40 miles of dunes, many over 300 feet high begin in Florence and stretch to the North Bend area. Plenty of recreational activities can be found on these massive dunes, from horseback riding to dune buggy tours. Take a walk on the many trails through the dunes or view the wavelike mounds, that sit among little forested islands, through enclosed viewing platforms at the Dunes Overlook south of town.
Sea Lion Caves
The Guiness Book of World Records has recently confirmed Sea Lion Caves as the largest sea caves in the world. It is the only known remaining home of wild stellar sea lions on the North American mainland and has attracted people from all over the world since its opening 65 years ago to the public. 11 miles north of Florence, open 9:00 am,
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Found at Devil's Elbow State Park, this is a popular beach and picnic area north of Florence. Tide pools and tiny sea caves are filled with shells, sea anemones, star fish and mussels. A trail leads to the lighthouse and keeper's house with daily tours during the summer and on weekends the rest of the year.
This quaint fishing village is situated on the banks of the Siuslaw River and has been beautifully restored in colorful themes reminiscent of the Victorian era. Numerous restaurants, art galleries, clothing and specialty shops; candies and T-Shirt shops are mixed among Gazebo Park and the new Boardwalk overlooking the fishing docks.
Siuslaw Pioneer Museum
Come now and enter through a door that leads to yesteryear..." and experience our coastal heritage at the Pioneer Museum. Included are an old Indian Dugout canoe in the center of the main floor, an old kitchen cook stove, blacksmith's bellows, and steam engine. Docents explain the use and significance of the variety of artifacts of coastal Native and Pioneer history on display. Maple & 2nd Old Town Open 12:00 - 4:00, Tuesday
Siuslaw River Bridge
This magnificent span of beautiful architecture crosses the Siuslaw River just south of Florence. Built in the 1930's, it is another example of a McCullough bridge of which there are many up and down Hwy 101.
This roadside area was created to preserve and show a rare carnivorous plant which grows in Southern Oregon and Northern California coastal areas, known also as the Pitcher Plant or Cobra Lilly. Located 5 miles north of Florence on Hwy. 101, the 18 acre park has a loop trail overlooking patches of brilliant green Darlingtonia. The plant traps the insects with their fragrant smell, where the insect then falls to the bottom of the plant stem and is digested.
The highest point on the Oregon Coast, with a spectacular view, is at Cape Perpetua. The Visitor's Center is open daily from May until October and weekends during the winter, and features movies, exhibits and an observation area for whale-watching. The Child And Parent Environmental (CAPE), are two-hour-long nature programs and range from hikes to identify edible plants to bird-watching. You can drive or hike to the top of Cape Perpetua and walk the Trail of the Whispering Spruce or Devil’s Churn where mighty waves are driven into a narrow fissure.
Within An Hour
You can see hundreds of marine creatures through 112 windows at the Undersea Gardens, the wild presentations at Ripley's Believe It or Not and the lifelike images at the Wax Works. All located along the Historic Newport Bayfront, 250 SW Bay Blvd (541) 265-2206
Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center
Visit this fascinating research and educational institution that promotes the wise use of the ocean and coastal environments. The public wing displays an array of exhibits and hands-on activities including an octopus tank, tidal pool, eye-level exhibits of the ocean floor and coastal habitats, and interactive computer displays. Admission is free, donation requested.
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Named one of the top 10 aquariums in America by Parade magazine, there are over 190 species of marine life to see. Open daily, hours vary 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Road Newport 541-867-3474
Explore this fascinating hands-on center that includes a working weather station, scale model of the Gardiner Saw Mill, interpretive displays of the areas dunes and landscape, and an operational periscope for a fascinating view of the Umpqua River. See the seismic traveling exhibit this summer, on loan from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Reedsport 271-4816
This once private estate of pioneer lumberman and shipbuilder, Louis B. Simpson. Simpson brought flowering plants from around the world to fill five acres of gardens including a Japanese style garden built around a lovely lily pond. Due to the mild climate of the Oregon coast, interesting and unique flowers bloom nearly all year. Christmas finds Shore Acres a-glow with over 175,000 holiday lights. Coos Bay area