Day 5 : Ecola State Park

Take some time to beachcomb and relax. If the weather is clear, take in the views from nearby Ecola State Park. Captain William Clark — half of Lewis and Clark — called them “the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed.”

Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park - Kativ/istock/Getty Images

Day 6 : Depoe Bay

One hundred miles south of Cannon Beach, once-gritty Depoe Bay now also offers an array of galleries and good restaurants, as well as a new whale-watching center. Dine tonight at the superb Restaurant Beck in the Whale Cove Inn, with glorious views from every table.

Whale Cove Inn

A mile south of the town of Depoe Bay, this luxurious eight-suite inn offers magnificent views of a picturesque cove.

Where to Eat

Tidal Raves Seafood Grill

Day 7 : Newport, Yachats and Florence

Explore the coast south of Depoe Bay. Our editor notes that within an hour and a half, you can reach three attractive lighthouses, the world-class Oregon Coast Aquarium, spectacular Cape Perpetua, with perhaps the best view on the coast, and the charming towns of Newport, Yachats and Florence.

Tu Tu' Tun Lodge

Set in woodlands, this family-owned hideaway sits above the majestic Rogue River.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Thor's Well at Cape Perpetua

Day 8 - 9 : The Willamette Valley

Less than two hours away, Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley makes a perfect last stop. The wineries are mostly small and family-owned ventures offering unpretentious but carefully crafted wines. Even the tiniest hamlet seems to have at least one fine chef-owned restaurant with a wine-friendly menu featuring local produce.

Spend a day meandering through the valley, wine-tasting along the way. Some of the better-known producers include Sokol Blosser, Erath, Ponzi, ArgyleAdelsheimPanther Creek and Penner-Ash Wine Cellars.

The Allison Inn & Spa

Set on a Pinot Noir-planted hillside in the Willamette Valley wine country, this comfortable, eco-friendly resort is 45 minutes south of Portland.

Willamette Valley vineyards
Willamette Valley vineyards - RobertCrum/iStock/GettyImages

Day 10 : Depart

Make your way back to the Portland airport, about two hours away, depending on traffic.


Book This Itinerary

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