Oregon Coast Journals

Route 101 from Astoria to Sunset Bay

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A June 2000 trip to Oregon Coast by Tavia

Fort Clatsop National Memorial Photo, Astoria, Oregon More Photos
Quote: For 10 days in the summer of 2000, my boyfriend and I cruised south along the Orgeon stretch of coastal Route 101. Not the most original trip, but it is well-traveled for good reason: it is graced with one natural beauty after another!

Route 101 from Astoria to Sunset Bay

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Overview

The Oregon Coast Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
The Oregon Coast is full of well-touristed must-sees as well as hidden local treasures. Our favorite oldies-but-goodies include the rock formations at Cannon Beach, lighthouses that are seemingly everywhere you turn, the smelly Sea Lion Caves, and the postcard photo ops at Pt. Perpetua. Places we felt like we had discovered ourselves include the slightly inland Munson Creek Falls, the town of Wheeler on Nehalem Bay, the literal-minded Sand Lake, local fishing holes in Newport, and hiking at the Sunset Bay campground. However, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we were constantly reminded of the top-notch job Mother Nature had done on the Oregon Coast. And I guarantee that if you visit,...Read More

Sunset Bay State Park

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Hotel

Sunset Bay State Park Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
This camp ground was clearly one of the older ones on the Oregon State Parks system, as sites were very close together, the facilities were not as new or as clean as others we''d visited, and in general the vegetation at the sites just looked beaten down. This could have something to do with the fact that we were there right before the 4th of July, when every camp ground is jam-packed with families and groups of friends out for a bit of nature and looking for any old excuse for a burger and a beer. Our site was not private at all, as we were near a garbage bin, a water spigot, and could hear the conversations of the people on all three sides of us. Let''s just say that as far as sleeping/eating loc...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 30, 2001

Sunset Bay State Park

Oregon Coast, Oregon
(541) 888 4902

Beachside State Park

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Hotel

Beachside State Park Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Along the coast, there are many options for lodging, but in my opinion there are only two real choices -- top-notch b&b''s with ocean views, or camping at the state parks. The Oregon Coast at times seems to be 100% state park land, and most of them have camping. At less than $20 a night (that includes site fee, parking, tax and park usage fee), camping rules! At Beachside (built to open in 2000), we were a short walk from the beach: we could hear the waves from our tent. The beach itself was wide, yellow and clean (we went for walks every day). The facilities were brand-new and clean, and when I wanted hot water, I could get it. (That''s a biggie as the beach sites get very chilly at ni...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Beachside State Park
US 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon
(541) 563 3220

Sea Shack Seafood & Chophouse

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Restaurant | "Sea Shack"

Sea Shack Seafood & Chophouse Photo, Wheeler, Oregon
Quote:
We walked in (everything is within walking distance in Wheeler) and immediately felt at home. The restaurant is elegantly decorated with a bar, but at the same time maintains a complete lack of pretension that made me love the place. It clearly is patronized by locals (always a good sign). We could have eaten inside, but opted instead to eat out on the porch that was right on Nehalem Bay and watch the sunset. Now that was something special, and we didn't have to tip the hostess (there wasn't one) or make any fancy reservations for the table, either. While we were eating there was a group of young folks with kids having a few drinks and sharing a sandwich, and they were fun to watch, as they were ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2001

Sea Shack Seafood & Chophouse
380 Marine Drive (off Rte 101)
Wheeler, Oregon 97147
(503) 368-7897

Fort Clatsop National Memorial

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Attraction

Fort Clatsop National Memorial Photo, Astoria, Oregon
Quote:
We stopped here at Rick's request, and let me tell you -- I had no idea there were so many Lewis and Clark buffs! This site is truly an educational and dynamic memorial to the two explorers of the Louisiana Purchase. The site includes indoor and outdoor exhibits. Inside, you can walk through a self-guided tour of explanatory wall-panels and huge dioramas, which describe all aspects of the long adventure. Maps detail their route, journal extracts document some of the first "official discoveries" of plant and animal life, and illustrations and artifacts give a fair idea of the life and times of Lewis and Clark. There is also a series of short films the visitor can watch, as well as a compreh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Fort Clatsop National Memorial
92343 Fort Clatsop Road
Astoria, Oregon 97103
(503) 861-2471

Cannon Beach

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Attraction

Cannon Beach Photo, Portland, Maine
Quote:
Home of well-known and highly-recognizable Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach seems to be the one coastal point every visitor sees, as it is the first beach you hit south of Astoria. What I didn't realize is that there's a town with the same name attached to the beach with a supposed vibrant creative population. In addition to Haystack Rock, there are caves carved into the side of the sea cliffs by the ocean waves, white beaches good for walking, ample piles of driftwood for sitting, and other rocky piles that add to the whole aesthetic effect of this marvelous beach. Nifty fact: Haystack Rock is the 3rd largest freestanding monolith in the world. At low tide you stand next to it and ponder how ins...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach Loop (Off Interstate Highway 101)
Cannon Beach, Oregon 97110
(503) 436-2623

