When most people think of the state of Oregon, images of dense forests, plentiful rainfall, majestic mountains and rugged coastline usually come to mind. An image that is not typically associated with this beautiful state, is one that includes sand dunes and desert landscapes, but if you happen to find yourself travelingalong scenic Highway 101, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Dunes National Park in Florence, OregonCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taminator/767378712/

Encompassing the distance between the cities of Florence and Coos Bay, is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This stretch of coastline, which spans around 50 miles, more closely resembles the Arabian Peninsula than the central coast of one of the greenest states in America. Extending up to 2.5 miles inland, the Oregon Sand Dunes offer a unique destination for outdoor recreation and sightseeing. The massive sand dunes, some reaching a height of 500 feet above sea level, characterize this area that has become a favorite destination for dune buggy enthusiasts of all ages. A haven for many types of outdoor activity, the area is also a favorite for both salt water and fresh water fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching, boating and much more.

An ideal base for exploration of the picturesque Sand Dunes and the surrounding area, is the city of Florence, a lovely destination for a relaxing holiday year round. Situated along the waterfront, the beautifully restored Old Town area is home to a selection of delightful boutiques, coffee houses and many fine dining establishments, where you can enjoy a delicious meal of regional favorites and more traditional cuisine.

To aid you in choosing an operator for sightseeing and dune buggy tours, consulting one of the available destination guides can help you in your selection. They include information about tours, operators, pricing and other details that will help you select just the right adventure to make your visit to the Oregon coast a memorable one.

A unique feature of the northern area of the Oregon Sand Dunes near Florence, are the Tree Islands. There are five of these islands, which are small areas of land densely covered by a forest of evergreen trees, that appear to be floating in an ocean of sand. It is believed that the islands are the remnants of ancient forests that were gradually covered over by the blowing sands, each now standing like an oasis in the dunes.

There are also several State Parks located within the Oregon Sand Dunes that offer camp sites and hiking trails. Detailed information about amenities offered at these State Parks can be located in any of the destination guides offered about the central Oregon coast.

One of the features of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area that make it so popular with visitors, is the diversity of available outdoor activities. Water sports are abundant throughout the area, with over 30 lakes to choose from. For the dune buggy or ATV enthusiast, there are three large areas designated for different levels of difficulty, with something to thrill even the most seasoned rider. Be prepared for the experience of a lifetime!

For those who prefer to commune with nature and enjoy a bit of solitude, numerous hiking trails wind their way through the vast dunes and bordering forest, offering hikers the opportunity to experience the natural beauty and wonder of this unique habitat.

Florence Oregon Sand Dunes in Action