Sponsored Content

Weekend Getaway to Florence and Dunes City

Visit Oregon’s Coastal Playground, a dramatic stretch of coastline prized by adventurers and road-trippers of all ages.

Presented by Travel Lane County March 21, 2023

Along the famous U.S. 101, there are plenty of reasons to stop and play along miles of uncrowded beaches and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The coastal communities of Florence and Dunes City draw visitors for their small-town charm and outdoor access. 

Tucked away below the elegant art deco arch of the Siuslaw River Bridge, Historic Old Town Florence brims with fabulous food and drink options, inviting shops, more than 20 galleries, and a waterfront marina. Savor fresh seafood and fine wine at The Waterfront Depot inside a historic former train station, and Hawaiian-influenced sushi and hearty dishes at The Hukilau. Learn the stories of Native people and frontier families at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum. The Florence Events Center hosts exciting performances and is one of the hubs for the Rhododendron Festival and other events. 

North of Florence, the coastline opens up into miles of rocky cliffs and sandy coves. Heceta Head Lighthouse, built in 1894, offers stunning views and trails for exploring. The nearby Sea Lion Caves — America’s largest sea cave — is home to hundreds of raucous Steller sea lions. Miles of public coastline lend themselves to kite flying, beaching combing and sand castle building. Book a horseback ride across the sand with C&M Stables or venture into the forest just a little to discover Darlingtonia Wayside, home to a swath of carnivorous pitcher plants. Discover miniature ecosystems in tidepools at spots like Strawberry Hill Beach or head up to Cape Perpetua for views of the ocean and coastline as far as the eye can see. Don’t miss Thor’s Well, which appears as a bottomless drain or a rushing fountain depending on the tide, or Spouting Horn, which shoots ocean spray high into the air and plays dramatic tunes with the wind off the waves.

South of Florence, the small community of Dunes City is in the heart of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area — the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America. Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park is the ideal basecamp for ATV or on foot exploration of the dunes. Rent a sandboard or take a guided dune buggy ride for an extra thrill. Freshwater Woahink and Cleawox lakes are popular for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. At Siltcoos Lake Recreation Area, you’ll find tranquil trails filled with birdsong.

Where to stay: Get a room at Driftwood Shores, north of Florence, for ocean views and direct access to the beach. Or, stay in Historic Old Town with river views and access to the shops and restaurants at River House Inn. 

For more ideas and inspiration for planning your trip to the Oregon Coast, visit Eugene, Cascades & Coast.



Show Comments