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Photographing the Oregon Coast: Incredible Vistas, Lighthouses and Villages

Program Number: 18524RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/5/2013 - 5/15/2013;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Astoria, Oregon
Price starting at: $1,767.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography; On the Road Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 28; 10 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

The Oregon Coast is a photographer’s dreamland of wave-battered beaches, lush rainforests, historic lighthouses and quaint seaside villages. Led by an award-winning photojournalist and educator, shoot all of the best locations of the dramatic Oregon Coast on a photo adventure designed to put you and your camera in some of the most scenic areas on the planet.


• Set out each day on sunrise and sunset photography sessions with fellow shutterbugs of all skill levels.
• Learn the tricks and techniques of professional photographers and gather feedback in supportive group critiquing sessions.
• Study the history of the Oregon Coast as you shoot, from sunrise at Cape Kiwanda to the streetscapes of Old Town Florence to dusk at Cannon Beach.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles on uneven terrain.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Astoria, 1 night; Pacific City, 1 night; Newport, 1 night; Florence, 1 night; Bandon, 2 nights; Coos Bay, 1 night; Yachats, 1 night; Cannon Beach, 1 night; Astoria, 1 night; departure.

Coordinated by Coastal Journeys Unlimited.

Newport (Oregon)

Often called the most “authentic” city along the Oregon Coast, Newport embraces its coastal identity with ample beaches, fishing opportunities and sightseeing along Yaquina Bay. From the art deco architecture of the downtown Deco District to the history of Yaquina Lighthouse, Newport’s character charms residents and visitors alike.


Sand dunes tower 500 feet above the beach in this area of Oregon’s central Coast, and neighboring Florence offers a perfect point from which to begin an exploration of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, with its lakes and dunes that extend for miles.

Gold Beach

Gold Beach is a small town near the mouth of the Rogue River on the southern Oregon coast. The town offers quiet beaches, pristine open spaces and hiking trails through vast forests. Since 1895, mailboats based in Gold River have been delivering the mail up the Rogue River — this is one of only two rural mailboat routes remaining in the U.S.

Coos Bay

Marine estuaries, old-growth forests and beaches characterize the natural landscape of this historic port city on Oregon’s South Coast. Coos Bay is close to Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Cape Arago and the fishing port of Charleston.


The small village of Yachats on the central Oregon coast is an amazing place to explore tidal pools, hike temperate rainforests, view whale migrations or sample local cuisine. Additional outdoor activities and coastal ambiance abound in the nearby recreation area of Cape Perpetua, the Oregon coast's highest point.


This lively Oregon town is edged by thickly forested hills on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the fourth. In 2010, Arthur Frommer’s “Budget Travel” magazine named Bandon one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America,” places “that somehow pack in more personality than cities triple their size.” It is known for its fruitful cranberry bogs.

Cannon Beach

The incredible Pacific coastline and nearby Oregonian forests serve as inspiration to the many residents who make Cannon Beach one of the “100 best art towns in America.” Conveniently located just outside of Portland, the first discovery of this region was first recorded in the expedition of Lewis and Clark.

Pacific City

Pacific City is a fishing village of about 1,000 residents on the Oregon coast. The land and the ocean meet in dramatic fashion in the form of Cape Kiwanda; half a mile offshore one can see a spectacular sea stack called Haystack Rock. As early as the 19th century, Willamette Valley settlers began coming to Pacific City for rest and relaxation.


Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River near the Pacific Ocean, is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies and a significant historic region at the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Victorian homes overlook the town and waterfront.

