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.
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, 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 more unforgettable culinary attraction hereabouts sits five miles northeast of Lincoln City, just east of US-101 on Hwy-18, the main road to and from Portland: the Otis Café (1259 Salmon River Hwy., 541/994-2813, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner), which immortalizes American road food, offering excellent waffles and other breakfast treats along with epicurean lunches and fresh berry pies for dessert.
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.