Coast Explorer Magazine - The Explorer's Guide to the Oregon Coast and Washington Coast
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Find Your Wow
Published: 06/27/2018  Updated: 12/06/2018
Shore Acres State Park 13-miles south of Coos Bay, Oregon
Shore Acres State Park 13-miles south of Coos Bay, Oregon
Photo by Gary Hayes

Rugged and authentic beauty wows travelers driving along Oregon's stretch of legendary US Highway 101 as it hugs the coastline for over 300 miles.

Without a doubt, the 363 miles of the Oregon Coast Highway is one of the planet's most stunning scenic drives. Many of those miles offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, but what really sets this stretch of coastline apart is the remarkable public access along its entire length. Driving "the 101" is a great experience, but getting off the highway and taking time to explore offers a nearly limitless supply of wow. There are nearly 90 Oregon State Parks and 40 Forest Service recreation areas along the Pacific Coast that range from scenic viewpoints to sprawling parklands of more than a thousand acres, offering access to rainforest, sand dunes, hikes to secluded beaches and more awe inspiring views of this natural wonderland. Summer is the busiest time on the Oregon Coast and popular cities, easily accessible beaches and roadside attractions can be crowded, at least by Oregon standards. Savvy travelers arrive early at popular attractions and limit their driving as much as possible to avoid traffic and parking challenges. To avoid the largest crowds, an even better strategy is to get off the highway and explore the lesser known side trips and attractions that are off the beaten track, but certainly no less spectacular. Of course, the savviest travelers of all are those who also make their plans to return to the Oregon Coast to experience it during the quieter seasons of the year. Slow down, take your time and let your visit to this remarkable place touch you to your soul. Your wow is waiting. - By Gary Hayes

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