Top-Rated Things to Do in Florence, OR


By Caroline Lascom

Welcome to Florence, Oregon! This charming coastal town offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a history buff, there is something for everyone in Florence. From exploring beautiful beaches to discovering historical landmarks, here are some of the top-rated things to do in Florence.

If you’re a fan of outdoor adventures, make sure to visit the stunning Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. These towering sand dunes stretch for miles along the coast, offering endless opportunities for hiking, dune buggy rides, and sandboarding. The dunes are a unique natural phenomenon and provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

For those interested in history, a visit to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is a must. This fascinating museum showcases the rich heritage of the region, with exhibits on the Native American tribes, early pioneers, and the logging industry. Explore artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the past to life.

No visit to Florence is complete without a trip to Heceta Head Lighthouse. This iconic lighthouse, perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is one of the most photographed in the country. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and enjoy the panoramic views from the top. You might even spot whales or other marine life!

Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to relax and unwind on Florence’s beautiful beaches. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to sunbathe or a place to build sandcastles with the kids, Florence has it all. Grab a picnic basket, beach blanket, and a good book, and spend a leisurely day enjoying the sand, surf, and salty sea breeze.

With its natural beauty, rich history, and diverse range of activities, Florence, Oregon is a destination that should be on everyone’s travel list. Explore the top-rated things to do in Florence and create memories that will last a lifetime. Start planning your trip today!

Explore the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

When visiting Florence, Oregon, make sure to spend some time exploring the spectacular Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This unique natural wonder spans over 40 miles along the coastline and offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.

The Oregon Dunes are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, and they provide a stunning backdrop for a range of recreational activities. Whether you’re interested in hiking, camping, birdwatching, or sandboarding, the dunes have something for everyone.

One of the most popular activities in the Oregon Dunes is sandboarding. Strap on a board and glide down the massive slopes of sand, providing an exhilarating experience for both beginners and expert riders. If you prefer a tamer adventure, take a stroll along the shoreline and enjoy the breathtaking views of the dunes against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

For nature enthusiasts, the dunes offer an incredible opportunity for birdwatching. The area is home to a variety of coastal and migratory birds, including bald eagles, snowy plovers, and sandpipers. Grab your binoculars and explore the diverse habitats within the dunes to spot these feathered inhabitants in their natural environment.

If you’re looking for a unique camping experience, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offers several campgrounds where you can spend the night surrounded by the beauty of nature. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore, and enjoy the serenity of the dunes as you sip your morning coffee.

Exploring the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed when visiting Florence, Oregon. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a chance to connect with nature, the dunes have it all. Don’t forget to pack your camera and capture the breathtaking beauty of this natural wonder!

Visit the Sea Lion Caves

Located just north of Florence, Oregon, the Sea Lion Caves is a must-visit attraction for nature lovers. It is the largest sea cave in the United States and offers a unique opportunity to observe wild sea lions and other marine wildlife in their natural habitat.

The Sea Lion Caves were discovered in 1880 by a local sea captain, and since then, they have become a popular tourist destination. Visitors can take an elevator down to the cave, where they can witness the incredible sight of hundreds of sea lions in their rookery.

The cave itself is a natural wonder, with towering rock formations and an underground ocean that can be heard crashing against the walls. The experience is truly awe-inspiring and allows visitors to connect with nature on a whole new level.

In addition to sea lions, visitors may also spot other wildlife such as seals, otters, and various types of seabirds. The area surrounding the Sea Lion Caves is also known for its stunning coastal views, making it a great spot for photography enthusiasts.

For those who enjoy learning about marine life, the Sea Lion Caves offers educational displays and exhibits that provide insights into the lives and behaviors of sea lions. Visitors can also participate in guided tours led by knowledgeable guides who can answer any questions they may have.

Location 91560 US-101, Florence, OR 97439
Hours Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Admission $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children (ages 5-12)

Overall, a visit to the Sea Lion Caves is a memorable experience that allows visitors to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the Oregon coast. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or simply looking for a unique adventure, this attraction is not to be missed.

