Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast is only a couple hours SW of Portland via Hwy 18, on a good day and at a good time. If you travel in traffic, expect to add considerable time. Incidentally, I think it’s interesting that you cross the 45th parallel on Hwy 101 between NE East Devils Lake Rd and NE West Devils Lake Rd, Lincoln City OR. There’s another marker in Keizer OR, one near The Oregon Garden in Silverton OR, clear across the state on Hwy 97 between Biggs & Bend, and again in the Bake Valley. Of course, the imaginary line doesn’t just dot its way across the state, but it’s a bit mind-bending to connect those dots in your brain as you travel in space/time.
It’s been my goal for some time to go crabbing in Lincoln City because they have crabbing and clamming clinics in the summer, and I was always hoping for a glass float they sprinkle on the beaches for Finders Keepers. These were cancelled for COVID in 2020, but then I was able to go winter wave watching Jan 2021. I still hope to go crabbing there in 2021 but decided to post now and add later.
Below are some photos along the way.
Scroll down to see a list of places I went once I got to Lincoln City
A note about HB Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor and the Drift Creek Covered Bridge on the way to or from Lincoln City. Westbound on Hwy 18 in the Van Duzer Corridor is Van Duzer State Park. Eastbound is the Van Duzer Wayside rest area. Whichever way you are traveling, take the one on your side of the road, rather than dangerously crossing the highway. Only 13 miles east of Lincoln City, each offers restrooms, picnic tables, parking, and some paved paths.
Not far east of Lincoln City is the inconspicuous N. Bear Creek Rd going south off Hwy 18. Travel about a mile up the road to the sign for the Drift Creek Covered Bridge. It has a little history, as you can read below.
Lincoln City to Depoe Bay
Traveling south on Hwy 101 barely below town (technically still part of Lincoln City), over an arm of the Siletz River, on the west side of the road is the pull-out Siletz Bay Vista Point with a lovely look at Siletz Bay and the bay side of the Historic Town of Taft (now incorporated into Lincoln City)—where the mouth of the river opens wide before touching a tongue to the Pacific Ocean past the Salishan spit. At the Vista Point are signs about Native Americans, exploration, and Oregon geology: the earthquake and tsunami of 1700. A pretty little sea stack with its lone little Charlie Brown tree hanging on to dear life adds to the romance of the situation, especially at sunset.
Hardly south of Siletz Bay Vista Point is Siletz Bay Parking, also on the west side of the road, with a nice wide concrete walk and telling signs of the past. The lowlands of the bay offer wetland wildlife (at the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge in particular) and at low tide expansive mudflats for clamming. The adjacent tiny community of Cutler includes the Josephine Young Memorial Park on its western beach of the bay, with a restroom marked accessible, maintained by Lincoln City. Cutler Wetlands trails map at
Salishan Spa & Golf Resort (including a Lodge, restaurant, shops, tennis, over 250 acres, and a small lake) signals an upscale recreational area. The next road to the right, minimally marked “Gleneden Beach Loop”, offers a way to drive up the Salishan spit if you go straight forward on Salishan Dr. At Salishan Middle is a small parking area, and it looks like an access to the beach. Keep driving north on Salishan Dr to the parking lot at the end for more access to the long stretching Salishan Beach on the bay or the ocean. Apparently there are sea lions basking in the sun, which need to be left to bask unbothered. Further south off Gleneden Beach loop is WorldMark Drive, leading to WorldMark Gleneden timeshares right on the Pacific Ocean.
South Fogarty Creek entrance leads to a restroom (that was closed for COVID when I was there), picnic tables, and a reservable gazebo that could offer shelter for your lunch. A sign with a phone number might come in handy if you need to check its availability in a hurry.
Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint is a tremendous place to see the ocean and coast, as well as to stop for a break from travel and/or a picnic. Although the flushing restrooms have a wheelchair sign, when I looked inside on a previous visit it was less than friendly to wheelchairs. This time when I went some of the picnic spots were soggy or in a puddle, so I didn’t get out of my vehicle, but the crashing waves were great even from the car. See my review as part of a previous trip whale watching in Depoe Bay, as well as info from Oregon State Parks, which says it’s also a great whale watching place year-round.
