This article outlines all of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon, a small town located smack dab in the middle of the enchanted Oregon Coast. If you’re looking for a home base for your Oregon Coast adventures, Florence, Oregon is a great choice. Not only is the town itself home to plenty of fun activities, it’s also conveniently located within striking distance of many of the best attractions the area has to offer. We lived in Florence, Oregon for two months and have compiled our list of all the best things to do in the area to help you plan your next Oregon Coast adventure!

14 Best Things to do in florence, ORegon

We spent 2 months living on the little coastal town of Florence, Oregon and we’re rounding up our top things to do in the area in this article!

  1. Explore Heceta Head Lighthouse
  2. Watch the sunset at Heceta Beach
  3. Hike the Hobbit Trail to the secluded Hobbit Beach
  4. Eat fish & chips at Luna Sea
  5. Explore Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
  6. Enjoy the best crab chowder at Novelli’s Crabhouse
  7. Explore Old Town Florence, Oregon
  8. Take a road trip up the Northern Oregon Coast
  9. Take a road trip down the southern Oregon Coast
  10. Go for a hike
  11. Explore the Oregon Sand Dunes
  12. Get a beer at the Beachcomber Pub
  13. Visit Shores Acres State Park
  14. Sip your way through the vineyards in the south Willamette Valley

Map of the Best things to do in Florence, Oregon

The map below displays the location of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon that we’ll cover in this article.

  • To view more details about each location, click on the marker on the map.
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1. Explore Heceta head lighthouse

The Heceta Head Lighthouse viewed from the trail above
The Heceta Head Lighthouse is accessed via a short 1-mile hike

Located just 13 miles north of Florence, a visit to Heceta Head Lighthouse is a must during any visit to Florence, Oregon. With its iconic red top and bright light serving as a beacon in the foggy Oregon air, Heceta head is definitely the most picturesque lighthouse along the entirety of the Oregon Coast. 

There are a number of different ways you can experience the Heceta Head Lighthouse. As you drive towards the lighthouse along Highway 101, you’ll see it off in the distance and can pull out about 1 mile before the lighthouse. This pullout provides the best vantage point for capturing the lighthouse and the surrounding cliffs, mountains, and ocean in their entirety. 

You can also explore the Heceta Head Lighthouse up close with just a short, one mile round trip hike that takes you right up to the base of the lighthouse. You can continue beyond the lighthouse up the hill immediately behind it for even better views of the beckoning light and ocean below. 

If you have more time, there is also a small beach just south of Heceta Head Lighthouse that has some pretty sea stacks in the distance and is definitely worth a stop, especially at sunset. 

2. Watch the sunset at Heceta Beach

Sunset from Heceta Beach is one of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon!

Just a few minutes north of Florence, Oregon is Heceta Beach, one of our favorite beaches anywhere along the Oregon Coast. Unlike many other beaches in the area, Heceta Beach is wide and long, and more similar to beaches you’d find along the east coast of the US.

It’s a great place to take a long walk or bring a blanket, picnic, and beach gear when the weather is warm. 

3. Hike the Hobbit Trail to the secluded Hobbit Beach

The Hobbit Trail is a short, 1 mile hike through lush, dense forest that brings you to the secluded Hobbit Beach. We love this hike because it combines the two best landscapes along the Oregon Coast in one compact hike – moss covered forests and a moody, rock-strewn beach.

If you’re looking for a quick hike near Florence that packs in everything there is to love about the Oregon Coast, then the Hobbit Trail is the perfect choice.

4. Eat fish & chips at Luna Sea

Try the fish and chips at Luna Sea in neighboring town of Yachats

The Oregon Coast is renowned for its world class seafood. From Dungeness crab, to manila clams, to fresh oysters, and line-caught fish, you truly can’t find better seafood anywhere else in the US.

With such a vast array of options, it can be difficult to choose where to eat! Well look no further because Luna Sea Fish House in nearby Yachats, Oregon serves up the best fish and chips anywhere on the Oregon Coast!

We made it our mission to try as many fish and chip joints as we could while we lived in Florence and there is no doubt that Luna Sea does it the best.

Super fresh cod that is perfectly tender and succulent, encased in the crispiest, beer battered crust simply cannot be beat! Enjoying a cold beer and hot plate of fish and chips at Luna Sea is easily one of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon.

5. Explore the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is just a short drive from Florence

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is home to a number of unique coastal sites, easily making it one of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon. Start with the Cape Perpetua Overlook, which provides a bird’s eye view of Cape Perpetua and the churning ocean below. The overlook is easily accessible by car or you can hike up the short but steep trail to reach it if you’d like to get your legs moving and your heart rate pumping! 

Also within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, you can explore Thor’s Well, the Devil’s Churn, and the Spouting Horn, each a unique display of the power of the ocean colliding with the strength of coastal rock in a way only found in Oregon.

6. Enjoy the best crab chowder at Novelli’s Crabhouse

Enjoying crab chowder at Novelli’s is one of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon!

While Luna Sea in Yachats serves up the best fish and chips near Florence, Oregon, Novelli’s Crab and Seafood is the go-to spot for the best crab chowder in the area. Novelli’s is run by a local family and floats, quite literally, in the Siuslaw Marina next to Old Town Florence.