Discover the Heceta Head Lighthouse

If you’re visiting Florence, Oregon, be sure to discover the iconic Heceta Head Lighthouse. Located just 13 miles north of Florence, this historic lighthouse is known for its breathtaking views and fascinating history.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse was built in 1894 and is often referred to as the “Queen of the Oregon Coast.” With its distinctive red roof and white walls, it stands tall atop a rocky headland, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the lighthouse and learn about its rich maritime history. You’ll discover stories of brave lighthouse keepers and the important role they played in ensuring the safety of ships along the rugged Oregon Coast.

During your visit, be sure to explore the surrounding Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. This area is known for its stunning coastal vistas, rugged cliffs, and beautiful hiking trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as seals, sea lions, and even whales that can often be spotted from the viewpoint.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a hike down to the beach below the lighthouse. It’s a steep hike, but the reward is a secluded sandy beach where you can relax, take a stroll, or have a picnic.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a picturesque spot to visit in Florence, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is a must-see attraction. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning views and memories of your visit to this iconic Oregon landmark.

Important Information:

Address: Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint, Florence, OR

Hours: The lighthouse is open for tours from 11am to 3pm daily.

Admission: There is a small fee for the guided tour of the lighthouse.

Please note that due to its popularity, it’s recommended to arrive early to secure your spot on the lighthouse tour.

Take a stroll on the Florence Riverfront

One of the top things to do in Florence, Oregon is to take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Florence Riverfront. Situated on the Siuslaw River, the Florence Riverfront offers stunning views of the river and surrounding natural beauty.

As you walk along the riverfront, you’ll find a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes, perfect for a quick bite to eat or a leisurely cup of coffee. You’ll also come across charming boutiques and art galleries, where you can browse unique local creations.

While strolling along the river, keep an eye out for the iconic Siuslaw River Bridge. This historic bridge, built in 1936, is a sight to behold and adds to the charm of the Florence Riverfront.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the river from a different perspective. Paddling along the Siuslaw River allows you to get up close to the wildlife and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the Florence Riverfront offers countless photo opportunities. Capture the vibrant sunset reflecting off the water, or snap a picture of the bustling activity along the riverfront.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll, a bite to eat, or an adventure on the water, the Florence Riverfront has something for everyone. Take a moment to soak in the beauty of this picturesque destination during your visit to Florence, Oregon.

Enjoy a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway

When visiting Florence, Oregon, one of the top activities not to be missed is taking a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. Known for its breathtaking views and stunning natural beauty, this drive offers a chance to explore the rugged coastline and enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean.

The Pacific Coast Highway stretches along the entire West Coast of the United States, from Washington to California. The section passing through Florence, known as the Oregon Coast Highway, offers some of the most picturesque views in the state. As you drive along this iconic roadway, you will be treated to panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean, rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and majestic sea stacks.

There are several viewpoints and pullouts along the way where you can stop and take in the scenery. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as you will want to capture these memorable moments. Some of the must-see stops include Heceta Head Lighthouse, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, and Thor’s Well.

During your drive, keep an eye out for wildlife such as seals, sea lions, and migratory birds. You may also spot whales during their migration season. The Pacific Coast Highway offers plenty of opportunities for birdwatching, tidepooling, and beachcombing, so make sure to pack your binoculars and beach shoes.

Whether you choose to drive the entire length of the Oregon Coast Highway or just a portion of it, you are guaranteed to be immersed in the beauty of the Oregon coastline. So roll down your windows, feel the refreshing ocean breeze, and let the Pacific Coast Highway take you on a memorable journey through some of the most scenic landscapes in Florence, Oregon.

Discover the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

The Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and anyone looking to learn more about the rich heritage of Florence, Oregon. Located in the heart of Old Town Florence, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the past through its extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits.

Step inside the museum and be transported back in time as you explore the various displays and learn about the pioneers who settled in the region. The museum houses a wide range of historical items, including photographs, documents, tools, and household items, all of which offer a unique perspective on the early days of Florence.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Coast Guard Room, which pays tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the United States Coast Guard. Here, you can learn about the important role the Coast Guard has played in protecting the coast and see artifacts related to its history in the area.