Munson Creek Falls

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Attraction

Munson Creek Falls Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Follow the signs off Route 101 to find this waterfall. Most of Oregon's waterfalls are much further inland, but Munson Creek has done us coast-trippers a favor by falling near Tillamook. Once you drive in and park, you've got a short walk on a dirt trail to the falls. You can't really get very close, but it doesn't matter, the view is lovely from the end of the trail. A nice spray of whitewater shines through the green leafy trees -- we were there in the summer, perhaps the view is unobstructed in the winter when all the leaves have fallen. We hung out for a while in the gorge, trying to catch mud puppies in the puddles along the trail and enjoying the sound of the cascading water. I believe the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Munson Creek Falls
6 mi. S of Tillamook on Hwy 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon
1-800-551-6949

Sand Lake Recreation Area

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Attraction

Sand Lake Recreation Area Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
One of the many worthy sites along the Three Capes Loop (a stretch of road off Rte 101 which gets closer to the coast), Sand Lake is literally that -- a lake of sand. There is no water involved here. When Rick and I passed it in the car, we pulled over not because we had planned on it but because the sight of Sand Lake is so alarming -- it is literally as if you drove from the forest immediately into the desert. It was formed by ocean winds carrying bits of sand off the Pacific beaches and rocks to this one inland site over thousands of years. This fact alone makes the lake worth stopping to see -- it is a geological wonder. (How did the wind know to drop the sand always in this one same spot?) T...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Sand Lake Recreation Area
Three Capes Loop
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Cape Lookout State Park

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Attraction

Cape Lookout State Park Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Aptly named, this cape affords visitors a triangulated view of the ocean, which makes it worth the stop. If you walk out to the tip of the cape, either through the park trails or along the beach, you will be able to see the coast spread out behind you to the left and right. This is pretty cool; as usually we only get to see the shorelines spread straight left and straight right. From above, it's also [geographically] interesting to see a triangle of land jut into the ocean. If you have the time, spend a morning or an afternoon here traipsing around, as the trails are well maintained and marked.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Cape Lookout State Park
Three Capes Loop
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Three Arch Rocks Wildlife Refuge

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Attraction

Three Arch Rocks Wildlife Refuge Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
After Haystack Rock, I think Three Arch Rocks must be the most-photographed rocks on the coast. When we came down to the beach, I could have sworn I'd been here before -- it must have been all the photos I've seen. The rocks are graceful, and from certain angles they arch in a row like the many bends of a giant serpent living in the Pacific Ocean. There are many different kinds of birds to spot here as well, depending on the season. You may even spot some of the chubby puffins if you're lucky! Bring binoculars, though, as their nests are on islands off-shore.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Three Arch Rocks Wildlife Refuge
Three Capes Loop
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

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Attraction

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Lighthouses fascinate some people. Some people visit as many as they can, collect everything lighthouses -- plates, cups, statuettes, cards, artwork, mugs, tee-shirts. And the Oregon Coast's tourist industry certainly caters to this. Although I am not one of those folks, I must admit after visiting my first lighthouse, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, I can understand. Lighthouses are a dear piece of Americana -- they hold history, they enjoy some of the best scenery in the world, they are lifesavers. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is no exception. Indeed, it is one of the oldest on the coast, dating back to the 1870's, and it is perhaps the most literal -- it is a normal house with a warning ligh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 28, 2001

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Off Rte 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon
(541)574-3129

Sunset Bay State Park

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Attraction

Sunset Bay State Park Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Rick reluctantly followed me up this trail, but once we made it about a quarter of the way in, he was leading the way. It starts out boring, but once you've made it against the coast, you are rewarded with some of the most stunning views of the Pacific that Oregon has to offer. It is not a difficult hike. There are some steep inclines however they do not last long and there are plenty of places to rest along the way. We encountered some of the bluest waters, some of the most secluded coves, and some of the most splendid views of our trip on this hike. I have attached 4 photos but wish I could attach the rest of the ones we took, because every view we stopped to check out was stunn...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 30, 2001

Sunset Bay State Park
off Route 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Oregon Dunes Overlook

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Attraction

Oregon Dunes Overlook Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
If you have an aversion to sand, do not come here! (Heck, what are you doing on the Oregon Coast in the first place?) This overlook is more than a nice place to park your car and stretch your legs -- it gives you access via very Jersey Shore-type boardwalks and staircases to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Do not so easily dismiss the allure of the dunes: there is some serious sand here, and it is as rolling and as gentle as the ocean on a clear and calm day, albeit much less visibly in motion. The dunes extend for miles up and down the coast, and inland as well, and the recreation area includes lakes and streams (for those of you tired of the ocean, bays and coves). I...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 30, 2001

Oregon Dunes Overlook
off Route 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Spouting Horn

