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Oregon travel advice, please.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Pa, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. In September (next month :eek: ) my wife and I will meet my brother and his wife in Portland for a two-week jaunt around Oregon. We have the interior part pretty well planned, but are still working on the coastal part.

    We have allotted three days (two nights) to drive from Crescent City, CA, to Cannon Beach, OR. The question is, where do we spend those two nights? We need to split up the drive reasonably well, but don't want to have to bypass spectacular vistas to get to previously reserved lodgings.

    Are there any of you out there who have done this drive and have suggestions?

    Any Oregonians in our midst?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. FisherPete


    Nov 13, 2007
    Enjoy your visit. The Oregon coast will fill your time. Let me provide some suggestions ... 2 days won't be enough, so pick and choose. And let us see what you found!

    From south to north, here are the spots I'd look for:
    (I'm naming the towns, but you'll find plenty of interest between them.)

    Gold Beach - where the Rogue hits the Pacific. To the east, the magnificent forests. To the west, spectacular rocks in the ocean.

    Port Orford - more of the same, spectacular vistas. Check out Port Orford Heads State Wayside.

    Bandon - The Dunes golf course, named for the sand dunes. The light house is always a favorite.

    Coos Bay - Once the largest port on the West Coast - now a broken down mill town. Stop for gas, then keep going ;) 

    Reedsport - Home of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area to the north and Umpqua light house to the south. Home of Umpqua ice cream ... grab a cone!

    Florence - a nice old town.

    Yachats - Look for Heceta Head and the light house here. One of the first locations where European explorers set foot.

    Newport - Home of the Oregon Aquarium and soon to be home of the NOAA oceanographic service fleet on the west coast. The brewery at South Beach is a nice spot for lunch by the harbor. The town is nothing special. The bridge over Yaquina Bay is spectacular at sunset.
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    Depot Bay - Spectacular harbor ... stop to watch the boats going through the key-hole entry to the ocean. Watch the horizon for whale spouts.

    Lincoln City - casino kitsch ... keep driving unless there are kites on the beach.

    Pacific City - Great beach with nice vistas. At the north end of the beach the dory fleet - small boats - launch off the sand and return through the surf, which can be spectacular.

    Tillamook - Home of the dairy industry. Free ice cream at the Tillamook cheese factory, but not much for sight seeing.

    Garibaldi - another mill town with a thriving sport fishing fleet. Fresh tuna anyone? ;) 

    Bar View (jetty and state park) - turn left off the highway and head out to the jetty. The views of Tillamook Bay and the coast range from the jetty are great.

    Rockaway - don't speed here or it'll cost you a ticket!

    Wheeler - There used to be a tavern here called the Wheeler Inn, marked only by a manikin pushing a wheelbarrow with his wife in it.

    Manzanita - beautiful residential (high end) community, but not much for natural views as the homes have grabbed all the good spots.

    Oswald West State Park - tremendous old growth trees along a path to a wonderful beach in a cove. A favorite of surfers. A good place not to leave things in the car.

    Here's a good site for details: Visit the Oregon Coast.

    Manzanita -
  3. Florence- 3 miles south is Honeyman State Park is a must see IMO. Also, do the dune buggy rides outside Florence (I think, it's been a while). You can rent your own ATV of Go-Cart or jump on a bus for a guided tour. My favorite activity is to rent my own ATV........head into the dunes and make my own little "race circuit" and scream around acting like a kid again.
  4. You have to go to Astoria, beautiful coastal town. They filmed Kindergarten Cop, Goonies, Ring 2, etc. in that location. Swing by Tillamook and get yourself a big slab of Tillamook cheese, very good!

    You also have to go eat at Burgerville, oh how I miss it so much! The only all organic fast food restaurant in the country, the Tillamook cheeseburger is to die for!
  5. pbcstylez


    Mar 21, 2009
    BayArea, CA
    What is there to see and do in the Portland Area? We have a rental and will be there Aug. 22-25.

    Any ideas?

