From the most northern town of Astoria to the most southern area of Brookings-Harbor, the entire Oregon coast is filled with beautiful sights of the ocean and diverse landscapes. It’s no wonder why more than a million tourists visit the 363-mile stretch every year!
Visiting the coastal towns provides endless opportunities for relaxation, yet deciding on the best place to build your forever home takes some consideration. Oregon is becoming one of the most popular states to live in for current residents interested in escaping the city as well as those relocating out of state—and there are plenty of good reasons.
In this blog post, we discuss the best towns to build your home along the coast of Oregon. By the time you are finished reading, we hope you have a better understanding of which town you would like to live in.
An Overview of the Oregon Coast
Before jumping into the specific towns, here’s a quick description of the north, central, and south regions to give you a sense of each area:
- The north Oregon coast has the best economy and job market on the coast. Plus, it is only a 2- to 3-hour drive to everything to love on the coast. While it is more expensive compared to other regions, the charm and ambience make it worthwhile.
- The central Oregon coast is one of the most popular destinations for tourists with plenty of wonderful gems scattered throughout the area. Its economy and job market are fairly standard, and it has the charm that the coast is known for.
- The southern Oregon coast has some of the more secluded towns in the state, making it perfect for retirees, remote workers, or those looking to build a vacation home. Because of how inexpensive this region is, it’s the perfect place to purchase property or start a business in one of the area's quaint towns.
Got a good sense of the regions? Let’s hop into a few towns in each one.
The North Oregon Coast
In this region, you can choose from a quaint river town, an upscale retirement community, a beach town, and more. Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list.
One of the oldest American settlements west of the Rocky Mountains, Astoria is a fishing and art town with a rich history and a booming craft beverage and food scene.
Located on the Columbia River near Washington, the town allows for a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean on a clear day. And it’s quite the view considering that rain falls about 190 days out of the year on average. Yet, there’s plenty to do on days where it pours, including grabbing a drink or two at a craft beverage facility or grabbing a bite to eat from one of the dozen restaurants.
One of the wealthier communities of the region, Gearhart is home to many people whose families have lived there for generations. But don’t let the tight-knit community detract you—this picturesque oceanside town is filled with the welcoming faces of a population of around 1,700 full-time residents.
The downtown area is made up of coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and a few restaurants. This calming scene is perfect for someone looking for peace and quiet. The population often inflates by as much as 80 percent in the summertime when vacationers arrive.
Within a year of living in Gearhart, you will likely get to know everyone and their dog on a first-name basis. If you’re looking for a friendly community, you’ll find it here.
Seaside is one of the most popular beach cities in Oregon, attracting tourists throughout the summer. While Seaside is a fairly quiet, slow-moving town during the off-season, there’s still plenty to do.
With fairly mild weather throughout the year, residents can be found biking, walking, running, or skating on the paved walking path lining the beach or hanging out at one of the many taverns or wine bars.
While housing is scarce and expensive, Seaside has a good amount of land to select from if you’re excited about building your own custom home.
The Central Oregon Coast
Traveling down south a way, the central Oregon coastal region has plenty of beaches, hiking, and outdoor recreational activities.
Newport is one of the best towns in this region because it is geared not only to tourists but year-round residents as well. Newport is home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, one of the most popular aquariums in the state. Other attractions include interactive exhibits, historical lighthouses, the Rogue Brewery, the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum and wax figure display.
Unlike other quieter, slower-paced coastal towns, Newport has a larger population of about 10,250 and stays busy with more than 80 restaurants and three thriving industries: fishing, logging, and tourism.
In 2016, The Oregonian named Yachats the best place to stay on the Oregon coast–and for good reason.
Like many other towns on the coast, Yachats has a long stretch of beach on the west side of the town and a beautiful trail called the 804 Trail that residents bike, walk, or run. Unlike the other towns, there are three scenic state parks with trails and tide pools where visitors can view starfish, sea anemones, and other marine life.
On top of that, Yachats has a thriving local art and food scene and a few breweries throughout.
With miles and miles of uncrowded beach, Florence is perfect for horseback riding, sandboarding, camping, and more. The many rolling hills of sand dunes make this town a paradise for ATV and dune buggy lovers.
When you’re not admiring the sand and ocean views, take a walk on one of the many ancient hiking trails or swim in one of the many lakes in the area. Visit the Old Town District’s art galleries, quaint shops and boutiques, or one of the many restaurants and bars.
While the primary industries in Florence are logging, fishing, agriculture, and tourism, there is the opportunity for professionals to commute to Eugene, which is about an hour from the town.
The South Oregon Coast
On our final stop down the Oregon coast, this southern region has plenty of gorgeous scenery, bustling industries, and affordable living.
As the largest community on the Oregon coast, Coos Bay is the commercial center of the region. Home to around 16,000 full-time residents, this town hosts the manufacturing, healthcare, social assistance, and retail trade industries. There’s also a wide range of shopping, entertainment choices, and dining.
But Coos Bay isn’t all about work. The residents love living here because it provides career advancement and plenty of outdoor adventures along the rivers and lakes and on the dunes.
While the town of Bandon is much smaller than Coos Bay, there is still plenty to do for visitors and residents alike. In terms of dining and drinking, there are three dueling seafood shacks serving up fresh-caught fish from the ocean as well as local breweries and distilleries.
If you want to do some fishing of your own, plenty of residents enjoy leisure time by Weber’s Pier, which provides close access to the water. If you enjoy more active leisure time, play a round of golf at the highly popular Bandon Dunes.
With plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, Bandon also has plenty of affordable land to purchase and build a house on.
A short drive from the ocean and dunes, Reedsport is located in a heavily forested region near the confluence of three rivers. Its rich history is represented by chainsaw-carved wood sculptures and painted totem poles all over town and the Umpqua Discovery Center that features exhibits on the county’s cultural and natural history.
For outdoor adventures, the Umpqua River Recreational Area has plenty of swimming, hiking, and wilderness opportunities.
If you are looking for a quiet town to settle into, Reedsport is the right place for you to build.
So there you have it—the towns of Oregon’s coast are filled with calm, quiet living, rich scenery, entertainment and dining options, and plenty of outdoor activities along the ocean and trails. These towns provide the space and opportunity for their residents to carve out a piece of land to build a custom home of their own.
Now is an ideal time to partner with a Home Ownership Counselor at Adair Homes to find the home that fits you perfectly. The coast of Oregon has plenty of beautiful land available at a reasonable price, and many buyers are able to find property in their preferred area.
To learn more about finding land on the Oregon coast or about the custom homebuilding process, give us a call at our office in Redmond.