AAA Travel Tips / Where to Stop and Recharge on an EV Road Trip Down Oregon's Coast

Where to Stop and Recharge on an EV Road Trip Down Oregon's Coast

Courtesy of Redfish
By AAA Travel Editor Katie McPhee
June 13, 2019
Jagged cliffs, secluded beaches, scenic overlooks and towering sand dunes—Oregon’s natural splendor is on full display with a drive down (or up) the Pacific coastline. Pair the stunning natural scenery with a road trip in an electric car and you’ve got a match made in eco-friendly heaven.
Planning an EV road trip down Oregon’s coast couldn’t be easier: the Oregon Coast Highway (US 101) connects charming seaside towns, historic lighthouses, local restaurants and dozens of public EV charging stations along a 350-mile route. Read on to discover the must-see places to stop, eat and recharge on your Oregon Coast road trip. (Information about EV charging stations is sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.)
A few tips: This list is organized for north-to-south travel, which provides easier access to beachside turnoffs, but you can travel in either direction. If you want to avoid putting the extra miles on your personal vehicle, consider renting a car with Hertz; the intermediate size is perfect for road trips and AAA members have access to special discounts.
Astoria Column
flickr/AllAroundTheWest
Astoria Column
Astoria, Oregon
Every Oregon road trip should include a stop at the Astoria Column. Built to commemorate the discovery and settlement of the Pacific Northwest, the 125-foot-tall concrete structure offers a bird’s-eye view of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean from a lookout platform at the top (stair climbing is required).
Other nearby things to do: Learn about the area’s seagoing history at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
Where to eat: Dine on the outdoor patio at Bridgewater Bistro and dig into fresh seafood, burgers or sandwiches as you watch fishing boats navigate the Columbia River.
Where to recharge: Downtown Astoria has EV charging stations at the Astoria Transit Center.
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Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge,
Courtesy of Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge
Haystack Rock
Cannon Beach, Oregon
A short detour into Cannon Beach will take you past an iconic landmark of your West Coast road trip: Haystack Rock. The offshore monolith, said to be one of the world’s largest, looms 235 feet high and is best observed from Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site or Haystack Hill State Park.
Other nearby things to do: See more scenic beaches and offshore rock formations at Ecola State Park, just 2 miles north.
Where to eat: Locals rave about all-day breakfasts at The Lazy Susan Cafe (cash only) and steaks and seafood at Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge.
Where to recharge: Public Coast Brewing Company has an on-site EV charging station and a menu of house-made brews and pub fare.
Tillamook Creamery
Courtesy of Tillamook Creamery
Tillamook Creamery
Tillamook, Oregon
Free self-guiding tours will take you behind the scenes at Tillamook Creamery to see how Tillamook cheese is made and packaged. Expect plenty of free samples of—you guessed it—cheese.
Where to eat: If you’re still hungry, enjoy a quick lunch (and more cheese samples) at Blue Heron French Cheese Company.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available at Tillamook Creamery and in downtown Tillamook.
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View from Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Newport, OR
AAA/Inspector 13
Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint
Otter Rock, Oregon
Just south of Depoe Bay you’ll reach Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint, one of the best spots for whale watching on the coast. Observe gray whales year-round (if you’re lucky) or as they migrate to and from Mexico in winter and spring. A small gift shop sits 500 feet above sea level and features an observation window.
Other nearby things to do: For more whale-watching opportunities, drive the Otter Crest Loop, which follows the coastline just west of US 101. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is just 6 miles south of Otter Crest and worth a stop to see Yaquina Head Lighthouse and tidal pools teeming with sea creatures.
Where to eat: Fish and chips, Dungeness crab cakes and crab po’boys are on the menu at Newport's Local Ocean Seafoods, which sources its ingredients from local fishing boats.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available in downtown Newport and for guests staying at the Hallmark Resort Newport.
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Cape Perpetua Scenic area, ocean, volcanic rocks
AAA/Inspector 13
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Yachats, Oregon
See more rugged cliffs and dramatic surf from Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, where you can visit the highest point accessible by car on the Oregon coast. On a clear day, you can see 37 miles out to sea and 70 miles down the coastline from the Cape Perpetua Overlook.
Other nearby things to do: Visit the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center to learn about the natural forces that shaped the Oregon coast.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available at Yachats City Hall.
Front of property
AAA/Inspector 13
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint
Florence, Oregon
A short trail at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint leads to the Heceta Head Lighthouse, home of the brightest (and perhaps most photographed) beacon in Oregon. Keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, gray whales, bald eagles and pelicans that may be visible from the clifftop.
Other nearby things to do: Just south of Florence is Sandland Adventures, an outfitter offering guided dune buggy tours of the Oregon Dunes.
Where to eat: Reservations are recommended at Waterfront Depot Restaurant & Bar in Florence; their seafood and Pacific Northwest specialties are worth a stop.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available for guests at the Old Town Inn and River House Inn in Florence.
Shore Acres State Park and Botanical Gardens
Courtesy of Oregon State Parks
Shore Acres State Park and Botanical Gardens
Coos Bay, Oregon
There is something to see in all seasons at Shore Acres State Park and Botanical Gardens. Daffodils, azaleas, roses and dahlias are in bloom at various times of the year in the gardens, while an observation building offers an excellent vantage point for winter storm watching.
Other nearby things to do: Walk the Coos Bay Boardwalk along Bayshore Drive for an up-close look at the boat docks.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available in downtown Coos Bay and at The Mill Casino & Hotel in North Bend.
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Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum
Courtesy of Cape Blanco Heritage Society
Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum
Port Orford, Oregon
Housed in a former U.S. Coast Guard rescue station, the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum will acquaint you with the heroic lifesaving missions that occurred on the southern Oregon coast 1934–70.
Other nearby things to do: Just 10 miles north is Cape Blanco State Park, which encompasses the westernmost point in Oregon.
Where to eat: Griff's on the Dock is great for a casual lunch, while Redfish has more refined fare.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available in downtown Port Orford.
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Chicken and waffles with avocado and bacon for dinner
AAA/Inspector 557
Harris Beach State Park
Brookings, Oregon
Soak up the last bit of Oregon’s coastal scenery at Harris Beach State Park. Offshore monoliths and islands make for fantastic photo ops (especially at sunset), and a mild climate promises year-round fun.
Where to eat: Oxenfre Public House earns rave reviews from locals and visitors alike; the menu includes inventive pub fare like Wagyu beef burgers, Pacific cod tacos and shrimp and grits.
Where to recharge: EV charging stations are available in downtown Brookings.
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