Because of the complex geological history of the Pacific Northwest, the geography of the Oregon Coast is diversely varied, and is often separated into different regions based on geological formations. Three primary land-forms are common along the Oregon coast, and help distinguish the regions based on their frequency of occurrence and location in relation to the shoreline: sea cliffs, beaches, and stacks.
However, because of this, it is difficult to divide the Oregon Coast into uniform and clear cut regions. Despite this, The Oregon Coast is traditionally divided into three distinct regions; The North Coast, Central Coast, and South Coast. Because of minor land variation between the North and Central Coast regions, the division between these two regions is a more of a civil division than that of a geological division. This is due mostly to the larger cities in the North Coast region than in the Central Coast region. However, several minor differences do exist between the two regions, both in terms of geology and socioeconomic differences.