The most developed section of the Oregon coast stretches for miles along US-101 through Lincoln City (pop. 7,930), seven miles of strip malls, outlet stores, fast-food franchises, and motels. With more than 1,000 oceanside rooms, Lincoln City does offer some of the coast’s cheapest lodging, especially in the off-season when sign after sign advertises rooms for as low as $35 a night.
Along with inexpensive accommodations, and 24-hour gambling at the Chinook Winds casino, Lincoln City has some great places to eat. After a day on the beach or in the forests, tuck into some four-star fish tacos, chowders, or battered seafood at J’s Fish & Chips (1800 SE US-101, 541/994-4445).
One of the more unforgettable attractions hereabouts is culinary rather than scenic. It’s worth planning your drive around the Otis Café (1259 Salmon River Hwy., 541/994-2813, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner), which immortalizes American road food, including excellent waffles and other breakfast treats, epicurean lunches, and fresh berry pies for dessert. It’s located six and a half miles northeast of Lincoln City, just inland off US-101 along Hwy-18, the main road to Portland.
South of Lincoln City, Siletz Bay is a bird-watcher’s paradise, where hawks and herons and thousands of other seabirds (along with chinook salmon and cutthroat trout) are protected within a federal wildlife refuge.