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The Three Capes Scenic Drive is often recommended for visitors . . . or not.
The road heads west following along the edge of Tillamook Bay, toward infamous Bayocean. Called "the town that fell into the sea", it was an early 20th Century grand resort town, built on sand, that eventually eroded away after the nearby jetties were built. Then the route climbs up to Cape Meares, where there is a lighthouse (recently heavily damaged by vandals), and some paved footpaths along the cliff edge. The views are nice from here.
The northern section of this road is in terrible condition.
The scenic route winds southbound through the small communities of Oceanside and Netarts, and offers some glimpses of the sparkling ocean. There is a good view of Netarts Bay, then the view disappears as the road continues on east of Cape Lookout SP, then it turns inland for quite a LONG stretch.
The road finally pops out of the trees along the edge of the ocean again, but not for long, as it then drops down the hill into the new section of Pacific City. This town is quite busy and congested.
The road then follws along the river, and ends up back on Highway 101.
Is it worth the extra drive rather than to stay on Hwy 101?
The road spends over half the time inland -- where there is NO ocean view.
Driving time is about 1 to 1.5 hours longer than staying Hwy 101.
Cape Meares is pretty, although there are other lighthouses along the Oregon coast which are more impressive, and open to tour inside. There are also countless other views along the coast just as delightful - or even more interesting.
Finally, the road condition is really very poor! About 40% of the road is in miserable condition with potholes, huge cracks, sharp dips, and just extremely rough worn-out pavement. Another 40% or so is in fair to poor condition, with the remaining 20% in good to excellent condition.
If someone will be visiting only this section of the coast, perhpas it might be worth it. However, if a person will be driving the entire length of the coast, save your time and don't bother.