The Siuslaw Pioneer Museum also features an outdoor exhibit area, where you can explore a variety of old structures, including a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and a pioneer house. These buildings provide a hands-on experience and allow visitors to imagine what life was like for early settlers in Florence.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts a variety of special events and educational programs throughout the year. From lectures and workshops to guided tours and children’s activities, there is always something new and exciting happening at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the past, a visit to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is sure to be a memorable experience. Immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of Florence’s pioneers and gain a deeper understanding of the city’s rich history.

Go hiking in the Siuslaw National Forest

One of the top-rated things to do in Florence, Oregon is to go hiking in the beautiful Siuslaw National Forest. Located just a short drive from the city, this expansive forest offers a variety of trails for hikers of all skill levels.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a leisurely stroll or an experienced hiker seeking a more challenging adventure, there is a trail for everyone in the Siuslaw National Forest. The forest is home to numerous hiking trails that wind through lush greenery, across rocky terrain, and along scenic rivers.

One popular trail for hikers is the Hobbit Trail, named for its enchanting moss-covered trees and whimsical atmosphere. This 0.7-mile trail leads hikers through a beautiful coastal forest, over wooden footbridges, and down to a picturesque beach. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or to sit and enjoy the stunning ocean views.

For those looking for a longer hike, the Kentucky Falls Trail offers a challenging 4.4-mile trek through old-growth forest to a breathtaking view of two picturesque waterfalls. The trail features beautiful wildflowers, towering trees, and a peaceful river, making it a favorite among nature enthusiasts.

If you prefer a more accessible hike, the Sweet Creek Trail offers a 2.2-mile loop with stunning waterfall views. The trail features several cascades, including the impressive Sweet Creek Falls, which drops 70 feet into a sparkling pool below. It’s the perfect spot to cool off on a hot summer day or capture some incredible photos.

Before you set off on your hike, be sure to pack plenty of water, a map of the trails, and appropriate gear for the weather. It’s also important to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural surroundings.

So if you’re visiting Florence, Oregon, be sure to make time for a hike in the Siuslaw National Forest. With its beautiful trails and stunning views, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Take a dune buggy tour

Experience the thrill of exploring the mesmerizing sand dunes of Florence, Oregon, by taking a dune buggy tour. These high-octane adventures are a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering an unforgettable way to discover the unique beauty of the coastal landscape.

Embark on a guided tour and buckle up for an adrenaline-pumping ride through the towering dunes. Listen to the expert driver share fascinating insights about the area’s geology, flora, and fauna, making your adventure both exciting and educational.

As you zoom along the sandy trails, you’ll feel the wind in your hair and witness breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The dunes offer a dynamic backdrop for exhilarating jumps, twists, and turns, leaving you with a rush of adrenaline and a lasting memory.

Regardless of your level of experience, dune buggy tours cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned off-road enthusiast, professional guides ensure that every participant enjoys a safe and enjoyable ride.

In addition to the thrilling ride, dune buggy tours also provide an opportunity to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for native birds, deer, and even the occasional seal or sea lion. The tour guides are often familiar with the areas where wildlife is most likely to be seen, increasing your chances of a memorable encounter.

So, if you’re seeking an adventure that combines adrenaline, breathtaking scenery, and the opportunity to explore nature up-close, don’t miss the chance to take a dune buggy tour in Florence, Oregon. Brace yourself for an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling exhilarated and in awe of the stunning coastal landscape.

Explore the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

Experience the beauty of nature at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, located just south of Florence, Oregon. This stunning coastal destination offers a plethora of outdoor activities and breathtaking views.

One of the main attractions of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is the Cape Perpetua Overlook. From this vantage point, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the rugged coastline, the Pacific Ocean, and even spot migrating whales during the right season. It’s the perfect spot to watch a stunning sunset or capture some memorable photographs.

For those who enjoy hiking, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area offers a network of trails that cater to all skill levels. The Cape Cove Trail is a moderate hike that takes you through lush coastal forests and leads you to the tide pools at Cape Cove. Here, you can explore the fascinating marine life and discover colorful sea anemones, starfish, and other interesting creatures.