What makes Depoe Bay so great is that right downtown Hwy 101 nearly touches the ocean. There’s a walkway with limited picnic tables and a wall right along it, and the whale watching center. For my previous review of Depot Bay, see https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/whale-watching-at-depoe-bay. This time it was a wet, windy day, so I stayed in the car, but still had great views of the splashing and crashing waves. If you go during winter, wear warm and waterproof clothes!
Google Maps shows Depoe Bay stretching from Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint on the north, almost to Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint on the south. Between those two:
Like many small cities and towns, Lincoln City is largely linear along the Highway. It has overtaken tiny towns along the way, which have become its districts. But like many others, there’s more to see and do here than at first glance driving through. Below are places I visited and here’s an excellent brochure:
East Devils Lake Rd & Devils Lake Blvd
Lincoln City Outlets is a nice outdoor square for people who like to shop. It does have some slope for those who are pushing themselves. Beside the parking lot, there’s a parking garage, all free as far as I could see. Enter from SE East Devils Lake Rd off Hwy 101. See https://www.lincolncityoutlets.com/
Continue east on SE East Devils Lake Rd as it becomes NE East Devils Lake Rd to East Devils Lake State Park/Rec Area. There are picnic tables, trails, restrooms, fire pit, a boat ramp and a fishing dock that looked accessible, but without a helper I didn’t get out to try it. Their website talks about both the East Devils Lake State Park (day use), and the campground off 6th St. It’s not always clear which is which. Check the photos accompanying this post.
If you continue north on NE East Devils Lake Rd, you will reach Hwy 101 at the eastern edge of Lincoln City. Turn west toward the city, and if you turn north at the first traffic light you can get to the Chinook Winds Golf Resort off NE Devils Lake Blvd. Turn at NE 50th St to see the beautiful landscape of the golf course. From Hwy 101 I got a glimpse of an elk herd munching on the course, but when I drove to the end of NE 50th I could not see them. When the resort is open it might be great to take a golf cart out to see them if you time it right.
West Devils Lake Rd, 22nd St, and 14th St
If you turn south at the traffic light at the intersection of Hwy 101 and NE Devils Lake Blvd/NE West Devils Lake Rd, you will come to NE Holmes Rd, where you can turn east to Holmes Rd Park with a boat ramp, fishing dock, restrooms. Further south of that on NE West Devils Lake Rd is a pull-out marked Friends of the Wildwood Open Space, from whence you can hike in the well treed and brushed “open” space (trail map available, link below). The widely paved “Head to Bay Trail” runs by there, from the Community Center and along NE West Devils Lake Rd. The plan has been a 7 mi trail from Cascade Head, to the Siletz Bay. Lincoln City has preserved several open spaces, for which they have a nice map.
Traveling west from Regatta Park, NE West Devils Lake Rd becomes NE 14th St, and passes by Spring Lake Open Space, which offers hiking and an accessible paved trail. To get to the parking (w/an accessible space), turn north off 14th at the unassuming NE Port Ave. Not much further west on 14th you get back to Hwy 101; you’ll be facing Prehistoric, a substantial rocks/fossils/minerals shop. You’re in the Historic Oceanlake section of Lincoln City: downtown. Lovers of earth’s treasures also check out Rock Your World at SW 32nd & US Highway 101.
Downtown & Logan Rd
If you choose to turn north at 14th and Hwy 101, driving through town, eventually you’ll see Lighthouse Square on the west side of the highway. Clue: there’s a big lighthouse structure (not big for a lighthouse, but as a landmark), and it’s on NE Logan Rd. Take a left at Lighthouse Square onto Logan Rd—Safeway and Joann Fabrics & Crafts with other shops are on one side, and Grocery Outlet, McMenamins, and 60s Diner, and other shops on the other side. (60s Diner reviewed under “Other Hotels and Restaurants” at bottom of this post). Handy if you want to pick up a picnic or a craft 😉 to take to Road’s End State Rec Site.
On the way to Road’s End State Rec Site, off Logan Rd is Chinook Winds Casino Resort. You’ll see the sign. It was closed for COVID when I was there, but it’s right on the ocean and looks like it might be a great place for a wave action vacation or a one-arm action get-away. Lincoln County Transit as well as NW Connector buses stop there. Chinook Winds Casino Resort advertises a full-service health club, hotel swimming pool/sauna/spa & laundry, play palace for kids, video arcade, free bus (normally). Restaurants on-site.
