What should I see on the northern Oregon coast?

The Mrs. and I will have about 3 days (Sunday thru Wednesday morning) to spend along the northern Oregon region near Portland, and we’d like to visit the coast.

I’ve scanned the coast area from south of Tillamook up to Astoria, and there seems to be a ton of interesting looking geography.

What we enjoy doing is visiting the parks, doing some nice day hiking (up to 6 or so miles of moderately strenuous walks are ok), and just relaxing away from cities. Smaller towns are cool, but we do like to get away from crowding.

B & B type places would serve us well, if one has suggestions of decent ones. We’re not into camping.

Any advice?

Seems like I remember some shipwrecks one can see along that coast, and some historic lighthouses. Here’s a shipwreck being removed this summer. Not sure if it’s in the area y’all are visiting.

Look for a walk/hike along the Cannon Beach area–it’s quite beautiful.

How far south are you willing to go? Most of the Oregon coast is really beautiful. You might just want to choose a point south that you can head back inland (I assume you are flying out of Portland), that is Newport or Florence and then head back up the 5. The 101 down the coast is very slow going. It’s mostly a very windy 2 lane highway and it is difficult to pass.

In particular, there is Cannon Beach and The Devil’s Punchbowl. There’s also a particularly great hike at he highest point on the 101 that leads to an unbelievable vantage point where I could see several gray whales (this was the fall). Maybe I’ll figure out where that point is, but if you are driving, you can’t miss it because the highway climbs up to about 1100 feet (I particularly remember this while riding my bike down the coast).

I’d say drive down I-5, cut over wherever, and drive back up 101 so you’ll be on the inside lane–it’s twisty and high up at times and you don’t want to miss the view because you’re flipped out by the drop.

Sea Lion Caves is worth a look. There’s a clam chowder joint in Newport called Moes that used to be wonderful, but that was years ago. Any of the beaches are picturesque and worth a stop.

Hmmmm. Cannon beach looks promising. It’s got nice shoreline parks in the vicinity to explore, and it’s not far from Saddle Mountain state park, a bit off the beaten path!

Our hope is to settle in one area for those days, and make short side-trips to do things. We don’t really want to cruise the coastline just for the sake of cruising it.

Thanks gang! Keep the suggestions coming!

Oregon lighthouses are fantastic–Heceta Head is near the aforementioned Sea Lion Caves and it’s just beautiful. The view from the Astoria Column is amazing and the climb to the top is a nice break from road tripping. If you go to Tillamook you have to drop in at the cheese factory because that’s just cool. Free cheese curds, too! :stuck_out_tongue:

You really can’t go wrong travelling anywhere on the Oregon coast, it’s all beautiful, the beaches are stunning and open to the public, the parks are well kept–go ahead, try to have a bad time! Oh, and the Rogue Brewery is in Newport, and so is a very nice aquarium.

ETA: Oh, and if you’re in the mood for a hike, Saddle Mountain is pretty cool…

I drove the coast (Tillamook south to California) in March, and it is absolutely gorgeous, although if it is like Northern California’s Lost Coast it may be foggy or rainy (weather reports show it clear right now, though) so bring warm and waterproof clothing. There are lighthouses galore down the coast, and a couple of them have B&B-type setups in the quarters, though those are probably reserved for the tourist season. We didn’t go to the Oregon Coast Aquirium in Newport, but people seem to like it. As for hiking, the Suislaw National Forest, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, and BLM North Pier pennisula north of Coos Bay all have some nice plays for a reasonable day hike or a picnic lunch.

Things are a bit strung out–it’s basically coast on one side, and wilderness on the other–so you might want to plan a couple of staging areas down the coast. Also, the drive over the mountains will take longer than you would anticipate by mileage alone, so bear that in mind. You could do a loop from Portland to Seaside, then down to Coos Bay/North Bend, then over to Eugene (which is supposed to be a fun college town, comperable to Madison, WI, although we didn’t spend any time there), and then back up on the I-5.

It’s way the hell out of your way, but the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is currently showing productions of Othello, Coriolanus, and a really fun take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (I saw the last in March, and it was hilarious), in addition to several other non-Shakespeare plays. That’s also in Southern Oregon AVA wine country which is still an up-and-coming area, and there’s a great animal sanctuary near Grant’s Pass, if you decide to change plans and go that way.