Another popular trail in the area is the Giant Spruce Trail. As the name suggests, this trail takes you through a forest of towering spruce trees, some of which are over 500 years old. The trail is relatively short and easy, making it accessible for hikers of all ages. Don’t forget to stop by the Giant Spruce Tree, which is more than 185 feet tall and one of the largest Sitka spruce trees in the Pacific Northwest.

If you’re interested in learning more about the local flora and fauna, you can join a guided nature walk or a ranger-led interpretive program. These programs provide valuable insights into the unique ecosystem of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and its rich biodiversity.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax and rejuvenate, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a must-visit destination in Florence, OR. With its stunning views, diverse trails, and educational programs, it offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Visit the Rhododendron Festival

One of the top-rated things to do in Florence, Oregon, is to visit the annual Rhododendron Festival. Held every spring, this popular event celebrates the vibrant rhododendron flowers that are abundant in the area.

The Rhododendron Festival features a variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. One of the highlights of the festival is the rhododendron flower show, where locals and visitors alike can admire the stunning displays of these beautiful flowers. The flower show also includes competitions to determine the best rhododendron blooms in various categories.

In addition to the flower show, the festival offers live entertainment, including musical performances, dance groups, and theatrical productions. There are also food vendors selling a variety of delicious treats, as well as arts and crafts booths where you can find unique creations made by local artists.

If you’re looking to do some shopping during your visit to the festival, you’re in luck. There are usually a variety of vendors selling everything from clothing and jewelry to home decor and souvenirs. You can find unique items that make for great gifts or mementos of your time in Florence.

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, the Rhododendron Festival offers a variety of options. You can participate in a fun run or join a guided nature hike to explore the beautiful surroundings. There are also carnival rides and games for children to enjoy.

With its beautiful rhododendron displays, live entertainment, delicious food, and endless activities, the Rhododendron Festival is a must-visit event in Florence, Oregon. Whether you’re a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun day out with friends and family, this festival has something for everyone.

Go fishing on the Siuslaw River

If you’re a fan of fishing, then a visit to Florence, Oregon wouldn’t be complete without casting a line on the Siuslaw River. Known for its abundant salmon, steelhead, and trout populations, the Siuslaw River offers endless angling opportunities for locals and tourists alike.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, there are plenty of fishing spots along the river that are perfect for everyone. Grab your gear, find a cozy spot along the riverbank, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you wait for a bite.

Don’t forget to check the fishing regulations and obtain the necessary licenses before you head out. Maintaining the river’s biodiversity and protecting its ecosystem is crucial, so always follow the catch-and-release guidelines and respect the fishing seasons.

For those who prefer a guided fishing experience, there are local outfitters and fishing charters available that can provide you with the knowledge and equipment you need for a successful day on the water. These experienced guides will not only take you to the best fishing spots but also teach you some tricks of the trade along the way.

While fishing on the Siuslaw River, you’ll also have the opportunity to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding area. Keep an eye out for bald eagles soaring overhead, otters playing in the water, and even the occasional seal or sea lion popping up to say hello. The sights and sounds of nature combined with the thrill of catching a fish make for an unforgettable experience.

So, whether you’re a seasoned angler searching for a new challenge or a beginner looking to try your hand at fishing, make sure to add a fishing trip on the Siuslaw River to your list of things to do in Florence, Oregon. You won’t be disappointed by the peacefulness of the river, the excitement of the catch, and the memories you’ll make along the way.

Explore the Darlingtonia State Natural Site

If you’re a nature lover, the Darlingtonia State Natural Site is a must-visit destination in Florence, Oregon. This unique site is home to the Darlingtonia californica, commonly known as the Cobra Lily or the California Pitcher Plant.

This carnivorous plant is native to the west coast of North America and is a sight to behold with its unusual shape and vibrant colors. The Darlingtonia State Natural Site provides a natural habitat for these rare plants, allowing visitors to witness their beauty up close.

As you explore the site, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the lifecycle and behavior of these fascinating plants. The site features interpretive signs and informational displays, providing insights into the plant’s adaptations and ecological importance.

