The Skagerrak coast and the Oslo fjord area in southeastern Norway are exceptionally well suited for studies of the long-term use and settlement of the coastal zone. Here, processes of continuous land upheaval during all of the Mesolithic period have preserved hundreds of former coastal sites. Studying these sites can illuminate how humans might have experienced and responded to the environmental and cultural past perspectives embedded in changing coastal landscapes – beyond mere economic explanations. Case studies on the topographic surroundings of excavated coastal sites, their distance to the coast as well as their relation to earlier settlement sites, with a special focus on the Middle Mesolithic and the Late Mesolithic periods (c. 8200–3800 cal bc) are presented, which reveal nuances of how the coastal zone was settled throughout these periods. This prompts questions about people’s relation to their surroundings: (1) The relocation of shore-based sites is seen in areas with land upheaval, (2) shore-based sites and sites further from the shoreline occur in coastal areas with little land upheaval, (3) many shore-bound sites show long-term use or reuse. But there are also (4) indications that former coast-based sites were reused as hinterland sites. Understanding the sites as traces of chains of activities and movement through time allows for a discussion of possible motivations for the mobility of the people that chose to visit, use or settle at specific places or locations. The conceptual pair of ‘first visit’ and ‘revisit’ is introduced to discuss different scales and types of such long-term mobility – with linear or cyclical character. This also includes the use of the constantly growing coastal hinterland, which hitherto has been underestimated.