Comfortable hotels.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn Express
  Astoria, OR 1 night
   Inn at Cape Kiwanda
  Pacific City, OR 1 night
   Elizabeth Street Inn
  Newport, OR 1 night
   Driftwood Shores Resort or The Adobe Resort
  Yachats, OR 1 night
   Bandon Beach Motel
  Bandon, OR 2 nights
   Red Lion Inn
  Coos Bay OR 1 night
   The Adobe Resort
  Yachats, OR 1 night
   Tolovana Inn
  Cannon Beach, OR 1 night
   Holiday Inn Express
  Astoria, OR 1 night
 Holiday Inn Express
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 204 West Marine Drive
Astoria, OR 97103 USA
phone: 503-325-6222
  Room amenities: Air Conditioning, Refrigerator, Microwave, 27 inch TV-DVD Player, Coffeemaker, Hairdryer, Ironing Board & Iron, High Speed Internet Access, Dirct Dial Phone with voice mail, Free Local and 800 Number access Calls
  Facility amenities: Indoor Heated Pool, Whirlpool, Smoke-free, Business Center- Computer, internet, Fax, Copy; HIgh Speed internet Access; River or HIllside city VIewa; Exercise Room, Game Room, Guest Laundry, GIft Shop
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: contact hotel representative f call hotel for info
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: contact hotel representative f call hotel for info
  Check out time: 11:00 PM

 Inn at Cape Kiwanda
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 33105 Cape Kiwanda Drive
Pacific City, OR 97135 USA
phone: 503-965-7001
  Smoking allowed: No

 Elizabeth Street Inn
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 232 Southwest Elizabeth Street
Newport, OR 97365 USA
phone: 877-265-9400
  Room amenities: Rooms feature cable television, ocean views, full bathrooms and refrigerators.
  Facility amenities: Hotel sits overlooking the beach at Newport's historic Nye Beach neighborhood.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Driftwood Shores Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: In the heart of the Oregon Coast, spectacular views, 10 miles of un-interrupted beach, golfing, fishing and the Oregon Dunes nearby.
  Contact info: 88416 First Avenue
Florence, OR 97439 USA
phone: 800-422-5091
  Room amenities: Ocean view, patio or deck, hairdryers, ironing board/iron, coffee makers, TV.
  Facility amenities: Indoor heated pool and jacuzzi, restaurant and lounge, guest laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Adobe Resort
Type: Resort
  Description: Located on rocky intertidal area on the Pacific Ocean; each room has spectacular ocean views; beachcombing at sandy beach 1/4 mi north; agate hunting, tidepooling directly in front of hotel; ocean-side dining.
  Contact info: 1555 Highway 101
Yachats, OR 97498 USA
phone: 800-522-3623
  Room amenities: Microwave and refrigerators; some rooms have woodstoves or fireplaces. All Road Scholar rooms have spectacular ocean view.
  Facility amenities: Lounge at resort, new pool and spa, exercise rooms; beautiful lodging with microwaves and fridge in every room.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Bandon Beach Motel
Type: Motel
  Description: The motel is located atop the bluff overlooking Oregon's loveliest beach.
  Contact info: 1090 Portland Ave S.W.
Bandon, OR 97411 USA
phone: 541-347-9451
  Room amenities: Rooms are simple, but comfortable rooms with refrigerators, televisions, and telephones.
  Facility amenities: Hotel is simple.. no fancy pool or spa, just incredible views.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Red Lion Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: On Hwy 101, just 6 blocks north of City Center. Nearby are downtown Riverwalk, ocean beaches and sand dunes, fishing/crabbing, whale watching. On site restaurant and lounge.
  Contact info: 1313 North Bayshore Drive
Coos Bay, OR 97420 USA
phone: 541-267-4141
  Room amenities: Digital satellite TV, high speed internet and dataports, coffeemaker.
  Facility amenities: Seasonal outdoor heated pool, whirlpool, exercise room and putting green. Room service, laundry and valet service also available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Tolovana Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Tolovana Inn sits on scenic Cannon Beach with incredible views of Haystack Rock.
  Contact info: 3400 South Hemlock Street
Cannon Beach, OR 97145 USA
phone: 503-436-2211
  Room amenities: Rooms come with televisions, full bathrooms, refrigerators and microwaves.
  Facility amenities: Hotel features spa, beach access, hot coffee and daily newspaper.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00 PM - Check In at hotel front desk You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express that night.
  End of Program:
10:30 AM - Check Out You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking at the Hotel in Astoria is free for the two nights the group is at the hotel. Please arrange long term parking with the hotel for the other nights.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Astoria, OR
  Nearest city or town:  Astoria
  Nearest highway: Highway 101
  Nearest airport:  Astoria Airport in nearby Warrenton
  From End of Program
  Location: Astoria, OR
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




None - Car Required
phone: NA -0/0-
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Varies depending on vendor
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


2 hours 




100 miles


Rental cars are readily available at PDX. The drive to Astoria is pleasant and scenic, and parking is available at the hotel.


