If you’re bicycling the Oregon Coast this year, or more specifically, biking Florence, we invite you to stay with us at The Old Town Inn in Florence, Oregon. Right on Highway 101, we’re halfway between the Washington and California borders.
Or, perhaps, you’d like to relax in a room overlooking the Siuslaw River. Pedal on over to our other hotel in Florence, The River House Inn, about a block off Highway 101. Both properties are located on the edge of Historic Old Town Florence. They are within walking distance to some of the finest restaurants in town.
In this area called Oregon’s Coastal Playground you’ll also find world-famous roadside attractions. For example, the Sea Lion Caves, America’s largest sea cave, is home to hundreds of Stellar sea lions and a privately-owned wildlife preserve. The bird sanctuary and pinniped rookery are other exciting attractions.
There is also Sand Master Park—the world’s first sandboarding park. If you’re enough of a thrill seeker to bike the Oregon Coast, you’ll love sandboarding. You can even learn from world champion competitors when they’re here in town. You don’t have to “carve it up” or catch big air like they do in the videos, but you’ve got to try it.
Just south of town starts the 40-plus miles of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Take the time to hop in a professionally-driven sandrail (think dune buggy, but really souped-up) for a thrill-a-minute nature ride that includes zooming up one side of 500-foot sand dunes and screaming all the way down the other.
Biking Florence on the Oregon Coast
Every year more than 6,000 people ride the Oregon Coast Bike Route (OCBR). The route, designated in the early 1980s, attracts tourists from all over the world and offers some of the most thrilling cycling on the planet.
And we’re right in the middle of it. Literally. Florence is the center point of Highway 101 between the Washington and California boarders and is a great place to ride in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Transportation offers a great map of the OCBR for free here.
Florence is part river town and part beach town, as we’re set back from the ocean by a couple of miles on the Siuslaw River. And Florence is a bike-friendly community with trails and bike lanes marked to take you to some of the best parts of our town. Get here, and you’ll want to stay a couple of days to take it all in.
We are a bike-friendly hotel too. We welcome cyclists, and their bicycles and we don’t mind you bringing your bike into the room. You paid a lot for your gear and don’t want to leave it unattended; and we are happy to provide cloths so you can wipe-down your ride before bringing it indoors.
When to Come
While some cyclists are so hardcore they’ll go in any weather, the best time to ride is late spring into early June, and late summer into early October, when the weather is best and the tourist traffic slows way down. Gawking tourists can make some segments of Highway 101 a little harrowing; and by that we mean drivers of cars and motorhomes, towers of camp trailers, professional drivers in big rigs, and cyclists. To all we say “Pull over to enjoy the view, then get back on the road and pay attention to the drive!” The ride can also get a little windy from mid-June to mid-August, but that shouldn’t stop you.
What You’ll See
The Oregon Coast Bike Route is nearly 400 scenic miles of natural beauty, awe-inspiring vistas, and right-on-the-edge-of-the-continent thrills. Truly, there are few rides in the US more epic than this one. Terrains vary between steep, curvy, cliff-hugging, balance-challenging sections; wide-open straightaways; and busy commercial districts five lanes across.
You can join the ride from anywhere that works with your plans, but we recommend riding it north-to-south so that you are on the ocean side of the road.
There are countless breathtaking vistas where you’ll want to stop. Do it. Don’t regret it later. And don’t just stop for a quick surfside selfie. Get off the bike and savor the moment to make a lifelong memory or two, or three hundred.
You’ll see where the forest meets the sea, tide pools brimming with sea life, playful sea lions and seals, spouting whales, gorgeous streams and rivers, historic bridges with their classic architecture, and award-winning restaurants and lodgings (like ours—hint-hint).
On behalf of our many friends biking Florence and guests at the hotel, Hoagland Properties, owner-operator of The River House Inn and The Old Town Inn in Florence, supports the Oregon Department of Transportation’s planning efforts to identify improvements to the OCBR.
Currently, ODOT is seeking the public’s help as it undertakes a major planning effort to identify improvements to the OCBR. Public input is a key part of the OCBR plan, and will set the stage for improved safety, accessibility and enjoyment for residents, visitors, and all users of the route. The plan will set the stage for future investments, more clearly define the route where it digresses off and onto Highway 101, identify needs, establish collaborations with local jurisdictions, and prioritize improvements to the route to increase safety, accessibility, and enjoyment for residents, visitors, and all users.
For more information on the OCBR improvement project, please contact Jenna Marmon, Region 3, South Coast, Active Transportation Liaison, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-774-5925.