We returned from a trip to the Oregon coast this August including the wonderful quiet town on U.S. 101 called Florence, near the Oregon Sand Dunes. There is so much to do here that it is worth the trip from anywhere in the states.
For one thing, you can explore the sand dunes. Also, you can check out the Sea Lion Caves, a local attraction for years where you take an elevator down to this HUGE cave to see these magnificent creatures in a natural (untouched) habitat. No, you can't pet them or even use flash photography but you can observe their behavior.
Also nearby is the fabulous Heceta Head lighthouse and you can hike to the lighthouse for a tour, or just admire it from the beach under the bridge on Highway 101 (there is a parking area and a picnic area here).
Up the road a bit, heading North on 101, is the famous Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in the Siuslaw National Forest. From the Cape Perpetua Viewpoint, you can get a full view of the area below, including the many tidepools, the Spouting Horn, and the Devil's Churn. It is just spectacular! Great for photos, too.
If you keep driving up the coast (from Cape Perpetua), and only about 50 miles from Florence, you end up in scenic Newport, Oregon, also along the coast and off Highway 101. Here, you must stop and see the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Kids love it, adults will too. At first, I was skeptical, but once inside I marveled at the Passages of the Deep exhibit (an underwater acrylic tunnel), and the sea lions and sea otters, not to mention the numerous aquariums with all species of local fish and the tidepools, too. Just go see it! Worth the price (only $14.95).
I also want to add that if you are camping, you can find many places to stay including untold numbers of state parks (owned by Oregon) all up and down the coastline. However, you MUST make a reservation during the Summer if you want to get in.
That's all, just go enjoy the scenic beauty of this area! I live in Washington state (up North from here) and I drove all the way down to explore and admire Oregon.