There may be no other bike route more beautiful or thrilling in America.
We’re talking about biking the Oregon Coast Bike Route—370 miles along some of the most spectacular and diverse coastline you could ever hope to experience.
And Florence is right in the middle of it—midway between Astoria and Brookings.
Biking and Stopping in Florence
Here in Florence, known also as Oregon’s Coastal Playground, you will find world-famous attractions like America’s largest sea cave—the Sea Lion Caves, and Sand Master Park—the world’s first sandboarding park.
The caves are home to hundreds of seals and Stellar sea lions. It is a privately-owned pinniped rookery, wildlife preserve, and bird sanctuary with spectacular ocean views. It’s not unusual to spot gray whales or orca at various times of year.
If you’re enough of a thrill seeker to bike the Oregon Coast, you have got to try sandboarding. Rent a board and book a quick lesson from a world champion competitor. Don’t expect to ride like the pros on your first venture, but you will have a blast at whatever skill level you attain.
Florence is both a beach town and a river town. We are just a few miles from the ocean and right on the Siuslaw River. And Florence is a bike-friendly community with trails and bike lanes marked to take you to some of the best parts areas. There are a number of bike-friendly hotels/motels in town too. We mention that because once you arrive in Florence you will certainly want to stay a couple of days to take it all in.
In Florence, you will find all the resources you need for a great ride and to restock and restore.
Right on Highway 101 we have major retail, resale/thrift stores, bike and hardware stores, camping supplies, excellent restaurants, and award-winning lodging. However, be sure to turn off the highway right before you cross the Siuslaw River Bridge at the south end of town. Just below the north end of the bridge is a quaint-but-not-commercial area known as Historic Old Town Florence. There you will find some of the best food, beverage, and lodging along with seasonal farmers markets, fresh-caught seafood right off the boats in the marina, a boardwalk, and relaxing pocket parks. Once you leave town southbound across the bridge you enter the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Riding the Oregon Coast Bike Route
Annually, more than 10,000 people come from all over the world to ride some or all of the OCBR, officially recognized in the ’80s, along U.S. Highway 101 and other roadways. They enjoy numerous lodging, dining, shopping, natural and touristy attractions, and stunning photo-op stops.
The OCBR features rugged coastline on steep and curvy roads, long wide-open stretches, and countless side-road options through state parks, historic sites, and quaint towns. The majority of the route is shared by everything from cars and motorcycles to RVs and log trucks, so riders need to be alert and not caught off-guard by the constant, eye-popping beauty—especially here along the central Oregon coast.
Oregon Coast Biking Advice and Information
The most common and best advice is to ride north to south so you can be on the beach side of the highway. This provides easier access to many campgrounds (38), parks, scenic viewpoints (too many to count), and services. In summer, you generally will benefit from a tailwind too. The shoulder on the west side of the highway is more often wider than on the east side. Most riders complete the route in about a week, but be sure to slow down, get completely off the road, and experience anything that might cause you to pause. A quick seaside selfie will never allow you to replace the full in-the-moment awe and wonder.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has a map hotline, 888-275-6368. To receive a Florence Area Visitor’s Guide, contact us at info@FlorenceChamber.com or 541-997-3128. Be sure to click around here in our website too for other great advice and tips for your visit to Florence.