Southern Oregon Coast 5 Day Road Trip

The first time I visited Oregon, I could not believe that this place exists within the United States. The southern Oregon coast has breathtaking waterfalls, rugged dunes, evergreen forests, and volcanic black sand beaches. It feels like you have teleported to a different country! There are so many beautiful and unique places to see. A road trip to the southern Oregon coast is the perfect way to explore and showcase Oregon and all of its natural beauty. 

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest between California and Washington, you can find the state of Oregon. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I have always associated Oregon with its hipster and quirky, their words, not mine, city Portland. Little did I know that Oregon is one of the most geographically diverse states in the United States. 

southern oregon coast 5 day road trip

After moving to northern California, my husband and I have made it a point to road trip to Oregon and explore as much as we can. One of our favorite and most recent trips was a 5-day southern Oregon coast road trip.

I would love to share this itinerary with you! Included are the top locations that we recently visited, which are all dog-friendly. Pack up your car, with your dog and the best road trip snacks, for an adventurous southern Oregon coast road trip! 

Related Blog Posts
7 Top Things Do in Gold Beach, Oregon

Fly Free With Southwest!

Discover 4 Unique Ways to Fly for FREE with Southwest Airlines

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Best Time to Visit Oregon

    The best time of year to visit Oregon would be the spring, summer, and fall months. Wintertime brings cold temperatures, heavy rainfall, and snow, which can cause dangerous driving conditions.

    From June to August you will get the warmest weather. September is the start of their fall season and, you should continue to get decent weather until the end of October. 

    Where to Stay on the Southern Oregon Coast 

    After looking over a map of Oregon to plan our road trip, we decided to spend our nights in Gold Beach, Oregon. Numerous small towns line the coast of Oregon.

    However, Gold Beach stood out to us because it is conveniently located between other popular coastal towns and is only 40 miles away from the California borderline. Find out the top 7 things to do in Gold Beach, Oregon, to add to your itinerary! 

    As we are from northern California, this epic road trip begins in the Bay Area. If you are flying into San Francisco or Oakland International airport and looking for something to do for the day, I have you covered. Half Moon Bay is a cozy beach town located on the northern California coast and an easy day trip to plan. 

    Southern Oregon Coast 5 Day Road Trip

    Day 1 Starting Point San Francisco, California 
    Stop 1 Trinidad State Beach 

    • Approximately 5 hours from San Francisco
    • Dog-friendly

    A straight shot to Gold Beach, Oregon, will take you between 7 and a half to 8 hours on the road. That will make any person or dog restless! We luckily found Trinidad State Beach to be the perfect pit stop on our road trip to Oregon. It is located about 19 miles from Eureka, California, and an easy pull off from Highway 101. Once you reach Trinidad State Beach, there are a couple of trails and beaches to choose from. College Cove is one of the more popular ones, and it was an absolute gem! 

    begin your southern oregon coast road trip at Trinadad State Beach, California

    College Cove

    From the parking lot, there is a short trail through a moss-covered forest. The flat road will lead you to a slightly hidden staircase that goes down towards the beach. The dirt stairs are a little steep and unkept, so take your time as you make your way down. Once on the beach, you will enjoy the secluded and hidden College Cove

    College Cove at Trinidad Beach, California

    It is a small beach, but enough space to stretch your legs and get some needed fresh air. The bright blue water, black sand, and rock formations make for stunning views. 

    Stop 2: Arrival to Gold Beach, Oregon 

    • 2 to 2.5 hrs from Trinidad State Beach

    Day 2 Brookings, Oregon 

    Stop 1 Chetco Point Park 

    • 35 minutes from Gold Beach, Oregon
    • .7 mile easy hike
    • dog-friendly 
    • Available picnic tables 
    Along the southern Oregon coast, Chetco Point Park

    Ok, do not make snap judgments off your first impression of Chetco Point Park! The parking lot is oddly next to a Waste Water Treatment facility, which honestly made us question if we were even at the right location.

    However, after you walk a short paved trail away from the thoughts of sewage, you are immediately rewarded with gorgeous views of the pacific ocean.

    along the southern oregon coast, Chetco point park

    Chetco Point Park is an easy trail and is also dog-friendly. There are a couple of different ways to see Chetco Point Park. You can head down a path, where you would find a small beach. During low tide, explore the rugged rock formations and tide pools.

    views from the bluff at Chetco Point Park of the southern oregon coast

    My favorite option was taking the short uphill hike to the bluff overlooking Chetco Point. Once you reach the top, walk along the perimeter of the bluff and witness panoramic views of the Oregon coast. Chetco Point Park is a beautiful location and a must-see when visiting Brookings, Oregon. 

