Day 5: Oregon Scouting Visit Field Notes

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

I spent Day 5 of my scouting visit exploring the Oregon coast along the gorgeous Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, also known as Highway 101. Eugene’s proximity to the ocean and beaches is one of the main reasons it ranked so high on our short list. Naturally, I wanted to check out some of Oregon’s glorious beaches. Read on to find out where I went and what I discovered!

Tsunami Evacuation Route - Your Place Finder


By the time I arrived in Florence, a small town on the Oregon coast about 60 miles west of Eugene, I was ready for breakfast. So, I stopped off at Mari’s Kitchen, a sweet little restaurant in Old Town before taking a short jaunt down the waterfront. I was surprised to see Tsunami Hazard Zone signs everywhere telling people to move inland or to higher ground immediately in the event of an earthquake. Yikes! I’m glad Eugene is close enough to the Oregon coast to drive there easily, but not too close!

Heceta Head Lighthouse

I carefully plotted out all the beaches and lighthouses I wanted to check out along the central Oregon coast on my scouting visit. Heceta Head Lighthouse was on the list but, alas, it was not in the cards. It’s very rugged along the coast, so I had no internet connection. Little did I know how wacky GPS acts when this happens! The GPS voice on my phone directed me one place and then, when I got there, it told me to make a U-turn and go back to where I’d started. WTF?! It was OK though. After seeing how crowded and touristy the beach near the lighthouse looked, I decided to pass on it and put it on the bucket list for when we move here.

Carl G. Washburne Memorial State ParkStrawberry Hill Wayside - Your Place Finder

This expansive sandy beach a few miles north of Heceta Head Lighthouse is a great spot to sit, watch and listen to the waves. There are hiking trails and campgrounds too, but I went there to walk on the beach and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean. It was fabulous!

Strawberry Hill Wayside

Farther up the Oregon coast from Carl G. Washburn Memorial State Park is Strawberry Hill Wayside. A favorite among the locals, Strawberry Hill consists of a miniscule parking area off the highway with a rugged staircase leading down to a beach. It’s known for its tidepools and wildlife.

Beach Picture 2 - Your Place FinderNeptune State Scenic Viewpoint

A couple miles up from Strawberry Hill Wayside is Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint. This beach area has a larger parking area and a grassy spot with benches and picnic tables overlooking the ocean. It also has a rugged staircase that takes you down to a large beach surrounded by giant rock formations portruding into the ocean.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

I wasn’t about to leave the Oregon coast without seeing at least one lighthouse! From Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, I drove north to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse outside Newport. It also had a bit of a touristy feel to it, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. I couldn’t resist picking up a few mementos for my husband at the gift shop in their interpretive center before walking down the hill to the lighthouse.Yaquina Head Lighthouse3 - Your Place Finder

I walked around the outside of the lighthouse and down to Cobble Beach below. This was my favorite beach of all. I love pocket beaches, especially rock beaches (as opposed to sand beaches). It had the most stunning rock formations jutting out from and into the ocean. As for the lighthouse…well, you can see for yourself what a beauty it is!


By the time I left Yaquina Head Lighthouse and beach, it was starting to get late. So, I pointed the car inland and headed toward Corvallis. The drive from the Oregon coast inland through the Siuslaw National Forest and Coast Range was positively gorgeous. I had planned to stop in Corvallis for dinner, but it did not inspire me to want to stop. I can’t even put my finger on what I didn’t like about the city; all I know is I wanted to get out of there and get back to my beloved Eugene!

When I stopped to fill up the tank on my way back to Eugene, I discovered that Oregon has full service gas stations. Huh? I was so confused when I saw the dude waving at me. I asked, “Is this full service?” to which he replied (making me feel very old) “I don’t know what full service is, but we have people who pump gas here in Oregon.” News to me!

Day 6 Field Notes Coming Up Next!

Find out what happened on Day 6 of my Eugene scouting visit here!

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About the Author

I founded Your Place Finder in 2017 to help retirees and almost retirees like you anticipate and overcome the pitfalls and challenges – and reap the rich rewards – of finding the perfect location to move for retirement.


  1. matt on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    I lived in ore for 20 years. it is my lighthouse just as sankaty head on Nantucket is my wifes. my wife loves cobble beach. I did scuba along the peninsula long before it became a state park. just a rock quarry. free. now back in the midwest

    • Margaret on Jan 23, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Matt, thank so much for sharing your story. Oregon is so beautiful! I really miss the West Coast and can’t wait to get back there. Where in the Midwest are you now?

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