Florence, my grandmother on my mother’s side, never visited this funky little fishing town. But if she had, she would have like it! The dog friendly vibe in Florence, Oregon was immediately obvious. We only planned to stay two nights. But two turned into four, and four quickly became six. Camping at the port, right on the river and within easy walking distance of Old Town, was too appealing. We needed a few days to peer into the nooks and crannies, walk the streets and alleys, and enjoy some day trips along the Oregon Coast.
The most distinctive architectural structure in dog friendly Florence, Oregon is the Art Deco bridge across the Siuslaw River. Conceived by Conde McCullough, who is known for designing many of Oregon’s coastal bridges, it was built in 1926. McCullough believed bridges should be built economically, efficiently, and with beauty. Driving Oregon’s Highway 101 will take you over 14 bridges that he designed. And if you want a closer look at this masterpiece, climb the stairs at the end of Bay Street to walk the bridge and enjoy a view of the dunes leading out to the ocean.
READ MORE ⇒ 3 Pet Friendly Days On The Oregon Coast
Florence seems to have a foot in two worlds. It comes with the amenities that make a shore town fun, but without the inflated price tag and touristy atmosphere. Restaurant patrons are welcome to linger at sidewalk tables, then stroll along the boardwalk to watch the seals and learn what’s biting. It’s the perfect evening entertainment.
This might sound a little crazy, but I gauge a town’s pet friendliness by the number of pet waste stations they provide. Making it convenient for pet owners to clean up after their dogs means, “We love dogs, and hope you’ll bring them along.” When there are no facilities for clean up, I get the feeling that perceive pets as a nuisance, best left at home. The good news is, we found plenty of waste stations in dog friendly Florence, Oregon!
READ MORE ⇒ 9 Ways Cities Can Be More Pet Friendly
Rustic margarita pizza. Crab-encrusted halibut. Homemade ice cream. You name it – during our stay in Florence – we ate it! So, getting some exercise was as necessary. Fortunately, we found three interesting dog friendly day trips to enjoy with the boys.
Thirty-two miles south of Florence is the town of Lakeside and the Eel Creek Campground. This is a great place to appreciate the Oregon Dunes. Winds from the ocean created this unique landscape where the rocky cliffs give way to a 40 mile stretch of lowland.
Purchase a day pass at the kiosk for $5 and park your car at the John Dellenback Dunes trailhead. Three miles of tough hiking will put you at the ocean, or just go a half-mile down the path where the dunes stretch hundreds of feet high. It’s hard to believe you’re in Oregon!
The coast certainly has a draw, but it would be criminal to miss the Sweet Creek Trail! It’s just 25 miles inland from Florence, in the Siuslaw National Forest. This easy 2.2 mile round-trip winds though moss-covered Douglas-fir and Big Leaf Maple trees, over catwalks, and past eleven waterfalls.
Back on the coast, and 23 miles north of Florence, is Cape Perpetua, where you can still see the ancient lava flows that formed this area. With 26 miles of trails, you’re sure to find something that suits you. Depending on the tides, watching the waves crash into a long crack in the rock known as Devil’s Churn is spectacular. The 600-year old Giant Sitka Spruce and Spouting Horn, a kind of natural fountain driven by the the sea, are also a popular.
If you’re looking for the best view, climb nearly 800 feet to the overlook, where on a clear day you can see 70 miles of Oregon coastline!
We hope our visit to dog friendly Florence, Oregon inspires you to enjoy more of the fantastic Oregon Coast with your pets!
In memory of my Grandma, Florence Friederick (1928-2020)
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