Things to Do in Florence, Oregon

Places to visit in Florence, OR.

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Oregon. It’s a great place to visit if you want to escape the busy city life. This area has plenty of fun activities for the whole family. One of the best things to do in Florence is to go whale watching. The winter months are prime times for seeing gray whales, but you can also see migrating whales in the spring and summer.

Florence, Oregon, is located at the mouth of the Siuslaw River. It is a small city with plenty to see and do. The Old Town district is filled with shops. You can also explore the Oregon Coast Military Museum. Among the attractions in this area are the Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Sea Lion Caves.

Best tourist attractions in Florence, Oregon

Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves is one of the largest sea caves in the world. The entrance is on Highway 101, about eleven miles north of Florence, Oregon.

The Sea Lion Caves are a natural habitat for a wild population of Steller sea lions. These giant pinnipeds live in the cave year-round. Their numbers vary, but the average herd is around 200.

Sea Lion Caves, Florence, Oregon
Sea Lion Caves, Florence, Oregon

It is not uncommon for visitors to see eagles, whales, and dolphins at this location. You may even catch a glimpse of an orca once a year.

Sea Lion Caves are part of the Oregon/Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. This governmental initiative helps to preserve the marine life of the area.

Sea Lion Caves - Florence, OR
Sea Lion Caves – Florence, OR

While you can view the Sea Lions Caves from land, the real fun is in the water. Sea lions swim in the area at low tide.

North Jetty Beach in Florence

Located on the Siuslaw River in Florence, Oregon, the North Jetty Beach is a fantastic place to dive. It’s also an excellent location to enjoy a scenic walk along the beach.

This particular dive site is one of the more popular in the state, and divers from all over the country travel to the shore to check out the underwater views.

Florence North Jetty Beach
Florence North Jetty Beach

The dive site has some exciting features, including a brass crab measurer, navigational aids, and a handrail. You can also see the ocean’s horizon. A few rocky fingers are behind the jetty, so it’s not uncommon to experience some sea life.

Although the area is usually quiet, it can be hazardous. Watch out for unexpected waves and logs. Also, keep your dog under voice control.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world. It’s located near the Oregon dunes and is a must-see on the Oregon Coast.

The Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta was the first European to set foot in the area. In 1775, he sailed along the Pacific coast. He gave the headland the name Heceta.

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head was first illuminated in 1894. Its sweeping beam shines for twenty miles offshore. This historic 56-foot-tall light station is now a State Scenic Viewpoint.

You can view Heceta Head from Highway 101 or take a short trail to the lighthouse. You can also visit the nearby Sea Lion Caves.

Oregon - Heceta Head Lighthouse
Oregon – Heceta Head Lighthouse

The Keeper’s House and interpretive center have plenty of history to explore. Local legend has it that an older woman is haunting the lighthouse. She will make appearances in the guest rooms, moving things around to make her presence felt.

Oregon Coast Military Museum

The Oregon Coast Military Museum (OMM) is located in Florence, Oregon. It is an organization dedicated to preserving Oregon’s military service history. Located near the city’s airport, the museum is overseen by a volunteer board of directors.

OMM collects and preserves irreplaceable historical artifacts. Moreover, the museum is committed to educating people about the history of the military and honoring the service of Oregon residents and veterans.

Military History Museum Sign
Military History Museum Sign

The museum offers guided tours and hosts events throughout the year. In addition, it holds curriculum-incorporated field trips for school groups. The Oregon Coast Military Museum organizes the Walkthrough Winter Wonderland event during the winter months.

The museum displays various military-themed items, such as vintage Jeeps and war weapons. Additionally, the museum offers a collection of personal artifacts.

Darlingtonia State Natural Site

The Darlingtonia State Natural Site in Florence, Oregon, is a small but exciting plant reserve that’s worth a stop if you’re in the area. This botanical preserve is the only one in the state dedicated to preserving a single plant species. It also has a lovely interpretive sign and a picnic area.

There’s an accessible boardwalk trail at this Darlingtonia site, which makes it a pleasant walk through pitcher plants. In addition, the park features a restroom building and a small picnic spot.

Darlingtonia State Natural Site Near Florence, Oregon
Darlingtonia State Natural Site Near Florence, Oregon

Cobra Lilies bloom in May and June and are a colorful sight. They come in shades of green and purple, with red and orange spots. Their stalks are hollow and forked, with an attached tongue-like structure that resembles fangs.

These carnivorous plants are fascinating, and their presence on the coast is rare. While they’re a little scary to look at, they’re not dangerous to humans.

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