Portland to Astoria


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:





100 miles


On Sunday, the program leader will be picking up interested participants at 1:00 PM at the Cascade Station MAX light rail stop near the Portland International Airport. If participants are able to make it to the pickup location by 1:30 PM, they may ride to Astoria in the program vehicle for $50. Unfortunately, the shuttle cannot pick up participants at the airport or hotels. Easy and inexpensive options exist for traveling from the airport to the pickup location.


Astoria to Portland


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:





100 miles


On the final day of the program, the program leader will provide shuttle service from the hotel in Astoria to the Cascade Station MAX light rail stop near the Portland International Airport. The shuttle will leave Astoria at 8 am and arrive at Cascade Station by 10 am. Participants should plan for a 30 minute travel time from Cascade Station to the airport to account for any delays in the train. Unfortunately, this shuttle cannot drop of participants at the airport or hotels.

Driving Directions
  Portland to Astoria by Car There are three good routes from Portland to Astoria. Option #1: From Portland International Airport (PDX), follow I-205 North into Washington State and onto northbound I-5. Exit at Longview Exit 36 and follow the Highway 432 & 433 signs. Cross the Columbia River at Rainier and follow Hwy. 30 west to Astoria. Drive time is approximately 2 hours. Option #2: Take I-205 South from PDX. Take Portland exit onto I-84 Westbound. at the terminus of I-84, merge onto I-5 North and take the I-405 exit. Cross the Willamette River on I-405 (enjoy the view!) and take the Highway 30 (St. Helens) exit. Follow Highway 30 through Northwest Portland, Scapoose, and St. Helens to Astoria. Drive time is about 2 hours. Option #3: Follow I-205 to I-84 and I-405 just as you would for Option #2, but take the Highway 26 exit from I-405 and follow 26 West through the Coast Range to Highway 101. Head North on Highway 101 to Astoria.
Elevation Note: All locations within 1000 feet of sea level.