Beach Access Points, Parks, Hotels on the Northwest Side of Lincoln City
Beach access points
From NW 40th St go south on NW 40th Place to NW Jetty Ave. All along this avenue you catch tantalizing glimpses of the ocean. At NW 35th Court is Grace Hammond Beach Access, with a small parking area (including a handicapped spot), and a short paved trail to a bench overlooking the ocean.
If you want to take a little detour to an acre of rhododendrons, various shrubs, and perennials, beside a library, gift shop, tours & events, Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy is just a few blocks east of NW Jetty at 1931 NW 33rd St. https://www.conniehansengarden.com/
Wecoma Park at NW Jetty Ave and 31st Place has a small parking lot, restrooms marked accessible, fun fenced playground, and accessible picnic table on pavement. Surftides Hotel is a whole complex, including a restaurant and tennis court, on NW Jetty Ave, but there are many accommodations of every sort for every taste along the ocean in Lincoln City. https://www.surftideslincolncity.com/
Persist going south: 26th St. Beach Access has parking, restrooms marked accessible, bench & picnic table on pavement overlooking the ocean, a drinking fountain, perhaps a foot wash, and stair access to the beach. NW 21st St Beach Access is right next to Seahorse Oceanfront Lodging. http://seahorsemotel.com/ This beach access has a tiny parking area (w/handicapped spot) and steps down to the beach. Still a nice view of the ocean.
From the 21st St Beach Access, go south on NW Harbor Ave (with lots more ocean front accommodations), to NW 15th St. Next to the Seagull Beachfront Motel is a steep hill beach access where you can drive on the beach, if you have the right vehicle and skills, and follow the rules. At the beginning of the hill is a warning sign “Soft Sand”. There’s no paved turn-around at the bottom. You can walk down the ramp road or the steps alongside it. The restrooms, marked accessible, are about halfway down the hill, and there’s a bench in front of them in case you need a rest or just want to enjoy the view from there. At the bottom of the hill is a is another warning, “Deep Sand, Drive with Caution” and a sign prohibiting ATVs on the beach. The only parking down there is on the sand. http://www.seagullmoteloregon.com/
The south end of NW Harbor Ave T’s into NW 12th St, from which you can turn south again on NW Inlet Ave, which has several other ocean front accommodations, and ends at Kyllo’s, a popular restaurant for which you should have reservations. Alternatively, you can go east on 14th, 13th, 12th, or 6th to get back to Hwy 101.
NE 6th St south to 35th, more beach access & points of interest
Heading east of Hwy 101 on NE Sixth Dr will quickly take you to Devils Lake State Recreation/Devils Lake State Park, where there’s camping and access to the SW end of Devils Lake. It was emphatically closed when I was there, and had a lot of flooded parking and parts. Just south of 6th St and Hwy 101 is the Lincoln City Cultural Center (closed when I was there), and apparently where they hold their farmer’s market in season. I hope to be able to explore those in future.
South Lincoln City & Historic Taft
A bit south of 35th St, off Highway 101, is the Lincoln City 6, movie theatres (temporarily closed by COVID). When they can open again check what’s playing at the link below, or there’s the Bijou Theatre a couple blocks north of NE 14th St (Prehistoric rock shop mentioned above is at NE 14th St).
Accommodations and Restaurants
There’s no shortage of places to stay right on the ocean at Lincoln City. This time I stayed at The Inn at Spanish Head. From the highway it looks inconspicuous. But the video on their website shows the 10 floors facing the ocean. If you get excited to go, get reservations to assure either a room or a table. The lobby is on the 9th floor, the one you reach when you pull off Hwy 101. Parking is on the east side of the highway, on a steep hill. From the north you pull off at the hotel entrance and go through the tunnel under the highway. From the south you exit right to the parking lot. https://www.spanishhead.com/
Fortunately for us disabled folk they offer free valet parking. Just pull into the handicapped spot right at the hotel entrance. Either just get out and go in, or call and ask for assistance. The staff is friendly and helpful.
I was pleased that the handicapped rooms are right on the same floor with the lobby. I had a marvelous view through the sliding door of my room. The deck is ample, had a bit of plastic seating.
