The Pacific Northwest is home to some of America’s most breathtaking landscapes: lush forests, misty beaches, and rugged rivers are all begging to be explored, and they all make for some incredible camping opportunities. Hop on your motorcycle and road-trip up the Oregon and Washington coast. There’s nothing quite like feeling the coastal breezes and smelling the ocean air as you cruise this scenic part of the country. Whether you're on a motorcycle or you're just in a car with the windows down, enjoy the coast on this cruise!
Start your adventure by learning about the marine life of the region. Oregon’s Seaside Aquarium is the oldest privately owned aquarium on the West Coast, and inside, the historical building houses some of the most adorable seals. All of the seals have been born and raised in the aquarium and are descended from the attraction’s original seals. You can learn all of their names, observe their distinct personalities, and even feed them some fish. The Seaside Aquarium also has tanks of starfish, urchins, and anemones that you can touch, as well as displays featuring eels and octopuses.
Off Hwy. 101, Cannon Beach, OR, US
Ecola State Park features nine miles of the Pacific Northwest’s prettiest coast. Hike among hidden coves, rocky promontories, rugged sea stacks, and grassy dunes. Then visit the park’s Indian Beach to enjoy some great surfing and to see birds, whales, tide pools filled with colorful sea creatures, and tons more.
179 N Hemlock, Cannon Beach, OR, US
Ride your motorcycle up to the Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge, a longtime institution serving up steaks and seafood to hungry locals and visitors alike. Snag a seat outside on the patio by the fire if you can, and order up clam chowder, fried oysters, and a cocktail. Then, just sit back and enjoy the cozy, beachside atmosphere.
487 S Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, OR, US
There are many sea stacks to be found along the Pacific Northwest coast, but none are as iconic as Haystack Rock. (“What’s a sea stack?” you may ask. It’s a steep, vertical landform in the sea made by pillars of rocks that have been worn down by wind, water, and geological shifts.) At 235 feet, Haystack Rock is one of the world’s largest sea stacks; it’s home to birds of all kinds—including the most accessible colony of Tufted Puffins (so adorable) in the Northwest—and surrounded by enchanting tide pools. And it was featured in the classic 80s movie The Goonies!
Pro tip: Haystack Rock is located right off the coast near the town of Cannon Beach, which is filled with little shops and restaurants, making it the perfect place to explore on your bike.
4175 US 101 N, Tillamook, OR, US
Tillamook Cheese is a local favorite, and it’s no wonder: The award-winning cheeses come from dairy farms across Oregon’s Tillamook Valley, which provides the ideal conditions for raising cattle. You can get a taste for the regional delicacy during the Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour, a self-guided look into the company’s cheese-production facility and history. The tour, of course, ends with a bunch of cheese samples and a kitschy gift shop. Up your dairy intake with a stop at the café, where you can enjoy a Tillamook grilled cheese, a Tillamook bacon cheeseburger, and delicious ice cream.
Lighthouse Road, Tillamook, OR, US
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint’s position on a headland 200 feet above the ocean provides one of the most postcard-worthy views of the coast. Bike alongside the mile-long walking trail, or head to the largest Sitka spruce tree in Oregon or to the intriguing “Octopus Tree.” As you ride, keep your eyes peeled for majestic bald eagles that frequent these skies!
Lighthouse Rd, Tillamook, OR, US
While you’re in the area, make a stop at Cape Meares Lighthouse. Take a tour that allows access to the top of the historic building, and browse the quaint little gift shop. Built in the 1890s, the lighthouse was almost torn down after it was replaced with a newer, automated light in the 1960s. The proposed demolition received such strong backlash that the lighthouse was eventually preserved and opened to the public. Plan your visit around sunset for the best views!
748 SW Bay Blvd, Newport, OR, US
Rogue Ales brews some of the best beers on the West Coast. They’ve become so popular that Rogue has opened several locations across the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. The Rogue Ales Public House in Astoria, OR, is located in an old tuna cannery (no smell remains—don’t worry), and offers a great view of Columbia River scenery to enjoy while you enjoy one of the dozens of beers on tap and some tasty gastropub fare. The Public House makes many dishes with its own beers and ingredients from Rogue Farms!
328 Coast Guard Rd, Ilwaco, WA, US
Located on one of the foggiest headlands in the country (it sees the equivalent of 106 days of fog each year), the Cape Disappointment Light has guided many a ship safely to shore. Don’t be fooled by the somber-sounding name, though. Surrounded by wild, rocky coastlines, lush forests, and crashing waves, the Light is well worth visiting. Park your bike and explore the eight miles of trails to see as much as you can!
457 Bay Center Rd., Bay Center, WA, US
Location is everything when you’re looking for a place to set up camp while traveling by motorcycle. The Bay Center/Willapa Bay KOA is in a great spot, located right on the Willapa Bay in a peaceful forest. The campground provides access to the beach, which means swimming, beach combing, and digging for steamer clams (if you have a license, of course) are right at your “doorstep.” The campsite also offers campfire cooking and prep lessons!
Peter Iredale Road, Warrenton, OR, US
This part of the Pacific Northwest shore is also known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” due to the number of ships that have wrecked off the coast. One of the most accessible sunken ships is the Peter Iredale Shipwreck. A squall blew it into the Clatsop Spit, and high seas and heavy winds further forced the ship aground. Thankfully, the crew (and the two stowaways aboard) survived, but the ship and its ballast were lost. A lot of the Peter Iredale was sold for scrap, but the bow and several masts were left to rot. It even survived being shelled by Japanese submarines during WWII. You can visit the remains yourself while you consider the ship captain’s final, foreshadowing toast: “May your bones bleach in the sands.”
There’s one problem with a campsite like this one… you might never want to leave. The Astoria/Warrenton/Seaside KOA has indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, a hot tub, mini golf, family movie nights, and dining options for every meal. What more could you want? Their Deluxe Cabins, tent and RV sites can accommodate anyone… plus, the campsite is located right across the street from historic Fort Stevens, where you can enjoy beachcombing, kite flying, bike riding (perhaps on one you rent from the KOA), clam digging, and plenty of other awesome activities. Traveling in a group? This campground even has a dedicated group coordinator to make hosting your motorcycle club a breeze!
An adventure around the Pacific Northwest is always exciting, but there's nothing quite like exploring the misty beaches and quaint local gems on a motorcycle. The natural beauty and local flavor add to the experience of riding your bike on the roads as they wind along the coast and through lush forests!