Camping

Heceta Head Lighthouse Visitor Guide

When it comes to beautiful lighthouses, you can’t find many that are more beautiful than the Heceta Head Lighthouse on the coast of Oregon in the United States.  In my opinion, it is the prettiest lighthouse in North America.  Perched up on Oregon’s rocky Pacific Ocean shoreline, the lighthouse is the definition of postcard material.  It is especially pretty at sunset or when large waves are crashing against the rocky shore.

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In this guide, I am going to provide you with all of the details that you need to explore and photograph this beautiful lighthouse.  I will outline the best ways to get to the Heceta Head lighthouse, where to stay when you are visiting, and which other attractions are near the lighthouse.  I am going to give you some pointers on where the best places to photograph the Heceta Head Lighthouse are, which trails near the lighthouse are worthwhile exploring, and the best time to visit the Heceta Head Lighthouse.  With this handy information all in one place, you should be able to make the most of your visit.

How to Get There

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The Heceta Head Lighthouse is situated on the rocky Pacific Ocean coastline in the State of Oregon in the United States.  This is some of the most beautiful coastline in the country, so if you are planning a visit I would strongly recommend that you either fly into Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon and then drive down the coastline towards the lighthouse.  Highway 101 will take you right down the coast and past a number of other amazing attractions, which I will outline in this guide.

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The closest city to the Heceta Head lighthouse is the city of Florence, Oregon.  It’s a smaller city, but it does have plenty of hotels and campground nearby, which I will outline for you later in this guide.  If you are interested in exploring the area, I have listed some of the distances and drive times to some of the other more notable attractions in the area for you to review below.

Location Distance Drive Time
Portland, OR 183 miles 3hrs 10min
Seattle, WA 356 miles 5hrs 45min
Astoria 171 miles 3hrs 50min
Canon Beach 146 miles 3hrs 14min
Florence, OR 12 miles 19min
Crater Lake National Park 188 miles 3hrs 51min
Bandon Dunes Golf Links 80 miles 1hr 43min

Coming from either the North or the South, you will take coastal highway 101 to the Heceta Head Lighthouse.  There is a dedicated parking lot next to the beach and a hiking trail that will take you up to the lighthouse.  To provide you with a more detailed layout of the Heceta Head Lighthouse Scenic Viewpoint, I have included a detail map for you to review below.

Heceta Head Detail Map

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Best Time to Visit

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To assist you in determining the best time for you to plan your trip, I have included some information on average temperature, average precipitation levels, and the average number of visitors for you to review below.

Temperature (°F)

During the winter months of December thru February, it does get cold on the Oregon Coast, but you typically don’t see the brutally cold temperatures where it falls well below zero degrees Fahrenheit that often.  With average highs in the low-to-mid 40’s, the winters are rather mild.  Likewise, during the summer months the high temperatures typically don’t get unbearably hot.  With the average highs in the upper 70’s and low 80’s during the summer months of June thru August, the summers are rather mild as well.

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Precipitation (Inches)

Because we are talking about the Oregon coast, the amount of rainfall the area sees is typically higher than you would see in the American Midwest or Southwest.  The rainiest months of the year are the late fall and winter months of November thru January.  If you visit during this time, be prepared to see a fair amount of rain or snow.  During the summer months of July and August the precipitation levels are the lowest, so you have the best chance of seeing good weather.

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Average Visitors

The Heceta Head Lighthouse sees a fairly steady stream of visitors throughout the year, but it doesn’t get so busy that you will have to deal with overwhelming crowds or wait long to get unobstructed photographs of the lighthouse.  However, if you are looking for the ideal time to visit when the number of other visitors is the lightest, I have included some data on tourist interest for you to review below.

NOTE:  The chart below is from Google Trends and shows the relative amount of Google searches for the Heceta Head Lighthouse by tourists throughout the year. The numbers are calculated relative to the peak month, which is mid July. For instance, March 18th saw roughly 73% of the searches for “Heceta Head Lighthouse” as the day of July 15th, which was the peak day.

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Where to Stay

When visiting the Heceta Head Lighthouse, the closest city to find accommodations is Florence, Oregon.  There are a number of hotels in the city at different price points, which I have outlined and mapped out for you below.  In addition to the hotels in town, there are a number of good campgrounds in the area as well.  If you are planning on doing some camping when you visit, I have listed some of the many campgrounds for you to review below as well.

Florence, Oregon Hotels Map

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Silver Sands Motel ($)
Villa West Motel ($)
Le Chateau Inn ($$)
Old Town Inn ($$)
River House Inn ($$)
Park Motel and Cabins ($$)
Landmark Inn ($$)
Quality Inn Florence ($$$$)
Best Western Pier Point Inn ($$$$)
Three Rivers Casino Resort ($$$$$)

Campgrounds Nearby

As I mentioned above, there are a number of good campgrounds close by the Heceta Head Lighthouse on the Oregon coast.  I have included some of these campgrounds below for you to review.

Hiking Near Heceta Head Lighthouse

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If you would like to do some hiking while you are at Heceta Head Lighthouse, the trail I would recommend that you explore is the Hobbit Trail from Hobbit Beach to the lighthouse.  You can start your hike at the beach or at a trail head that is located on Oregon Coast highway 101.  It is a moderately easy 2-mile hike with only about 457 feet of elevation climb, so most hikers of all experience levels will have no problems with this hike.

Hobbit Trail to Heceta Head Lighthouse Map

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Where to Photograph Heceta Head Lighthouse

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There are a number of really great spots where I would recommend taking photographs of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, which I have outlined for you above.  My favorite spot is the pullout on Highway 101 just South of the lighthouse.  It offers a great view of the lighthouse from across the water and really showcases the rocky shore that the lighthouse is perched on.

PRO TIP:  Doing research on a location is one of the best things you can do to increase the quality of your travel photographs.  For some tips on how to do some pre-trip scouting for photo opportunities, check out my article on The Art of Travel Photography – Planning Your Shots.  In this article I review the process that I use to do pre-trip photography planning to give you the photography location tips like the ones you see above.

Other Things to See in the Area

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In addition to the Heceta Head Lighthouse, there are a number of other great things to see and do on the coast of Oregon.  To help you make the most of your trip, I have outlined some of the other top attractions in the area for you to review below.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Nearby Attractions Map

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Goonies House
Canon Beach
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Sea Lion Caves
Bonneville Dam Fish Ladder
Multnomah Falls
The Grotto
Crater Lake National Park
Bandon Dunes Golf Links
Oregon Zoo

Photo Gallery

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most beautiful lighthouses in North America, if not the World.  Much of that has to do with the beautiful Oregon coastline that the lighthouse is on.  Below are just some of the many amazing shots I was able to get when I visited the Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon
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