May 24th- June 2, we spent driving and exploring the amazing Oregon Coast (along with a few stops inland). A spectacular coast to say the least, and this trip did not disappoint.
Thursday, 24th. We flew into Portland on an early morning flight, picked up our rental car and headed for Cannon Beach, our first stop. We spent some time roaming around the charming town, visiting shops and having coffee until checkin time a the Tolovana Inn. Our room was small, but comfortable and just fine for our two nights stay. After grabbing some groceries, having dinner at the Wayfarer Restaurant (very good food, but pricey), exploring the beachfront and Haystack Rock, we were both pretty exhausted and went to bed.
Friday, 25th. We were up early the next morning and headed out to Oswald West State Park where we started our hike up the Neahkahnie loop. This hike was about 9 miles long. The earlier part of the trail passed the lookout point for Devils Cauldron, the latter being quite challenging, and leading up to a scenic view point. Our treat post this long and grueling hike was a visit to the Tilamook Creamery for a delicious burger and their famous Ice Cream. Highly recommend this stop on your way down the Oregon Coast! We also took a drive out to Cape Meares Lighthouse, and admired some of the scenic views from this location before heading back to the hotel, totally exhausted!
Saturday, 26th. Leaving Cannon beach, and heading to the Central Coast (my favorite), we had many stops along the way:
- Cape Kiwanda to stretch our legs and admire the beach and views
- Devil’s punchbowl state natural area, and took a backroad with even more stunning views
- Depoe Bay where we saw a grey whale playing in the ocean (even managed to catch glimpses of it in a few pictures)
- Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Outstanding Natural area. A beautiful lighthouse and area very much worth our time to stop and explore.
- The Historic Newport Bayfront where we stopped for lunch at Moe’s, and enjoyed a walk along the bayfront while the fishermen were bringing in their catch of the day.
After our late lunch at Moe’s we checked into our next hotel at the Hallmark Resort in Newport Beach. Had a great view of the ocean from our room and we enjoyed the late afternoon sitting on the veranda with coffee and a book while watching the sunset.
Sunday, 27th. Another day, another hike! Today we headed up to Cape Perpetua. This is a great family friendly area with a variety of hiking trails for many levels. We did 4 separate hikes (St. Perpetua trail, Captain Cook trail, Cape Cove, and Trail of the Restless Waters), totaling about 6 miles. Our hikes today took us past many scenic viewpoints primarily:
- Thor’s well
- Spouting Horn (tide was low, so not much spouting)
- Devils Churn
- Cooks Chasm
- many various tide pools
Leaving here, we headed toward the Haceta Head Lighthouse, but the beach was so crowded and no parking was found so we left. We later ate dinner at Georgie’s restaurant at the Hallmark Inn (Very good food, prices were very reasonable), took a walk along the beach front and neighboring areas, then headed back to relax in the room and admire another sunset.
Monday, 28th, Memorial Day! Less crowds today than yesterday, guess most people headed home. We drove down the coast again and black to Haceta Head lighthouse, no crowds and beautiful views. Also ended up at the Dunes, but it was so windy that we had a difficult time walking around with the sand whipping our faces. Beautiful beach, beautiful ocean and almost no one in site! Leaving the Dunes, we found another lighthouse called Umpqua River Lighthouse, this one was uneventful and I could have done without it. We then went off the coastal path, following a road leading to the Dan Creek Elk viewing area. We had great luck here as many Elk were out roaming in plain sight! We stopped for some pictures and took a scenic long road back to Newport, leaving the coast for the afternoon. After our scenic drive, we headed back to the historic Newport Bayfront again to eat at a restaurant called Local Ocean, GREAT fresh local sea food, great service. Highly recommend!