In addition to the Cobra Lilies, the Darlingtonia State Natural Site is also home to a variety of other plant species, including ferns, mosses, and wildflowers. The site offers several hiking trails that allow you to immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty.

Don’t forget to bring your camera along, as the Darlingtonia State Natural Site offers numerous photography opportunities. Capture the unique beauty of the Cobra Lilies, or take a snapshot of the picturesque landscapes that surround the site.

Whether you’re a botany enthusiast or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, a visit to the Darlingtonia State Natural Site is sure to be a memorable experience. Explore the site, admire the unique plants, and take in the tranquil atmosphere of this hidden gem in Florence, Oregon.

Take a boat tour on Woahink Lake

Experience the beauty of Woahink Lake by taking a boat tour. Located near Florence, Oregon, Woahink Lake is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts. With its crystal clear waters and stunning natural surroundings, the lake is a paradise for nature lovers.

There are several companies in Florence that offer boat tours on Woahink Lake. These tours provide a unique opportunity to explore the lake and its diverse ecosystem. You can choose from guided tours or rent a boat and explore on your own. Either way, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

During the tour, you’ll have the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including birds, otters, and even the occasional bald eagle. You’ll also be able to take in the scenic views of the surrounding forests and mountains. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a fun activity, a boat tour on Woahink Lake is a must-do.

Don’t forget to bring your camera along, as there will be plenty of photo opportunities. Capture the beauty of the lake and its surroundings and create lasting memories of your trip to Florence, Oregon.

Experience the Oregon Coast Military Museum

If you have an interest in military history, a visit to the Oregon Coast Military Museum is a must when exploring Florence, Oregon. This top-rated attraction offers a unique and immersive experience, showcasing the rich military history of the Oregon Coast and its role in various conflicts.

At the museum, you can explore a wide range of exhibits, displays, and artifacts that highlight the bravery and sacrifices of our nation’s military personnel. From World War II to the modern-day, the museum covers a significant timeline of military events and showcases different branches of the military.

One of the highlights of the Oregon Coast Military Museum is its collection of vintage military vehicles and equipment. You can see tanks, artillery, aircraft, and more, up close and personal. The museum also features a variety of interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to experience simulated military operations and immerse themselves in the history and stories of soldiers.

In addition to its exhibits, the museum offers educational programs and events throughout the year. From lectures and presentations to living history reenactments, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and engage with military history. The museum also hosts special events on holidays, such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, where you can show your support for our veterans and learn about their experiences.

Located in Florence, the Oregon Coast Military Museum is easily accessible and a great way to spend a day exploring the rich military history of the region. Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in learning more about the sacrifices and dedication of our armed forces, a visit to this top-rated attraction is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to experience the Oregon Coast Military Museum and gain a deeper appreciation for the men and women who have served our country. Plan your visit today and embark on a journey through the fascinating military history of the Oregon Coast.


What are some top-rated things to do in Florence, OR?

Some top-rated things to do in Florence, OR include visiting the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, exploring the Heceta Head Lighthouse, hiking the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, and taking a stroll along the historic waterfront district.

What can I do in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area?

In the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, you can go hiking, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and even try sandboarding on the massive dunes. There are also several scenic viewpoints where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the dunes and the Pacific Ocean.

Why is the Heceta Head Lighthouse worth visiting?

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is worth visiting because it is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. It is also known for its stunning coastal views and its unique Victorian-style architecture. Additionally, you can take a guided tour of the lighthouse and learn about its history.

What makes the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area a popular attraction?

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a popular attraction due to its diverse natural beauty. It offers breathtaking views of the coastline, ancient forests, and dramatic cliffs. Visitors can go hiking on the various trails, explore tide pools, and even witness the powerful Spouting Horn.


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Caroline Lascom

Caroline is a seasoned travel writer and editor, passionate about exploring the world. She currently edits captivating travel content at TravelAsker, having previously contributed her exceptional skills to well-known travel guidebooks like Frommer’s, Rough Guides, Footprint, and Fodor’s. Caroline holds a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Manchester University (UK) and a master's degree in literature from Northwestern University. Having traveled to 67 countries, her journeys have fueled her love for storytelling and sharing the world's wonders.

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