12 Best Things to Do in Lincoln City, Oregon
With more miles of beach than any other town along the Oregon Coast, Lincoln City certainly makes for a perfect beach holiday destination. Set almost equidistant from Portland and Eugene, it has all kinds of fun outdoor activities to enjoy with plenty of nature parks and scenic coastal spots to explore.
Stretched alongside the Pacific Ocean, the sprawling yet smallish city acts as a commercial hub for the region, and has countless local restaurants, souvenir shops and motels. In addition to a large shopping outlet and casino, it has a surprisingly active arts scene with glassblowing demonstrations and workshops regularly taking place.
On top of all these things to do in Lincoln City, the Oregon Coast Highway, which winds its way through the center, can zip you off to other nearby coastal sights and cities in no time at all.
12. Drift Creek Covered Bridge
One of many such historic attractions scattered across the state, the charming Drift Creek Covered Bridge is just twenty minutes’ drive northeast of the city. As well as making for some fantastic photos, it is a delight to drive over with pristine countryside lying all around it.
The oldest remaining bridge of its kind in Oregon, it was built in 1914 and originally spanned Drift Creek, just a couple of miles inland from Siletz Bay. Remarkably, it was dismantled entirely decades later and lovingly rebuilt by the Sweitz family at its current setting over Bear Creek in the year 2000.
Thanks to their restoration efforts, the century-old Howe truss bridge still showcases brilliant board-and-batten siding and elegant arched portals with the historic wooden structure also serving as a monument to nineteenth century pioneers.
11. Alderhouse Glass Blowers
If you’re after an amazing artistic experience when in town, make sure to factor in a visit to the Alderhouse Glass Blowers. At their small barn and workshop, you can watch expert artisans create beautiful glassworks and colorful and creative art pieces right before your eyes.
Initially founded in the late sixties by Buzz Williams, the third iteration of the studio and workspace now occupies a scenic spot just to the south of Siletz Bay. At the laidback venue, visitors can watch artists craft incredible creations out of glass, explaining the process and artform as they go.
Aside from seeing molten glass slowly take shape and learning about the history, tradition and technique of glassblowing, you can also buy souvenirs in their shop. Everything from vases and lights to ornaments and artworks are on sale.
10. North Lincoln Historical Museum
Offering a fascinating insight into the history of the city, its founding and its development is the excellent North Lincoln Historical Museum. Jam-packed with artifacts and exhibits, its very well-presented collection is located just south of the center, right at the mouth of the rushing Siletz River.
Since being established in 1987, the small but splendid museum has proved very popular with locals and tourists due to both its interesting artifacts and interactive displays. While some sections focus on Native Americans and early settlers to the area, others look at the age of the automobile or Lincoln City in the sixties.
Besides boasting fine beadwork and basketry, the museum’s collection includes fabulous photos and films with temporary exhibits, talks and workshops regularly taking place, too.
9. Annual Kite Flying Festival
While Lincoln City is always a treat to visit, two of the most magical and memorable times of year to stop by are summer and autumn. This is when the two editions of the Annual Kite Flying Festival are held and the blue sky above its wind-swept beach is full of colorful kites fluttering in the breeze.
A longstanding family vacation tradition for many up and down the Oregon coastline, the fun-filled festival features kite-making workshops, competitions and parades with scintillating shows by pros also taking place. Each edition has a different theme with cool kites of all shapes, sizes, colors and designs to be spied along the expansive beach.
For over forty years, the summer and fall festivals have been held at the D River State Recreation Site, with the fun and quirky kite flying community always ready to provide newbies with a warm welcome.
8. Lincoln City Outlets
As it is home to a staggering array of shops and restaurants, Lincoln City Outlets is definitely one of the best places to shop, dine and go out in town. Set right in the center, it sprawls across a huge site with everything from accessories and cosmetics to jewellery, brand name clothes and home decor products being on sale.
The closest thing the city has to a mall, the massive shopping center first opened in 1989 and has attracted hordes of shoppers ever since. At its attractive and airy outdoor campus you can find, not only the ever-popular outlet stores of Nike and Old Navy, but Claire’s, Levi’s and American Eagle too, with huge discounts applied wherever you go.
On top of all this, countless cozy cafes and excellent local and chain restaurants can be found among its more than sixty stores.
7. Chinook Winds Casino
Owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the humongous Chinook Winds Casino is set in a lovely spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Located in the northern neighborhood of Wecoma Beach, it has a gigantic gaming floor for visitors to enjoy with plenty of other amenities, attractions and entertainment also on offer.
Since being set up in 1996, the Native American casino has expanded enormously and now includes a 227-room hotel and a state-of-the-art convention center. In addition, it operates several great bars and restaurants, as well as a relaxing spa and pool. While guests can also enjoy its nearby beach, golf course and regular stand-up comedy and live music nights.
