Sightseeing on the northern California and southern Oregon coast is straightforward: travel US 101, the Pacific Coast Highway.
The scenery is spectacular.
The North: Reedsport and Winchester Bay
Starting from the north are the Oregon Dunes, with miles and miles of beaches and huge dunes. The predominate activity here seems to be ATV’s. Even if you have never been on an ATV, is it worthwhile stopping by and renting one to take it out on a spin through these amazing dunes. Even the first timers will enjoy a few hours out driving around if just to sightsee.
Don’t forget the Umpqua Lighthouse and the views from there.
The topography changes from Coos Bay on south. Here, spectacular cliffs open up dramatic ocean views. Bird watching becomes more popular. Camping consists of tents and RV’s. Sea Lions and seals are common. And working fishing harbors bring in the fresh catch available in restaurants.
Charleston is a working seaport with all the sights and sounds of ocean going fishing vessels. And fresh seafood in its restaurants.
Bandon has it’s Old Town for shoppers and a wonderful harbor area to stroll around. Several viewpoints are just to the south. And don’t forget the world famous Bandon Dunes golf courses.
Port Orford is a working commercial fishing town where the commercial boats are lifted out of the water between fishing trips. It is fun to drive between the lineups of the boats and realize just how big they are.
Just to the north is Cape Blanco Lighthouse. The travel between Port Orford and Gold Beach maybe the second most spectacular on the coast.
Gold Beach is all about tourism because there is a lot to see. The world famous Rogue River is here and so are the jet boats. The Rogue River is known around the world for salmon fishing. But north and south of town are amazing viewpoints sandwiched in between wide and wild beaches just ready for a stroll. Be sure to take a few minutes and drive the north and south roads along the Rogue, with the quaint single lane bridge connecting the two 25 miles inland.
While the drive between Port Orford and Gold Beach is amazing. The most spectacular portion is between Gold Beach and Brookings. The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is here and there are required stops every few miles that should not be missed.
To the south of Brookings is Harbor. This is another working harbor with fresh seafood just waiting to be served. Then the cliffs temporarily drop off to more wide sandy beaches.
Crescent City & Klamath
Crescent City is known for the giant California Redwoods. But what should not be forgotten are the wetlands that attract marine birds as they travel the coast. And its working harbor and two lighthouses.
South of Crescent City are more redwoods and the small village of Klamath. The spectacular ocean views start up again, but most require parking and a hike out to see them. People are here to see the redwoods.
Eureka is also home to some of the best preserved Victorian houses.
To the south is the quirky not-to-be-missed Ferndale.