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As winter sets in and the temperatures drop, the Oregon Coast transforms into a serene and enchanting wonderland. While summer might be the peak tourist season, winter offers a unique charm of its own. From storm-watching to cozying up by a fireplace, there are many amazing things to do this winter at the Oregon Coast. There are a plethora of activities to enjoy along the rugged coastline.
Winter truly is a great time of year to visit the beautiful Oregon Coast. From Astoria to Lincoln City to Brookings, you can travel the entire coast and find something amazing to do.
Amazing Things to Do this Winter at the Oregon Coast
In this guide, we’ll explore the many things to do this winter at the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Coast is renowned for its dramatic storms, and winter is the perfect time to witness the power of the Pacific Ocean. Popular storm-watching spots include Cannon Beach, Depoe Bay, and Cape Perpetua. Grab a hot cup of cocoa, bundle up in warm layers, and marvel at the crashing waves and dramatic skies.
Winter storms in Oregon tend to come with heavy rain and high winds, so it’s good to have a comfortable place to be. I personally love to get a beachfront hotel room or vacation rental with a hot tub so I can soak in the warm tub while watching and listening to the waves.
View The King Tides
King Tides are just what they sound like, the largest waves of the year. These huge waves occur only a few times per year, all during the winter season. They are a spectacular sight to see, but you do need to be cautious and keep a safe distance because they can be quite dangerous.
A popular spot to view king tides is the sea wall in Depoe Bay. Boiler Bay is another great viewing spot.
While it may be winter, winter weather along the Oregon coast tends to come with mild, warmer temperatures so a walk along the beach is always an option! Winter storms bring a bounty of treasures to the shores. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach and explore tide pools, searching for seashells, driftwood, and agates. Remember to bring a sturdy bag to collect your finds and check local regulations for any restrictions on collecting.
Winter is prime whale-watching season along the Oregon Coast. Grey whales migrate from the Arctic to the warmer waters off Baja California, and you can catch sight of them from various viewpoints. Depoe Bay, Cape Kiwanda, and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area are popular spots for whale watching. There is even a whale watching center or two along the way.
Check out this post for great tips on whale watching in Depoe Bay, the Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast.
Visit Coastal Towns
Explore the charming coastal towns that come alive with holiday decorations during winter. Seaside, Astoria, and Newport offer quaint shops, galleries, and delicious seafood restaurants. Check out local events and festivals happening in these towns, and immerse yourself in the coastal community spirit.
With a plethora of gift shops, seasonal shops for the holiday season, and fewer crowds there really are no “top spots” as almost all of the towns are wonderful places and fabulous local shops that are wonderful to visit.
The Oregon Coast is dotted with historic lighthouses that add to the area’s maritime allure. Take a guided tour of iconic lighthouses such as Heceta Head Lighthouse and Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The rugged coastal backdrop provides a picturesque setting for these historic structures.
Warm Up at Coastal Breweries and Cafés
After a day of exploration, warm up at one of the many coastal breweries or cafés. Sip on a locally brewed beer, indulge in fresh seafood, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere. Many establishments offer breathtaking views of the ocean, providing the perfect setting for relaxation.
Hiking in State Parks
Winter hiking along the Oregon Coast offers a unique experience. Bundle up and explore the scenic trails in state parks such as Ecola State Park, Oswald West State Park, and Cape Lookout State Park. The lush greenery and breathtaking coastal vistas are equally enchanting during the winter months.
Capture the beauty of the Oregon Coast in its winter glory. The moody skies, crashing waves, and rugged landscapes create stunning photo opportunities. Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a seasoned pro, the coastal scenery is sure to inspire some remarkable shots.
Embrace the winter chill by booking a cozy cabin or beachfront cottage. Many accommodations along the Oregon Coast offer breathtaking views of the ocean and are equipped with fireplaces, hot tubs, and other amenities to make your winter stay warm and memorable.
Take an Audio Tour
So maybe you want the perks of a tour but you don’t have a large budget, or you just don’t feel very people-y today? Check out this Oregon Coast Audio Tour! It’s very reasonably priced and will give you lots of Oregon Coast Info along the way.
Visit The Sea Lion Caves
The Sea Lion Caves located near Florence is always a fun stop! Here you can view sea lions in their natural habitat. Be prepared for the smell though, a cave full of sea lions doesn’t exactly smell delightful.
Check out Thor’s Well
Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua is one of my favorite places to stop along the Oregon Coast. Check out this post to learn more.
Drive on the Beach at Pacific City
McPhillips Beach is my favorite beach along the Oregon Coast. My family and I love to pack up our SUV and head to the beach for a day of playtime, BBQ, and enjoying a fire on the beach. I know that driving on the beach is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s nice to be able to pack up all of your beach stuff and not have to carry it hundreds of yards to the car.
Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is open year-round, but I happen to think that winter is the best time to visit! You’ll find fewer people which I love, but you’ll still see lots of activities from the sea creatures.
Winter on the Oregon Coast unveils a different kind of beauty. From stormy spectacles to serene beachcombing, there’s a diverse range of activities to suit every traveler’s preferences. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, the Oregon Coast in winter promises an unforgettable experience. So, bundle up, embrace the seasonal magic, and create lasting memories along this rugged and captivating stretch of coastline.