Beach Roundup: From Florence to Yachats

Oregon Coast Highway 101 between Florence and Yachats is a lovely drive along the central Oregon coast. Motorcyclists love the twisty road, Pacific Coast Bike Route cyclists have gotten their stride at this point, visitors are dashing from one attraction to the next, and everyone is looking for views, views, views.

While scenery encompassing ocean, lighthouse, sea mammals, water birds, bridges, cliffs, and chasms is plentiful, finding a beach easy to reach for walking along the 13-mile stretch from the Sea Lion Caves to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a challenge. A steep path, a broad swath of rocks, cliffs, basalt instead of sand, or some combination of these obstacles are found at most stops in this vicinity. For some this is merely a mild deterrent; for many of us this terrain is unnegotiable.

To help you locate a beach in this region that fits your abilities, energy level, or time schedule, I’ve compiled a summary. You’ll see turnoffs for each of these places (listed south to north) along Highway 101. Links are provided for places described in more detail on other pages of 100 Steps.

It’s possible that none of the beaches in this area is a good choice for you. If that is the case, enjoy the views, and leave your beach stroll for a different section of Oregon coastline.

Milepost 179

N/AOn a cliff, no beach

Sea lions in cave and surrounding waters

Milepost 178

100 Steps

Flat, but a wide swath of rocks before reaching sand

View of lighthouse and Cape Creek Bridge

Milepost 176

225 Steps

Gradual descent and three stairs reaches miles of rolling sand

No band of rocks to cross

Milepost 175

75 Steps

Wide band of stones and driftwood before reaching sand

Long beach; merges with Carl G. Washburne

Milepost 173

150 Steps

A broad band of rocks rests at the foot of a 25-step stairway

Tall hill at south end can block wind

Milepost 171

200 Steps

Can drive onto the beach when the road is open

View of Tenmile Creek Bridge

Milepost 170

N/ALots of rocks, little sand

Popular for geocaching and mussels

Milepost 169

100 Steps

A gravel path and over 20 stairs reaches craggy rocks

Great for tide pools

Milepost 168

75 Steps

Stairs and a rock bed must be crossed to reach stone-scattered sand

View of Cummins Creek Bridge

Milepost 166

1 mile loop

Steep path with switchbacks leads to basalt rather than sand

Water-carved cleft causes churning sea