The Oregon Coast is one of my happiest places and Lincoln City is one of my favorite destinations along the coast. With miles of sandy beaches, a scavenger hunt for handcrafted glass floats, estuaries with crabbing and clam fishing opportunities, fabulous bird watching opportunities and a freshwater lake nearby, there are myriad options for enjoying the area.
There are two routes to choose from from Portland, Oregon. One is to take Highway 99 from South Portland and join Highway 18 to the coast. This route can be very slow. I prefer to take I-5 South to Salem, merge onto Highway 22, then take Highway 18.
Here are my recommendations of 13 fantastic experiences in beautiful Lincoln, Oregon.
1. Take a walk on the beach
Stroll the 7.5 miles of sandy beach in Lincoln City, which has the most beaches of any city on the Oregon Coast. Enjoy the breathtaking views, listen to the pounding of the waves, feel the sand between your toes and the ocean mist on your skin. Build a sandcastle or fly a kite. Look for agates and jasper.
My favorite beaches are D-River Wayside and Taft Bay. As you are driving Highway 101, you will be impressed when you reach D-River Wayside. A second favorite beach is along Taft Bay, where you’ll find plenty of driftwood. Check out this link for other popular beaches in Lincoln City.
Lincoln City offers beach “crawls” where local guides lead walks along the beach. Check this link for available dates.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget about beach safety while you enjoy your walk. Never turn your back on the ocean; sneaker waves can appear at any time. Avoid walking among the large logs along the beach. Logs can absorb water and weigh up to a ton. They roll very easily, so stay away!
2. Look for hand-blown glass floats
Every day, throughout the year, the Lincoln City Float Fairies hide thousands of mouth-blown glass floats for you to happily search for. You can find the glass floats in the Roads End area in Siletz Bay. Check the basic hunting rules. There are even “special drops” throughout the year. During the hunt, pay attention to fragile ecosystems and remember your safety on the beach.
Made by local artists, it’s yours if you find a tank. You can save your find at this link. Once registered, you will receive a certificate of authenticity and the artist’s biography.
3. Create your own glass art
Watch glass-working demonstrations, learn about local glass artists, then create your own paperweight or float at local studios. Lincoln City Glass Center and Mor Art Glass are two places to check out. You can get involved as much as you want. Mor Art Glass offers several courses in glassmaking. Plan to spend a morning or afternoon learning glassblowing.
Pro Tip: If you choose to get involved in glassblowing, be aware of safety issues. Wear sturdy closed shoes and avoid loose, fleece clothing.
4. Learn about history at the North Lincoln Historical Museum
Enjoy hours of learning about Lincoln County history at the North Lincoln Historical Museum. Housed in a historic 1941 fire station, the museum features Native American exhibits, exhibits on pioneer life from the late 1880s to mid-1920s, and exhibits from 1920 to the city’s incorporation in 1965.
Rotating exhibits such as “What If Heros Were Not Welcome Home” examine prejudice against Japanese American veterans after World War II. “The Devils of North Lincoln Country” tells the story of a 1933 tourist campaign.
Also enjoy the interactive virtual exhibit where you can “dig deeper” into the history of specific artifacts.
5. Enjoy water sports at Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area
Located adjacent to the east side of Lincoln City is Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area, a three-mile freshwater lake. The shallow lake is ideal for water sports including paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and water skiing.
The area is also ideal for bird watching as the wetlands are wintering grounds for migrating birds. You will find osprey and eagle nests in the area.
Miles of hiking trails invite you to enjoy the natural beauty. There is also a year-round naturalist program.
6. Search All Birds
Bird watchers will appreciate the variety of species in the Lincoln City area. Look for Western Snowy Plover, Western Sandpipers, Bald Eagles, Ospreys and many other birds of a feather. Watch out for Western Snowy Plover nests along open sandy beaches and dry mud flats.
The Lincoln County Audubon Society hosts several events. Guided walks start at 9 a.m. and last two hours. Adult Birding Basics classes are held at the community college.
7. Learn about history at the Lincoln City Cultural Center
Located in the historic Delake School along Highway 101 is the Lincoln City Cultural Center. You will find a variety of courses for all ages. Classes are offered in dance, music, art, literature and drama.
A variety of events throughout the year feature musicians, dancers and theater productions.
Here is also the tourist information center. As well as being a great place to find information about the city, this is where you can pick up a Certificate of Authenticity for your found Glass Tank.
Pro Tip: Look for the summer Sunday market and other arts and crafts celebrations held at the cultural center.
8. Explore the tidal pools
Explore the tidal pools and learn about some of the amazing creatures that live in the Pacific Ocean. Look for sea anemones, sea urchins, starfish and hermit crabs. The two areas with the most accessible tidal pools are at NW 15th Street and the Inn At Spanish Head.
The best time to explore the tidal pools is around low tide. Check the tide tables for the latest information.
Pro Tip: Remember that tidal pools are very delicate ecosystems. Take nothing and leave nothing behind. Don’t forget your safety at the beach as well.
9. Enjoy all the wildlife and action at Siletz Bay Wildlife Refuge
Located at the southern tip of Lincoln City, the Siletz Bay Wildlife Refuge is a 568-acre area comprised of salt marshes, brackish marshes, swamps, mudflats, and forests. Home to many species of birds, fish, and sea life, you can choose from activities such as hiking, crabbing, clam digging, shore fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. bird watching.
The Alder Island Nature Trail is a short and easy walking trail. Bring a field guide to help you identify the different species you might encounter.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to disturb the wildlife.
10. Learn to catch crab and/or dig for clams
What fun to catch or dig for your dinner! Siletz Bay is one of the best places to fish for crab and clams. Check the shellfish hotline before you go to make sure conditions are safe for crab and clams. Check the Shellfish Hotline link for a map of the best areas.
Dungeness crabs are a favorite in the Pacific Northwest. Crab lessons are offered at Siletz Bay. Cockle fishing lessons are also offered. Bring your own gear or rent gear from places like Ace Hardware.
Pro Tip: Persons 12 years and older require a shellfish license. You can buy online or at retailers in town.
11. Put on your hiking boots
Lincoln City and surrounding areas have several hiking trails ranging from easy to moderately difficult. Some trails are sometimes closed to protect endangered species. Here you will find detailed information about trails and closures.
A local favorite is Drift Creek Falls, an easy 3.2 mile trail with a stunning waterfall and suspension bridge.
Pro tip: Drift Creek Falls is a day-use chargeable area. Check pass information here. Buy a day pass or consider an annual pass.
12. Stroll through the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy
Take advantage of a morning or afternoon to stroll through the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy. Wander among azaleas, rhododendrons, irises, geraniums and beds of lavender – many of the magnificent plants of the Pacific Northwest.
The site is open year-round and some trails are wheelchair accessible. Animals on a leash are welcome. Lots of seniors and others enjoy volunteering at the site every Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Guided tours are available: check this link for more information.
13. Watch for annual events
- January: Beachcombing clinics (January-April)
- March: SOLVE Oregon Spring Beach Cleanup
- April: Tidepool Clinics (April-July)
- June: Crab and clam fishing clinics (June-September)
- July: Bird Watching Clinics (July to December)
- August: sandcastle competition
- September: Cruisin’ the Bay Car Show
- October: Autumn Kite Festival
A visit to Lincoln City is sure to delight you! With all the activities and beautiful scenery, there is something for everyone. Schedule a visit soon. You’ll be glad you did!
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