The Oregon Coast

My Favorite Places

The Oregon Coast is my go-to whenever I need to just get away and center myself.

It doesn’t matter if it is stormy, cloudy or sunny-it is my grounding point. Windswept and wild, there are no national hotel chains here. Small towns line the beaches in between incredible vistas that rival Big Sur. One of my favorite destinations is Gearhart, a quaint little town north of Seaside. The beach here is accessible through the dunes that line this area-not the great dunes of Florence, but reminiscent of Cape Cod, or North Carolina.

The beaches are quiet here- if you can catch a negative tide, the beach will be littered with whole sand dollars-there is a sand dollar bed near the mouth of the Necanicum River-make sure your finds are not alive before scooping them up! There are condo’s available for rent, the McMenamins Gearhart Hotel has nice rooms, but I prefer to stay in a VRBO if I can find one. There are camping and RV parks all over the coast, too, but they fill up quickly and are usually reserved out for a bit.

Since the coast has such easy access, day trips are easy- our furry family is not impressed with the beach at all- probably because they are so short and the sand is in their eyes and noses -but they love the hikes to the beach.

In August, my husband and I took a day trip, and as we crossed the first dune, we walked smack into a heard of elk. They were a bit wary, watching us closely as we passed. Absolutely magnificent.

Favorite Beach:

Gearhart-Isolated, great sand dollar hunting, breathtaking ocean to walk along.  (Warch for sneaker waves!)

Favorite Restaurant:

Mo’s, of course!  Seaside, Cannon Beach & Lincoln City.  My favorite is Lincoln City, down in Taft on the Bay,  The service is always great, love the jetty to walk along, and the little shops are fun.

Favorite Place to Stay:

I love VRBO’s, but the taxes and fees can be disgustingly ridiculous.  Our go-to is the dog-friendly Shilo in Seaside.  Oceanfront, incredibly friendly and courteous staff, and while a little worn, very clean.

Best Whale Watching:

February and March are my favorite times to head to Depoe Bay-whale watching here are great!  If you are lucky, you can watch the coast guard practicing maneuvers through their tiny little, but extremely dangerous, harbor mouth.

Best Sea Lion Viewing:

Seems most people head to Sea Lion Caves or Newport, but my favorite is down the coast a bit to Cape Arago State Park.   The road out of Coos Bay goes no further.  About 15 miles southwest of Coos Bay, Cape Arago juts out over the Pacific Ocean. Watch for migrating whales!

The south cove trail leads down to a sandy beach and tide pools. The north cove trail has access for fishing, beach-combing, and viewing the off-shore colonies of seals and sea lions at Shell Island — a designated National Wildlife Refuge. The trail is closed from March 1- June 30 to protect seal pups. Picnic tables, restrooms, and a gazebo shelter are available for daytime use.


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