Florence, OR

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Our last stop on the Oregon coast was the area around Florence, OR.  My family used to go camping in Honeyman State Park when I was little, so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane since this was my first time back here in 15 years or so.

On our way down from Tillamook we stopped at Devils Punch Bowl State Park.  It’s basically a giant bowl that was naturally carved out of the sandstone cliffs on the coast.  It’s a good place to stretch your legs and take a few pictures before continuing on.

The next day we went to check out the Sea Lion Caves.  It’s a bit of a tourist trap but still worth a visit.  It was another site that I had seen when I was much younger and interesting to see again.  It’s the largest sea cave in the US and is also a year round home to hundreds of very noisy sea lions, along with lots of coastal birds and other critters.

Here you can see the cliff side right in front of the main opening to the cave.  You can see quite a few sea lions down below, and yes, all of that white stuff is evidence of a large bird population…

Inside of the cave itself.  You can see a few sea lions swimming in the middle.  During their breeding season, this room is packed full of them.

Another cliff side view from the northern entrance to the cave:

From up above you can see a lighthouse in the distance.

Afterward, we went down to Hobbit Beach via the Hobbit Trail.  I don’t know the history behind the name, but there are enough places that you have to duck through that it doesn’t take too much imagination to see why it was named that:

On our third day in the area we drove south for a little over an our to check out Bandon by the Sea and Shore Acres State Park.  Bandon by the Sea was yet another nice beach with lots of interesting rock spires on the beach and out in the water:

While we were standing on the beach taking pictures, a rather large seagull pulled a dinner plate sized crab out of the surf and onto the beach.  So of course, we documented the battle that ensued:

Seagull 1, crab 0.  Afterward all of the other scavengers moved in and made short work of the leftovers.

Next, we moved on to Shore Acres State Park.  The cliffs overlooking the ocean were spectacular!  There was also another large colony of noisy sea lions just offshore:

For our last day in the area we went on a dune buggy ride through the Oregon Dunes and rented a canoe in Honeyman State Park in the afternoon.  The buggy tour was a lot of fun, but we were absolutely covered in sand by the end of it!

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