There is just one answer to that question. Visit the Oregon coast because it is absolutely gorgeous.
All Oregon beaches are open to the public. An Oregon State easement exists up to the vegetation line the full length of the coast. So unless the geology prevents easy access, you can get down to the beach and have fun.
You can enjoy:
Best Oregon Beaches tells you where to go for many of these activities.
If you want secluded beaches with few people, your best bet are on the south coast particularly the beaches along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.
You can find Japanese glass fishing floats if you visit after a storm and you have a good chance of finding a beautiful Oregon made fishing float any day during the winter months on many of Oregon's beaches. Thousands are hidden above the water line on many beaches for you to find and keep.
Visit the Oregon Dunes and their beaches if you want to ride dune buggies or ATV's.
Pan for gold at Gold Beach. Yes. really! The gold is very fine flakes but a lot of people have fun doing this. Look for black sand. That's where the gold is.
There are lots of other things to do on the coast besides playing on the beach. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. Plan your trip to the coast with these things to do in Newport in mind.
Find out where and how to dig for those delicious clams that can be found on Oregon's coast.
Do you like crab? Oregon is famous for its Dungeness Crab and they are easier to catch than you might think. Find out where to go, where to get equipment, and how to do it.
Whale watching is very popular at certain times of the year. Find out when and where to go.
Other things to do:
Another fun outing is a visit to Fort Clatsop on the northern coast where the explorers, Lewis and Clark, spent the winter before returning east.
The campgrounds on the coast of Oregon are the best in the state whether you are RV'ing or camping in a tent. Many of them offer yurts and cabins to rent. Some have corrals for horses and others are designed for ORV'ers who are visiting the Oregon Dunes. A lot of these are ocean front but there are others located on lakes where boating and fishing are popular. Many of these campgrounds are open in the winter months.
Read about these campgrounds:Oregon Dunes Camping
From the north coast to the south coast:
Take your pick. The coast of Oregon has every kind of accommodation you could possibly stay the night in and you can find them in all price ranges. Hotels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfasts abound. As usual, the places that are ocean front or ocean view cost more than those set back from the beach. But if you want to go to the coast and you want to save some money, what's a two or three block walk to the beach? Also, a lot of vacation rentals or hotel units with kitchens don't cost any more than those that don't have them.
Find your perfect vacation rental. Just choose the area on the coast you are interested in. Some vacation rentals are great for large groups like family reunions or small companies doing seminars.
Two very popular places to stay on the coast are Lincoln City and Newport at Yaquina Bay. Newport is a great place to stay because there is so much to do there and it is a central location which makes it easy to travel both north and south for the things you want to see and do.
I receive a lot of questions about building a fire and driving on Oregon beaches.
You can build a fire using small pieces of wood away from the vegetation line and away from piles of driftwood. When you leave you must put the fire out with water. Do not just pile sand on top of it. It could smoulder for hours and someone not knowing it was there could step on it and get burned. I would bring some wood. Driftood, in my experience, does not burn very well until you get the fire going well.
There are some beaches that you can drive on during certain times of the year. These are posted at the individual beach and may change due to conditions.
What about your dog? Can dogs run free on the beach in Oregon? Most beaches require that dogs be on a leash. I always see dogs running free on Cannon Beach and other beaches. The concern here is for the wildlife. Nesting birds can be frightened enough by just seeing a dog that they abandon their nest. Always clean up after your dog.
In general, the weather on the Oregon coast is sunniest during July and August. September and even the first half of October is usually the hottest and is called the Second Summer. The south coast is a bit warmer than up north.
It doesn't matter what time of year you go, you need to be prepared for some cool weather. Even if the temperature measures 70 degrees or higher, the wind can make it feel much cooler. So be prepared with layers of clothing so that you can add or take off as the need arises. Don't forget a warm hat. Warning! I have been to Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach when the temperature registered 101 F and there wasn't even a whisper of a breeze.
So is it worth it to visit the Oregon Coast November through May. You bet it is! You will find fewer people and lower prices for lodging. It is still fun to walk the beach, explore tide pools, and look for treasures that storms have blown in.
Speaking of storms...
Some of the best times I have had on the coast was when I was there during a winter storm. Winter storm watching from the comfort of an ocean-front hotel or bed and breakfast is spell binding. It is after these storms that you will find the best shells, agates, and possibly even a Japanese glass fishing float.
This is the best video I have seen giving an over view of what the Oregon Coast is like.
See this interactive map of the coast. It will show you the best routes to take when going to the coast and where all the communities and state parks are.