I was pleased to find my accessible room had a kitchenette, including a small stove w/oven, toaster, pots & pans, dishes (though I couldn’t reach upper cupboards where probably the glasses were), not too small a frig, microwave, coffee maker. Although the room had only one king size bed, there was a pull-out couch. Plenty of pillows on the bed, extras in a drawer. The fireplace didn’t work. They had a TV and video player, extra cushie chair, table & chairs for 4. The bathroom had a roll-in shower and shower chair, pedestal sink. No cups. Towels were in reach, but be sure to have the hand-held shower lowered for use (and get a glass/cup for getting a drink in the night, or don't forget your bottled water as I did).
Fathoms is the restaurant on the 10th floor with magnificent views and a separate bar. The waiter at dinner was the epitome of kind and polite. The clam chowder was good, and the seafood medley was a delicious pasta & creamy pesto dish, though I thought another prawn or two would have been appropriate. It was served with sourdough bread, which most seem to like, but I’m not a sourdough fan. For breakfast I purposely ordered more than I could eat, so I could take the rest to go. I started with a hot chocolate, which was large, and chocolatey—I would have liked more a milk chocolate, personally. The stuffed crème brûlée French toast was to die for, and the breakfast skillet was good, too.
Other hotels & restaurants previously visited
Mar 30, 2019: “I had reservations for Best Western Plus Landmark Inn in Lincoln City, for Sat night. Disappointed that it has no ocean view, but delighted the pool has a lift for handicapped persons, I could swim away my sorrows. The room was clean with a pleasant decor, and an ADA bathroom. We utilized the laundry room. Our room had a door to the parking lot, so it was easy to unload and load the luggage. The complimentary breakfast was superb.” Posted 10-30-2019 photos at https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/whale-watching-at-depoe-bay
Aug 22, 2017 after watching the Great Eclipse in Albany OR and staying overnight in Newport OR, I ended up staying a night at the Shearwater Inn in Lincoln City because a crash on Hwy 101 had stopped up traffic so bad. It was not a handicapped room, but the staff was so kind and accommodating, and even took off the bathroom door, beside taking care of my luggage for me. It was still a small bathroom, but workable for me. The room was a delight: light and pleasant, a sliding door with a beach view from the bed, and a working gas fireplace. It seems like they hosted a small social with cookies and drinks in the lobby each evening.
Nov 2020 on our way home from Newport we stopped to eat in Lincoln City at the 60s Café & Diner, in Lighthouse Square. I had to make a change, and their restroom was large and manageable, but maybe could have used a little more care. I told my travel helper to go ahead and order and start eating because it takes me so long. He greatly enjoyed his burger before I got back to the table. I had a sandwich and coleslaw that I enjoyed as well. The meals were filling. I think we each also had a cup of good clam chowder.
This is a lengthy post for just a one-night stay, and I plan to go back this summer for crabbing. Maybe I'll see you there!
I was on an adventure to connect with the Redwods (see https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/redwoods-california ) and Crescent City ( https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/crescent-city-its-coasts ) from Portland OR, so naturally I had the opportunity to journey through Southern Oregon:
Major Parks in Cottage Grove https://www.cottagegrove.org/cd/page/parks
If you have more time to spend in the area, nearby lakes offer more recreational opportunities:
Dorena Lake to the east—take Row River Rd along the north side of the lake to find Rat Creek Bridge, Row River Recreational Trail, Harms Park, and on to Dorena (further exploration left to the reader). To drive along the south side of the lake, take Shoreline Dr/Government Road for Schwarz Park on the west end of the lake, Baker Bay Campground & Marina on the south side, Vaughn County Park and Bake Stewart Park on the south end of the lake, and further south is Dorena and beyond. to the south—take London Rd along the west side of the Lake, to Lakeside Park. Cottage Grove Reservoir Rd, off London Rd, goes along the east side of the lake, to Shortridge Park, Pine Meadows Campground, a primitive campground, and Wilson Creek Park.
Gettings Creek Rest Area—just north of Cottage Grove OR
If you don’t have time to stay over in or around Cottage Grove this trip, and just need to make a pit stop, this can be your spot. I had time to check out one more stop as it was getting dark, at Gettings Creek Rest Area. One of the two restroom buildings was open and accessible, and they had a room set aside for a disabled person and companion. At least one covered and one uncovered picnic table was accessible and on pavement; a regular drinking fountain and a lowered one attempted to suit anyone’s needs. An information gazebo had nothing about the Oregon Trail, but considerable tourist information.