The main reason most people visit, however, is to play and hopefully win big at its chic casino which is home to over 1,100 slot machines and standard table games such as poker, roulette, craps and blackjack.
6. Mossy Creek Pottery
Just up the road from the Alderhouse Glass Blowers is yet another incredible artistic endeavor that is well worth checking out: the charming Mossy Creek Pottery. Very much a hidden gem, its scenic, century-old farmhouse contains the amazing artworks of more than forty phenomenal potters from all around the Pacific Northwest.
Bordering the beautiful Siletz Bay Wildlife Refuge, the atmospheric old wooden house lies nestled away amidst a lush forest of spruce and hemlock. Inside the tiny pottery laden shelves buckle and bend under the weight of hundreds of pretty plates, bowls and vases with collections of mugs, cups and gardening gear also on show.
Since 1973, it has displayed both functional and decorative pottery of all styles and techniques with arresting art pieces making for special souvenirs of your trip to Lincoln City.
5. Siletz Bay Park
Despite its small size, Siletz Bay Park is not to be missed as it boasts some stunning scenery and views. Located next to Highway 101 and Schooner Creek Bridge, its driftwood-covered beach and mudflats look out over the shimmering waters of the bay stretching endlessly into the distance.
Besides combing the beach and looking for clams, visitors can swim in its secluded inlet or lounge lazily on its warm sands, just like one of the numerous seals that often frequent its shores. Backed by grassy knolls and tangled vegetation are gorgeous green spaces, benches and picnic areas. The park also contains a gazebo and informative plaques on its history and nature.
After basking in breathtaking panoramas of the bay and the distinctive rock formations offshore, you can always go fishing, paddleboarding and kayaking in its clear and clean waters.
4. Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy
Another picturesque spot to stop by is the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy, which houses all kinds of colorful plants, flowers, trees and shrubs. An oasis of calm and serenity in the city, it lies tucked away on a quiet residential street, just off busy Highway 101.
Once a fetid swamp, the spectacular garden was cared for and cultivated over the decades by retiree botanist Connie Hansen. Winding their way here and there are little paths for guests to explore, twinkling water features and planted flowerbeds of azaleas and irises next to magnificent magnolias and maple trees.
Following Connie’s death in 1993, the local community stepped in to protect the lush green grounds and preserve her lovingly tended gardens for all to enjoy in her memory.
3. Lincoln City Glass Center
Located in the Historic Taft District, not far from Siletz Bay, is the brilliant Lincoln City Glass Center. At its studio, you can either watch experienced artists produce stupendous one-of-a-kind works or have a go yourself, guided by one of their glass gurus.
In their warm workshop you’ll see talented artisans hunched over their kilns, honing their craft and creating impressive and unique artworks right before your eyes. As they gently rotate the long metal blowpipe and coax molten glass into striking shapes, they’ll teach you everything there is to know about the tools, techniques and time required to perfect the ancient art of glassblowing.
After having watched a fascinating demonstration, visitors can have a go at the kiln and create their own art, aided by a knowledgeable instructor. In addition, the glass center also has a gallery and gift shop where you can buy awe-inspiring artworks to take home.
2. Roads End State Recreation Site
Just ten minutes’ drive up the coast from the center of the city you can find the romantic and wind-swept Roads End State Recreation Site. A very popular place to visit, it has lots of fantastic outdoor activities for you to enjoy amidst all its spellbinding coastal scenery.
Protected somewhat by the prominent headland to its north, the park encompasses everything from beautiful beaches and secluded coves to craggy cliffs, dramatic rock formations and pretty tidepools with rugged isles to be spied offshore. Bordering the broad beach are rows of cozy-looking cottages while both picnic areas and restrooms can be found nearby.
Aside from swimming and sunbathing, visitors can hike up or around the headland, snap photos of all the stunning scenery or wade about its pools in search of crabs, limpets and sea urchins.
1. Enjoy The Beach
As it boasts more beach than any other town, city or settlement along the Oregon Coast, no trip can ever be complete without spending at least some time exploring its expansive swathes of sand. In total, it has over 7 miles of pristine sandy beaches to explore with unforgettable ocean views, superb scenery and fun outdoor activities wherever you go.
While some parts are home to mudflats and tidal pools, other broad bits of beach are bordered by steep cliffs and grassy knolls, with small coves and even islands dotted here and there. Among the most popular places to head are D River, around the Lincoln City Beach Access area, and Roads End, which is also home to a secret cove and hidden beach.
In addition to lounging on the beach and swimming in the sea, locals and tourists alike enjoy hiking up and down the coast with seals and whales regularly spotted offshore. Besides umpteen outdoor activities, Lincoln City’s beaches host some fantastic festivals. Colorful kites fill the sky and over 3,000 glass treasures are buried beneath the sand for its annual Finders Keepers hunt.