You seriously cannot get fresher crab than Novelli’s! 

7. Explore Old Town Florence, Oregon

Florence Oregon is home to a cute Old Town right on the Siuslaw River

While each seaside town along the Oregon Coast has its own picturesque downtown stretch, we are partial to Florence’s Old Town, a strip of cute shops, bars, restaurants, and coffee spots located right along the Siuslaw River.

Old Town Florence is the perfect place to stroll through for an hour or two, bopping around the different storefronts in search of the perfect souvenir or spot to grab a beer and bite to eat.

8. Take a road trip up the Northern Oregon Coast

From Florence you can easily reach many incredible places on the Oregon Coast

There is no better way to explore the Oregon Coast than via a good old-fashioned road trip. Hop on Highway 101 and head north through Yachats, Newport, Depoe Bay, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach and Oceanside until you reach Astoria, in the northwest corner of the state.

There are so many things to do along the northern Oregon Coast that we wrote an entire article about how to road trip from Florence to Astoria!

9. Take a road trip down the southern Oregon Coast

Florence is the perfect hub for adventures up and down the Oregon Coast

One of the best things about Florence is its location right in the center of the Oregon Coast. This means that you can just as easily take a road trip down the southern stretch of Highway 101 as you can journey north. It’s hard to say whether the southern or northern Oregon Coast is better, as each has its own unique attractions and you really can’t go wrong.

Luckily, we’ve also written extensively about everything there is to see along the southern Oregon Coast, so you can decide for yourself. Our recommendation would be to do both of course!

10. Go for a hike

It shouldn’t be any surprise that there are tons of great hiking trails all around Florence, Oregon and one of the best things to do is to hit the trails! A few great hikes nearby include:

  • Siltcoos Lake Trail | 3.5 miles and 600 feet elevation gain
  • Amanda’s Trail | 6.5 miles and 1450 feet elevation gain
  • John Dellenback Dunes Trail | 5.5 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain
  • Cape Perpetua Trail | 2.7 miles and 820 feet elevation gain
  • China Creek Loop | 3.3 miles and 275 feet elevation gain

We’ve already written about our favorite hikes near Florence, so check it out and decide which trail best suits your plans!

11. Explore the Oregon sand Dunes

View from the top of the Oregon Sand Dunes
Strolling the beach at the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area near Florence

Florence, Oregon is conveniently located near the expansive Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, the largest temperate coastal sand dunes in the world and a mecca for all types of off-road vehicle adventure.

We explored the dunes by foot and enjoyed taking a leisurely stroll down the beach while marveling at the massive dunes. No matter if you explore them by two feet or four wheels, the dunes are worth a visit.

12. Grab a beer at Beachcomber Pub

The Beachcomber Pub is a local institution in Florence, Oregon and is our favorite spot to grab a cold beer and quick bite to eat in town. Don’t expect anything fancy. Just good home cooking, an extensive beer list, and a homey atmosphere, perfect for a rainy Oregon afternoon.

13. Visit Shore Acres State Park

Located just over one hour south of Florence, Shores Acres State Park is one of our favorite attractions along the entirety of the Oregon Coast. With sweeping views of rocky shores and crashing waves and miles of hiking trails atop the seaside cliffs, a visit to Shore Acres State Park is absolutely one of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon.

There is so much to do in Shore Acres that we’ve written an article with way more information about the area!

14. Sip your way through the vineyards in the south Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is one of the most verdant and fertile areas in the world. Running for 150 miles from Portland in the north to Eugene in the south, it is home to over 500 wineries and is consistently recognized as one of the best wine regions in the world. The southern end of the Willamette Valley is easily reachable from Florence within an hour’s drive.

While we lived in Florence, we sipped pinot noir and other local varietals at Sweet Cheeks Winery and Silvan Ridge Winery. We enjoyed both spots but would recommend Sweet Cheeks in particular.

There are plenty of other wineries in the area to explore and you really can’t go wrong! Taking a day trip to the Willamette Valley wineries is certainly one of the best things to do in Florence, Oregon.

where to stay in florence

Florence is home to a quaint Old Town, with plenty of cute restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s one of the most picturesque downtowns of all the Oregon Coast towns. Here are a few nice places to stay right in town.

  • River House Inn | Located right on the Siuslaw River with views of the Oregon dunes and nice, clean rooms
  • Heceta Bungalow | Located a few minutes outside Florence, this cute little bungalow is walking distance to Heceta Beach
  • Landmark Inn | Perched on a hill overlooking Florence in a quiet location but still a short walk to Old Town
hiking in the Oregon Dunes near Florence

Other Oregon Resources

Looking for more incredible hikes and things to do on the Oregon Coast? Check out some of these resources to help you plan your trip.

More Florence Resources

Best Oregon Coast Towns

Hiking on the Oregon Coast

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Sarah Vaughan

Hello! I'm Sarah, one half of the couple behind Two Outliers! In 2023, I quit my job as a Data Scientist to travel around the world on an epic 15-month journey in search of the world's greatest hikes and outdoor adventures. Matt and I started Two Outliers in 2021 as a place for visitors to find concise, accurate, and honest information to plan their own adventures. We hope our experiences inspire you to hit the trail! Happy Hiking! Sarah


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