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10 Charming Coastal Towns in the West

Readers share their top spots for soft sand, stellar seafood, and epic views.

By
Via Readers
white sand beach along the Oregon Coast at Neskowin, Oregon, picture
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Photo: Airview Cinematography
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Editors' Pick: Bordered by a calm estuary, a temperate rain forest, and a three-mile-long white sand beach, Neskowin (population 179) feels like an island of civilization on the wild, woolly Oregon Coast.

"Florence, OR, gets my vote. Cute little stores line the street, and you can buy fresh fish right off the boats in the marina. We love to stay in Old Town, for the gorgeous view of the iconic Siuslaw River Bridge. It's especially breathtaking at sunset." —Joanne Bodin

"Pacific Grove, CA, has a wonderful art museum and a pretty path along the water. Plus, there's a golf course opposite the shore where you'll often see deer." —Judy Austin

"We absolutely love Newport, OR., because there's so much to do. You can visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, tour the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, or hunt for agates and fossils on the beaches." —Jim Thomas

"When I want to experience the Oregon Coast as it once was, I head to tiny Port Orford. The town isn't fancy, but it's an excellent place to enjoy a good bowl of chowder and a beautiful sunset." —John Arrington

"On a long drive, Pismo Beach, CA, is a perfect place to stop. We used to stay at a hotel on the cliff, within walking distance of this magnificent beach. A tasty breakfast spot was only steps away." —Stephanie Ansley Miller

"Crescent City, CA, is just amazing. It survived a tsunami from the 1964 Alaska earthquake. It also has great hiking trails and fishing spots, and there are giant redwoods nearby." —April Brooks

"I grew up in Yachats, OR, when it was just a quaint logging village. The town has changed since then, but the natural beauty is still there. Highway 101 clings to the seaside cliff top and, south of town, waves froth dramatically at Devils Churn." —Helen Winberg

"Big Sur, CA, is a favorite for sure. The scenery never gets old. Within an hour of arriving, I saw a whale off the coast—and I wasn't even looking for one!" —Beth Bloom

"Hands down, Astoria, OR. It's an incredible meeting of water and history. I love that you can drive past homes built by pioneers in the early 1800s, then sit by the Columbia River and watch the cargo ships go by." —Don McGovern

Up Next: The Ultimate Oregon Coast Road Trip

Let the Vacation Experts at AAA Travel help plan your next road trip. Discover Members-only discounts on car rentals, hotels, and more at AAA.com/Travel.

This article was first published in Fall 2018. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.