10 Charming Coastal Towns in the West

Readers share their top spots for soft sand, stellar seafood, and epic views.

Neskowin, Oregon, from above with coastline view looking north on sunny, partly cloudy afternoon, picture
Editors' Pick: Bordered by a calm estuary, a temperate rain forest, and a three-mile-long white sand beach, Neskowin feels like true escape on the Oregon Coast.
Airview Cinematography

"Florence, Oregon, gets my vote. Cute little stores line the street, and you can buy fresh fish right off the boats in the marina. We love to stay in Old Town, for the gorgeous view of the iconic Siuslaw River Bridge. It's especially breathtaking at sunset." —Joanne Bodin

"Pacific Grove, California, has a wonderful art museum and a pretty path along the water. Plus, there's a golf course opposite the shore where you'll often see deer." —Judy Austin

"On a long drive, Pismo Beach, California, is a perfect place to stop. We used to stay at a hotel on the cliff, within walking distance of this magnificent beach. A tasty breakfast spot was only steps away." —Stephanie Ansley Miller

Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon, at sunset with waves crashing

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse shines in Newport, Oregon.

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"We absolutely love Newport, Oregon, because there's so much to do. You can visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, tour the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, or hunt for agates and fossils on the beaches." —Jim Thomas

"When I want to experience the Oregon Coast as it once was, I head to tiny Port Orford. The town isn't fancy, but it's an excellent place to enjoy a good bowl of chowder and a beautiful sunset." —John Arrington

"Crescent City, California, is just amazing. It survived a tsunami from the 1964 Alaska earthquake. It also has great hiking trails and fishing spots, and there are giant redwoods nearby." —April Brooks

View of the Astoria Megler Bridge in Astoria, Oregon, with a tanker ship about to pass beneath it

Experience history along the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.

Jess Kraft / Shutterstock

"Hands down, Astoria, Oregon. It's an incredible meeting of water and history. I love that you can drive past homes built by pioneers in the early 1800s, then sit by the Columbia River and watch the cargo ships go by." —Don McGovern

"I grew up in Yachats, Oregon, when it was just a quaint logging village. The town has changed since then, but the natural beauty is still there. Highway 101 clings to the seaside cliff top and, south of town, waves froth dramatically at Devils Churn." —Helen Winberg

"Big Sur, California, is a favorite for sure. The scenery never gets old. Within an hour of arriving, I saw a whale off the coast—and I wasn't even looking for one!" —Beth Bloom