There isn’t, in my mind, much reason to drive down into California (if you were planning to) right now, as every damn thing seems to be on fire (which I discovered on my circuitous and abortive attempt at a short backpacking trip over the holiday). Also, I don’t know if this applies to Oregon, but the DEA was doing marijuana eradication efforts in NoCal a couple of weeks ago and were shutting down highways and putting up roadblocks to stop and search cars. One assumes that they wouldn’t actually shut down a main artery, but it is the Feds and logic frenquently doesn’t enter their decisions.

Anyway, have fun and enjoy.


I actually just finished hiking Saddle Mountain last Wednesday. The trail had been rather damaged in the winter storms.Portland Hikers has some very good photos of the damage. Although there is still a sign at the bottom that it is not passable, it is. Some parts are a bit rough. This is one of my favorite hikes, I would encourage you to start fairly early - you’ll miss most of the crowds.

Cannon Beach has gotten a bit over grown for my tastes. Lots of unique shops, if that is something you like. However, there are a number of very good restaurants, Bill’s Tavern has their own brews on tap, Lazy Susan Cafe used to be very very good. I haven’t eaten there in a while so I don’t know if that has changed.

You may also think about staying in Manzanita, it is very nice and is much less crowded than Cannon Beach.

If you do get down south, the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport is a fun place. Each room is themed according to an author (Agatha Christie, Mark Twain for example)

Regardless of where you stay, enjoy your visit. I love the Oregon Coast. I try to get over as often as I can.

In Cannon Beach, try Ecola Seafood. It doesn’t look like much inside, but it’s excellent.

I achieved a certain level of awe just by standing there looking at the mouth of the Columbia. YMMV.

Also nifty Lewis & Clark stuff to do, here and there, if that’s the sort of thing that floats yer boat. Choose your activity.


We enjoyed Fort Clatsop with its re-enactors, but we had school-age kids along.

That’s uncomfortably close to “Ecoli”, isn’t it?

Or “Ebola,” take your pick! :stuck_out_tongue:

When are you planning to take this extended weekend?

Comparable? Hardly. While there a many similarities, comparing Eugene to Madison is like comparing sandlot kids playing in the dirt with a pro sports team. Of course, this is easily explained by all the moss that grows in Eugene on any object that remain stationary for longer for five minutes. :smiley:

Bicycling the Oregon coast

One of the few, one of the proud–native Oregonian here! :wink:

Tillamook is a pleasant little town, with the eponymous cheese factory and some nice little stores. Delicious ice cream! The countryside is also pretty stunning, just driving around the area–flat and impossibly green. Lots of cows. I second the comment about the lighthouses–when I was a kid, we did a driving/camping tour of pretty much all of the lighthouses on the Oregon beach, from the north to the south. We always stuck to the area around Pacific City, a bit south of Tillamook.

I particularly recommend the “Three Capes” in Tillamook County–Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda. All of them are beautiful, but my particular favorite is Cape Lookout. There’s a lighthouse at Cape Meares as well. Should be fairly quiet–but the coast just keeps getting busier and more expensive every year. Inevitable, but it breaks my heart a little. By far, my favorite walk in the area is Cascade Head. Incredible, incredible views . Check it out:

Other nice little towns include Pacific City and Astoria (for history–it’s much further north, of course). We usually rent a house or camp so I can’t make any recommendations on hotels, though.

Newport and so on are pretty far south of Tillamook. If you are taking the Coast Highway it is going to be fairly slow going so keep that in mind. I wouldn’t really recommend going down there. Just enjoy the coast near Portland and spend as much time as possible looking at the view–I think my times on the Oregon coast have been the closest I’ll ever get to paradise.
(Those pictures are mostly from near Oceanside, in Tillamook country.) Honestly, it is all pretty damn beautiful. Just hope for some sun. :smiley:

I miss home.:frowning:

It’s been 15 years but here’s another vote for Cannon, plus Ecola State Park. It’s full of Old Growth, something you’re not guaranteed to see everywhere.

Okay, I think we’re either gonna stay in the Cannon Beach or Manzanita area, and use that as a base to hit Ecola park and the 3 capes near there, which look bloody awesome!

That’ll minimize driving, maximize hiking and a chance for solitude.

Thanks for all the input!

Yes! Moes if you’re in Newport. Norma’s if your around Seaside.