Oregon is blessed with a wealth of spectacular natural features, and the coast in particular offers the traveler and photographer plenty of opportunities for whatever time they have to spend. Oregon’s 363 miles of coastline includes a diverse landscape of beaches, sand dunes, rocky cliffs, forested headlands, hidden coves, sheltering bays, and river estuaries. Sea stacks, tide pools, wildlife, and lighthouses are also among the favored subjects for photography. Small cities and little towns are dots on a map connected by US Highway 101, the Pacific Coast Scenic Highway, which runs the length of the Oregon coast. This guide covers the entire Oregon coast, from the Columbia River in the north to the California border in the south. Included are all the major locations of interest to photographers, and many lesser known sites with great photo potential. While there are some remote stretches of wild coast in Oregon, the vast majority of locations of interest to photographers are easily accessible from Highway 101 via numerous state parks, waysides and trails.
There are fantastic photo opportunities all along the Oregon coast and it’s a bit of a challenge to name a few as favorites. When people ask what I recommend most, I take into consideration time of year, weather, and how many days are planned for a photo trip.These are the locations I tell people not to miss: Northern Coast: Ecola State Park, Cape Kiwanda Central Coast: Cape Perpetua, Oregon Dunes NRA (Umpqua Dunes section) Southern Coast: Sunset Bay-Shore Acres-Cape Arago trio of state parks, Bandon Beach
A good tip is to plan your itinerary for a north to south route along Highway 101 as almost all of the sites you want to visit will be an easy right turn. Ideally make advance reservations for lodging or campgrounds, especially in summer and on holiday weekends. Great photographs can be made at any time of year on the Oregon coast, but plan your visit with the seasonal weather in mind. Summer sees the most visitors, but this is not the best time for great sunsets. When temperatures reach the 90s in Portland and the Willamette Valley, a fog bank frequently sits offshore and the sun will just drop into the gray without putting on much of a show for the cameras..