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A charming small town on the Central Oregon Coast, there are plenty of things to do in Florence and around. Here are our recommendations on top things to do in Florence, where to stay, how to get around the city and where to eat.
Florence is a city with gorgeous landscapes. Sand dunes, expansive beaches, diverse wildlife, a historic lighthouse, the Siuslaw River Bridge, quaint viewpoints and the scenic ports are some of the things that add beauty to the town. Florence is also home to sea lions which can be spotted at the sea lion caves. These caves are popularly known to be the largest sea lion caves system in the United States. Florence is a postcard perfect destination that’s totally great for a weekend or longer trip whilst exploring the Oregon Coast.
Florence also offers many recreational activities and historical centers to keep you entertained. The town gives it’s visitors every opportunity to capture picturesque moments and spend enjoyable time away from the hustle of big cities. No matter how small the town is, there are many wonderful things to do in Florence, Oregon.
Things To Do In Florence, Oregon
1. Marvel At The Gorgeous Ocean Views From Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is located at a distance of 30 minutes from Florence. It is a part of the Siuslaw National Forest. Cape Perpetua is famously known to be the most beautiful scenic hub of impressive hiking trails and viewpoints with spectacular landscapes. Take a hike along the Cape Cove trail through the forest that leads you to the beach, where you can sit back and see the stunning coastal views and tide pools. This is one of the many trails in Cape Perpetua.
The staff at Visitor Center in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area will guide you with all the information regarding the trails, tidepooling and more adventurous activities to help you plan your visit.
If you do not prefer going on hikes, you can still drive to the highest point of Cape Perpetua and see the incredible coastal views. For more exploration, you can also choose to go camping in the Cape Perpetua Campground.
2. Hike The Hobbit Trail
Are you ready to venture onto a magical trail? Make way to the Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park. This moderate hike features a mystical looking forest with mossy trees, lush greenness, thick canopies covering the trail and an enchanting environment. The trail is no less than a magical adventure that adds fuel to your imagination. The end of the trail leads you to the secluded Hobbit beach which has dramatic views of Oregon’s coastline. The Hobbit Trail is just half a mile long and is perfect for a family friendly adventure.
3. See The Sea Lions At Sea Lions Cave (One Of The Unique Things To Do In Florence, Oregon)
Visiting the Sea Lion Caves is a must do activity in Florence. Known for being the largest Sea Lion Caves system in the United States, it is a wildlife preserve that gives you an opportunity to see the sea lions and other sea animals in their natural habitat. The caves are four stories high. An elevator ride takes you through the caves where you can see sea lions, shore birds and many sea animals lounging on the rocky cliffs of the caves.
From the viewing platform inside the cave, the panoramic views of the sea and coastal shores are a treat to it’s beholders. This activity is one of the most wonderful things to do in Florence. If you are traveling with kids, they will rejoice seeing all those sea animals in and around the caves.
4. Spend A Night Near The Historic Heceta Lighthouse
Located at the north of Florence is the Heceta Lighthouse which can be easily navigated from the highway 101. Perched atop a steep hill overlooking the stunning Oregon Coast, the Heceta Lighthouse is the most picturesque lighthouse you will come across along the coast. The lighthouse is 56 foot high and has the most powerful beaming light on the Oregon Coast.
The Lighthouse keepers home provides a bed and breakfast facility, where you can stay overnight near the Lighthouse. It’s a dreamy and once in a lifetime opportunity kind of experience to stay near the breathtaking Oregon sea views at the lighthouse. Enjoy the mesmerizing sunset and sun rise views from the lighthouse is one of the most memorable things to do at the lighthouse. You will also be served a seven course breakfast in the mornings during your stay. There are many hiking trails, tidepools and viewpoints around the Heceta Lighthouse to explore for an ultimate adventure.
5. Explore The Old Town Florence
The best way to learn about Florence’s culture and history is through it’s old town area. A stroll through the riverfront old town stroll takes you around many historical buildings, quaint cafes, shops, restaurants, art galleries, a lovely park and the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum. The Waterfront Depot and Mo’s restaurant serve the best seafood and other delicious local food options. The riverfront is picture perfect and the sunset views from the park are pretty captivating.
6. Picture The Iconic Siuslaw River Bridge
The Siuslaw River Bridge is a major historic landmark in Florence. While you are at the old town Florence, you can easily spot the bridge from the river front. The bridge beautifully spans over the Siuslaw River. It’s distinct architecture with intricate ornamental features are very impressive and noticeable. This is probably the most photographed spot in Florence, Oregon.