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Attraction

Spouting Horn Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
This interesting rock formation rises from the coastal waters off Central Oregon. There is not much of a beach there, but it doesn't really matter as the important part is indeed the rocks. They make just the right basin for the waves to splash up in a most magnificent and unpredictable way. Every now and then, a more-powerful-than-usual wave will rush into the basin and slam against Spouting Horn in such a way that it rises twenty feet in the air. It is impressive, and scary too, for the water rushes out just as fast as it rose up. You quickly realize to stand back, for you never know if one of those waves will splash up and grab you and pull you into the swirling tides. Indeed, there are warni...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 29, 2001

Spouting Horn
off Route 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Seal Rock State Park

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Attraction

Seal Rock State Park Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
If you can only stop at a few places on the Oregon Coast, this is one you must visit, especially if you are traveling with children or are young at heart. We pulled over in the afternoon, and stayed easily for an hour, time just flew. It is a mesmerizing locale, as offshore you can train your binoculars on seals lounging about on the rocks and bobbing in the waves, and on shore you can wander among the myriad tidepools that flourish here. It truly is amazing to be so close to actual and independent ecosystems. Sea urchins, starfish, crabs, little fish and seaweed live in hollows in the rocks. During low tide, water remains in these tidepools, and the sun warms the creatures just e...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2001

Seal Rock State Park
off Rte 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

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Attraction

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Another postcard favorite, this site holds it own with all the other top-notch natural beauty along this coast. It is a very romantic spot, although at first you wouldn't guess it. The main viewing spot, though, is perfect for hugging your beloved, gazing out into the ocean, and losing yourself in promising thoughts about the future. Supposedly you can find miles of trails to hike which will afford you views of tidepools, seashells and local deer life, but Rick and I chose to stare at the ocean instead. If you prefer to be active, stop by the Visitors Center for trail maps.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2001

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Route 101
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Heceta Head Lighthouse

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Attraction

Heceta Head Lighthouse Photo, Yachats, Oregon
Quote:
This is the brightest beacon on the Oregon Coast. Factoid aside, it's a good place to visit (even if you're not a lighthouse junkie) and not at all blinding during the day. You have to take a nice stroll up from the parking lot to get there, so you'll get some exercise. Once you make it up the hill, green fields surround the house, perfect for lolling about. And strangers tend to bond when they descend the sea cliffs part way intending to bird watch only to be hit with the stench of years of piled-up bird doodie layered upon the offshore rocks. A chorus of "Pee-yoo!" quickly goes up. The lighthouse itself is beautiful, and seems very proud and proper the way it stands on its crest of the land. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 29, 2001

Heceta Head Lighthouse
92072 Hwy. 101 South
Yachats, Oregon
(541) 547-3416

Sea Lions Caves

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Attraction | "Sea Lion Caves"

Sea Lions Caves Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
Sea Lion Caves is a privately owned nature preserve, so they charge admission to view the sea lions on the shore and in the caves. However, what you and the sea lions get in return is well worth it. As soon as you pay, a pleasant hostess directs you to the best viewing spot for the sea lions. The day we were there (July 1, 2000) the sea lions were all out on the rocks at the mouth of the cave, so we went up the well-kept staircases for a bird's eye view of the lions. We were quite high (see photo), but nonetheless we were still assaulted by the stench of the lions. It was amazing how powerful it was. Without the aide of binoculars the sea lions just looked like worms wriggling around on the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2001

Sea Lions Caves
11 miles north of Florence
Oregon Coast, Oregon

Nehalem Bay Winery

Story/Tip

Quote:
34965 Highway 53, Nehalem, OR 97131, tel 503 368-wine, www.nehalembaywinery.com. Open 6-9 every day. On our way out of Wheeler, we stopped here to start our day. This is a small winery and does not have any out of state distribution. We tasted a few, and were most impressed with their dessert wines. We bought a bottle of Blackberry Wine, and will drink it with/after a spicy meal, either Thai or Indian, probably. The pourer was very helpful, she gave us a book, which listed all the Oregon wineries by region (this proved helpful later when we visited the Williammette Valley). They also have a very cool mural painted on a wall outside of the tasting room. It depicts a 60's psychedelic scene -...Read More

The D River

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Story/Tip

The D River Photo, Oregon Coast, Oregon
Quote:
The D River is the shortest river in the world -- less than 500 feet long -- and when I realized I was going to drive over it, I wanted to take a picture. The notion of "the shortest river in the world" struck me as absurd yet cute: I imagined a stubby river. So, on our way past Devil's Lake in Lincoln City, we drove over D River (there's a sign that actually alerts you to its imminence). I made my boyfriend stop the car and stuck my body out the window to get a photo. It was around rush hour, so more than a few commuters behind us were honking and otherwise acting unlike any other Oregonians we'd thus far met. I got my photo, though, and 30 seconds later we were rolling again, back to the coast....Read More