3 of the Best Things To Do In Florence, Oregon

Oregon coast, beach, Florence, Oregon, Travel places

Take a Drive to Florence, Oregon

…where is that again?

Three hours outside Portland, you’ll drive into a small town that you could pass right through and think “no big miss”.

But you’d miss a piece of small town America that’s bursting with at least three days’ worth of things to explore to match your three-hour drive to Florence, Oregon.

Each summer, we meet up with my family for a week to catch up, relax, and play. This year, we rented a house in the forest, dunes, and beach area of Florence.

Where to Stay in Florence

There were nine of us, making the Airbnb / Vrbo route perfect for our stay. Plenty of space, nestled just out of town and on a lake. Not to mention access to a full kitchen, open 24/7 for the two 17-year-olds to raid at 11pm when hunger strikes them. Teenage boys and their eating habits…to love them is to feed them…non-stop!

If you prefer the hotel option, the Best Western, Pier Point has a great view on the water to Old Town.

What To drink, Eat, and Ice Cream in Florence

Always a big fan of eat what the locals eat when traveling {or at least to give it a taste}.

When you’re exploring the Oregon coast, skip the pasta and beef. It’s seafood all the way, and Old Town Florence is lined with small restaurants bursting with seafood options. Actually, add pasta on the side. Seems inherently wrong to keep pasta totally out of dinner {Italian blood and spaghetti sauce run deep for me}.

What To Do in Florence, Oregon

1/ Heceta Lighthouse State Scenic Park and History Tour

An 1894 lighthouse with a spectacular view from the top. When the misty fog rolls in over the water, you might feel like you’re in a scene from Lucy Foley’s book, The Guest List. {Page-turner of a book to sit and read back at your Airbnb}.

Go all in and reserve a stay at the Heceta Lighthouse Keepers House, now used as a bed and breakfast. Guided tours in the summer are from 11am-3pm, and give a short history of the area and how it was built up through the water access and bridge addition.

Perfect photo-op stops everywhere along this slice of beach {the beach, the lighthouse, the trails…oh my, oh my, where do I begin clicking}.

Heceta Light House, Oregon Coast

The lighthouse is only a 15–17 minute drive from Florence. Combine your stops and add time for the Sea Lion Caves. These caves are VERY POPULAR in the summer. Go early! Stop and see the seals first, then drive to higher ground for fresher sea air at the lighthouse. {SMELLY TIP:: If you’re sensitive to smells, these caves are not the stop for you.}

2/ Beach Day without the steaming, humid heat of a Florida beach day

The beaches along the Oregon coast typically require a sweatshirt rather than a teeny polka-dot-bikini. Walk the beaches hand-n-hand, take a run, whale-watch, or cast a line.

The beaches have marked areas where you can drive out onto the beach, grab your fishing pole from your back window {because how else do you carry a long fishing pole in your compact Subaru that everyone seems to drive in Oregon…or 4Runner, the other official car of Oregon.}

I’m not a fishing guide {obviously}, but my boys are, and they looked into a fishing excursion, but no luck. Bring your poles along if you want to cast a line in Florence. Bend, Oregon is the place for wader-wearing, cast-a-line up the rocky river fly-fishing. Or maybe they cast down the river…across the river? No idea, I just tag along with them to take the photos.

The Dunes beach areas are warmer and less windy if you’re looking to stake your umbrella in the sand, wear your 🎶ittsy-bitsy-teeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikini🎶 with your “toes in the water and *tush in the sand”🎶 and read a few more chapters of The Guest List.

Feeling real adventurous?

Rent a sand board and try sand-surfing.

Again, I brought my travel camera along and watched the action unfold with the two 17-year-younglings. Having back surgery in my late-40’s validates my cautious approach to those adventures I try and those I observe in my 50’s.

{He makes it look so easy in this YouTube video :: sand-surfing novice-to-master in 1–2–3–4 surfs}

3/ Torex ATV Rides

This was on my boys’ bucket list for the trip. We’ve traveled to the Michigan and Indiana sand dunes, and the boys have always wanted to take an ATV ride. It happened in Oregon {bumper sticker…maybe}.

As a cautious Mama, it needs saying that this is an EXTREME SPORT. The company we rented from did a great job outlining, explaining, and spoon-feeding line by line of the legalese paperwork, and then making us watch a safety video repeating the hazards, like we were toddlers getting let out for our first recess time.

Before we even buckled in, my stomach was knotted, and my heart rate jumped up to aerobic level {which was good for my Apple watch activity points, but not so much my nerves}.

We had a sand swirling good time!

Being on the other side of this new adventure, I’d do it again now that I know what to expect out on the sand. I wasn’t as daring as the three guys on their solo ATVs {I drove the grandparents and daughter in my ride}, but there’s something about driving fast along a flat patch of sand that’s exciting.

BIGGEST SAND TIPS::

  • Sand blindness is real — test your path slowly first for drop-offs, then retrace at higher speed if you want
  • Remember where you entered the dunes — it’s a sea of sand mounds without markers, so pay attention where the guide drops you
  • If you’re not a rule follower — be a rule follower here!

In case you’re a golfer, here’s a cool + fun fourth {74º} Florence day in July.

4/ Golf day

If you can’t find a fishing excursion, there’s always a golf course nearby. Whether you’re a die-hard Tiger Woods or best ball player, on a summer day in Florence, it’s a good day for golf.

The Last Florence Oregon Tidbits

Traveling to new places is experiencing what they have to offer. We vacation for all the good natural endorphin feels. We explore, relax, and keep life from becoming Blursday {any day of the week, since they blend into a blur}.

We roamed Florence for five days and explored everything they offered a vacationer {even snuck in a bit of shopping for myself}. And our time there left plenty for sitting out on the deck, over-looking the wooded lake with a cup of coffee, and my vacation book.

Need a book suggestion for your next trip? Add yourself to my book club HERE.

We’re at that half-century mark and just getting started on a brand new life excursion. Join in and see where it takes us, through traveling and a lifestyle over that middle number 50!

It’s about to get even betta!

Hold Your Coffee & Click Here

Ever been to Oregon state — Where’d you go?

Andrea ~ Next Chapter Blogger
A Glimpse of Good

World Traveler • Over 50 Styler • Lifestyle Blogger • Books&Wine
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Keeper of the lighthouse, Bed and Breakfast

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Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

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Writing for the next chapter in travel, 50-n-fabulous style, vacation rental re-do +forever searching for good coffee, great wine, & the next captivating book.