Sometimes it really pays to pick up those local brochures when you are traveling in unfamiliar territory especially if you do not have any kind of guide with you. Oregon's visitor centers were crammed with them and you just have to spend a few minutes to make sure you get the ones that best suit your interests. We picked up lots for camping and in so doing wound up finding some great hiking trails in places like National Forests we would have otherwise missed.
One great one just off the coast of Oregon was the Dry Creek Falls Trail. Located about 10 miles west of Lincoln, OR this lush green trail would be a treat even if it led nowhere in particular. The 3 mile round trip drops a few hundred feet highlighted by a traverse over Oregon's longest suspension bridge of 240 feet. Look down 100 feet to the Dry Creek and get your first glimpse of the 80 foot Dry Creek Falls. Don't stop there, continue down to the base of the falls and you will find locals enjoying the very fresh cold water plunging down.
This was one very well worthwhile detour from the coast and an obviously very local place to go. Head E on Drift Crk Rd from Lincoln City, OR and left on FR 17 for 10 miles.
It costs $5 to park unless you have a NW Forest Pass.
The Tahkenitch Dunes Trail is a great way to get acquainted with Oregon Dunes. This 2 mile trail initially climbs through a conifer forest before opening up into an area of big dunes. It then goes through a small strand of beach pines before coming to the end of the Tahkenitch Creek and eventually out onto the beach. This trail can be combined with the Tahkenitch Creek Trail and/or the Three Mile Lake Trail for variety and to increase the length. It is a great place for birdwatching and to enjoy a variety of vegetation. We spotted some wild strawberries right in the dunes.
The trail head is 8 miles north of Reedsport on the west side of Highway 101 at mile marker 204. There is a parking fee. We did it in the morning after camping at the Tahkenitch Campground so just kept our car in our site while we did the short walk and checked out in plenty of time.
The Eager Beaver Store in Newport, on the West side of Olive St. is a REAL SECRET TREASURE! Shop at the coolest "second hand" store ever! They sell new and used at great discount prices! Souveniers, house hold misc., furniture, appliances, clothes, antiques.........You name, It's been there! With a wide range of vintage to modern, the Eager Beaver Store has something for everybody!
A funky wax museum in very kitschy Mariner Square. There is a tiny boardwalk area here and several similar attractions, including a Ripley's Believe it or Not and an arcade.
This is quite far removed from the scenic drive along the Coast. So much so that its hard to imagine that you're only a mile or two away from Oregon's coastal beauty. But, if you're traveling with children, particularly restless children, this place might be worth your while. The museum is a series of rooms with believable-looking wax sculptures, including Star Wars figures and others.
Get a tide table & find a time when the tide has gone out, go find a place along the beach with lots of tidepools & see all sorts of natural treasures. Starfish, crabs, shells, amnemities, jellyfish, this really is fun & doesn't cost anything. Bring a camera to document your findings!