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 […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its annual Holiday Festival on Saturday, November 25. Santa’s arrival, hayrides, lighted boats at the marina, and the official lighting of its Christmas tree will take place in Historic Old Town; and shops and galleries will be open for holiday shopping all around town. Many events will take place in Historic Old Town between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. “Rain or shine, it’s time to celebrate together!” says Bettina Hannigan, the Chamber’s executive director. “Our Old Town area is getting decked-out for the holidays and we are excited to announce that The City of Florence has planted a gorgeous live tree at the Siuslaw Interpretive Park for our town to enjoy year after year. Come on out to be a part of the festivities!” At 3:30 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive via firetruck down Bay Street, courtesy of Siuslaw Valley Fire […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Center, 290 Highway 101, features a different local art exhibit each month. Their November display of local artistry features the photography of Rodger Bennett. “It’s an honor to have been chosen by the Chamber to hang my work in their lobby,” says Bennett. “I think that the Chamber’s monthly exhibits are a good offering of the Florence area’s arts community, and that gives credit to the Chamber, local artists, and the kinds of things that are unique to Florence. It also provides another attraction for locals and visitors alike to sample all the different kinds of arts and the artists behind them.” “I believe that quality art makes people feel better and that certainly is a growing attraction to Florence in itself,” he adds. Bennett’s exhibit includes nine self-framed prints. Several are printed on metal, a few are printed on foam board, and […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the theme for its 111th annual Rhododendron Festival. “This year’s ‘Rhody Rendezvous’ theme intends to evoke a feeling of coming to Florence and meeting up with friends and family for a great time here in Oregon’s Coastal Playground,” says executive director Bettina Hannigan. “It’s our 111th year, making us about a year older than the Portland Rose Festival but a little younger than Pasadena, California’s Tournament of Roses,” adds Hannigan. “After that many years we’re pretty sure that several generations of Oregonians and other visitors have rendezvoused around our rhodies many times.” The festival takes place the third weekend of May each year, making it May 17-20, 2018. Traditionally the Davis Shows Carnival opens on Wednesday afternoon at the Port of Siuslaw parking lot, the Rhododendron Court coronation takes place Thursday evening at the Florence Events Center, and the town begins filling […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has selected the winner of a $250 cash prize in its 2017 photo contest. The organization was looking for the best photos of the fun, frolic, and iconic buildings and scenery, from Oregon’s Coastal Playground—an area up to 30 miles in any direction of Florence. More than 120 photos were entered. Steffen Hefley of Covington, Washington, entered the winning photo of her son running along the beach, happily dragging a long bunch of seaweed behind him. Hefley’s mother lives in Florence and created the “Dancing With Sea Lions” statue on exhibit at Sea Lion Caves. Hefley’s photo will be featured in the Chamber’s Visitors’ Resource Guide and other printed marketing pieces, on the Chamber’s website, and in social media. A panel of Chamber members selected the winner. “Steffen’s photo really captured a fun “playground” moment and expresses how great of a destination Florence is […]


Florence recently hosted the seventh-annual Wine & Chowder Trail Weekend. The ballots have been counted and a crab chowder offered by Novelli’s Crab and Seafood, located on the docks in Old Town Florence, was the winner of the Chowder Trail voting by several hundred participants. Other competitors included Beachcomber Pub, Bridgewater Restaurant, Firehouse Restaurant, International C-Food Market, Lovejoys Teahouse, Maple Street Grille, and Surfside Restaurant at Driftwood Shores which was hosted at Beach House Gifts. Amber Novelli says her secret ingredients include a proprietary Italian seasoning blend and a select white wine. This was the first year she entered the contest. She and husband Kyle Novelli have been commercial fishers together for seven years, though Kyle is a lifelong fisherman. The Novellis currently serve Florence and Newport, though plan to move soon to live and work full time in Florence. They sell only what they catch, direct to customers at […]


We all know how cool Florence is as a place to live and to vacation, but now lists us as one of the “8 Coolest Cities You Must Experience for Yourself.” touts itself as “the hip younger brother of Expedia,” the online travel agency that last year named Florence it’s most beautiful town in America. Jennifer Cuellar, writer for, posts on her national blog “There are experiences we hold onto long after we travel. When it comes it our happiness levels, we can buy stuff, but studies show that experiences make us happier. And there’s no better way to experience life than to travel to new places. So the question is: Where should you travel next?” In her story Cuellar highlights the places that leave travelers surprised, intrigued, and marked by unexpected thrills. Her list included such famous—and out-of-the-way places—as Durham, North Carolina; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Beach […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, the Siuslaw News, and community arts organizations have created the Florence Passport to the Arts, a pocket-sized guide to direct visitors and community members to the many galleries and public art exhibits in the Florence area. Those who obtain the Florence Passport to the Arts and complete its tour by collecting 10 stickers from participating locations will be eligible for valuable prizes. “Florence is so blessed to have so many talented artists. Whether it’s photography, painting, textiles, wood, metal, glass, music, stage, or whatever, our artisanal community is overflowing with talent. The Florence Art Passport is your guide to discover and explore the arts all around town,” says Bettina Hannigan, executive director of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “.” “Florence is an art lover’s destination,” adds Jenna Bartlett, publisher of the Siuslaw News. “The galleries of Florence present art that is unique to […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is looking for the best photos of the fun, frolic, and iconic buildings and scenery, from Oregon’s Coastal Playground. “We call this place Oregon’s Coastal Playground for a reason,” says Bettina Hannigan, the Chamber’s executive director, “so we’re looking for outstanding amateur or professional photos that convey our coastal playground theme.” Hannigan says the winner will collect a $250 cash prize, have their submitted photo featured in the Chamber’s resource guide and other printed marketing pieces, on their website, and in social media. A panel of Chamber members will decide the winner. “Tourism is our leading industry, the backbone of our economy and quality of life. It accounts for 1300 jobs and 127 million dollars flowing through our community,” says Hannigan. “The best photos will express how great a destination Florence is for vacationing. “So download your best photos from you smartphone or camera […]


Ahhh, autumn on the Central Oregon Coast. Sunny weather, cooler temps, and a comforting bowl of clam chowder. Add a glass of your favorite varietal, sit back, and take in the scenic change of seasons in the air. If that sounds good to you, the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has you covered with this year’s Wine & Chowder Trail experience. Enjoy a weekend of hearty chowders and tasty nibbles from local shops and restaurants, and samples of Oregon wines, October 7 and 8 in Historic Old Town Florence. In addition, the Chamber is bringing back the Great Glass Float Giveaway and live music at Gazebo Park in the heart of Old Town. Saturday, October 7, features the annual wine walk from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Pick up your wine passport and commemorative glass for $5 and tasting tickets for $1 each at Waterfront Wine Store, 1300 Bay Street. Sample wines […]