    Stop 2: Harris Beach State Park 

    • 6 min drive from Chetco Point Park
    • Dog-friendly 
    • Available picnic benches

    The southern Oregon coast at its finest! Miles of soft sandy beach along the pacific ocean. Harris Beach State Park, an ideal location to walk the beach and enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Oregon coast. 

    located on the southern oregon coast, Harris State Beach State Park

    Harris Beach is a popular location for camping. They have RV hooks up or you can reserve a yurt/cabin to spend the night. Other things to do at Harris Beach State Park include spotting wildlife, such as whales and rare birds, hiking trails, and fishing. 

    Harris Beach State Park sits right in the heart of Brookings, Oregon. It is a great place to visit with family looking for a day activity or a weekend to unplug with nature. 

    Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor 

    Chances are you have heard of Brookings, Oregon, you have heard of Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor. The scenic state park stretches along 12 miles of the southern Oregon coast between Brookings and Gold Beach, Oregon. You can easily spend days or even months hiking all of the secret trails in the deep forest and rugged coastline of Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor. 

    The best part about visiting the Scenic Corridor is that each trailhead is just a pull off of Highway 101. We decided to start at the south end and make our way back to Gold Beach while making stops along the way. Here are some of the highlights from our trip to Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor. 

    Stop 3: Lone Ranch 

    • 7-minute drive from Harris State Beach
    • Picnic tables available 
    • Dog-friendly
    Lone Ranch Picnic tables with views of the southern oregon coast

    Lone Ranch resides on a little cove on the southern end of the State Scenic Corridor. There is either a grassy one-mile hike that loops around Cape Ferrelo. Or what we opted for was to take a trail towards the ocean.

    There are picnic tables perched above the beach with incredible views of the Oregon coast. We enjoyed sitting back and relaxing during our oceanfront picnic with views of the beautiful black sand, large sea stacks, and scattered driftwood laying across the beach.

    Stop 4: Whaleshead Beach

    • 6-minute drive from Lone Ranch
    • Dog-friendly
    • Picnic tables available 

    As I am sure you have noticed by now, there are a lot of rock formations on the Oregon coast! This one is my favorite, and why is it called Whaleshead Beach? There is a large sea stack out in the ocean that looks similar to the top of a whale’s head. When the right wave hits the giant rock, it resembles a whale spout.  

    beautiful view of Whaleshead Beach on the southern oregon coast

    Whaleshead is one of the more sizable beaches on the southern Oregon Coast. The span of soft, sandy, black beach goes on for miles. You can find numerous shallow pools dispersed across the beach. The best time to visit is during low tide and just when the sun begins to set. 

    Stop 5: Natural Bridges Viewpoint 

    • 4 minutes from Whaleshead Beach
    • Dog-friendly
    Trail at Natural Bridges View Point along the southern oregon coast

    The Natural Bridges leave me in awe. I find them to be so mesmerizing and unique. It is a reminder of how long these structures have been on earth and the effects of decades of erosion from the wild pacific ocean. 

    Natural Bridges View point along the southern oregon coast

    The Natural Bridges Viewpoint is located on a wooden bridge to the left of the entrance. We continued from there on a moderate hike down a steep rocky path for more views of the natural bridges. It is a short but challenging hike, but it was nice to get our blood pumping. Yet, I do not recommend going on this hike if you are not prepared to get your sweat on. 

    Stop 6: Arch Rock 

    • 2-minute drive from Natural Bridges View Point 
    • Dog-friendly
    views of Arch Rock, Oregon along the southern oregon coast

    A well-known and frequently visited natural sea arch along the southern Oregon coast. Arch Rock is an easy trail to conquer. To get views of the natural sea arch, you walk along a grassy meadow to find Arch Rock straight ahead standing strong in the pacific ocean. 

    Day 3 Coos Bay & Bandon 

    Stop 1 Golden and Silver Falls State National Park 

    • 2 to 2.5 hours from Gold Beach, Oregon 
    • Dog friendly
    The gorgeous Silver Falls in southern oregon

    I loved our time spent at Golden and Silver Falls! We visited in November, the waterfalls amongst the autumn leaves were breathtaking! It is not the easiest to get to. Golden and Silver Falls are located deep in the forest in southern Oregon with no cell service for miles. The last three miles of the drive are on a one-way gravel road (watch out for potholes), but I promise a visit to Golden and Silver Falls State National Park is so worth it! 

    A road trip to Silver Falls, Oregon

    Silver Falls, Oregon

    As said in the name, there are two different and impressive waterfalls to visit. I recommend doing the Silver Falls hike first because it is the shorter of the two. Here you can get up close to the cascading falls. I have heard that you can cross from the Silver Falls trail to the Golden trail. However, I do not recommend this. It is very slippery under the waterfall. Backtrack the 0.3 miles to the entrance. 

