Situated in Lane County in the far western side of the state, Florence is a small coastal city in Oregon, located at the mouth of Siuslaw River. It's in a key location, halfway between popular beach resort cities of Newport and Coos Bay. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.B&E Wayside RV Park
3.Heceta Beach RV Park
4.Mercer Lake Resort
3 Best Florence, Oregon RV Parks
- Overview, Photo: savoieleysse/stock.adobe.com
- B&E Wayside RV Park, Photo: Greg Pickens/stock.adobe.com
- Heceta Beach RV Park, Photo: savoieleysse/stock.adobe.com
- Mercer Lake Resort, Photo: Lisa F. Young/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Kyu/stock.adobe.com
More Ideas: Sea Lion Caves
Located near the city of Florence, OR at approximately the midpoint of the 400-mile Oregon Coast, the Sea Lion Caves are a connected region of sea caverns housing Steller sea lions, operated as a private wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary attraction.
The first known human discovery of the Sea Lion Caves region of the Oregon Coast dates back to 1880, when local sea captain William Cox found the caves by accident through a grotto area along their western channel. Cox continued to explore the caves for several years and eventually purchased the surrounding land from the State of Oregon in 1887, which he owned until 1926. Following the acquisition of the land by R.E. Clanton in 1927, the Sea Lion Caves region became a proposed site for the construction of United States Route 101, bringing the prospect of increased tourism and travel to the area. In 1930, Clanton and his business partners J.G. Houghton and J.E. Jacobson began development of the caves as a public attraction, constructing a 1,500-foot trail in the nearby cliffs and a 135-step tower for access to the caves’ north entrance. Despite difficult construction conditions, the project was completed and the Sea Lion Caves were officially opened to the public in 1932. Throughout the mid-20th century, the attraction’s prominence grew throughout the region, and an Otis elevator was installed at the site in 1961 for easier visitor access.
Today, the Sea Lion Caves are owned and operated by the families of J.E. Jacobson and business partner R.A. Saubert, who took over part ownership of the facility when Clanton withdrew his partnership in 1934. As a privately-owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary, the attraction is located near the city of Florence, Oregon at approximately the midway point of the 400-mile Oregon Coast, accessible via Highway 101. As one of the most prominent sea grotto areas in the world, the caves have drawn comparisons to the famous Blue Grotto region of the Mediterranean and are the largest sea cave region in the United States. The facility is a partner organization of the Oregon and Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, which strives to protect the Oregon Coast’s marine life and ecosystems.
The cave system, which was formed more than 25 million years ago, is made of basalt rock and spans more than two acres of floor area, with a dome reaching a height of 125 feet. Three entrance openings are located within the cave, including an entrance area with an elevated observation area for observing the entire cave system. Cavern walls are covered with a variety of lichen, algae, and mineral stains, with colorations giving rise to named regions of the caves, including Indian Maiden, Lincoln’s Head, and the Goddess of Liberty. The caves are best known as the only known mainland rookery and wintering home for Steller’s and California sea lions, which are visible throughout the year at the site. As the refuge area is not a zoo facility, sea lions are not present at all times, but frequently inhabit the caves in large population numbers during the winter months and spring breeding and birthing seasons. A number of bird species also inhabit the caves and their surrounding region, including Western, herring, and California gulls, Brandt’s cormorants, pigeon guillemots.
Visitor access to the site is provided via an Otis elevator, which can accommodate 23 passengers at a time and descends 208 feet down the coast’s cliffs to the site of the caves. A whale-watching observation deck is also provided at an elevation of 300 feet above the coast, providing opportunities to observe gray whales and orcas. A small gift shop and museum facility at the entrance to the caves displays several exhibits, including an encased Steller sea lion skeleton on loan from Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center and a life-sized bronze sea lion family sculpture commissioned by artist Ken Scott for the 50th anniversary of the caves’ operation as an attraction. The caves are open year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, and ticket rates are available for adults, seniors, and children.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard visitor admission, guided tours of the caves are offered for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for elementary and secondary school students. Connecting lesson plans are available for elementary and middle school teachers, incorporating Oregon natural history, biological science, geology, and environmental science curriculum elements, either for use in the classroom or as part of guided field trip experiences. Curriculum documents may also be downloaded from the attraction’s website for homeschool students and extended learning opportunities connected to personal visits.
