In a previous blog I noted that there are ways to tour the state of Oregon without blowing out your entire travel budget for the year.
As I mentioned earlier, U.S. Highway 101 in Oregon takes you by some of the Beaver State’s most incredible scenery. The well-traveled road also leads you to some of the area’s most affordable lodgings (think $35-$50 per room per night). You can save more by setting up camp in one of the state’s lush parks.
From Astoria, Oregon take the drive south to save even more in Newport. The historic waterfront district has a variety of charming shops and educational kiosks that inform travelers of the men and women who have lost their lives trying to make a living off the sea. The informational guides and literature are free and by strolling through the quaint city streets instead of driving you can save on gas.
Area restaurants make use of local produce and prices are reasonable. Another way to save some cash is to head over to Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. It is filled with family-friendly movies, exhibits and displays of coastal marine life. And your kids will love the center’s wet “petting zoo,” which is home to dozens of marine creatures. You can also take free educational walking tours of the fishing fleet docks. (Take note: donations are encouraged.)
Newport is also home to several 19th-century lighthouses, which are located along the coast. Many of them are open to the public and the admission price is minimal. Surfing at one of the many area beaches is also free (though I would suggest wearing a wetsuit as the water is freezing). Several ports in Newport also offer salmon or other fishing charters. Otherwise you can opt for a boat trip to watch gray whales that breach not far off the coast.
South of Florence, Oregon is the National Dunes Recreation Area. The federally funded area extends for 40 miles along the Oregon Coast and consists of desert-like sand mountains that are a blast to climb and slide down at record-breaking speeds. The Oregon Dunes also offer access to a variety of water sports. The area is home to more than 30 lakes and ponds, plus numerous streams where you can canoe, water-ski, swim, and fish.