Lincoln City's 7 1/2-mile-long beach is its main attraction. However, cold waters and constant breezes conspire to make swimming a pursuit for Polar Bear Club members only. The winds, on the other hand, make this beach the best kite-flying spot on the Oregon coast. Among the better beach-access points are the D River State Wayside, on the south side of the river, and the Road's End State Wayside, up at the north end of Lincoln City. Road's End is also a good place to explore some tide pools. You'll find more tide pools on the beach at NW 15th Street and at SW 32nd Street.
Adding to the appeal of Lincoln City's beach is Devil's Lake, which drains across the beach by way of the D River, the world's shortest river. Formerly called Devil's River, the D River is only 120 feet long, flowing from the outlet of Devil's Lake, under U.S. 101, and across the beach to the Pacific Ocean. Boating, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, swimming, fishing, and camping are all popular Devil's Lake activities. Access points on the west side of the lake include Devil's Lake State Recreation Area (West), NE Sixth Drive (tel. 541/994-2002; www.oregonstateparks.org), which has a campground, and Regatta Grounds Park, which is off West Devil's Lake Road and has a boat ramp and picnic tables. On the east side, you'll find the East Devil's Lake day-use area 2 miles east on East Devil's Lake Road, and Sand Point Park on View Point Lane near the north end of East Devil's Lake Road. Both of these parks have picnic tables and swimming areas. If you don't have your own boat, you can rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, aquabikes, and various motorboats at Blue Heron Landing, 4006 W. Devil's Lake Rd. (tel. 541/994-4708; www.blueheronlanding.net). Rates range from $12 an hour for a kayak to $140 for a 2-hour motorboat rental.
If you're a gardener or enjoy visiting public gardens, schedule time to visit the Connie Hansen Garden, 1931 NW 33rd St. (tel. 541/994-6338; www.conniehansengarden.com). This cottage garden was created over a 20-year period and abounds in primroses, irises, and rhododendrons, making it a great place to visit in the spring. The gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk. Call for directions.
Golfers have two options. The top choice is the Scottish-inspired (though solidly Northwestern in character) Salishan Golf Links, 7760 U.S. 101, Gleneden Beach (tel. 541/764-3632; www.salishan.com), which charges $79 to $119 for 18 holes. This resort course is a longtime Oregon coast favorite. The town's other main course is the Chinook Winds Golf Resort, 3245 NE 50th St. (tel. 541/994-8442; www.chinookwindscasino.com), which is affiliated with Chinook Winds Casino. This course charges $42 to $54 for 18 holes (cart is $30 more).
If you want to challenge the waves, you can rent a wetsuit, surfboard, or body board down at the south end of town at the Lincoln City Surf Shop, 4792 SE U.S. 101 (tel. 541/996-7433; www.lcsurfshop.com), or the Oregon Surf Shop, 3001 SW U.S. 101 (tel. 541/996-3957; www.oregonsurfshop.com).
Hikers should head inland approximately 10 miles to Drift Creek Falls Trail, which leads through coastal forest to a 240-foot-long suspension bridge above a 75-foot-tall waterfall. From the bridge you have a bird's-eye view not only of the falls but of the treetops as well. It's a 1.3-mile hike to the bridge, and the route is moderately difficult. To find the trail head (Northwest Forest Pass is required), head east from U.S. 101 on Drift Creek Road, which is just north of Salishan Lodge at the south end of Lincoln City. Turn right onto South Drift Creek Road and then left onto Forest Road 17 (not Anderson Creek Rd.), and continue 10 miles on this single-lane road.
Sharing a name with this hiking trail is a historic covered bridge--the Drift Creek Bridge, a 66-foot-long covered bridge that was built in 1933. In 2000 the bridge was moved and reconstructed at its current location in a privately owned park that is open to the public. To find the bridge, drive east from Lincoln City on Ore. 18; at milepost 4.9, turn south onto Bear Creek Road, and continue 1 mile to the bridge.