In a state that measures nearly 100,000 square miles, two of the top-20 landmarks to visit are within about 10 miles of each other in Florence.

The Oregonian/ recently published their list of the 20 most iconic landmarks in Oregon. Author Jamie Hale defined “landmark” as any natural or manmade feature that helps define a place in Oregon, explaining that “If it’s worthy of a postcard, it’s a landmark.”

Hale ranked Sea Lion Caves at number 16 writing, “It’s been built up and turned into a tourist attraction for the last 75 years, but there’s no denying the grandeur of the Sea Lion Caves. The towering sea cave just north of Florence is home to a Steller sea lion rookery, which generally stays inside the cave in the fall and winter, heading out to the rocky shores come spring and summer. “

At number nine on his list are the Oregon Dunes. Hale writes “Popular among OHV enthusiasts and hikers alike –and the inspiration for Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel “Dune” – the Oregon Dunes are a massive, unmistakable landmark on the coast, running from Florence down to Coos Bay.”

The dunes outranked the iconic Vista House in the Columbia Gorge, Portland’s Washington Park with its zoo and gardens, and Southern Oregon’s Oregon Caves National Monument. Topping the list is Mt. Hood.

Earlier this year, Florence made’s list of the “8 Coolest Cities You Must Experience for Yourself” primarily for sandboarding, but also touted Sea Lion Caves and the dunes as top reasons to visit. In addition, Florence has recently been named the second-best small town in the northwest by USA Today, America’s most beautiful town by, and as the best coastal getaway by readers of The Oregonian/

Florence Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Bettina Hannigan is thrilled by the coverage.

“To achieve yet another major recognition is a tremendous gain for Florence. Florence is most fortunate to have these and other destinations for natural beauty. It’s one of the reasons we call our area “Oregon’s Coastal Playground.”