The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Brookings: Harris Beach State Park
The drive through the malled-over main drag of Brookings offers only fleeting glimpses of the Pacific, and if you’re hoping for a first or last “Wow!” before or after the 300-plus other miles of coastal Oregon’s scenic splendor, these few miles along the California border may be somewhat anticlimactic. That said, Brookings does have beautiful Azalea Park (which is gorgeous during the April-June spring bloom). The popular, welcoming beachfront B&B rooms at Lowden’s Beachfront Bed & Breakfast (14626 Wollam Rd., 541/469-7045, $109 and up), just west of US-101, offer direct access to a driftwood-strewn beach.
Just north of Brookings, one final piece of Oregon’s abundant natural beauty has been preserved at Harris Beach State Park, across US-101 from the Oregon Welcome Center. Here you can walk down to a driftwood-laden beach and look out at Bird Island, where tufted puffins and other rare birds breed.
Heading south, just over the California border from Brookings lies Redwood National Park, truly one of the West Coast’s great places.