I’m on my way home today from a great vacation in Lincoln City, Oregon. My best friend and I love the Oregon Coast and this is our favorite spot. We try to make a trip here every year and although I now live across the country, we’re still able to make it work!
We usually stay in Lincoln City and then make day trips up towards Tillamook and down towards Newport. We’ve explored museums, restaurants, beaches, shopping: you name it! Here’s a list of some of our favorites, with a few new discoveries thrown in as well!
LC = Lincoln City
NP = Newport
NB = Nye Beach (section of Newport)
TM = Tillamook
Sea Gypsy Condos (LC): This was our first time staying at the Sea Gypsy. It used to be a hotel back in the day, but they remodeled it, combining rooms into 1 bedroom condos. Each one has a private owner who has designed it and decorated it according to a theme. We absolutely loved it! It was like having an apartment right on the beach.
Surftides (LC): We’ve stayed here many times and really love it! It’s right on the beach and has great views. We usually can find a coupon on Groupon to get some great savings.
Pelican Shores (LC): While more pricey, this does include a continental breakfast, one of the few who do. We love the view from this location, and the room was large and very comfortable.
LaQuinta (NP): Okay, so not a local place but if you are looking for a base in Newport, this is where we’ve always stayed. It’s across the bay from downtown, right near the Aquarium and close to South Beach. Free breakfast, indoor pool and comparable pricing. It’s not on the beach, but the location is quiet and great for excursions in the Newport area.
Mo’s (LC & NP): This is the famous clam chowder joint everyone wants to go to. We’ve been a few times, and it’s worth the visit if you’ve never been. The food is good, but the place tends to be crowded and we’ve found better chowder elsewhere.
Dory Cove (LC): This place, right on 101, is easy to miss but has the best clam chowder we’ve had in Lincoln City. They also have an amazing berry cobbler. 🙂
Chowder Bowl (NB): If I can only pick one place to get chowder, it would be here. You can get it in a bread bowl and it is simply fabulous. They also have a marion berry cobbler that reminds me of my Grandma’s! Recommended to get there early as it is pretty popular.
Nana’s (NB): This Irish pub is just up the street from the beach and has fabulous food. With Irish favorites and American staples, it’s a cozy neighborhood pub that makes you feel right at home.
Local Ocean(NP): If you are looking for the best seafood, this is the place. It’s a bit more pricey than we tend to go for, but the food is divine. Right on the bay, you can see the fishermen delivering their catch to the restaurant (those tuna are HUGE). It’s a small place and is popular so be sure to allow plenty of time or go early.
Newport Cafe (NP): This restaurant is literally the tiniest I’ve ever been in. But they have amazing food! We met my aunt and uncle there for breakfast one trip and it was so good. You may have to wait to get a table, but it’s worth it.
McMenamins (LC): This pub has fabulous food and is our favorite in Lincoln City. It’s a local chain, so you may spot one in other areas of Oregon.
Puerto Vallarta (LC): If you are craving a burrito or enchilada, this is the place! Wonderful food and you get a ton for your money. We love Mexican food and this restaurant certainly does it right.
Devil’s Punch Bowl: between Lincoln City and Newport, this state park has a fabulous collapsed sea cave (basically a cave with an open sun roof!) that you can see down inside. There are also several trails and tidepools.
South Beach: This beach is just south of Newport and has a great expanse of sand. A lot of the beaches in this area are narrow or lined with housing, so this is a nice change.
15th Street Tidepools: Just north of the “D” River (shortest river in the world!) in Lincoln City, catch these amazing tidepools near low tide. You’ll see starfish and anemones galore!
Nye Beach: One of our favorite beaches, this is in the heart of Newport. It’s a great beach to fly a kite!
Octopus Tree: Further north, on the scenic route to Tillamook, the Octopus Tree is definitely worth the drive. Part of the Cape Mears Lighthouse area, this 250-300 year old tree is thought to have been a tribal meeting area. With branches growing out from the tree and then up, it looks similar to a candelabra as well.
Hatfield Science Center: This free admission science center is a fun stop. Geared to introduce kids to marine science, it is very interesting for the adults too! While 2nd and 3rd graders will find lots to do and learn, younger children may get bored. (FREE)
Tillamook Cheese Factory: If you’ve never watched cheese being made, this is worth the trip. We go every year (more to eat in the restaurant and get ice cream, lol) and enjoy watching “How People Make Cheese”. (shoutout to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood). (FREE, unless you shop!)
Cape Mears Lighthouse: This very short lighthouse is managed by a local group who saved it from destruction. A great stop on your way back to Lincoln City after visiting Tillamook. (Donation)
Pioneer Museum: If you are interested in either the history of Oregon or just pioneer living in general, you don’t want to miss this museum. With four stories of exhibits, you could spend all day here! ($)
Tillamook Air Museum: Just south of Tillamook, this old blimp hanger has fascinating exhibits featuring the role blimps played in the security of our borders during World War II. ($)
Oregon Coast Aquarium (NP): One of the best aquariums I’ve enjoyed, this is a frequent stop for us on our trips. With touch pools, giant octopus, and aquarium tunnels, we can spend several hours here easy! ($)
Yaquina Head Lighthouse: Just north of Newport, this lighthouse has many nature trails and a museum. Guided tours of the lighthouse itself are available. (FREE)
Newport Visual Arts Center: Right on the beach in Newport, this unassuming building holds some beautiful artwork created by local artists. From paintings, to photographs, to sculptures, it’s an amazing experience.
Latimer Quilt and Textile Museum: Just outside Tillamook, this museum is a must-see if you are a quilter or other textile crafter. Excellent exhibits and lovely pieces for sale as well. ($)
Outlet Mall: If you love name brand deals, check out the Outlets in Lincoln City. There’s a wide variety of stores and a multi-level parking garage.
Prehistoric (LC): This year was our first time in this store and we’re sold! A great collection of fossils and minerals, with some unique and rare pieces as well as affordable ones. Be sure to check out the back room with Civil War bullet collections!
Robert’s Book Shop (LC): The hands-down best used bookstore I’ve ever been in. And I’ve been to plenty! This is a required stop every time we come and my haul is limited only by the space available in my suitcase. It’s a true treasure trove and stuffed to the gills with hundreds of books from the popular to the unknown. If you are a bibliophile like me, plan to spend several hours browsing.
The Coastal Breeze (NB): This fun store has great items and always something unique to see. Vivid colors abound in scarves, rugs, napkins and placemats while candles give off an amazing scent as you browse through jewelry, purses, hammocks, etc.
Bridies’s Irish Faire (NB): If you love all things Irish, check this place out! Lovely jewelry sourced from Dublin along with fun Irish items. The store hosts tours of Ireland as well!
There are TONS more shopping options, but neither of us are big shoppers so these are just the ones we’ve visited and enjoyed.