A trip to Lincoln City, Oregon, is a step back in time to the quintessential beach towns of our youth. Oregonians have visited this beach since the early 1900s. With over 7 miles of driftwood-strewn sandy beaches, it is easy to see the draw. Lincoln City is a linear town located along Highway 101. It is home to six historic districts, which were small towns that formed Lincoln City in 1965. Roads End, Wecoma, Oceanlake, Nelscott, Taft, and Cutler City all have their own unique charm. Most of these districts can be accessed from a walk along the beach.
Thank you to Explore Lincoln City and Lawrence PR for hosting me on a press trip to explore this beautiful area of the Oregon Coast. All opinions are my own.
Things To Do In Lincoln City
Stay In A Classic Beach Hotel
The Looking Glass Inn is in the Taft Historic District. Its prime location, across the street from Siletz Bay, provides guests beautiful views of the bay and the Pacific Ocean, depending on your room. It is an older hotel that is family-owned and meticulously renovated, providing spotlessly clean rooms with updated features. Amenities vary by room and can include fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, or decks. There are even suites with a separate bedroom and a kitchenette for longer stays.
The location is perfect for exploring the Taft Historic District. You also have beach access on both the bay and the ocean. On the bayside, watch crabbers pulling in throw nets and keep an eye out for marine wildlife. On my visit, I saw a seal in the bay. The beach will draw you in for sunset walks allowing access to miles of sandy coastline. In addition to the Looking Glass Inn, Westover Inns (the family business) has two more waterfront hotels for more lodging options.
Pro Tip: The Chinook Winds Casino Resort may be a surprise for a classic beach hotel, but unbeknownst to many is the resort’s separate Junior Suites building. It is well away from the casino and provides some gorgeous and luxurious oceanfront rooms with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from your balcony. It has everything you love about a classic beach hotel — oceanfront, sunset views, and access to a beautiful sandy beach.
Learn Something With Lincoln City’s Explorience Program
This is such an excellent way to connect with the community. Just starting up again after the COVID-19 pandemic, Exploriences are a series of free, hands-on learning events led by local experts. The program was created for visitors to increase their knowledge of the area and to enjoy some fun local activities. Join a trek on the beach where a local rockhound will help you uncover all sorts of treasures. Learn about coastal marine life while exploring tide pools with experts from the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and the Hatfield Marine Science Center. On my last visit, I took a crabbing explorience and learned how to crab right from the Siletz Bay shore. There are also bird watching and hiking exploriences. Check the calendar for options as more are added all the time.
As the program ramps back up, there are some exciting additions. Everytime you complete an explorience, ask for a token or secret code. Soon you will be able to access a mobile passport where you can input the code. Collect five and visit the Lincoln City Welcome Center to sign up for the Explorers Club and receive a collectible glass coin. Benefits include monthly drawings for Lincoln City prizes such as glass floats, swag, overnight stays, and gift certificates to local businesses. There is also a 2022 special grand prize which will be announced soon.
Go Shopping In The Oceanlake District
I loved exploring the Oceanlake District and discovering some unique shops located on both sides of Highway 101. I will have to say, crossing a four-lane highway was quite the adventure. There are crosswalks with large signs, and you indicate when you are going to cross. Surprisingly, the cars will begin to stop. Although crossing is quite nerve-wracking, it’s worth it to see these small, local businesses. As you stroll the shops, keep an eye out for the circular inlays in the sidewalk with beach-themed art. Also located here is the historic Bijou Theatre showing films since 1937.
Music lovers need to check out Output Records. This is the most pristine record store I have ever been in. It is a great entry into the local music scene. The owners provide a venue for new bands to get some exposure and experience. Every beach town needs a vintage candy store and Candyland fits the bill. With a huge selection of “retro” candy, they make their own saltwater taffys and other treats. Not just candy, there are lots of fun souvenirs and toys. Bob’s Beach Books is a family-owned, independent bookstore in a building with a mermaid on it. How beachy is that? They have lots of new releases, beach reads, and cost-saving used books.
Best Restaurants In Lincoln City
Enjoy the bounty of the Oregon Coast from local restaurants. Dining is a culinary delight in Lincoln City, where you will find everything from a food truck village to fine dining overlooking the ocean and everything in between.
The Pines Dine
Located in the Taft Historic District, The Pines Dine will change your idea of food trucks forever. Oftentimes, the experience is messy with no place to sit and, frankly, sometimes a little seedy. The Pines Dine changes all of this with a fully-gated venue offering 12 food trucks with a great variety of cuisines. There is outdoor seating with dark green furniture in a courtyard surrounding the building. The main dining hall offers jazzy seating including emerald green velvet couches. The Art Deco chandelier and sconces give the new building a vintage feel. The motto is “the village where foodie dreams come true.” The grand opening will take place in Spring 2022 and there are food trucks on-site that are open now.
The Wildflower Grill
If you want a great breakfast or lunch, head to the Wildflower Grill. This charming cottage restaurant is in a bucolic setting. All the bread and pastries are freshly baked daily. The menu is heavy on fresh seafood which enhances breakfast staples like crab Benedict and seafood omelets. For lunch, try one of their Po’ Boys with a choice of oysters, bay shrimp, or ahi tuna. It’s a nice change from the heavy fried versions at other restaurants. The fish and chips are made with fresh, local fish. Ask your server for the day’s offerings. The cottage overlooks a wetland and, in the spring or summer months, the flowers are just beautiful. This is the place locals recommend. It is popular so plan to arrive early and snag a table.
Rogue River Steakhouse
The Rogue River Steakhouse is at the top of the Chinook Winds Casino and is a stunning venue for dining on a great selection of steaks and prime rib. I highly recommend the bone-in ribeye that is so artfully prepared. While the food is fabulous, the 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean from floor-to-ceiling windows is jaw dropping. The menu also offers a nice selection of fresh seafood.
This lovely restaurant is on the 10th floor of the Inn at Spanish Head. It is just a short drive from the Looking Glass Inn. I loved the view because you are so high up; I could see where the Siletz Bay flows into the Pacific Ocean. The service from Jorge was outstanding and his experience showed. The large picture windows are the perfect frame for an ocean sunset while sipping wine and cocktails. We shared a few appetizers and an entrée as well as two house-made desserts. Don’t miss the dungeness crab cocktail. A generous serving of crab meat, it wasn’t smothered in sauce so you could really taste the natural sweetness of the crab. Make sure to have a reservation and the parking situation is strange with hotel parking across Highway 101 through a tunnel. There is a limited amount of restaurant parking right in front of the hotel and they offer valet parking as well.
Kyllo’s At The Beach
Beachfront Kyllo’s has been a Lincoln City favorite since 1984. It’s insanely popular with no reservations so, if you want to eat here, you will just have to wait or eat during off hours. They open at 11:30 a.m. each day and it is the same menu all day long. The menu is very eclectic. There are delicious fresh seafood options as well as a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, and fish tacos. A show stopper is the Hal Mac, a crispy crust piece of halibut, topped with crab, parmesan, macadamia nuts, tomato, and sherry clam sauce served with creamy whipped mashed potatoes.
You’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do in Lincoln City. There is something to be said about a place beach lovers have visited for over 100 years.
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