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Like many of the small towns along the Oregon Coast, the Pacific Ocean exerts a powerful influence on Lincoln City. The town hugs the rocky shoreline, and you’ll find people strolling on the sandy beaches, contemplating the roar of the waves, from sunny June through drizzly December. During the summer and fall kite festivals, whales and other fanciful creatures fill the sky, but you’ll also see kites flying above beaches year round. Some visitors come here for the tribal casinos and the outlet stores, others to hike up to Cascade Head and around Siletz Bay. The city has become a hub for glassblowers, and you can watch the artists at work or even scour the beaches at certain times of year for colorful glass floats.
Lincoln City is 88 miles southwest of Portland and 58 miles due east of Salem. The Portland International Airport (PDX) is the nearest to the Oregon Coast, served by every major airline carrier, and car rentals there are plentiful.
If you’re not driving, Coastal Connector and North by Northwest Connector buses run among the coastal towns and major Oregon cities. Once you’re here, Lincoln City is small and easy to navigate on foot or by wheelchair, though you’ll want to take a car or rideshare to outlying parks.
The Oregon Coast is easy to visit all year, with mild winters and clear summer days that never feel too hot or muggy. However, clouds and drizzle are common from fall through late spring, and you’ll want to bring outerwear and shoes that can block both rain and stiff ocean breezes.
During peak visitor season, from Memorial Day through September, the temperatures range between the 60s and the 80s Fahrenheit, and shorts and light dresses are the norm (bathing suits, less so — the Pacific Ocean is a little high drama for casual swimmers). From November through March, it rains most days. You’ll rarely see frost or snow, but temperatures in the 40s and 50s call for sweaters and heavy rain jackets.
Sea kayaking in the Pacific Ocean is best left to experienced paddlers, but this 680-acre freshwater lake east of town is an ideal spot for beginners to try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. The state stocks the lake with rainbow trout as well, so you may want to bring your rod and tackle boxes.
People bring their binoculars to the tiny harbor in Depoe Bay, just 12 miles south of Lincoln City, to look for orcas, humpback whales, and even blue whales. Pods of gray whales migrate past the bay in spring and winter, while other whales settle along this section of the Oregon Coast for the summer. Sign up for a cruise or, if it’s open, visit the Whale Watching Center.
Roads End may be the most romantic beach in Lincoln City, if mist-covered waters, secluded nooks, and curious rock formations are your definition of romance. You may see sailboarders out on the waves, but the number of picnics and towels on the beach is sparse. Ask around for the route to the secret cove, and check the tide schedules — you can only explore it at low tide.