The Northern Coast of Oregon

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Newport was a great base to get out and explore more of the coast plus we made quick trips into Eugene, Salem, and Corvallis (home of the Beavers and our favorite inland city).

Waldport sits south of Newport and has several interpretive centers but also boasts one of many bridges built by C.B. McCullough in Oregon. Known for his soaring steel arches and art-deco flourishes, these bridges are as iconic and photographed as much as the lighthouses that sit near them. This one in Waldport is actually the second bridge built over Alsea Bay, the first, designed by McCullough, succumbing to erosion and replaced in 1991.

The bridges are very impressive and each one unique and also consistent with his vision of architecture. This one built over the Coquille River and located near Bandon was the first of several that we crossed.


This one is located in Florence and it spans the Siuslaw River just before it enters the ocean…


This bridge spans the Umpqua River where the iconic Heceta Head Lighthouse is located.


This one is in Newport and spans Yaquina Bay…


Newport’s original stake to fame was as the primary source of “sweet, briny Yaquina oysters” but now lays claim to the mantle as the “Dungeness capital of the world”. Fishing boats head out to sea and return full of crab, tuna, rock bass and more, and the historic Bayfront is home to many charter companies, processing plants, harbor seals and sea lions barking while claiming their territorial space, and local shops and galleries.  A really cute town.  Mo’s is one of the most well-known fish eateries in Oregon with restaurants dotted all along the Oregon Coast.img_7717


Yaquina is home to two lighthouses, the first built on the bay and deemed useless after only two years, and the Yaquina Head lighthouse that sits just to the north of town.

There is a huge miles-long beach that stretches from the bay to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and the day we hiked along it the wind was mild and there were a number of people flying kites. And. We. Got. Hooked. After talking to a pro who was flying a Revolution Kite that uses four guidelines, we bought a more novice friendly one that uses two guidelines. Not an easy task with that one either but really addictive. One sure sign of a beginner is the footprints in the sand.

This bridge is in Depoe Bay… and it spans the narrowest channel between harbor and sea and was used in the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”


Depoe Bay itself is home to the smallest harbor in the world and is also a primary whale watching site.


Just north of town is Boiler Bay Wayside and a great spot for whale watching and storm watching which it was trying to do the day we were there. We did spot a few grays.

Just south of Depoe Bay is Cape Foulweather, so named by Captain James Cook back in 1778, and famous for the Devil’s Punchbowl, a hollowed-out piece of rock where the sea can churn with violence.


Pacific City located in south Tillamook County is a great place for fishing, hiking, surfing, biking and parasailing and we spent two weeks here doing a lot of exploring. Right in town is the Pelican Pub and Brewery that has seating overlooking the Haystack Rock, and The Grateful Bread that has home-baked pastries and a great Sunday brunch. Stop there if you can. Pacific City is also known for the iconic dory fishing boats that are launched directly into the surf.

The beach was accessible from the camp site where we were parked via a ½ mile walk through a forest that led out to the beautiful Tierra Del Mar beach that stretches for miles. One of the weekends we were there the beach was host to the Blowsion Surf Slam, billed as the greatest Watercraft Freeriders, a group of professional, amateur, and rookie jet skiers going head to head in freestyle competition. These guys were insane and the following pictures show the tricks that they do. D’s Doggs out of Lincoln City provided delicious bacon-wrapped hotdogs, easily the busiest kiosk at the beach.

Here are three sequences of tricks…

The following weekend, Cape Kiwanda, a “suburb” of Pacific City, was host to the Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic and although it was foggy and misting heavily the competition went off as planned. Cape Kiwanda is also home to the iconic Haystack Rock, one of three such monoliths found along the Oregon Coast.


We weren’t far from Tillamook and we took several trips there for shopping and further exploring. On one of the jaunts we crested a hill on a small road that followed the ocean  and found this club of parasailers. We had never seen a live launch and this was a pretty interesting exposure to the sport. We were a little taken aback when one of the girls took off with her pooch secured to her lap!

The Cape Meares Lighthouse is located about 45 minutes north of Pacific City at the end of the Three Capes scenic route. The shortest of the lighthouses found along the Oregon Coast, Cape Meares is situated so that one can enjoy views from the lighthouse of Three Arch Rock and the other ragged and cragged rocks that jut out from the sea.


Tillamook’s most well-known attraction is the Tillamook Cheese Factory, open every day for self-guided tours that take you through the entire cheese-making process, the history of the factory and a restaurant where you can get all things cheese and great ice cream. Over 26,000 cows make their home here in the valley around Tillamook and they generously supply the world with Tillamook cheese, butter and ice cream.

Hangar B at the Naval Air Station of Tillamook is found in one of the last remaining World War ll blimp hangars and is home to the Tillamook Air Museum. There is an exhibit inside of a myriad of fighter aircraft and interpretive kiosks throughout the museum. Very interesting.


Seaside was Oregon’s first seashore tourist town with visitors coming from Portland via train to Astoria and then by stagecoach to Seaside. There is a 1 ½ mile promenade along the ocean, plenty of fun for the kids and a ton of beach activities available for the whole family. The aquarium is a popular place, and the downtown boasts 1920’s nostalgia type storefronts with old soda shops and ice cream parlors, carousels, and a number of bar-restaurants. And beautiful views.


Just a few miles south lies Cannon Beach which has become a center of cultural activity with a ton of art galleries, bookstores and cute little stores that sell everything from tee shirts to driftwood to precious gems, and a cooking school. Named as one of the world’s most beautiful places by National Geographic, Cannon Beach is also home to the famous Haystack Rock, a 235-foot monolith, one of the largest in the world. And look at what is pulling a teardrop trailer.

A narrow trail through a dense forest took us out to a viewpoint of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, the northernmost lighthouse on the Oregon coast.


North of Seaside is Astoria which sits at the mouth of the Columbia River and was named for the famed investor John Jacob Astor. One of his companies was the American Fur Company and Astoria became the center for fur trading in America and is the oldest settlement in the United States west of the Rocky Mountains.

The Columbia River Maritime Museum provides a fascinating insight into the rich maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. There are any number of interpretive and interactive exhibits where a visitor can try to navigate a tugboat, listen to Coast Guard rescues, view some of the locations of over 2000 shipwrecks that have occurred in the “Graveyard of the Pacific” and wander through a number of exhibits depicting life on the river. A really interesting visit. Outside the museum the lightship Columbia is moored, the last active-duty floating lighthouse on the west coast when it was shut down in 1979.

The Astoria Column is the ultimate historical marker among 12 that were erected between St. Paul Minnesota and Astoria to commemorate the westward migration of settlers in the United States. Fourteen murals depicting that journey are located on the 125-foot high column that sits 600’ above the ocean and which offers sweeping 360º views of the river, Young’s Bay, and the Pacific Ocean from the top of the 164-step climb.



We had grilled cheese sandwiches at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and as you can see from the pictures above their grilled cheese photo used in advertising didn’t quite translate into what I was served. So, from Ina Garden and the Food Network show Barefoot Contessa I give you the Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich. This is good.


2 Replies to “The Northern Coast of Oregon”

    1. Thanks Andy! Your Mom has said the same. I have no idea how to go about doing that so maybe the next time we are together you can show me plus give me a advanced lesson in Photoshop. 🙂


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