Oregon · Travel

Exploring the Oregon Coast – Florence, OR

Saturday, March 9th, 2019:

Today my boyfriend and I went on a day trip to explore Florence, Oregon. This was the first time I had been to Florence and it made the perfect Saturday get away, being only 1 hour East of Eugene on highway 126. The first stop we had to make on arrival was to a local favorite, Mo’s Seafood & Chowder (est. 1946), for some good ol’ shrimp n’ chips.

We could not have asked for a more perfect day with mostly clear, blue skies, very minimal wind and a perfect temperature of 49ºF the view of the Siuslaw River was breathtaking.

Siuslaw River Bridge facing West from the dock next to Mo’s Restaurant.

We started off our meal with some of their “World Famous” clam chowder that definitely lived up to it’s name, while we waited for our main courses, shrimp n’ chips and a delicious cheddar cheese burger.

We got all of this for less than $30 which for 2 people is a great deal! We will definitely be back in the future and plan on trying out their crab artichoke dip, bay shrimp (or crab) melt, and the steamer clams appetizer.

After lunch we took a quick stroll down the board walk where we saw people fishing, crabbing, and boating, before heading to the beach. One thing we did not get to do but wish we would have is to take the time to stroll through some of the shops that line the streets of the Old Town district which included an ice cream parlor, coffee shop, “All About Olives” (a kitchen gadget and olive by-product store), and several other smaller tourists shops.

The first beach that we stopped at was Harbor Vista County Park. To get there from Mo’s it is a very easy, 10 minute drive. Just head North on highway 101, turn left on Rhododendron Dr for about 5 miles until you get to N Jetty Rd where you will turn left, then just follow the road to the end where you will come out at a large empty parking lot with the river on one side and large, rolling sand dunes on the other. This is such a perfect place for flying kites, watching for wildlife, playing in the surf, or just to go on a stroll across the jetty.

Next we headed to Heceta Beach, only about 3 miles farther North on Rhododendron Dr, where we could watch the endless ocean while searching for shells, sand dollars, and crabs. Washed up driftwood also provided us with the perfect photo op!

Although we live close enough to Florence that we did not have to stay overnight, we did scout out some awesome places for us to stay next time we decide to make it a full weekend get-away! There were several vacation rentals we spotted in the Heceta Beach area, right along the dunes, as well as a hotel right a long the beach that our family has recommended to us! You are just several steps away from the ocean here!

Driftwood Shores Resort – the attached restaurant is where we almost chose to dine this afternoon as we heard fantastic reviews about it as well.

We were both saddened to see such large piles of trash caught in other natural sea debris, but it was a good reminder to ourselves to play our own part in minimizing waste so as not to pollute or beautiful planet any further.


After wandering the beach, looking for remnants of sea life, we decided next we would head back south on Highway 101 to the infamous Oregon Sand Dunes of the Joaquin Miller State Park on the South Jetty. To get there just head back through town, pass over the bridge, and turn right about a 1/2 mile after it.

Siuslaw River Bridge (also shown from the side in photos above)

Hiking up the steep dunes gave us quite a workout, but once we got to the top, the spectacular views of the rolling ocean on one side, and the deep blue, winding river on the other side made it worth it. We did not spend too much time at this beach because the day was starting to get late and we wanted to find a spot to watch the sunset from the truck, but there were dozens of people racing dune buggies, strolling along the beach, and having picnics.

Lastly, to end our perfect Saturday getaway, we headed back to the Harbor Vista County Park beach where we backed the truck up to the far end of the parking lot right a long the river, and with a perfect view of the mouth of the river and the setting sun, so that we could relax and watch the sunset before going back to Eugene. We blew up the air mattress, laid down some blankets, and got comfy in the bed of the truck while waiting for the sun to start setting. I also started reading Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody to help pass the time until it got closer to sunset.

Although we were not able to snap any photos of the wildlife we encountered, we did see some geese flying by and several sea lions who made appearances off and on through the evening. Luckily, we were pretty sheltered from the top of the truck bed over us, but there were quite a few swarms of mosquitos nearby so I would suggest making sure you cover your body up nice and good or bring bug spray to prevent any nasty bites.

Zach and I both agreed that this was one of the best days we have had in a long time just getting to relax and forget about all of our stress for a few hours. We cannot wait to go back again and explore some new areas of this quaint little town! Have you been here, or live here? Please let me know any suggestions you have for your favorite things to do, see, and eat while in Florence! If you decide to head this way after reading this post, please also let me know how you enjoyed it!

4 thoughts on “Exploring the Oregon Coast – Florence, OR

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