Enjoy a winter day in Florence, Oregon

In a midwinter jaunt, you'll browse, eat, hike, and maybe even hit the beach
Bonnie Henderson

With an Old Town that packs in browsable, one-of-a-kind shops, it's easy to spend a day in Florence and never even set foot on its famous beach. On rainy days, there are plenty of places to tuck into a bowl of chowder and enjoy views of the Siuslaw River.

Hikeable weather isn't unusual here, even in December, so don't miss any opportunity for a walk through the forests, marshes, and shifting sands of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, stretching south from the Siuslaw.

Getting there

Florence is about 60 miles west of Eugene, where State 126 meets U.S. 101.

Things to do

Funky Monkey Toys: Find kiddie gifts, including sand toys plus Foxtails and BeamOs for tossing around on the beach. Info: 1312 Bay St.; 541/997-7342.

Bonjour Boutique: Check out contemporary women's clothing, folkwear from around the world, and fun accessories you'd never find at the mall. Info: 1336 Bay St.; 541/997-8194.

International C-Food Market: The chowder is reliable and the fish super-fresh at this on-the-river restaurant. Info: $$; 1498 Bay St.; 541/997-7978.

BJ's Ice Cream: In December? Sure, when it's homemade and this good. Try Clammy Muck: dark chocolate with bits of white chocolate. Info: Two locations, 1441 Bay St. and 2930 U.S. 101; 541/997-7286.

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