Equipment Requirements: We will be on the road for 11 days and 10 nights. While our group is a small one, we do have some restrictions on how much gear can fit into our vehicle. You may bring up to three bags. A good luggage setup includes a main bag for your clothing and toiletries. This bag will be kept in a secure compartment in the back of the vehicle. One or two separate bags with computer and camera gear works well. The computer bag can be kept in the secure compartment while the camera bag will ride with you up front. You should come prepared to photograph for several hours each day. A full packing list is included in these materials.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check In, Get Oriented and Get to Know Each Other.
(Sunday, May 5)
 Arrive To: Check In begins at 4:00 PM at the hotel in Astoria.
 Afternoon: Orientation begins at 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Slide show by program leader, Mason Marsh.
 In Transit: Complimentary shuttle from Portland departs at 1:30 pm.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Astoria Sunrise Shoot, Fort Clatsop, Fort Stevens, Shipwreck, and 3 Capes Loop.
(Monday, May 6)
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel.
 Morning: Astoria sunrise shoot. Look for ships, waterfront activity, a wonderful bridge and Columbia River views.
 Morning: After breakfast we'll pack up and head out to Fort Clatsop, home to Lewis and Clark's 1805-06 winter quarters. There's a replica of their fort with plenty of interesting artifacts, all set in a lovely old-growth forest. Next stop will be Fort Stevens, an abandoned U.S. Army artillery base with very old bunkers and buildings to photograph. The wreck of the Peter Iredale sits buried in the sand down on the beach, so let's grab a few shots of that as well.
 Lunch: Lunch in Gearhart on our way South.
 Afternoon: Drive the scenic Three Capes Loop and stop for photos at Cape Mears Lighthouse (that's lighthouse #1).
 Dinner: Dinner on the beach at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City.
 Evening: Sunset Shoot at Cape Kiwanda. The cape is very dramatic with sandstone formations, wave-washed offshore rocks and even dunes! We'll run out of light before we run out of things to photograph.
Accommodations: Inn at Cape Kiwanda
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cape Kiwanda Sunrise Shoot, Depoe Bay, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Old Town Newport, and the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
(Tuesday, May 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on the beach at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Cape Kiwanda Sunrise Shoot. The cape's sandstone cliffs and wind-sculpted dunes will be our muse as we see what the rising sun brings.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant as we head South.
 Afternoon: Depoe Bay has the coast's smallest opening; just a gap in the rocks for the fishing boats to squeeze through. Combine that with the area's big waves and you get some dramatic shots.Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is home to the state's tallest lighthouse, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse (#2!). Climb it if you dare!
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in Newport.
 Evening: Sunset will put the soaring arches of the Yaquinna Bay Bridge into silhouette, and the working boat harbor will offer generous opportunities for unique images. Don't forget the wildlife! The docks of Old Town Newport will put you as close to California Sea Lions as you would like to be. We'll also stop by the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (#3!).
Accommodations: Elizabeth Street Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Newport Sunrise Shoot, Cape Perpetua, Afternoon Critique, Sunset Shoot
(Wednesday, May 8)
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel.
 Morning: Sunrise may bring fog to the docks of Newport. We'll prowl for sunrise shots amongst the fishing boats.
 Morning: Cape Perpetua offer's an Eagle's eye view of the coast. We'll explore the lookout atop the cape and the dramatic basalt gap of Devil's Churn.
 Lunch: Lunch at a Florence restaurant.
 Afternoon: See what everyone has been up to with a friendly critique.
 Afternoon: Old Town Florence for streetscapes and other interesting shots on the riverfront. Great patterns to be found under the Siuslaw River Bridge.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel.
 Evening: Heceta Head Lighthouse is the most-photographed lighthouse on the coast for a reason. We'll catch the view at sunset to capture the lighthouse (that's #4!) at its best.
Accommodations: Driftwood Shores Resort or The Adobe Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sweet Creek Trail, Coquille River Lighthouse, Bandon Beach
(Thursday, May 9)
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel.
 Morning: There are fewer places more beautiful than the remote Sweet Creek Trail. You will have the early morning to capture the moss-draped rainforest as it frames the tumbling waters of Sweet Creek. Can you handle 13 waterfalls in 1 mile?
 Lunch: Lunch in Coos Bay.
 Afternoon: We'll head south to Bandon and check out the lighthouse at the Coquille River. Yup.. that's lighthouse #5!
 Dinner: DInner in Bandon.
 Evening: Bandon's beach is considered by many to be the best photography beach on the west coast. See for yourself with a sunset shoot amongst the towering sea stacks.
Accommodations: Bandon Beach Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Bandon Beach Sunrise, Recovery Day
(Friday, May 10)

