Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oregon Coast: Highway 101

When you are talking about travelling on the Oregon Coast, you are talking about Highway 101. US Highway 101 was designated a National Scenic Byway - the longest in the nation at over 300 miles, spanning the entire Oregon Coast from Brookings, Oregon north to Astoria, Oregon.

The route is locally known as "101" but the Scenic Byway is called the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway NSB Website.

This splendid drive offers many wonderful views though you'll want to get out of the car and hike the short distances that usually will get you to cliffs or the beachfront to see even more.

One of my favorite hikes is the Indian Sands just north of Brookings in Harris Beach State Park. The area was frequented by Native Americans and is named for the colorful sandstone. Note that you can't get down to the water here - for that head south to Harris Beach Park Picnic Area. Also, there's a great Oregon State Welcome Center up the hill and across the highway from that Picnic Area.

A common mistake for travelers is to underestimate the time it can take to comfortably drive the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. You'll want to plan 2-3 days for this drive so you can have some beachcombing and unwinding time. There are several beachside Bed and Breakfasts and vacation rentals nestled in the countryside as well as hundreds of hotels which tend to cluster in the cities. We'll have a lot more about places to stay on the Oregon Coast later...