    (sorry to threadjack)
  6. boyscout


    Mar 19, 2009
    Pa already has his travels in the interior planned, and pbcstylez may be encouraged to head out to the coast, but I thought I'd put in a plug for the drive along the Columbia River gorge out of Portland.

    Last year I had planned to do the coast from the north (Washington) but the fog and rain were relentless. After much of a day reading signs at view lookouts describing what I SHOULD be seeing, and hearing a weather report calling for more of the same, I veered east at Tillamook, spent a little time in Portland, and then headed east along the river.

    What a great drive! It starts out lush west-coast rainforest, and peters slowly to near-desert. Very colorful, the often-steep sides of the gorge splashed with purples and reds and yellows. Long trains along the water's edge dwarfed by the colorful cliffs behind them. A beautiful tall thin waterfall, don't remember the name but you can't miss it. A hydro-electric dam and a fish hatchery. A parched-looking little town. The river offers interest too: bridges and dams, barges, wind-surfers, turbulent water. After a while (a hundred miles, maybe?) I crossed the river back into Washington and saw a mini-replica of Stonehenge (a soldier memorial) and enjoyed watching the yellowed desert give way to irrigated-lush orchards and other croplands.

    Highly recommended.
  7. Wow, thanks, Pete! What a thorough rundown on the coast! I'll print this and take it along.

    Thanks, Gerald, but I don't think the ATVs quite fit our style. :biggrin:

    Thanks, Jonathan. My sister-in-law's daughter lives in Astoria, so I'm sure we'll visit there.

    We're going to the rose garden, some art museums, and doing the boat trip on the Columbia River during our three days there.

    Thanks, Scout. We had already planned that for Day 4 before heading South toward Bend.
  8. Thanks, Jonathan. Oneonta Falls does look quite interesting. I'll try to get it on the agenda.
  9. AllThumz


    Feb 24, 2009
    Albany, Oregon
    Some really good information posted. Just to expand a little on FisherPete's list:

    Coos Bay: Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago lighthouse are worth a visit, but other than that .....

    Florence has a nice old town on the east side of 101 on the north side of the Siuslaw River.

    Heceta Head lighthouse is between Florence and Yachats and is probably the most photographed location in Oregon. A good pulloff is just north of Sea Lion Caves.

    Yachats: Nice ocean front park to watch the ocean. The Adobe motel has a good restaurant and good views from every table.

    Newport: We were disappointed with the food at the brewery (Rogue Ale). The waterfront has some good restaurants. Parking can be at a premium at times. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a fun place. That's where Keiko lived after his "rescue."

    Lincoln City: The kites and not much more.

    Pacific City: Cape Kiwanda is where the dory fleet is located. It's worth a stop when they are leaving or returning. Ray Atkeson really liked the area (he is Oregon's Photographer Laureate).

    Tillamook: The Three Capes Scenic Drive is just as the name describes.

    Wheeler: You may see someone land a salmon in Nehalem Bay (might be me!).

    Cannon Beach: Haystack Rock.

    Seaside: Where the Portland yuppies come to play (and shop).

    Astoria: Great waterfront and maritime museum.

    I'll put in another vote for the Columbia River Gorge. Take the scenic highway and see all of the waterfalls. Stop at Hood River and watch the windsurfers. There's an Italian restaurant across from the Museum of Carousel Art that's surprisingly good.

    There's lots to see. I hope you have enough time! :smile:

  10. dannb


    Jan 27, 2009
    Silverton, Oregon
    There is nothing to see, here. You probably would be happier going to Arizona. The coast is cold and wet and, while I can't argue with the suggestions that have been offered, (picture the Jedi wave, here) you won't be happy here.

    Seriously, I can only validate the suggestions offered. Take your time. In Newport, try to have lunch at Local Seafood on the Bayfront. It's pretty much the last establishment on the left side of the street heading inland toward the Emarcadaro. Good eats by anyone's standards. The Albacore are now available and if you haven't ever tried fresh tuna, this could be a real sweet stop, from a culinary standpoint.

