Travels and Tourism

Route 101 | Route 101 is a powerful road that can change your life.

Route 101

U.S. Route 101, or U.S. Highway 101 (US 101), is a north–south United States Numbered Highway that traverses the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, on the West Coast of the United States. It travels for over 1,500 miles (2,400 km), primarily along the Pacific Ocean, and is also known by various names, including El Camino Real (The Royal Road) in parts of California, the Oregon Coast Highway, and the Olympic Highway in Washington. Despite its three-digit number, normally used for spur routes, US 101 is a classified as a major route in the United States Numbered Highway System.

The highway’s southern terminus is at a major interchange with Interstate 5 (I-5) and I-10 in Los Angeles. US 101 follows several freeways in Southern California as it travels north of the Santa Monica Mountains and along the coast, where it is concurrent with California State Route 1 (SR 1). The highway travels inland from the coast after it splits from SR 1 and approaches the San Francisco Bay Area, where it becomes the Bayshore Freeway and later traverses San Francisco on city streets to reach the Golden Gate Bridge. US 101 continues north and rejoins the coast on the Redwood Highway before it enters Oregon.

The Oregon Coast Highway carries US 101 through the state’s coastal towns and regions in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range. The highway crosses over the Columbia River on the Astoria–Megler Bridge into Washington, where it follows Willapa Bay and an inland route to Aberdeen and Olympic National Park. US 101 travels north and east around the Olympic Peninsula and reaches its northernmost point in Port Angeles; from there, it travels east and later south to its northern terminus at I-5 in Tumwater, Washington, near Olympia, Washington. Several portions of the highway are also designated as scenic byways, including the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in Washington; US 101 also serves three national parks: Pinnacles, Redwood, and Olympic.

US 101 is a major north–south link along the Pacific coast north of San Francisco, but does not serve the largest cities in Oregon and Washington; that role is instead filled by I-5, which has a more direct routing. The highway provides a major parallel route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with significant freeway portions. US 101 was established in 1926 and followed several historic routes, including El Camino Real, which linked California’s early Spanish missions, pueblos, and presidios. It originally terminated to the south in San Diego, but was truncated to Los Angeles in 1964 after the construction of I-5. Other sections were later moved to freeway alignments that bypassed cities.

Highway 101 Road Trip Stops 2023

Natural Bridges

Located in the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, the Natural Bridges are large rocks in the ocean with arches in the base.

Meyers Beach

Meyers Beach is the first part of the coast you will get to that will take your breath away. There are many large rocks in the water here with a North and South Beach.

Wreck of the Mary Hume

This wreck in the northern part of Gold’s Beach is not to be missed. With the green moss growing on it, it is a great spot for photography.

Prehistoric Gardens

The Prehistoric Gardens are like walking through the Jurrasic Period where dinosaurs walked the Earth.

Cape Blanco State Park

Whether you come for the coastal views of the lighthouse, Cape Blanco State Park is a little off the highway but it is not to be missed.

Oregon Dunes Overlook

The Oregon dunes are one of the largest in the USA. There are many places to check them out at, but I recommend the Oregon Dunes Overlook at the end. There are trails and viewpoints within walking distance of the parking lot.

Sea Lion Caves

Another popular roadside attraction, the Sea Lion Caves are one of the largest coastal caves in the USA. Accessed via an elevator you can take it down into the cave itself.

Thor’s Well

One of the

The second lighthouse on this drive, Yaquina Head also has amazing coastal views and history. Be sure to head down to the beach and check out the tide pools as well.

Devil’s Punchbowl State Park

favorite stops on the entire drive, Thor’s Well is a majestic blowhole right on the beach that sends gigantic plumes of water into the air. Don’t get too close but be sure to check it out.

Yaquina Head Light

Devil’s Punchbowl State Park is basically a large sea cave. You can park and view it from above or you can walk down to the beach and see it from below as well. I recommend both.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

No trip up the Oregon coast is complete without visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory. This spot has tons of free cheese tastings, a museum, and a full restaurant.

Hug Point State Park

Just south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point State Park is a less-trafficked and beautiful beach with a hidden sea cave and waterfall.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is the Oregon coast’s most popular attraction. A visit to the famous Haystack Rock is a must on your road trip.

Fort Clatsop

This national park is located to be near the endpoint of the Lewis and Clark trail and it features a full replica of Fort Clatsop, the fort they built at the end of their journey.

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

At over a century old, The Wreck of the Peter Iredale is located inside a state park on the tip of Oregon. The remains are situated on the beach and you can walk out and explore them during low tide.

Astoria Film Museum – Goonies

In Astoria, explore Goonies history at the Astoria Film Museum. This museum is located in the Astoria Jail and even though it is small, it has a lot of charm.

Astoria Tower

At the top of the hill in the middle of Astoria, there is a large tower that you can pay to climb. From the top of the tower, you have an amazing view of the coastline and the city below you.

Kurt Cobain Park

Crossing over into Washington and driving for a while will take you to Aberdeen which was the home of Kurt Cobain. There is not much here to see related to him but this small park.

Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault is a beautiful body of water right off the highway. Lake Quinault Lodge is a famous and historic hotel that sits right on the water. Even if you are not staying here you should still go check it out.

Ruby Beach

Rialto Beach on the outskirts of Forks, WA is an amazing spot to catch a sunrise or sunset. It is never very crowded so you can enjoy a quiet morning at a beautiful place.

John’s Beachcombing Museum

John’s Beachcombing Museum is a labor of love from one man who has spent the last 35 years collecting the things that wash up on the beach. You will be amazed by what you see here.

Marymere Falls

On a little bit off the highway, this short .25 mile trail takes you to a beautiful 40-foot waterfall.


User Review
0 (0 votes)

Leave a Comment