how to live, travel and explore the world from your van

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, 1-2 days, June       

beachside dunes national rec area in florence oregon

Above: This picture was taken where no motorized vehicles are allowed. However, we walked about 300 feet from this particular spot and watched some dune buggy's come over the top of the dunes and ride along the seashore. I don't remember seeing any signs allowing this, but there were two families that had fires going on the beach.

The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is in the city of Florence which is at the northern end of the dunes. These sand dunes are about 47 miles long running from mouth of the Siuslaw River in Florence to Cape Blanco in Coos Bay. They are the largest coastal sand dunes in the U.S. The dunes reach up to 500 feet above sea level and go inland for about 2 1/2 miles. Just at midpoint in the town of Reedsport the Umpqua River flows into Winchester Bay and the Pacific ocean. The winds are constantly reshaping the dunes daily. The entire dunes area has a variety of ecosystems ranging from conifer tree to marshlands.

picture of dunes along highway entering florence oregon

Above: This picture was taken on US 101 coming from the north. It's hard to appreciate the scale of these dunes unless you really get out of your vehicle to hike or rent an ATV. It's not like you see miles of hilly Sahara looking sand dunes from the highway, you don't.

The Oregon Dunes National Rec Area also known as Sahara by the Sea consists of 47 miles of beach property where giant white sand dunes have swallowed huge conifer pine trees over hundreds of years. This is the largest and most extensive oceanfront dune formation in the world. It is in between the cities of Yachats and Florence. The forestry service have made parts of this area a massive off road vehicle park and there were many people riding jeeps, atv's, and motorcycles up and down the super high dunes and onto the beach.

picture of oregon dunes national recreation area in florence

Above: Oregon Dune National Rec Area in Florence Oregon is very popular during holiday weekends.

Traveling along US101 you will find many accessible roads leading to the dunes. Obviously, the dunes are along the coast but you also have the typical beach activities as well. But more fun than laying out on the beach has to be the dune buggy and ATV rides up and down these rolling mounds of sand. There are plenty of state park camping facilities and private campgrounds along the 47 mile stretch that cater to dune junkies. There are sections of the beach and dunes that are off limits to off-highway vehicles and that's where we went. The dune was so steep that we walked over to get the beach that walking up and down was a total leg workout. There were less than 20 people walking and sitting on the beach and a few people were hanging around their beach fire. A few hundred feet from where we parked were ATVs and dune buggys riding along the coast and running up and down the dunes.

  overlooking acres of dunes national recreation area picture

If you don't have a quad or don't want to rent one but still want to explore the dunes there are quiet coastal forest trails for hiking. The forests consists of Sitka spruce and Douglas fir and the terrain can easily go from soft sand dunes to low lying wetlands. However, if you prefer water instead of sand than you are in luck as well. Stretching the length of the sand dunes from Florence to Coos Bay are 30 lakes, ponds and streams for kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, scuba diving, swimming, fishing and even sailing. And 17 of those lakes are in the Florence area. Ocean side you can go clamming, crabbing or fishing. Horseback riding is also very popular on the dunes.

florence oregon dunes beach picture

Above: This picture was taken from the top of a sand dune coming from the parking lot. This particular beach is for pedestrians only.

dunes recreation area oregon picture

Above: I took this picture from the bottom of this larger than life sand dune while Jason was just coming up to the top. It is difficult to totally understand the size of this dune compared to a typical and more common sand dune that you might come across while at beach on the southern Atlantic coast.

Florence is a small town but because of the popular Oregon dunes it has everything what you will need for your trip to central Oregon. Historic Old Town Florence has revived waterfront buildings which makes for a relaxing day strolling the boutiques, art galleries and antique stores. There are coffee houses and restaurants as well. Summer fog is common along the entire coast, however temperatures remain mild throughout the year in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
Visit travel destinations for our master list of 100's of cool places visited that we have reviews on.
Vanabode travel and live anywhere in America on $20 a day including food, lodging and transportation.

Bookmark and Share     click to get free book updates, giveaways, products and more

List All Vanabode Pages
List All Destination Pages
How will this book help Me?
Contact us, Get Help

click to buy Vanabode which shows you how to happily live, travel and camp in your van forever on $20 a day

Home     Contact Us     Copyright © 2007-2015      Privacy Policy      Terms and Conditions      Media Press      Affiliate