Try some lady luck at the coast
Chinook Winds Casino is located right on the beach in Lincoln City. I love gaming so this is a favorite place to visit. They have a full variety of table games including Black Jack and Pia Gow Poker which are two of my favorites. They also have a wide variety of slot machines from .01cents to $100. A nice buffet and a lounge/restaraunt with a killer view .
Oregon Coast: Pacific Wonderland
The Oregon Coast in itself is one fairly long tourist attraction. There are some 40+ state parks running the length of the coast, and that doesn't include the state law that makes the ocean beaches public lands. Traveling along Highway 101 and its branch roads, you will run across one of these state parks about once every 5 to 8 miles or so. The web site listed at the bottom of this tip goes to the Oregon State Parks web site.
It isn't easy to recommend exact spots there because many of the basics in all those locations are all the same, but certain specifics are a bit different. Those few specifics mean that everyone has their own favorite spot on the coast, and each of those are different for very slight reasons that may or may not make any sense to anyone else.
Driving the Oregon Coast itself is about a two day trip. It is faster on highway 101, but the fact is that even though highway 101 is a much slower way to go than Interstate 5, 101 is still not directly along the coast in many locations. There are a number of local roads that provide a true all-coast route, but they are even slower than Highway 101. As an example of one of many, many locations, take a look at Tillamook on the map: Highway 101 is about 10 miles (16 km) from the coast. To get along the coast and really see the scenery here, you need to take a series of local roads that lead in a loop around Cape Meares (the geographic feature and state park), and there is the dead-end road that goes to the odd little community of Cape Meares that only has residences in it.
Small towns dot the Oregon Coast from north to south, and most of them have at least one small hotel or set of guest houses. During the peak tourist season many of them will be booked up. Peak season in many places is April 1st to October 1st, after which lodging is easier to find and prices are somewhat reduced in many facilities. Naturally, places right on the beach are more expensive than those inland. If you get really desperate for a place to stay, keep in mind that places in the western Willamette Valley really are not that far away, and Corvallis, Philomath, McMinnville, Grande Ronde, or similar places may wind up being your best alternative.
Warnings and Dangers
Weather along the coast can be unpredictable and highly dependent on location (photo 2 shows what a difference in a short distance of elevation makes), but is far colder in the summer months than further inland. There is always a cool wind blowing in off the ocean. The good news is that in the winter it isn't as cold as further inland, but clouds to get stuck in the coast range and provide the coast with a lot more rain than even the Willamette Valley gets. The weather also depends a great deal on your location: a matter of a few hundred feet or a few hundred meters can mean the difference between sunlight and rain.
Tides come in quick here, and keep this in mind if you visit rocks off the beach at low tide or otherwise explore isolated areas at low tide: you may not be able to get back to where you came from after the tide comes in (this is a regular problem on our coast, and happens all to frequently).
Watch the edge of the rocks as it is usually a long way down.
Waves contain driftwood that is sometimes the size of a bus, and these logs in the waves have killed people from time to time. Watch for floating objects.
Many of the coast roads and roads from and too the coast are small, narrow, and involve people who have tried to cram too much into too short a day, and are driving tired, and are in a big rush to get where they want to go. Collisions and deaths are far too frequent, especially on highway 18 between McMinnville westward.
Suggested Specific Locations
Myrtlewood (Umbellularia californica ) is a beautiful wood when worked correctly, and only grows in a small section of the Pacific coast. A number of different galleries and showrooms and tourist shops along the Oregon coast have myrtlewood articles, housewares, furniture and other items. Generally, these appear with greater frequency the closer you get to Coos Bay, but they appear seemingly at random in many shops along the coast, and even well outside the coast.
Tillamook has a regionally well known cheese factory which offers tours. My understanding is that it has gotten to be a lot more aimed at children in recent years but I haven't been out there for quite a long time. They also have an aviation museum in the old blimp hanger, which at one time was the largest wooden building in the world (there were two such hangers here, but one of them burned in the 1980s).
If you have an interest in history, you might want to take a look at some of the Lewis & Clark material in the Astoria area, or across the river from Astoria in the Cape Disappointment State Park area. Astoria also has a maritime museum, and isn't far from the old Fort Clatsop military remains, or the Wreck of the Peter Iredale.
The Newport Aquarium is reasonably good, and may be worth a visit.
The Sea Lion Caves have been called by some the world's largest ocean facing cave, or the largest in North America, or a number of other things depending on what you read. I consider them to be a bit of a tourist trap, as you take the elevator down to the cave and there isn't much there other than a fairly small observation platform. It is also fairly expensive.
Brookings is of interest as it has a rather unique microclimate that makes it a bit warmer most of the time than most other places on the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area near Coos Bay offers sand dunes.
Lincoln City has the Chinook Winds Casino, but I have never been inside it.
A number of lighthouses dot the Oregon Coast. Some are in service, while others are out of service and used for other purposes now. Heceta Head Lighthouse (near Florence) is a working light house, but the keeper's house is a bed and breakfast now. The Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast in Bandon is actually across the street from the actual light house.
The Cape Meares Lighthouse is the smallest of those on the Oregon Coast, and its surrounding state park is an example of what many of the state parks on the coast will look like.
You will find a host of communities with various small attractions and small museums, several wildlife refuges and similar preserved lands, a number of hiking trails, and a number of small beaches that are pounded by some pretty rough weather a lot of the time. Scattered up and down the coast there are a few art galleries and artist's studios, with each community having its own small selection of unique personalities.
Apart from the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a number of small towns have their own small ocean oriented attractions of some type or another. As a general rule, they aren't as good as Newport. Generally, these places also predate the construction of the Newport aquarium by several decades, and show their age.
It's a pretty huge area (some 300 miles in length) and isn't so very easy to give specific tips about. From north to south it is a narrow strip of land between the coast range and the ocean, and therefore the entire thing has pretty good scenery, except in places that have become overdeveloped for tourists (Seaside used to be a pretty little ocean beach community, but has become quite a trendy touristy sinkhole in recent years, and not a place I would recommend unless there is something there that catches your eye. It does have a walkway along the beach that many other coast communities lack.). Much of it is really more of a "Hey that looks interesting let's stop" type of thing rather than specific single points of interest.
Everyone who lives here has their one or two favorite spots on the coast, and not a single one of them will be the same spot. Almost all locations along the coast are good, but just slightly different in one way or the other. Some places will appeal to you, while others will not, and it is really hard to say ahead of time which those will be, as it all depends on personality and tastes.
Camping sites get reserved early in all locations along the coast, as do summer months in the hotels, guest cabins, and all other locations. You'll want to reserve your accomodations, even if it is only a camp site, as early as you can.
Chinook Winds Casino & Convention Center