Exploring the Beach

Exploring the Beach

The Pacific Coast of Oregon is incredibly varied, with an abundance of natural beauty.  During the years we lived in Seattle, we never made the trip.  Funny how you never visit the “tourist attractions” near the places you live.

A friend graciously lent us a Ford Escape while he was out of town, and it became our home for a 5 day / 4 night adventure.  With the back seats folded down, it is the perfect size for sleeping.

With a completely flexible schedule we skipped the weekend to avoid crowds.  As we were cruising through light traffic out of town on Sunday morning, the Northbound highway was already busy with people returning from their weekend getaways.

We covered a lot of distance that first day and captured some incredible views before pulling into a campground outside of Tilamook, OR just after dark.  Sadly we missed an opportunity to tour the cheese factory, but we did get to see some major Goonie’s landmarks in Astoria and Cannon Beach, OR, take a few stereotypical romantic walks on the beach, and see a great sunset.

Goonie's Rock near Cannon Beach, OR

Goonie’s Rock near Cannon Beach, OR

Nehalum Bay

Just Before Sunset on Nehalum Bay

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Usually when sleeping in a tent I’m up at sunrise, but we were able to sleep in until 10.  I’m a new fan of car camping.  On top of that, we found a great breakfast with homemade biscuits that melt in your mouth and a great cup of coffee.  If you are ever in Girabaldi, OR, stop in at Park Side Coffee House.  I felt like I was sitting in my Grandma’s kitchen.  We liked it so much that we ate here twice on this trip

We hopped off Highway 101 to take the Three Capes Scenic Route which offered some incredible views.  Just north of Pacific City, OR, we stopped to have lunch and ended up staying the whole afternoon at Cape Kiwanda State Park.  This place is beautiful!  Cars drive right on the beach, surfers hang out near Haystack Rock, and children of all ages climb up a giant mound of sand.

Cape Kiwanda State Park

Cape Kiwanda State Park

Surf's Up

Surf’s Up

Climbing the Sand Dune

Climbing the Sand Dune

We were headed all the way to Florence, OR, known for its sand dunes, before we realized just how much driving that entailed.  Instead, we stopped going south in Lincoln City.

Great Wind at Bob Straub State Park

Great Wind at Bob Straub State Park

The next morning we started back north.  After securing a campsite at Cape Lookout Sate Park, we loaded up our day pack and headed out for a hike.  After 3 days of overcast skies, we got lucky.  Just as we reached the point of Cape Lookout, the skies cleared, offering 180 degree views of ocean and beach under blue skies.  A fellow hiker claimed that whale spottings are common…  we didn’t see one.  Still, a great day hike

Trees at Cape Lookout

Trees at Cape Lookout

Can You Spot the Whale?

Can You Spot the Whale?

With a little exercise under our belts, we slept well and rose early.  We stopped near Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge to see the Three Arches,  and at Cape Meares to tour a lighthouse and check out the views.

Three Arch Rocks

Three Arch Rocks

Three Arch Rocks

Three Arch Rocks

A few hours later, we arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River as it spills into the Pacific Ocean, near Astoria, OR.  Several homes on the hill have incredible views of the river mouth and the sea, and downtown has a lot of personality.  It would actually be a fun place to live if you didn’t mind never seeing the sun.

Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens State Park

Wreckage

Wreckage

All together we drove 526 miles, camped in 4 different places, saw the sun once, and explored uncounted beaches, and nooks, and crannies.  What a great getaway!

$:
Fuel to drive 554 miles: $73
1 night at Barview Jetty County Campground: $30
1 night at Devil’s Lake State Park: $21
1 night at Cape Lookout State Park: $19
1 night at Fort Stevens State Park: $27
1 bundle of firewood: $5
Wonderful breakfast and coffee for 2 at Park Side Coffee House: $23.50



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