91560 U.S. 101, Florence, OR 97439, Phone: 541-547-3111
More Ideas: Oregon Coast Military Museum
Located in Florence, Oregon, the Oregon Coast Military Museum showcases exhibits honoring regional military veterans and service members in international conflicts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The city of Florence, Oregon is heavily populated with American military veterans, with more than 21% of the area’s residents having served in at least one international military conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The region is also a popular residence for retirees living along the Oregon Coast and residents with ties to American military service branches. In 2008, the Oregon Coast Military Museum nonprofit organization was organized by a group of area citizens for the purposes of creating a museum facility honoring American military service members, with a particular focus on the service of Florence and Oregon Coast residents. Following seven years of fundraising and museum construction efforts, the Oregon Coast Military Museum officially opened to the public in July of 2015.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the Oregon Coast Military Museum is operated as an Oregon domestic nonprofit corporation, overseen by a volunteer board of directors. More than 3,000 square feet of exhibit space is showcased at the museum’s permanent facility in Florence, which is located adjacent to the Florence Municipal Airport campus. The museum is open to the public Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the late morning and early afternoon hours, with admission rates for adults, children, and museum members. As a nonprofit museum facility, the OCMM is dedicated to educating the Oregon Coast community about the service and sacrifices of local military members and honoring veterans from all eras of military heritage, with a focus on 20th and 21st-century international conflicts.
A variety of exhibits and memorabilia are showcased at the 3,000-square-foot museum facility, including personal artifacts such as uniforms and medals belonging to Oregon Coast military veterans. Other military memorabilia on display includes weapons such as guns and bayonets and collections of American and military flags. A variety of military vehicles are displayed at the facility, including vintage Jeeps. Exhibit areas within the museum provide a chronological retrospective of international conflicts, including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and the Global War on Terrorism.
The museum’s centerpiece is its collection of life-sized dioramas and artistic panels created by local artists depicting scenes from 20th and 21st-century international conflicts, including depictions of soldiers in trenches during World War I and the Pacific and European Theaters of World War II. M.A.S.H. activity during the Korean War is also depicted, as is a jungle scene from the Vietnam War and a United States convoy traveling through an Iraqi village during Operation Desert Storm. Mannequins are displayed throughout the dioramas depicting American soldiers, and written information detailing the background and history of each conflict is provided with each diorama area.
A theater at the museum presents periodic showings of military-themed documentaries, and a lending library offers volumes related to 20th and 21st-century international conflicts and the branches of the American military. Children’s exhibit areas include a touch table and a free play area with snap-together model toys. A gift shop at the museum offers military-themed books, souvenirs, and apparel.
Ongoing Programs and Events
In addition to standard visitor admission, the Oregon Coast Military Museum offers guided tour experiences for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated field trips for elementary, secondary, and collegiate school groups. Tour reservations must be scheduled prior to tour date by contacting the museum’s chief of staff via phone or email. A number of public special event programs are held at the museum throughout the year, including a Military Heritage Day event in April, a Southern Oregon Veterans Benefit event, a Wings and Wheels Fly-In and Car Show, and an annual Walkthrough Winter Wonderland and Festival of Trees event during the winter holiday months. Military ceremonies are held periodically at the museum, including United States Coast Guard ceremonies. The museum is also available for private event rentals, including veterans events and meetings.
The city of Florence, Oregon is located on the central Oregon Coast near Highway 101 and offers a variety of scenic and tourist attractions, including the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which offers hiking and outdoor recreation activities. The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, located within the Siuslaw National Forest, is located nearby, along with the restored Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Sea Lion Caves attraction, which showcases local populations of Steller sea lions. The city’s Old Town historic downtown district offers a variety of attractions, including the River Gallery, and a number of traditional riverfront restaurants. A park, marina, and RV campground are located along the city’s waterfront, which also offers fishing, dune buggy riding, crabbing, and clamming experiences.
2145 Kingwood St, Florence, OR 97439, Phone: 541-902-5160