    Golden Falls, Oregon

    There is a fork at the entrance to Golden Falls. If you go right at the fork, it is a short trail that gives you a different view of the falls from the ground. I did not think it was worth it. After a certain point, the trail ends and you have to navigate through fallen trees, streams of water, and slippery rocks. I do not recommend it if you have limited time. At the fork, go left, which will take you up towards the Golden Falls. 

    Golden Falls hike oregon

    The Golden Falls hike is up a steady hill of switchbacks. There will be some great views of the Golden Falls halfway through the trail, but make sure to continue to the top. You will not be disappointed!

    At the top of Golden Falls, the dense forest opens up and you are standing above the cascading waterfall. The gorgeous landscape is made up of the vibrant colors of the trees and the ripping flow of the water over the cliff. I suggest visiting in the fall or spring to get the best experience at Golden and Silvers Falls National Park. 

    Stop 2 Tony’s Crab Shack

    • 1 hr to 1.5 hrs from Golden and Silver Falls National Park
    • Dog-friendly tables outside
    Tony's crab shack along the southern oregon coast in Bandon, Oregon

    One of the best lobster roll and crab cakes that I have ever had! I am a huge snob when it comes to my seafood, especially crab cakes. However, Tony’s Crab Shack lived up to their name and reputation. After a full day of hiking at Golden and Silver Falls, this was the perfect pit stop for some delicious seafood and a local beer in Bandon, Oregon. 

    Stop 3 Bandon Boardwalk 

    • 1 hour to Gold Beach, Oregon
    • Dog-friendly

    Bandon Boardwalk is along the water next to Tony’s Crab Shack. Port O’ Call, a small shop attached to and owned by Tony’s sells unique gifts, tackle, and rentals for crabbing and fishing. 

    Boardwalk on the southern oregon coast in Bandon, Oregon

    If you are feeling adventurous or lucky, you can go crabbing right off the Bandon Boardwalk. It is also a nice little spot to walk and gaze out into the open ocean. 

    Day 4 Gold Beach 

    We were happy with our decision to stay in Gold Beach during our southern Oregon coast road trip. If you are planning on staying or visiting Gold Beach and looking for other activities to add to your road trip.

    My blog post on the top 7 things to do in Gold Beach, Oregon, goes into detail about the best hikes, places to eat, and drink in Gold Beach, Oregon.  

    Stop 1 Point Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint 

    • Dog-friendly
    along the Southern oregon coast, Pistol River State Park

    We loved seeing all of the unique and giant rock formations in Brookings. However, for our day in Gold Beach, we were looking for something different to explore. When you arrive at Point Pistol River, you get just that!

    The smooth dunes and tufts of grass stretch as far as you can see along the Oregon coast. You can follow one of the many pathways to the ocean or make your own by climbing the dunes for a beautiful view. 

    Stop 2 Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor 

    • 15-minute drive from Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint
    • Dog-friendly

     If you plan on doing any hiking in Gold Beach, Oregon, you should put Cape Sebastian State Park at the top of your list. It is a moderate-level hike, but the trail and views are spectacular. 

    my favorite hike on the southern oregon coast, cape sebastian state park

    Cape Sebastian, as said in its name, sits on a cape on the Oregon coastline. The parking lot alone provides stunning panoramic views of the ocean. The hike begins at an inviting entrance of evergreen trees that are lining both sides of the trail.

    The woody smell of the outdoors surrounds you as you enter the deep lush forest. Make your way down a series of switchbacks that take you to the lower level of the cape.

    Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor

    On your way to the bottom, the trail opens up to the rugged coastline. The bluff sits above beautiful eroded rock formations and ocean pools of deep crashing waves. Continue on the trail until you have finally arrived at the secret beach at Hunters Cove. This hike took us approximately 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. 

    Day 5 Return Back to Northern California 

    On our drive back to the East Bay, it stormed the entire time. We had plans to make some stops along the way but decided against it because the weather was terrible. Here are two ideas on pit stops to make on your journey back to northern California. 

    Stop 1 Crescent City 

    • 1 hour from Gold Beach, Oregon

    At the borderline of California and Oregon, Crescent City is the largest city on the Redwoods Coast. Enjoy going into town for shopping and lunch. Or stretch your road trip legs on one of the many hikes in the redwoods.  

    Stop 2 Avenue of the Giants 

    • 2.5 hours from Crescent City, California

    The Avenue of the Giants runs parallel to Highway 101, which is the route back to California. It is the longer alternative, but for 31 miles, you get the opportunity to go deep into the forest and drive between the massive redwood trees. To truly appreciate the redwood trees, they are something that you must visit in person. 

    Southern Oregon Coast

    We found this itinerary to be packed with adventure but also enjoyed slowing down and taking in all of the natural marvels around us. I believe that you will fall in love with Oregon as much as we did on this southern Oregon coast road trip.

    Where to Plan Your Next Trip

    I LOVE everything California!! Find my travel itineraries and many insider tips on the best spots to visit in California.