I arrived in Portland in the late afternoon and drove along the Columbia river to Astoria. Having seen a glimpse of Astoria in Sunset magazine, I knew it was going to be charming. The character of the city overwhelmed me as I pulled in just before sunset. After checking into the Commodore Hotel I walked down to the nearest pier to watch the sun set over the Astoria Megler Bridge. The Commodore was such a neat place to stay. They offer movies, record players and albums to rent for your room. Attached to the hotel is a coffee shop and cafe that has incredible breakfast options, including gluten free and vegan options. I got the breakfast sandwich and highly recommend it. After breakfast I walked around town to the Goonies house, the maritime museum, the garden of surging waves and along the waterfront. The downtown area has a lot of great little shops, plenty of nightlife options and great architecture. I stopped by the Astoria Co-op natural foods store on my way to the Cathedral Tree Hill hike before heading out of town.
Leaving Astoria I stopped at Fort Stevens State Park and saw the Peter Iredale shipwreck. Traveling down the coast I stopped at Ecola Sate Park and saw my first of many exquisite capes along the coast. Off in the distance you could see Cannon Beach, my next destination. As I approached Cannon Beach it was clear it’s a must-see destination for folks visiting the Oregon Coast. The town is full of little souvenir shops, restaurants and is home to the iconic Haystack Rock. My favorite stop of the day was the little town of Manzanita. When I arrived there was an incredible book sale happening. After nabbing a few books I grabbed dinner at Left Coast Siesta and wandered in and out of the shops along Laneda avenue. I loved the Cloud & Leaf Bookstore, Finnesterre and Mother Nature’s Natural Foods.
On day three I woke up in a cute little rental in Rockaway Beach. I headed out to explore the Three Capes Scenic Loop, starting at Cape Meares Lighthouse. I was able to get a tour of the lighthouse and visit with a naturalist who showed me a nest of eagle babies. Just a short walk uphill from the lighthouse was the massive Octopus Tree. My next stop was Oceanside, a small town just down the hill from Cape Meares. This ended up being my favorite little beach town of the day. It reminded me of my favorite little California beach town. The locals were hosting an art fair with everything from pottery to jewelry to stunning wildlife photographs. Driving along I stopped in Netarts where the bay took my breath away. It was the first glimpse of sunshine I’d seen since arriving to the Oregon Coast. I stopped to stretch my legs and take a good long hike at Cape Lookout State Park. The view was basically a wall of fog but the hike was great none the less. I ended the day at Cape Kiwanda with fish tacos from a little dive place in Pacific City.
I woke up early enough to travel from Rockaway Beach to Neskowin for breakfast just as the Cafe on Hawk Creek opened. Neskowin was easily my favorite town of the day. A tiny town just south of Pacific City where a few creeks merge and meet the ocean. The beach went on for miles, separated by the creek and Proposal Rock. It could just be because I was there so early but the town seemed utterly peaceful. As I made my way down the coast I briefly stopped at Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City and had to pop my head into a Pendleton outlet. I lingered at the Depoe Bay whale watching center enjoying some salt water taffy but being the end of whale season I didn’t get to see one in action. Continuing south I stopped briefly to see Devil’s Punchbowl, a naturally shaped bowl right on the edge of the beach. A close second to Neskowin was the walk out to Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The views were just incredible! I wrapped up my Oregon Coast trip with a stay at Inn at Nye Beach. If I’ve learned anything from my many road trips, it’s to book yourself a nice room for the last night. I curled up into the king size bed in front of the fireplace with one of my books from the book sale and called it a night.
The last day of my trip I drove straight through two and a half hours back to Portland. Some things to note about the Oregon Coast: pack warm clothes and good snacks. The weather was mostly cloudy, foggy, windy and cool. I was glad I packed a hat and gloves with me. You’ll notice I didn’t talk too much about food. If you like to eat healthfully like me, there weren’t a ton of options for good food on the road. I stocked up on healthy snacks whenever I could find a natural foods store and lived mostly off those. Since I was trying to keep a budget being on a trip by myself, I didn’t splurge too much on food or lodging. This trip was solely about seeing the coast from the road and through lots of little hikes. When I got to Portland I treated myself to a super delicious, healthy meal at Harlow in Southeast and a mini-massage at Loyly in Northeast before heading to the airport. Although brief, I packed a lot of things into this trip and really feel like I got to see the coast. Someday I would love to go back and finish the trip by going from Newport down to Brookings.