Northern Oregon Coast - Things to See and Do

November 15, 2021

Categories: Seaside | Rockaway Beach | Oceanside | Cannon Beach | Pacific City | Astoria | Manzanita | Oregon Coast

Cooper dog playing ball on the beach in Oceanside, Oregon

Updated August 4, 2022~

Visiting the coast is never dull, but sometimes you want to find something new to explore. So, we are here to give you a little nudge on what you can do and see while staying in vacation rentals on the North Oregon Coast. Included below are only a few small ideas of the many things to see and do. The North Coast of Oregon has countless things waiting for you to discover.

One of the best things about staying on the North Oregon Coast is the ease of day trips. You are still getting back to your vacation rental in time to cozy up and enjoy the evening if you so choose. So even if you are staying in Seaside, you can easily head down to Rockaway Beach or up to Astoria. There are no limits on where you can visit or what you can see.

Time to dive into what highlights we think you'll love while visiting the North Oregon Coast.


Things to Do on the North Oregon Coast



Astoria is at the very tip-top of the Oregon Coast, known for its hillside Victorian homes. And it is being rich in maritime and cultural history. Astoria was one of the first American settlements west of the Rocky Mountains and famously tied with the Lewis and Clark trail. All this history means there are some great museums and historical markers to explore.

Astoria, Oregon Columbia Riverside walk view of ships and Megler Bridge

  • Columbia River Maritime Museum - open daily 9:30 am to 5 pm. The museum features the rich history of the Columbia River which include the dugout canoes to legendary boat crashes. Always something new to explore in this museum.
  • Fort Stevens State Park - is a 4,300-acre park filled with a variety of recreation activities. Most you can expect with a regular state park. But stand outs include a shipwreck and a historic military site. Fort Stevens saw military service for 84 years from the Civil War to World War II. Which means when you step on this property you are taking a step back into history. Day use parking permit is required.
  • Astoria Column - construction started in 1926 and has drawn many visitors over the years. Even if you do not climb the 164 steps to reach the top of the 125-feet high column; visiting the park is highly recommend for the view alone. Parking is $5 per car but visiting the park and column are free.
  • Several breweries (including Fort George & Buoy Beer), shopping, hiking trails, and a 5-mile river walk.


Seaside is a short drive down from Astoria and offers all the family fun activities you can imagine. Established in 1899 and is best known for its one-and-a-half-mile promenade. Since it's only 79 miles from Portland, Oregon, it has become one of the top beach destinations. However, if you are not in the mood to stroll the sandy shoreline, there is plenty of other things to do while visiting.

View of Tillamook Head from Seaside, Oregon beach on a cloudy day

  • Play in the water. Bring your own kayak, canoe, paddle board, or other water toy. With two rivers and the ocean (for those a bit more experienced), there is plenty to explore. You can also rent water toys with Wheel Fun Rentals, so no need to bring or own your own.
  • Seaside Aquarium - time to feed the seals. That's right, you can feed the seals then learn a bit about sea life. One of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast, it was founded in 1937.
  • Funland Arcade - filled with all types of games to keep everyone in the family entertained.
  • Visit a nice coffee shop to keep warm (like Pacific Pearl Coffee). In the evening enjoy a nice hot meal at several restaurants to fit your fancy.
  • In between it all, don't forget to take in some shopping while visiting. Seaside Carousel Mall makes it easy to get in some shopping, and don't forget to ride the carousel while there!


Cannon Beach

It wasn't until 1905 that Cannon Beach was referred to by this name; before that, it was named Elk Creek. Known for its big "rock" called Haystack Rock, you can find so much beauty in this little town. Plus, cute little shops to browse as you stroll the main street. Wait, though, there is more you can find while visiting.

Ecola Beach State Park view on a cloudy day

  • Get out and hike. There are quite a few outdoor activities near Cannon Beach that you can find and all ranges of hiking levels to meet what you are wanting. A couple notable hiking trails are Clatsop Loop Trail and Cape Falcon Trail. Keep your eyes peeled while on your hike because you never know you may spot a whale as well.
  • Visit Ecola State Park - not only is the view beautiful but there have been a few movies filmed right at this location. Make sure to watch for the Roosevelt Elk who likes the meadows around this area and look up for the Bald Eagles above you. Also view Tillamook Rock Lighthouse from this location. So much to see!
  • Branch out with something a little different while visiting. Take a cooking class with EVOO Cannon Beach Cooking.
  • Wanna build a sandcastle? Take part or even just admire the amazing creations with the Sandcastle Contest in June. Make plans now.



Did you know that there is supposedly a treasure buried here? Rumor has it that at the top of Neahkahnie Mountain, you may find that buried treasure. Many have tried to find the buried treasure over the last 100 years. Two men even died in the 1930s when a makeshift mine caved in on them. So, besides a treasure hunt, what else can you discover in Manzanita?

A Stones Throw - Manzanita Beach Access

Photo: Stone's Throw Manzanita vacation rental


Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach is a tiny town with a big beach. With 7-miles of sandy shorelines to explore, this town offers the best beach experience. The first passenger train arrived in Rockaway Beach in 1912 and quickly became known as the Daddy train as mothers & children would head to Rockaway for the summer, and Dads would come in on Fridays to join their families for the weekend. Nowadays, traveling to Rockaway Beach is a simple car drive.

  • Annual Events that you don't want to miss are the 4th of July fun & the kite festival every August.
  • Take a steam train ride with Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.
  • With 7-miles of beach to explore, you know you must get some hiking in. Find yourself wandering the beach to get some beachcombing in or hit the trail to get some new views.
  • Cast your reel by doing some fishing in Lake Lytle.
  • Visit the Garibaldi Maritime Museum.

You will find plenty of fun activities for friends and family while visiting Rockaway Beach.



The history of Oceanside goes back to the 1880s but made the books in 1903 when a pair of naturalists presented Theodore Roosevelt with their observations of the giant sea stacks that dominated the view. Those rocks held so much wildlife wonder. Because of those observations, in 1907, Three Arch Rocks became a national wildlife reserve.

Beautiful Sunset 3 Arch Rocks - Oceanside, OR by Beachcombers NW

  • Visit Maxwell Point, at the northernmost point of Oceanside, where you go through a tunnel to access Tunnel Beach. Watch your tide charts and you can find secret coves and beaches by heading North.
  • Explore Symons State Park.
  • Watch the wildlife from most viewpoints in Oceanside on the Three Arch Rocks. Also, it is part of what we now know as the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
  • Oceanside is one of the best places to go agate hunting on the Oregon Coast.


Pacific City

Originally named Ocean Park but kept getting confused with Ocean Park in Washington, it was renamed Pacific City in 1909. Today it's part of the Three Capes Scenic Loop and home to Pelican Brewing Company.

Horseback Riding on the beach in Pacific City, Oregon

  • Take a stroll on the beach with some good horseback riding. 
  • Take yourself out for some clamming and crabbing. Known to be the easiest area to do both.
  • Pick up a surfboard. If you are brave enough or known enough, try some surfing in the cold pacific.
  • Visit Cape Meares State Park where you'll find the Cape Meares Lighthouse and the unique Octopus tree.
  • There are so many things to see and explore in Pacific City.
  • Besides Pelican Brewing, you can find other places to please your tummy such as The Riverhouse Nestucca and Meg's Beachwood Bar & Grill. Don't forget to taste some wine at Twist Wine Company.


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