Visiting the Northern Oregon Coast. Where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate. I hope our adventure helps you plan yours.
Last summer I took my mom, sister, nieces and nephews to the Northern Oregon Coast and Washington. I want to share with you some tips, tricks and things to see.
Where to stay:
Let’s first talk about where we stayed. We live in an area that doesn’t have a ton of people. So we don’t like crowds when we travel. We picked a place that didn’t have a lot of people and that we could enjoy the beach without a crowd. Cape Meares is an area that doesn’t have any businesses. There are just houses. And because of this, it isn’t highly populated and is very quiet.
This is the house we stayed in.
The areas of Ocean City, Netarts, Lincoln City and Tillamook are also great places to stay if you are looking for places without crowds.
What to do:
Our first full day in Oregon, we spent the day playing on the beach and in the water in Cape Meares. We went in August and the water was still very cold. You kinda get used to it and we had a lot of fun out on the beach. The local might have thought we were nuts, but us northerners in a land locked state didn’t really care.
We are national and state park kind of people. So those were the places we visited. We live on the Snake River and I wanted us all to see where the Snake River dumped into the Columbia River and where the Columbia River dumped into the ocean. We had to do that backwards but still so great to see.
State parks allowed us to see the rivers. First we visited the Cape of Disappointment in Washington just across the border. It was not disappointing. It has a jetty that allowed us to walk out and see the ocean on one side and the Columbia River on the other. But be aware that it is super windy out on the jetty and you get sand blasted.
After enjoying the Cape of Disappointment, we headed back to Oregon. You have to go over the Astoria-Megler Bridge. It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. It is just over 4 miles and crosses the Columbia River. I’m thankful that we can cross the Columbia River by car and we don’t have to row across.
After eating lunch, we visited the Astoria Column. Because of covid, we couldn’t climb the column but we could take in the views from the ground. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
You can see Youngs River, Youngs Bay & the Columbia River from the bottom of the Astoria Column.
We then headed to Fort Stevens State Park. The jetty was being worked on. So we weren’t able to walk out to see a close up view of the south side of the Columbia River dumping into the ocean. But it was still a beautiful park.
Next we headed over to Fort Clatsop (Lewis & Clark National Park). They have replicas of the buildings that Lewis & Clark would have stayed in. The kids got to walk through those and really enjoyed learning the history. There was a lady doing a presentation about Sacagawea. It was pretty interesting. The area around the park is beautiful!
All of those parks were a full day for us. So we headed back to our rental house.
We spent another day exploring the state parks south of Tillamook. The Cape Meares Lighthouse, the Octopus Tree, Cape Lookout State Park, Bob Straub State Park, and Devil’s Lake State Park.
First stop was Cape Meares Lighthouse. Once you get to the parking lot at the lighthouse, it is a bit of a walk to the actual lighthouse. It is downhill on the way to the lighthouse and quite a climb back. It is not meant for people in bad health. But for those of you that are healthy and willing to get a little workout (0.4 of a mile hike), it is a beautiful lighthouse and a beautiful view. Due to covid, the lighthouse is closed to tours.
The Octopus Tree is another very small hike from the same parking lot. This wonderful tree is more than you can take in all at once. It is very large! And very unique. It is worth the short hike.
As we headed out to Cape Lookout State Park we drove along the Netarts Bay Drive. We got to see seals sun bathing.
Cape Lookout State Park was beautiful but much like the beach we had near our rental house. So we did not stay long. There are hikes at this park, however, we didn’t want to hike anymore that day.
Bob Straub State Park was a lovely surprise. In Pacific City, there is a well visited beach. It has a large parking lot that is usually full and the beach is fairly crowded. However Bob Straub State Park just south of Pacific City hardly had any people. The sand was black in some areas and it was a gorgeous beach.
There is a bit of hill you have to go up and over to get to the beach. So if you have people with you that can’t climb over a small hill, this probably isn’t the part of the beach for them. However the beach on the north end of Pacific City doesn’t have this hill.
After Bob Straub State Park, we grabbed lunch to go and found a place in Devil’s Lake State Park to eat. The kids enjoyed running around and checking out the lake.
Another day we made a visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Due to covid, we had to make reservations. We worked it into a day of playing at the beach. It was fun to learn about how them make the cheese. And we ended the visit with ice cream.
One thing we noticed while driving around Tillamook is there are painted quilt squares on buildings. We looked it up and it’s called Tillamook Quilt Trail. Tillamook Coast website talks about what it is.
Where to Eat:
For most of our meals, we ate at our rental house. We placed a Clicklist order from Fred Meyer in Tillamook. It made it really easy to get our groceries during a pandemic. We planned simple meals like spaghetti and pizza. We were all tired by the time we made it back to the house after our adventures. So we wanted easy.
We also visited two Mo’s Seafood & Chowder. The first in Astoria. It is located on the Columbia River. We got to watch cargo ships come and go. We also got to see Coast Guard ships while there. The food is really good. Due to covid the menus were limited but still good. The second Mo’s we visited had a very long wait time. So we ordered to go and we took it to a park. I recommend you check your order if that’s what you decide to do.
The Hardworking Husband and I had visited the Oregon Coast a few years ago and ate at Roseanna’s Cafe in Oceanside. It was really good. I don’t think we would have chosen it normally, but the power was out and it was one of the few places open. It was really good and we would go back there. However, their dining room isn’t very big and would be hard for a large group. But I’m pretty sure it’s where the locals eat.
If you are wondering when we see the Snake River dump into the Columbia, I will be writing about it in another post about visiting Mt Rainer and Sacajawea State Park.
I hope our adventures help you plan yours.
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