Three Capes Scenic Route
If you’re looking for the most breathtaking views of the Tillamook Coast, the Three Capes Scenic Route is the perfect place to start. Beginning in downtown Tillamook, this short 40-mile jaunt along the water reveals some of the most majestic natural landscapes that the Oregon coast has to offer. The road is easy to follow, with ample signage that leads travelers west of Tillamook, angling around Tillamook Bay and Bay Ocean Spit, towards steep forested mountains along Cape Meares Route.
View the entire Tillamook Coastline
As the scenic route continues from Tillamook toward Oceanside, you’ll be thrilled at the mesmerizing ocean views that have been leaving people speechless for centuries. Watch the ocean meet tranquil Netarts Bay (stop a while and go clamming at this popular shellfishing spot—just make sure you have a license before you head out!) as you travel up to Cape Lookout, where you are in a prime position to see the entire Tillamook coastline. Trek through the old-growth forest and along the beach here to stretch your legs.
From there, the road takes you through the Sandlake dunes into Pacific City, where Haystack Rock juts up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean at Cape Kiwanda. Drink in the magnificent view of this iconic coastal landmark.
An easy day’s drive, with plenty of cool stops
While the Three Capes Scenic Route is an easy day’s drive, several historical sites and state parks along the way are worth stopping at to stretch your legs. After all, the very best views aren’t seen from the passenger seat of a car or RV, but after a short trek up a wooded trail.
Early on in your journey, you’ll pass by Bay Ocean Park, a now-extinct community that was once the “Atlantic City of the West.” See what’s left of this area, since the buildings were destroyed in the ’30s and ’40s by the wind and tides (sand, easily shifted by these forces, is an unstable foundation—residents and business owners learned that the hard way). As you travel south, you’ll see Cape Meares, with its short hiking trails and the iconic lighthouse and giant Octopus Tree, a Sitka spruce that’s grown into a most unusual shape! A trailhead in the area, just before you reach the parking lot, will lead you on a steep hike to the beach.
Another spot worth hopping out for? Cape Kiwanda’s Pelican Brewery and Taproom, the only beachfront brewpub in the Northwest! You can enjoy lunch and a pint as you admire the view of Haystack Rock and listen to the ocean.
Finally, Bob Straub State Park in Pacific City offers a beautiful beachy stretch where you can hunt for shells and sand dollars while you soak up the sun (or enjoy a little Oregon drizzle!).
The views are incredible in any weather condition
The views are incredible in any weather conditions, although clear weather allows for the farthest view of the coastline from the top of Cape Lookout. But any time of year you drive the Three Capes Scenic Route, it will be well worth it. Don’t forget your camera along! You won’t find a more magnificent stretch along the Oregon Coast.