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Lincoln City, Oregon Travel Guide
Last Updated: Feb-28-2012, Hits: 5,325, Rating: 4, Reviews: 1, Votes: 1 Bookmark and Share
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Lincoln City, Oregon Travel Guide Restaurants (52)
Hotels and Lodging (46)
Bars and Nightlife (17)
Attractions (33)
Services (15)
Maps (5)
Links (4)
Oregon Travel Forum (20)
Pacific City, Oregon Travel Guide
Location: North America
Geography: Beach, Forest
Vacation Type: Family, Romantic, Relaxation
Popularity: Moderate Tourism
Costs: Budget, Moderate
Attractions: Golfing, Scenery, Boating, Ecotourism, Festivals, Fishing, Gambling, Hiking, Surfing

Note: This guide also covers the communities of Otis, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay.

Facts and Stats:
Lincoln City Population: 7,930
Depoe Bay Population: 1,354
Land Area: 5.4 square miles
Elevation: Sea level
Country Dialing Code: 1
Area Code: 541
Languages: English
Electricity: 110V
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: Pacific (PST) UTC-8/UTC-7 (Summer)
Current Time:

Boasting 7.5 miles of clean, sandy beach, Lincoln City is a popular tourist destination on the Oregon Coast. In addition to the beach, Lincoln City is a good destination for boating, fishing, crabbing, whale watching, storm watching, surfing and unique festivals.

Lincoln City is located in Lincoln County at the 45th parallel. Lincoln City is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and most of the northern part of town is bordered by Devil's Lake to the east. Further east is the forested Coast Mountain Range. At the northern end of town is Cascade head which offers hiking trails and stunning viewpoints. The Salmon River empties into the Pacific Ocean here. Between the southern end of town and the community of Gleneden Beach is Siletz Bay which is fed by the Siletz River before emptying into the ocean.

Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge consists of some of the most scenic estuarine habitat along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. On either side of Highway 101, starched skeleton trees jut forth from the estuary and are reminiscent of a time when the salt marsh was diked to provide pasture for dairy cows. Red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and other raptors can often be seen roosting at the top of these snags and a variety of estuarine dependant birds including great blue heron, great egret and many species of waterfowl can be seen foraging in the tidally influenced waters.

Lincoln City has no discernable "downtown" area. Its business area is strewn along Highway 101 for most of the 8 mile length of the town.

Immediately south of Lincoln City is Gleneden Beach which is home to the Salishan Lodge Resort. 8 miles further south is the town of Depoe Bay which claims to be the "Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast" due, in part, to a pod of resident grey whales that make their home here 10 months out of the year.

Brief History:
Previous to contact with Europeans and American settlers, the area was home to Native Americans. The first recorded contact with outsiders occurred in 1788 when Robert Haswell encountered 2 Native Americans in a canoe at the mouth of the Salmon River. The first tourists arrived in 1837.

In 1855, the Lincoln City area became part of the Coast Reservation which later became the Siletz Reservation. Settlers began arriving after the Dawes Act of 1887 which divided the reservation land up into parcels making room for white settlers.

Depoe Bay came to life in 1894 and was named for Siletz Indian Charles "Charley" Depot. He allotted the land as part of the previously mentioned Dawes Act of 1887.

The town of Kernville on the Siletz River was based around a cannery that opened in 1896 by Daniel Kern. As a result, the early economy of the area was based around fishing. As happened all along the coast, the fish disappeared, and in 1935 drift net fishing became illegal. Industry shifted to logging in the abundant surrounding forest.

After Kernville came to be, 5 main communities sprang up over the next few decades that would later become Lincoln City. These communities were Taft, Cutler City, Delake, Nelscott, and Oceanlake.
  • Taft was named after President William Howard Taft and came to be in 1906. The town was located on Siletz Bay.
  • Cutler City was established on the east shore of Siletz Bay in 1913.
  • Delake's first store and post office were established in 1924 in the D River area.
  • Nelscott was named by combining the surnames of Charles P. Nelson and Dr. W.G. Scott, who founded the community in 1926. Nelscott was located just north of Siletz Bay.
  • Oceanlake had no official name until 1926 when a post office was established. Oceanlake was named for its location between Devils Lake and the Pacific Ocean. Oceanlake annexed Wecoma Beach to the north in 1945.
These towns competed for tourism, but relied on shared government services such as police and fire. As a result, the communities decided to incorporate together in 1965. It was determined that using one of the original community names for the new city would be controversial, so a contest was held among school children and "Lincoln City" won.

The Siletz Indians are an important part of the history of the area. After a century of having their tribal lands illegally taken away by the government, they were finally left with nothing in 1954 after the Western Oregon Termination Act took the remainder of their land away. In 1977, after years of lobbying, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz became the first Oregon tribe (and the 2nd in the nation) to reclaim their tribal lands. Out of this event, the tribe develope a government and has experienced decades of growth including the acquisition of 4,500 acres of land in Lincoln County. A portion of this land is the site of their Chinook Winds Casino at the northern end of the city.