Note: This is a recovery day, with options for beach and old-town Bandon photography excursions.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Bandon.
 Morning: Bandon's beach is incredible. Dramatic offshore rock formations, sea life, and towering headlands make for amazing sunrise images!
 Morning: After breakfast, you'll have a chance to relax at the hotel or walk on the beach. It's a much-needed morning off!
 Lunch: Lunch in Bandon, on your own.
 Afternoon: An afternoon excursion yet to be determined will be an optional photographic treat. If you wish, you can stay at the hotel and work on your images.
 Dinner: Dinner in Bandon.
 Evening: The towering rock formations of Bandon will once again be the location for our sunset session.
Accommodations: Bandon Beach Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Afternoon Critique, Cape Arago Lighthouse and Sunset Bay
(Saturday, May 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Old Town Bandon.
 Morning: Cape Blanco is the farthest West you can get in Oregon, and the flat-topped cape is home to Cape Blanco Lighthouse, (is that #6?).
 Morning: Bandon's world-class beach will be our muse once more as we enjoy the sunrise.
 Lunch: Lunch in Bandon.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a friendly critique of the group's work.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel in Coos Bay.
 Evening: This is a big evening! We'll explore Cape Arago, Cape Arago Lighthouse, (wait! that's #7!), and Sunset Bay State Park. We will work past sunset here.
Accommodations: Red Lion Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Charleston Harbor Sunrise, Shore Acres State Park, Umpqua River Lighthouse, Yachats.
(Sunday, May 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Charleston.
 Morning: Charleston is a busy fishing harbor, and the fog visits there many mornings making for fabulous shots. Sunrise should give us the best chance for great images.
 Morning: We'll venture to Shore Acres State Park and explore the botanical gardens there for flowers, rocky scenics and possibly wildlife. Shore Acres is always a treasure!
 Lunch: Lunch in Charleston.
 Afternoon: On our way North we will visit the Umpqua River Lighthouse. This is #8 and well worth the climb to see inside of the 2-ton red and white fresnel lens!
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel.
 Evening: The rocky shoreline in front of our hotel is a great place for sunset shots. We'll walk the historic 804 Trail in search of sunset splendor.
Accommodations: The Adobe Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Oregon Coast Aquarium, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Haystack Rock.
(Monday, May 13)
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel.
 Morning: At Newport, we'll visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium where we'll capture images of sea life you won't find anywhere else. The aquarium is especially good for photography.
 Lunch: Lunch at Newport.
 Afternoon: Travel to Cannon Beach.
 Dinner: Dinner in Cannon Beach.
 Evening: One of the coast's iconic scenes in Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, (yes, there are two Haystack Rocks on the Oregon Coast). We'll walk the beach at sunset to capture our last sunset shots of the trip.
Accommodations: Tolovana Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Ecola State Park Sunrise, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Cannon Beach and Astoria.
(Tuesday, May 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in a Cannon Beach restaurant.
 Morning: Ecola State Park's rugged, rocky coastline is perfect for sunrise images. Enjoy the final sunrise shoot of the trip here! Hey, isn't that a lighthouse 1 mile offshore? Yes... #9 is "Terrible Tilly", Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.
 Lunch: Lunch in Cannon Beach.
 Afternoon: We'll check in early to the hotel in Astoria so we can all take much-needed naps! If you want to show off your work, get your images ready for the show-and-tell after dinner. Digital images will be projected for all to see and enjoy.
 Dinner: Enjoy a final dinner with the group at a great Astoria restaurant.
 Evening: It's show and tell time! Our final critique is a time to celebrate 800 miles of memories!
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Wrap-up and depart.
(Wednesday, May 15)
 Depart From: Travel safe.
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the Hotel.
 In Transit: Complimentary shuttle to Portland leaves at 7:30 am.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Coos Bay OR Chamber of Commerce
For additional information, visit
  Oregon Coast
For additional information, visit
  Southern Oregon Visitors Association
For additional information, visit
  Florence, OR Chamber of Commerce
General information and links to area attractions. For additional information, visit
  General information
Florence and central coast general information For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Photographing Oregon

Author: Greg Vaughn

Description: When it comes to photographing the Oregon Coast, Greg Vaughn's book is inspiring, informative, and comprehensive. As a bonus, the rest of the state is included!

Sibley Field Guide to Birds, Western North America

Author: David Allen Sibley

Description: When it comes to the many birds that frequent the Oregon Coast, no guidebook is more complete than Sibley's little handbook. With wonderful illustrations and plenty of information, this is the birdwatcher's bible on the coast.

The Beachcomber's Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest

Author: J. Duane Sept

Description: Possibly the most concise guide to the myriad of intertidal zone creatures you may encounter on the Oregon Coast. It's not exhaustive, but it is pocket-sized and complete enough to help you identify and appreciate the creatures of the shoreline.

The Photographer's Guide to the Oregon Coast

Author: David Middleton & Rod Barbee

Description: This is a decent guide to the scenic wonders along the Oregon Coast. Not as useful as Greg Vaughn's book, but certainly worthy of a look if you are going to be photographing the coast.

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