Oregon Coast with Christine
If you’re looking for a holiday that encompasses sweeping ocean views, farmers’ markets, shopping from local artisans, and scenic trails, consider the Oregon Coast.
Seaside towns dot Oregon’s long shoreline offering quaint vacation rentals and hotels. Small, independently owned vacation accommodations are abundant and truly provide the traveller a warm and inviting local experience.
Astoria, located along the Columbia River, is the oldest U.S. settlement west of the Rockies. A walking tour is a great way to take in the town's preserved historic buildings which include unique B&B options. Astoria’s restored 1913 trolley runs 2.6 miles along the Columbia River with a conductor that provides information on the town’s history and attractions. Other sites include The Maritime Museum along the Riverfront Trail where a walk will take you past an array of local restaurants and breweries where you can sit and take in the local feel.
As you travel down the coast, you pass the towns of Warrenton and Gearhart on the way to Seaside, a popular vacation destination for Oregonians and tourists offering a great stop for searching out those one of a kind finds at local shops. If your itinerary has you visiting Seaside on a Wednesday from June to September, make time to visit the Seaside Farmers Market, known as one of Oregon’s top farmers’ markets. Only a 15-minute drive south of Season is Oregon's famous seaside resort, Cannon Beach, home of the famous Haystack Rock. Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach’s symbolic feature, is one of the state’s many National Wildlife Refuges. Home to several species of nesting birds and marine life, it is here, between April and August, where tufted puffins make their home. While the state protects this area, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program offers Feb-Oct interpretive tours.
Heading south down the coast from Cannon Beach are Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway Beach, home of a working 1910 Steam Locomotive. Train tours allow visitors to enjoy the scenic ocean view and wildlife along Tillamook Bay.
South of Rockaway Beach are the coastal towns of Garibaldi and Bay City and inland to Tillamook on Highway 101 is where the Famous Tillamook Creamery is located and a recommended stop for anyone passing through. Tillamook Creamery is a farmer-owned dairy cooperative of approximately 60, mostly local, dairy farms. The Tillamook Creamery offers free self-guided tours allowing visitors the opportunity to view the process of cheese making, testing, cutting & packaging within a fully operating factory. Open 7 days a week, the best days to visit are Mon-Fri when the factory is in operation.
Complimentary cheese samples, a gift shop and on-site restaurant allows visitors to enjoy cheesy menu items and an abundant choice of ice creams but be prepared to wait in line!
West of Tillamook are the seaside communities of Netarts and Oceanside. Quaint and sleepy, these little seaside communities offer a relaxing getaway. Endless ocean views, the clash of the ocean hitting the shore and beautiful beaches, this area really is a place to escape and unwind. It's possible too that your mobile service may not be available - a true escape. Oceanside was my 'home base' while I was in Oregon. It is here where you can find Tunnel Beach. At the north end of Oceanside beach is a man-made tunnel carved into the towering Maxwell Point Rock. As you make your way through this 90 ft. passageway you will come to Tunnel Beach, also known as 'Isolation Beach' as this tunnel is the only way to access this secluded area. The tunnel, built in 1926 has had some unfortunate times throughout the years. In 1979 a landslide blocked the tunnel for 20 years until major storms in 1999 flushed it out and opened it up to visitors again.
No matter where you are along the coast, it is mere minutes between towns, state parks, hiking trails and local eateries. Driving from one town to the next, stopping to enjoy the shopping, markets, local vendors, and restaurants. Every restaurant seems to stake claim to a menu item that is considered, “The Best…”.
From the central coast, Portland is an easy day trip. Approximately a 90-minute, scenic drive, will bring you to the city where you can take in the benefits of Oregon's tax-free shopping, city sights and sample some of the local breweries and eateries. The perfect summer vacation if you want to stay close to home. Oregon's northern/central coast provides limitless activities or the simple solitude of allowing you to relax and get away from it all.
Finally, if you think it’s only a warm weather destination, the Oregon Coast is a magnificent place in the winter months too. A winter visit might involve powerful ocean storms that make for a very dramatic show of high crashing waves best enjoyed from beside a warm fireplace with a glass of wine. But don’t be surprised to experience the occasional warm, sunny days perfect for a tranquil hike through coastal forest. The Oregon Coast is temperate so it can be a great place to escape if it's drizzly or cold inland.
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