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The Perfect One Day in Florence, OR - Travel Itinerary

Situated just an hour west of the larger city of Eugene, Florence is home to miles of rolling sand dunes, beautiful beaches, and charming boutiques making it an incredible small-town getaway. We had the privilege to spend one day exploring this adorable coastal town, and even though the weather didn’t cooperate enough for us to experience the incredible Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area that Florence is known for, we still had a wonderful time and were able to put together what we think is the perfect one day in Florence itinerary!

*Be sure to watch our "One Day in Florence" travel vlog for a closer look at our time in Florence*

8:30am: Coffee/Breakfast

  • River Roasters (1240 Bay St)

    • Located in historic Old Town, this riverfront outboard motor repair shop turned coffee shop is serving up the best locally roasted cup-o-joe in town alongside delicious, house made baked goods. With decor and remnants from what used to call this building home, River Roaster’s provides an incredible ambiance that will have you feeling like a local before your coffee can get cold. And if that’s not enough to entice a visit out of you, there’s a wonderful outdoor seating area with excellent views of the Siuslaw River and the Siuslaw River Bridge.

  • Old Town Coffee Roasters (125 1/2 Nopal St)

  • Big Dog Donuts and Deli (1136 US-101)

9:30am: Sea Lion Caves (91560 US-101)

This system of sea caves and caverns located about 10 miles north of Florence is the largest sea cave in the United States and is where Steller sea lions and their cubs take shelter each year. The caves are privately owned and operated and at the time of writing this will cost you $16/adult to get in. Be sure to call ahead of time and see if the sea lions are in the caves during your visit though… Otherwise you might be quite disappointed and $16 poorer.

11:30am: Heceta Head Lighthouse (97439 US-101)

Built in 1892 and located just 13 miles north of Florence, this working lighthouse set on a rocky cliff 205 feet above the Pacific Ocean is a must-see when visiting Florence. Once you get to the parking area at the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint (which will cost you $5), it's an easy half-mile hike up to the lighthouse. There’s also a small gift shop and beautiful bed & breakfast along your hike. If you plan far enough in advance (unlike us) you might be fortunate enough to find an open room at the Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast which is housed in ​​one of the last remaining Lightkeeper’s cottages on the Pacific Coast! It’s also worth noting that sightseeing tours of the lighthouse are available throughout the year.

If you have a little more time after your adventure around the lighthouse, check out the Hobbit Trail… It’s a half-mile path leading down to a secluded beach on the north side of Heceta Head. We didn’t get a chance to explore this area, but from what we’ve seen, it looks awesome!

1:30pm: Lunch

  • Novelli's Crab and Seafood (100 Harbor Street, Boat Slip A13)

    • A Florence staple since 2014, Novelli’s is a small, family-owned floating metal building on the docks right where the very food that they’re serving is being caught. The original owners, Kyle and Amber Novelli, were in a tragic and fatal fishing vessel accident back in the summer of 2020, but they’re daughter has taken over the family legacy and still serves up their award winning chowder and whatever other fresh seafood is caught that day. Novelli’s was unfortunately closed during our visit, but we can recommend it in confidence after hearing so many great things about it from locals and tourists alike!

  • 1285 Restobar (1285 Bay St)

  • Nosh Eatery (1269 Bay St)

  • Little Brown Hen Cafe (435 US-101)

3:00pm: Explore Old Town

This historic and quaint area is lined with historic buildings, landmarks, local boutiques, restaurants, public art, and galleries. It’s all pretty centrally located making it a wonderful, walkable area. And if all of the adventure has you in need of an afternoon pick-me-up or just want to escape the rain like us, check out Old Town Coffee Roasters. It was the perfect place for a quiet and relaxed afternoon.Also, be sure to walk the docks and watch the frolicking sea lions and passing boats on the Siuslaw River.

6:00pm: Sunset on Heceta Beach (88384 1st Ave)

Obviously, this time will change depending on the time of year that you’re visiting, but we love a good sunset, and one of the best places to see it in town is at Heceta Beach. We weren’t so fortunate with the weather, but we did pay a short and albeit wet visit to this beautiful, wide beach.

7:00pm: Dinner

  • Waterfront Depot Restaurant (1252 Bay St)

    • Housed in a train station that was constructed in 1912 and later moved in pieces from its original location in the town of Mapleton (15 miles east of its current location) and reassembled in Old Town Florence, Waterfront Depot is undoubtedly a crowd favorite for elevated coastal cuisine. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations, because like we said… It’s a crowd favorite! I ordered the Seafood Pasta… A linguini pasta served with your choice of alfredo or marinara sauce and topped with a generous portion of mussels, clams, prawns, salmon, and cod, and Natalie ordered the Braised Lamb Shank which was prepared osso bucco style with mushrooms, vegetables, tomatoes, merlot sauce, yukon mashed potatoes, and field greens. Both dishes were prepared impeccably. Add to that the romantic atmosphere provided by the dim lighting and views of the Siuslaw River, and it was the perfect way to end our day in Florence.

  • Bridgewater Fish House (1297 Bay St)

  • Mo's Restaurant (1436 Bay St)

We hope that this itinerary helps you plan your visit and make the most of your time in Florence! If you did find it helpful, please consider heading over to our YouTube Channel and subscribing for more travel content and following us on Instagram. It would mean the world to us!


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