People & Culture:
Lincoln City relies heavily on tourism to support its economy. As a result, much of the area's infrastructure and people are dedicated to taking care of visitors. In recent years, the city and residents have expanded their offerings to tourists with options like cooking classes and competitions, glass blowing lessons, and a cultural center.

Lincoln City has a number of popular yearly events listed below:
  • Finders Keepers - Throughout the winter months, volunteers called "Float Fairies" place beautiful glass blown balls called floats along the 7.5 mile long beach. You find it, you keep it.
  • Mardi Gras Jamalaya Cook-off - An annual cooking competition for chefs in January.
  • Ready...Set...Cook! - An annual cooking competition in March.
  • Mutt Masters Dog Show and Olympics - In May, this annual dog show that benefits dog related causes in Oregon.
  • Summer Kite Festival - Held at the D River Wayside on the beach in June.
  • Oregon Coast Pride Festival - In September, this annual festival includes events such as drag shows, a clam bake, and a street fair.
  • Fall Kite Festival - Held at the D River Wayside on the beach since 1979.
  • Chowder Cook-off - An annual competition in November for chefs, and tastings for visitors.
Food & Nightlife:
Lincoln City's dining scene mainly revolves around locally caught seafood, and it would be hard to find a restaurant that doesn't serve any. Most of the restaurants can be classified as traditional American and Pacific Northwest cuisines with a handful of restaurants serving ethnic fare available. Lincoln City is a good destination for romantic dining as there are quite a few waterfront restaurants with nice views.

Like most of Oregon, there appears to be an emphasis on using local ingredients here.

The nightlife is probably one of the most active on the coast, however, that isn't saying much. There are a couple of places that offer live music and dancing, but nothing like a dance club that you would find in a large city. In fact, most establishment tend toward the divey end of the spectrum. Several of the bars are open late.

Money & Costs:
For the most part, Lincoln City won't break the bank. Most lodging and dining options fall in the budget to moderate price range, however, there are high-end places available. In addition to the hotels and beach motels in town, there are hundreds of rental houses available for rent. Depending on the location and amenities, these tend to be on par with the other lodging options. One way to save is to rent a house with a group of people. Often this will give you very nice accomodations at very reasonable prices. Another way to save on accomodations is to visit during the offseason or during the weekdays.

At the time of this writing, there is a 10.5% lodging tax, however, there is no sales tax in Oregon. Tipping follows standard U.S. tipping procedures of 15%-20%.

Banks and ATMs are readily available and you should have no difficulties accessing money.

Getting There & Around:
Lincoln City has no commercial airports and the closest airport in Siletz Bay Airport located in Gleneden Beach. See the services section of the site for more details.

Most of the visitors to Lincoln City drive from Portland, Salem, or other coastal communities. Below is a mileage chart that shows the distances from nearby cities.

Place Miles
Pacific City 21
Newport 25
Tillamook 43
Salem 58
Portland 87
Seaside 92
Eugene 115

Because of its length and sprawl, Lincoln City isn't very walkable, however, there are a number of ways to get around town. The Dial-a-Ride service provides very affordable curb to curb transportation with a reservation made at least 1 day ahead of time. If you need this type of service, but didn't have a chance to make a reservation, there are several taxi services in town.

Lincoln City's buse service is called LINC which has regular stops throughout town. There is also Lincoln County bus service that connects from Lincoln City to Yachats. Click here for more information and schedules.

If you are headed to Chinook Winds, there is a casino shuttle that makes regular stops at many of the hotels and motels.

Lincoln City has a temperate climate with a lot of rain. Winters are cool and are a good time for storm watching. Summers are warm, although it can be very windy on the beach. Summer is the most popular time to visit, particularly when inland temperatures get hot and people flock to the coast for cooler weather.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Lincoln City.

The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 48 51 55 58 63 66 71 72 70 61 52 47
Avg Low 38 38 39 40 44 48 50 51 48 45 40 36
Precipitation 14.59" 10.88" 10.59" 7.32" 5.16" 3.91" 1.39" 1.47" 3.15" 7.50" 14.64" 14.75"

Tips & Additional Information:
  • D River is considered the shortest river in the world. It measured only 120 feet at high tide.
  • Depoe Bay has the world's smallest navigable harbor.
  • On March 11, 2011, Depoe Bay's port was damaged by the tsunami caused by the Tohoku earthquake off the coast of Japan.
  • Depoe Bay touts itself as the "Whale Watching Capital of Oregon".
  • In 1975, the fishing trip sequence in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson was filmed in Depoe Bay.
  • In 2008, part of "The Burning Plain" with Charlize Theron was filmed in Depoe Bay.

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    User Reviews (1)

    Reviewed by: sloshed
    Review date: Jan-26-2012

    I think Lincoln City is a pretty cool town and one of my favorites to visit on the coast. It has an excellent, very long beach. I have always stayed in rental houses here and there are a ton of very nice ones that can be surprisingly affordable if you are in a group and get a big place. One thing to remember when picking a house... Much of LC is up on a tall bluff overlooking the beach so just because a rental house is oceanfront, doesn't mean you'll have beach access. You may have to walk a ways or even drive to an access point. We always have a house and tend to eat in, but next time I'm here, I would like to get out and try some of the restaurants in town. 

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