Best of the West: Oregon Coast (north)

There's a beach there somewhere. Overlooking Nahalem Beach, south of Cannon Beach
There’s a beach there somewhere. Overlooking Nahalem Beach, south of Cannon Beach

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of west coast living. I love the relaxed pace of life, the long days in summer, and yes, the mild winters too. A bit of drizzle never hurt anyone but floods and blizzards sure do, so I’ll take the drizzly days that the “north west” serves up without (too much) complaint.

With this is mind, I’d like to share some of my favourite spots from this part of the world, starting with our recent trip to Oregon.

This was our second trip to the “beaver state” (really, that’s its tagline) and this time around we managed to squeeze in a visit to the not-quite-yet-fully-hipster town of Astoria, some foggy beach time, cheese factories, camping under the stars, a stroll through rainforest, and of course, brewery crawls and tax-free shopping. I recommend checking out Travel Oregon and the excellent Design*Sponge Portland City Guide, but here it is — the best of our three-day sojourn to Oregon.

Astoria

We crossed the bridge from Washington to stop for breakfast but ended up strolling around longer to admire the time-warp architecture and cluttered vintage shops, and make the most of the amazing summer weather.  I found an awesome red double-breasted jacket (think Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts) for $10 at the very cool Commercial Astoria store on — you guessed it — Commercial Street. We also found some pretty delicious croissants at Blue Scorcher bakery.

Baked goods are the key to my heart — Astoria's Blue Scorcher won me over.
Baked goods are the key to my heart — Astoria’s Blue Scorcher won me over.

Nehalam Beach

We had planned to travel down to Cannon Beach and explore some beaches further south… but the weather had other ideas. Our blue skies started to turn to fog when we drove through Seaside and our car was completely enveloped by Cannon Beach. Still, we found a few sunny patches along the way and made the most of a brief stop at Nehalam Beach and the quirky, cute town of Manzanita.

Into the fog
Into the fog

DSC00252

Finally, some sun!
Finally, some sun!

Tillamook

From there, we drove south, making sure to stop for cheese samples at Tillamook Cheese Factory and cheap jerky at Tillamook Country Smoker (which actually made me feel kind of sick — can’t say I’m used to so much processed meat!).

So. Much. Meat.
So. Much. Meat.

We drove further inland to our campsite and enjoyed a night under the stars, before packing up and driving out to Portland, where more eating and drinking awaited.

Portland

Our Brewvana tour was an excellent way to explore a city with more than 50 breweries!
Our Brewvana tour was an excellent way to explore a city with more than 50 breweries!

I swear it wasn’t all indulging though. We also visited the amazing Powell’s City of Books and drove out to the stunning Multnomah Falls.

And although we didn’t visit there this time, I can’t write about Oregon without mentioning the spectacular and humbling Mt. St. Helen’s — an active volcano that created so much destruction when it blew in 1980 — and 33 years later, life is only just returning to much of the surrounding area.

Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens

I haven’t been any further south than Tillamook and would love any tips for the future! And let me know if there’s any must-sees missing — given the amount of recommendations we went down with, I am already sure there are!

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