    While you're in Newport, don't skip the Rogue Brewery. Darn fine glass of beer to be had here. A real fine time can be had on the Oregon coast and most of the communities suggested offer all of the amenities.

    Hope you have a great trip.
  11. wembley


    Mar 26, 2006
    Naples, Fl
    We love Portland and the pacific NW. Lived there 10 yrs ago, had a child and then moved back to the east coast. Just 2 weeks ago took we took our 9 yr old for his 1st proper visit (he went back at 12 months). Visiting from Florida not even the 104 degree weather was a problem!

    Here is a sampling of some of the places you'll see: TAKE A CAMERA!!

    Downtown Portland:
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    Rose garden:
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    Mt Hood is worth a visit (we saw a black bear cross the highway on the way there)
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    Columbia river Gorge is great. Multnomah Falls:
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    The beautiful forest
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    Fun on the beach. Cannon Beach:
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    The end of the day. Cannon Beach:
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    Made in Oregon:
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2009
  12. For sure do the Gorge and the falls. Also just north of Newport is a place called the Inn at Otter Rock which is spectacular and there are some nice beaches just to the south as well. A must stop is the light house at Hecta Head. You have a great chance for nice weather at the coast in September as well. Be sure to explore around Cannon Beach and shoot from the park just to the North of the Beach. Very great location. You may even get some fall colors at the falls.
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  13. Lots of great suggestions here! How are you getting to Crescent City? I worked as a traveling consultant there for several years and the drive you are embarking on is just wonderful.

    As you head out of the city take a slight (15 minutes one way) up Hwy 199 to Jedediah Smith State Park, where the redwoods meet the Smith River. You won't regret it.

    On the way to Gold Beach is Pistol River beach:


    Right now I forget the name of the restaurant, but it's the last one on the right as you leave Port Orford (great harbor there, by the way). Very local, really fresh nicely cooked meals.

    Just north of Port Orford is Cape Blanco lighthouse
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    the windiest place on the Oregon Coast: many times in the winter winds are in excess of 80mph and some gusts of over 100mph. Nice little tour up to the lens, too.
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    If you have a literary bent try staying at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport. It's named after the woman who owned Shakespeare and Company, the Parisian bookstore that was the first to publish James Joyce and was the hangout of all those wild American writers in the 1920's. Each room is decorated in the style of a famous author.

    In the northern part of your trip the Three Capes drive is well worth it. Quite spectacular.

    Southwest of Portland is McMinnville where Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose" finally came to rest. It is an incredible air museum that also has the SR71 "Blackbird" spy plane and the tiny one person jet used in some James Bond movie. Lots of photo opportunities.

    A big second to the Columbia River gorge. The Washington side of it has much less traffic than the Oregon side: two lane road vs. four and six lane highway.

    That's a grand trip, but I'm not sure you're allowing enough time. Most of the highway is two lanes and the RVs can be frustrating. Have fun!
  14. Many thanks, John. After our drive up the coast, we have two nights in a cottage at Cannon Beach with a view of Haystack Rock.

    Many thanks for the suggestions, Dann. We promise not to stay long.

    Wonderful photos, Wembley. I will take a camera but I doubt I'll do have as well as that!

    Many thanks, James. Which water fall is that in your photo?

    Thanks a lot, Neige! After three nights in Portland we plan to drive east along the river for a way and then turn south to Bend for one night. Then we drive to Crater Lake for two nights, Medford for one night, and then Crescent City.

    Before we meet my brother and sister-in-law we will have a week in a cabin near Mt. Hood where we will be hiking and I'll be fishing on the Deshutes River.
  15. KayB


    Aug 17, 2007
    Puyallup, WA
    A note about Depot Bay...if you end up there, stop in Nature Revealed Gallery. Jeff Jessing is a marvelous landscape photographer.

  16. Hi Jim,

    Nan and I were in Oregon in 2002. Here are a few things we enjoyed.

    Shipwreck (sailing ship) on Cannon Beach, it was about 100 years old and may be gone by now.
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    In and near Astoria
    Monument (Astor, Lewis and Clark) at a park overlooking the Columbia River, nice views from there
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    Fort Clatsop (Lewis & Clark overwinter) take your National Parks Pass!
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    As you go upriver, you will be following the path of Lewis and Clark. If you are into history, there are several good books on their adventure worth reading or re-reading for your trip.

    There is an interesting museum for the Coast Guard activities getting ships across the Columbia River Bar, some of the most dangerous waters in the world.
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    There is a neat old highway along the Columbia River east of Portland that was built in the 1915(?) timeframe as a scenic highway. Parts of it are now open as a hiking and biking path.
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    We were there shortly after 9/11 and they had closed the tours of the power plants at the dams. If they are now open, you might want to take a look.

    If you cross over into Washington as you get east, there is a neat waterfall there, believed to have been carved in just a few days in the Bretz Floods
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    Post lots of photos when you get back.
    Bob & Nan
  17. Visit Mo's www.moschowder.com on the coast. The food is outstanding. Vista House is a good place to visit at the entrance to the Gorge just east of Corbett on highway 30 (Corbett has an exit on 84). The sunrise viewed from Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_164.php east into the Gorge is magical. Hood River also has some great places to visit. The trip on highway 35(?) from Hood River around Mt. Hood is great as it winds up through the orchards. It connects to 26 east which will also get you to Bend. If you get that far you should definitely visit Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood.

    Photos of Mt. Hood are hard to get on any given day due to weather/sky conditions. The top of Rocky Butte (a cinder cone) has a viewpoint with a near 360 degree view of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams (on a clear day), Mt Hood, and downtown Portland but you will need a telephoto. It is just east of 82nd Ave and Fremont. There is a great viewpoint of the Sandy River valley and Mt. Hood on Bluff Road just north of Sandy on highway 26 about 40 minutes east of Portland. The East Bank Esplanade will give a good view of downtown Portland riverfront. You can walk on wide paved paths and cross bridges into downtown and Water Front park on the west side of the Willamette.
  18. socrdude


    Jun 5, 2009
    Drive from PDX to Mt. Hood where there is Glacier skiing in the summer. At the end of August.. you will have to google, the H2C run.. a relay race for teams to run from Mt. Hood to the Coast.

    The gorge to see the WindSurfers. Keep in mind, From Portland, my former home town, you can drive 2.5 to the beach and then 90 minutes to Mt. Hood. I would drive over to Mt. St. Helens, the only volcano that has erupted a few times and is fun to see.

    Astoria as someone mentioned is a wonderful coastal town and large Coast guard base. You can see two old military bases.... one on either side of the Columbia river.

    There is alot to see, alot...

    A cool burger place is McMinimans.. (sp) there is one on 21st ave NW I believe.. that is fun. If you have free time, and are in Beaverton(sub of Portland), drive or walk through the NIKE Campus. It is a wonderful place with manicured lawns and sometimes you will see folks like MJ, Mia Hamm, and many others..

    There is alot, but I would hit St. Helens as it is the only volcano that has erupted in the lower 48 twice in maybe the last 30-40 years and you can see that from Interstate 5 on the washington side of the Columbia River if you are driving north.
  19. Thanks, Bob. That waterfall photo is spectacular - do you know where the waterfall is? And thanks for the other interesting photos.

    Ft. Clatsop is on the list as I am a real Lewis & Clark fan.

    Thanks for all the good tips, Doug. As I said above, we will be in the Mt. Hood vicinity for a week prior to beginning our loop drive and are considering Timberline Lodge for our anniversary dinner on Sept. 4. We'll be doing daily hikes on Mt. Hood when I'm not fishing.

    Thanks, Dude. We spent a day at Mt. St. Helens in 1997 so that is lower on our list of priorities for this trip. We'll certainly visit Astoria as that is where my sister-in-law's daughter lives.
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