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Oregon Sand Dunes Getaway

Published: October 05, 2022

 

Grab the weekend and head for Oregon's stunning coastline just outside of Florence, Oregon. Here is the start of massive sand dunes that transform the landscape into an endless playground. From admiring the sheer beauty of the rolling sand drifts, to trying out daring and exciting sand sports, to learning about this unique ecosystem on the edge of the Pacific Ocean — the Oregon Dunes is an ideal destination for a memorable getaway.

Day One

Dune Buggy Tour

Kick off your Oregon Dunes adventure with a dune buggy tour at one of the many dune buggy outfitters south of Florence. Dune buggy options include reserving a seat in a "big buggy" which rolls over the dunes with a dozen or so passengers on a milder, information-full tour of the ecosystem. Or you can book a ride on a slimmer sandrail with half a dozen friends and go whizzing up and over the sand hills. Or you can rent an ATV and cruise out into the dunes under your own power.

Dune Buggy Ride on the Oregon Coast

Photo: Eugene, Cascades & Coast

Lunch in Old Town

Everyone has heard of Mo's Restaurant, so stop in there for some clam chowder in their casual, on-the-river restaurant. Then follow up it up with an ice cream cone and a leisurely amble along Historic Old Town Florence's Bay Street.

Three Rivers Casino Resort

Check into a comfortable room at the Three Rivers Casino Resort. Owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians; the casino operates 24 hours, seven days a week, with an array of games and activities. From their large concert hall to their sports lounge and restaurants, there is always something going on!

Dinner in Old Town

Book an early tee-time for the next morning at the casino's adjacent Ocean Dunes Golf Links. Then head over to Historic Old Town Florence for dinner at The Bridgewater Ocean Fresh Fish House & Zebra Bar. Enjoy their delicious seafood and lavish cocktails in a charming atmosphere.

Day Two

Morning at Three Rivers Casino

After starting the morning off right on the golf greens, enjoy breakfast at the Three Rivers Casino and then head back out to enjoy the Oregon Dunes in another one-of-a-kind way — sandboarding!

Sandboarding

At Sand Master Park you can rent sandboards and learn how to use them on the sandy slopes. If you want formal lessons, call ahead to reserve an instructional time slot. Sand Master Park launched the trend in sandboarding and has been host to major international competitions. Now selling and renting an extensive collection of boards and sleds for sand and water, find just what you need to be a pro for a day or for a lifetime. 

Try boarding near the shop, or head to other popular sandboarding locations on the Oregon Dunes.

Day of Adventure - Sandboarding in Florence

Sandboarding in Florence

Photo: Melanie Griffin

Evening Entertainment

As evening comes, spend a second evening checking out the coastal scene. Take in a performing arts show at the Florence Events Center, home to local community theater, live music and dance productions.

As an alternative to live entertainment, head to the local artsy movie theater for cult favorites, box office hits and indie films. City Lights Cinema is an outstanding independent theater, so load up with popcorn and concessions and enjoy the big screen.

Day Three

Dune Trail Rides

The next morning, before heading out of town, take a Dune Trail Ride at C&M stables and view the dunes from the saddle. A very different experience from the wild ride of the dune buggies, a horseback ride along the crest of the dunes provides a slow and gentle opportunity to soak in the landscape. This coastal stable has been offering horseback riding since the early 80s and are known for their beloved care of horses.

Plan Your Return Visit

While enjoying your immersive Oregon Dunes experience, you'll see many other coastal attractions. Now that you are familiar with Florence and the surrounding coast, plan a visit to come back to explore the Sea Lion Caves, the Heceta Head Lighthouse and participate in one of Florence's festivals celebrating rhododendrons, chowder or jazz. There is so much more to do!

Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.