North of Florence, Oregon, you’re in for a Pacific Coast treat. US Highway 101 stays close to the coast for the drive from Florence, through Yachats and Waldport, to Newport. There are numerous waysides and state parks along the way. I’ll show you a few of them.
For just a couple of miles north of Florence, some sand dunes separate US 101 from the ocean. The road quickly returns to the coast, and your first chance to gawk at the ocean includes this view of the sand dunes along the coast, north of the city.
You can tell that the road is about to get a lot more fun!
Keep driving northbound, and within minutes…
… you’ll arrive at Sea Lion Caves. It’s a privately-owned attraction, and you’ll have to pay for admission. You can check out my entire visit to Sea Lion Caves on a separate page.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
While in the Sea Lion Caves area, be sure to admire the view of Heceta Head Lighthouse. This is one of the most picturesque lighthouses on the Oregon coast — and that’s saying a lot. You can photograph the lighthouse from the road, or visit Heceta Head/Devil’s Elbow State Park, and take a tour of the lighthouse. You can read about my visit to Heceta Head Lighthouse on a separate page.
Strawberry Hill at Neptune Beach
You’ll find another great excuse to get out of the car at Strawberry Hill. This small coastal access area allows you to walk down to this great beach…
… and explore the rocky coastline.
Go all the way down to the sand, and you’ll find the beach littered with rocks. Just keep an eye out for the waves…
… because they come in quickly. I had to scramble for higher ground after taking the previous picture.
Cape Perpetua, Devil’s Churn
If you’d like to get up above it all, you can take a drive, or a hike up Cape Perpetua. I hiked it, back in 2007, and discovered that the best views are at the top — making the hike unnecessary. You can read about that visit to Cape Perpetua here. Also check out Devil’s Churn, which is almost across the street from the road to Cape Perpetua.
After you pass through the neat little communities of Yachats (pronounced ya-HOTS) and Waldport, keep an eye out for…
Seal Rock is a quick stop that provides access to some tidal pools and a nice, big sea stack. There are actually two big rocks here: Elephant Rock and Seal Rock. You can check out both on this page.
US 101 continues to hug the coast until…
The highway crosses Yaquina Bay, then enters downtown Newport. I’d highly recommend visiting Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (hey, it’s got “Outstanding” in its name, you know it’s great!), on the north end of town. You can also check out my 2007 visit to the area.
The Bottom Line
The area between Florence and Newport is one of the better stretches of US Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast. You’ll be treated to numerous coastal access points and state parks, as well as the fun Sea Lion Caves. When planning your trip, you could easily spend an entire day in this area, and not be disappointed.
This page covers the stretch of US Highway 101, between two of the coast’s larger cities: Florence and Newport.
The easiest way to access this part of the coast from inland Oregon is to take US 20 west to Newport, then head south. Or, from Eugene, you could take Oregon 126 west, but it’s a secondary, curvy road.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Reedsport, through Florence to Yachats…
… and Yachats to Newport: