Florence Oregon is nestled on the Oregon coast, a classic beach town where the scenery takes your breath away and the welcome is as warm as the days are relaxing. An hour to the west of Eugene, Florence sits along Highway 101, the scenic highway that winds from Los Angeles up to the Olympic Peninsula. Ever since people have taking road trips, they’ve stopped into Florence to admire the views and enjoy a vacation along the coast.
Located where the Siuslaw River meets the Pacific Ocean, Florence has long attracted attention for its natural scenery. Today, you’ll find plenty of wide-open spaces where you can soak in the scenery, find adventure, and step away from the ordinary. One of the best places to do this is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which covers 40 miles between the ocean and two rivers: Florence’s Siuslaw River and the Coos River in North Bend. It's all part of the Siuslaw National Forest. When you consider the whole, you’ll find a long list of things to do — hiking and biking trails, guided ranger walks, and visits to lighthouses are just the beginning. You’ll find campgrounds, boat launches, and scenic overlooks in plentiful supply in Florence and its neighboring communities.
The Oregon beaches along this stretch of the coast are especially well suited for kite-flying and surfing thanks to the wind that sweeps in from the sea. The tide pools are teeming with life, so a stroll along the beach is more than a simple walk. Depending on the season, migrating whales pass through, rewarding those who watch the water.
Another popular place to experience Florence’s flavor of the great outdoors is the Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park. Just three miles from the center of town, the park boasts a two-mile stretch of sand dunes and oceanfront beach, along with two freshwater bodies of water. Woahink is the lake for watersports, like boating and canoeing, and Cleawox has still water perfect for swimming. The park is also known for its camping, as it’s home to one of the largest campgrounds in Oregon’s entire state park system.
Whether you’re staying overnight in a tent or a cozy bed and breakfast, you should take time to explore the distinctive elements of Florence Oregon. Sea Lion Caves is one of those places with no equal. The world’s largest sea cave is home to a colony of talkative marine mammals and shore birds. Guided tours will take you right where the sea lions hang out and point out migrating killer whales and the Heceta Head light off in the distance.
No matter what you pack into a day, you’ll need a place to relax once the sun begins to set. You’ll find plenty of restaurants where you can sample fresh seafood and fresh produce emblematic of the Oregon dining scene —everything from cute tearooms to comfortable waterfront cafes.
The Three Rivers Casino & Hotel has a steakhouse and buffet to go along with its 700 slots and 700-seat live entertainment venue. Its 90-room hotel has received awards for its environmental practices, and the golf course has garnered raves from its players. Other places to stay can suite any type of budget and style, whether you want to stay in a cozy bed and breakfast or you want to economize with a motel.
Top image: Sam Beebe, Ecotrust (flickr)