Many of the ideas in Frank Herbert's Dune series came to him during a 1957 trip to Florence to write a magazine article for Simon & Schuster about a US Department of Agriculture project there to plant a species of European beach grass near the Siuslaw River. The project, it was hoped, would moderate the widespread intrusion of the dunes upon the local ecology, where the wind and sand interfered with railroads and highways, hindering the growth of local forests and it was feared, the spread would threaten the local water supply. Interestingly, Herbert never finished the article.
Florence is also known as the site of the exploding whale, an incident when the Oregon State Highway Division tried to remove a beached whale by dynamite - with unintended results.
Florence Municipal Airport has general aviation services but no scheduled flights
Porter Stage Lines run a twice-daily service from Ontario (Oregon) to Coos Bay, which calls at Florence. It connects in Eugene with Greyhound bus and Amtrak train services. Through ticketing is available.
The scenic Oregon coast route, US Highway 101, passes through Florence. The Eugene-Florence Highway, Oregon route 126, follows the Suislaw River valley to dead-end on 101 at Florence.
- 1 Sea Lion Caves, 91560 Hwy. 101 N. (11 miles North of Florence on the Oregon Coast), ☎ . 8AM - 6PM. The world's largest sea cave is home to many wild sea lions and bird species, all struggling with the sea for a spot on their favorite rock. Here you can take an elevator down to sea level to catch a glimpse inside the cave. Adults $11, Seniors $10, Children $7.
- 2 Old Town. Florence's historic waterfront.
Go sandboarding on the Oregon Dunes, the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. Sandboards can be rented in town or along the 101. The closest dunes are behind Fred Meyer.
Play golf at Sandpines Golf Links. A Rees Jones design and a true links course, Sandpines was voted "Best New Golf Course" by Golf Digest in 1993 and "4-1/2 Star Rated 'Places to Play in USA'," by Golf Digest for 2006 and 2007. Visit www.sandpines.com for more information, or call 800-917-GOLF (4653). A truly unique course in Oregon.
- Rhododendron Festival. Florence's annual festival every May, popular with bikers.
- Three Rivers Casino Resort, 5647 Highway 126, toll-free: .
Restaurants are clustered in the old town, especially in Bay Street; those on the river side of the street usually have decks over the river.
The Waterfront Depot in Bay Street, with a river deck, is the restaurant most strongly recommended by locals, and reservation is advised. It is housed in the former railroad depot from Maplethorpe, a few miles up the Suislaw River. The Italian restaurant (1285 Resto Bar) opposite the Waterfront Depot is under the same ownership and is also strongly recommended by locals.
Old Town Florence packs many more great restaurants, many with river views and a great atmosphere.
- 1 Mo's, 1436 Bay St. (Old Town), ☎ . Fish & Clamchowder restaurant in Florence's old town. Great view of the Siuslaw river and one of the best clam chowders to be found on the Oregon coast. This local chain of restaurant's was started in Newport, Oregon.
- Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters, 1240 Bay St. With a river deck, almost underneath the bridge, has friendly staff, excellent pastries, and a wide-ranging selection of coffee.
- Best Western Pier Point Inn, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . 85625 Highway 101.
- Comfort Inn, ☎ , fax: . 2475 Hwy 101.
- Holiday Inn Express, ☎ . 2475 Hwy 101.
- 1 Landmark Inn, 1551 4th St, ☎ . Stylish Bed and Breakfast with an outstanding (literally) site just above the old town but also handy for the newer business district and local facilities such as the hospital
Drive, cycle or hike down the scenic Oregon coast. Hike on the beaches, cycle on the Oregon Coastal Cycle Route, and drive on US 101. Hikers and cyclists are advised to proceed southwards in summer, when strong, cold north winds prevail.
Visit the many sand dunes along the coast south of town (and in town)
Walk out to the end of the North Jetty at the mouth of the Siuslaw river.
Devil's Elbow: Sandy beach, picturesque historic lighthouse and bridge. A short drive north of Florence.
|Routes through Florence|
|Astoria ← Yachats ←||N S||→ Reedsport → Coos Bay|
|END ←||W E||→ Veneta → Eugene|