The Siuslaw River Bridge was built in 1936 and has been providing a safe passage for traffic since then. The bridge is very significant and you can learn more about it at the Siuslaw River Bridge Interpretive Center which is located in the old town.
7. Try Your Luck At The Three Rivers Casino
Florence has a world class casino all the latest slot machines, gaming tables and other games for those who enjoy gambling. The Three Rivers Casino Resort has a casino to it’s name while it is also all inclusive of resort facilities. There are many restaurants, children’s play area, theater, sports bar, live performances, musical events and many more attractions for visitor’s entertainment. The Three River Casino resort is a fun place to stay at if you are looking for an enjoyable family vacation in Florence, Oregon. Click here to book your stay at the resort or to check out it’s availability.
8. Stroll The Boardwalk At The Darlingtonia State Natural Site
The Darlingtonia State Natural Site is home to the carnivorous plant, cobra lily. It’s interesting to see how the cobra lilies attract small insects and flies through it’s sweet nectar for ultimately consuming them. The uniqueness of this flora attracts many visitors to the site which is just 5 miles north of Florence on the highway 101. The Darlingtonia State Natural Site is a quick stop and one of the quirky things to do in Florence, Oregon.
9. Go Camping In Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park features freshwater lakes, easy access to sand dunes, beach access and 300 convenient campsites. There are plenty of outdoor adventure activities you can enjoy amidst the natural beauty of the state park. With 47 full hookup sites, 187 camping areas, 121 sites with water and electricity, tent sites, yurts, and biker camps; there are many options to choose from. Visit their website for reservations.
10. Enjoy Sandboarding At The Sand Master Park (One Of The Most Adventurous Things To Do In Florence, Oregon)
One of the most eye catching sights on the Oregon Coast are the sand dunes. For the best experience on these sand dunes, make your way to the Sand Master Park. This is the first sandboarding park in the world featuring activities like sandboarding, sledding, sand sculpting and dune buggy rides. The sand dunes are sculpted with beginner to advanced level slopes.
All the necessary safety gears are available on site and they also have a convenient parking area for visitor’s vehicles. For information regarding the rates visit the Sand Master Park website and plan your adventure on the sand dunes.
Where To Stay In Florence, Oregon?
The best area to stay in Florence is near the old town, which gives you a convenient access to the riverfront that has many restaurants, shops and museums to explore. Below are our the best stay recommendations in Florence, Oregon.
Old Town Inn : The Old Town Inn is located at a 5 minutes walking distance from the Old Town Florence. The rooms have view of the Siuslaw River Bridge, due to it’s prime location. Guests are also offered a free shuttle service to the Three Rivers Casino. Rooms are cozy, comfortable and clean. Click here to book your stay or to check its availability.
Best Western Pier Point Inn : The Best Western Pier Point Inn is located on the banks of the Siuslaw River. The rooms are spacious, clean, comfortable and have fantastic views of the river from thier balconies. The Best Western Pier Point Inn also features a swimming pool and fitness club. Click here to book your stay or to check its availability.
How To Get Around Florence, Oregon?
Florence has a very convenient public bus transportation system, Rhody Express, that operates on weekdays, Monday to Friday. The bus has stops at all the essential spots throughout the city. You can check it’s scheduled route that is updated regularly here.
If you are looking for private car hires, you can book Uber cabs through the Uber App which is available on iPhone, Android and Windows phones.
Where To Eat In Florence, Oregon?
Florence is a foodie’s haven on the Oregon Coast. Here are some of the best restaurants to dine in while you are in Florence;
- Waterfront Depot Restaurant : It’s a riverside bistro that serves a wide variety of delicious and exotic seafood. Located near the old town Florence.
- 1285 Restobar : Serves tastiest Italian food in Florence. Located near the old town Florence.
- Fresh Harvest Cafe : It’s a perfect stop for a scrumptious American breakfast. Located on highway 101.
- Homegrown Public House And Brewery : For the best vegan and vegetarian options. It also serves a variety in seafood. Located on Laurel Street.
Florence is one of the most prettiest cities in Oregon and definitely worth exploring. With so many things to do in Florence, no matter what you are looking for, whether it is camping near the sea, adventure on the sand dunes, a hiking trip or a more relaxed vacation, the little town caters to all your expectations. What do you love about Florence, Oregon? Let us know in the comment section below.