Tuesday, 29th. Cruising further down the coast along the Samuel Boardman State Scenic corridor, we stopped at several lookout points. Keeping in mind that it was quite windy down this corridor which made it difficult to really hang out in each place for very long:
- Coquille Light House
- Arch Rock
- Sisters Rock viewing area
- Meyers Beach
- Natural Bridges (the trail was corroded, so unsafe for our planned hike)
- Indian Sands trail (hiked the trail, but was unimpressed with the trail or views)
- Whales head Beach
- House Rock view point (very pretty viewing area)
- Secret beach (Short hike down to the view point over the beach)
- Harris beach state park
Checking in to our next hotel, the Pacific Reef Hotel in Gold Beach. It was a nice room, but the bed was not comfortable. Even though we had a nice terrace overlooking the ocean, it was so windy it was almost impossible to sit out there for long. We ate dinner at Spinners Steak and Seafood, the food was good but a bit expensive for what we had. We did get a 20% discount for being hotel guest though!
Wednesday, May 30th. A long drive down to the California boarder and to the Redwoods. I’ve never seen these massive creations and they were quite impressive! We spent some time hiking a short trail, about 3 miles, into the redwoods, then drove out back to 101 via a scenic route near the Smith river. We returned back to the hotel with enough time to make reservations at Anna’s by the sea. This place was AWESOME! It’s a small restaurant, 10 tables max, Peter is the chef and cooks up your meal to order as per the daily specials. Very intimate setting, the kitchen is open to the seating area so you can chat with Peter as he cooks your meal. It was pricey, but sooo very good!
Thursday, 31st. Up very early and headed out for our long drive back to Portland. We arrived in the city about noon and stopped at Washington park, a a beautiful, huge park with many hiking trails and activities. We hiked a few of the trails (about 4 miles), each leading to various exhibits: The Vietnam veterans memorial, a beautiful tribute to the fallen soldiers from Oregon. The Holocaust memorial, which also highlighted some survivors that had settled in Oregon. The massive Rose Garden, unlike anything I have ever seen! So many beautiful Roses, and they had my Purple Rose!!! We left the park to check into our next hotel, the Inn at Northrup Station (Nob Hill Alphabet District). I really liked this hotel, comfortable, funky, fun, they had breakfast and 24 hour free (good) coffee! After getting settled, we set off to explore Portland. We found the waterfront area, the Keen store with the flip flop vending machine (!!), and a few other notable places that we planned to return to the next day since most were closed or closing. We found a Mexican restaurant, and here’s where we had our one bad meal of the trip (we have one on every trip), terrible food and too expensive. Santa Fe Taqueria, on 23rd street near the hospital, stay clear!
Friday, 1st. Our last day on the road and we needed to cover a lot of ground. First stop early AM was Multnomah Falls, stunning falls, but so sad too see all the destruction caused by the recent fires. Most of the trails were closed and the upper bridge was not accessible. I would have loved to spend some time hiking in this area. They are slowly repairing and working through were they can, but it will take quite some time for the trail to become accessible again. Heading out again toward Mt. Hood, what a site! We caught some amazing view points of this wondrous mountain, but I missed the trail head to Mirror Lake, where I wanted to hike and take some pictures. Ah well, next time! We got back to Portland and immediately headed out to explore many notable areas, The Pearl District, Downtown, Waterfront Park, we found the food trucks and had a great Gyro wrapper sandwich for about $7, rode the funicular, used a co-ed bathroom with amazing hand dryers built right into the water faucet (this was cool!) Had a Frappuchino and hung out to people watch. Very expressive individuals in Portland, I love this city! Dinner was Sushi at Bamboo, food was good but very crowded (it was Friday night, after all). Chris and I have both come to the conclusion that Portland is worth coming back to for a long weekend!
Saturday, 2nd. Packed up and heading to the airport. We put over 2000 miles on the rental car, and approximately 152,360 steps on my Garmin. We also picked a few special locations along coast to release the ashes of our faithful companion Rocky, our Black Lab who passed away in 2006. The Oregon coast just seemed like somewhere he would love to spend time; the sea, the mountains and fresh air. He would have loved it, as we certainly did.