Picture Perfect: Our Getaway to the Oregon Coast

We had a wonderful time out at the Oregon Coast last week, and enjoyed beautiful weather, beautiful sights, good food, and great experiences:

Our first stop was the little town of Yachats, one of our favorite places on the coast. We had hoped to eat lunch in town, but everything was very crowded and parking was non-existent, so we ended up at the Adobe Inn on the north side of town and enjoyed some beautiful views while we ate.
This sign in Newport says it all – Oregon is salmon country!
The Coast Guard has been in Newport since 1887, and it is one of 26 designated Coast Guard cities in the U.S. The Yaquina Bay headquarters building dates from 1944.
The beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge crosses the bay just south of Newport. The bridge was designed by Conde McCullough, who also designed many of the other iconic bridges in Oregon on Highway 101. This art deco-inspired bridge was opened in 1936 and is now listed on the National Historic Register.
The pretty Yaquina Bay Lighthouse only operated for three years (1871-1874) before being replaced by the larger Yaquina Head lighthouse in 1875. The keeper’s house has two stories with a living room, dining room, kitchen and oil room on the first floor, and four bedrooms on the second – it was a family position.
The living room in the keeper’s house. All the rooms in the lighthouse were decorated with authentic period furnishings.
The Devil’s Punchbowl is located in a state park just north of Newport. The water inside is usually low in the summer (and the tide was out when we stopped there), but in winter and during storms the water rises almost to the top.
The Depoe Bay bridge crosses over the very narrow entrance into the harbor. It was also designed Conde McCullough.
Depoe Bay has the world’s smallest navigable harbor, just six acres in size. The town is also the “whale watching capital of the Oregon coast” and hosts the Oregon Parks Whale Watching Center.
When we’re out at the coast we eat seafood: Brett enjoyed Dungeness crab cakes for dinner; I had scallops sauteed in garlic butter.
The highlight of our first day was watching the sun set while sipping wine and soaking in the jacuzzi on our deck at the Channel House B&B.
The breakfast buffet at the Channel House had plenty of low-carb choices and lots of fresh fruit as well as lots of wonderful freshly-baked pastries and coffee cake. We had a beautiful view while we enjoyed our meal.
Our first stop in Tillamook is always the Blue Heron French Cheese Company for some of their brie. The store offers lots of other gourmet treats (and samples!), most of which are produced in Oregon.
We were surprised by the Tillamook Creamery’s new look – this is the third iteration since we arrived in Oregon back in 1992. Visitors can still self-tour the factory and see how the famous cheese is made, but the building now holds an open-plan dining hall where ice cream, espresso, or even meals can be purchased at the snack bar as well as a large gift shop where special varieties of Tillamook cheese and ice cream can be purchased. It was incredibly crowded on the day we visited, with long lines everywhere.
The Creamery still serves huge scoops of their ice cream, and someone was very, very happy about that!
We left Tillamook with an assortment of smoked goodies: beef summer sausage, smoked salmon for Brett’s bagels, smoked black pepper Tillamook cheddar, and smoked brie from Blue Heron.
A little store in Manzanita called Salt & Paper carries what we think is the BEST salt water taffy on the Oregon coast. We bought 24 different flavors for the girls, from pomegranate to espresso creme, and there were at least another dozen or more additional flavors beyond those!
Our last outing before leaving the coast was a walk on the long, beautiful Manzanita beach. We couldn’t get over how fine the sand was compared to the sand on Kaua’i. This view is looking north at Neahkanie Mountain. The view of Manzanita Beach and the coast from its summit is one of the most beautiful in Oregon.

We had planned to end our trip with a stop in Cannon Beach, but time was not on our side. We knew that it would be extremely crowded there as well, so we decided to head for Portland after leaving Manzanita and enjoyed a lovely (and nostalgic) drive through the mountains on Highway 26. We hit heavy traffic coming into Portland, but nothing that could take away from our wonderful two day geataway.

12 thoughts on “Picture Perfect: Our Getaway to the Oregon Coast

  1. We were on that stretch of coast just this spring. Still a beautiful area, but I was a little sad to see how developed everything has become in the last few years since we hadn’t been there. Loved it when Manzanita and Yachats were sleepy little towns. The yurts in the Oregon State Parks along the coast are a great deal if you like camping with a bed! Their parks have beautiful beaches and trails.

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    1. The crowds in Yachats, even though it’s the peak of the summer season, was – we remember a sleepy little town as well, even in the summer (we always stopped on our drive back up from Florence, where we camped every year). Manzanita was getting crowded before we left Oregon, but nothing like it was this time. Tillamook was crazy, and in retrospect I’m glad we skipped Cannon Beach.

      We are big fans of the beautiful Oregon State Parks, and camped at many of them (Honeyman was our favorite) including the cabins at Silver Falls. We stayed in the fancy yurts at the Umpqua Lighthouse park one year, but usually aimed for the regular ones whenever we could – we always felt so lucky when we could snag one!

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    1. We love Manzanita too, and were sad that we didn’t get to spend more time there. The crowds were pretty awful though. We noticed several new businesses there besides our old favorites. I was happiest though that we got to spend some time walking on the beach.

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  2. I used to love salt water taffy. Scrumptious candy, great pictures and lovely descriptions of your journey Maybe someday I will get the chance to see it for myself.

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    1. I still love salt water taffy – I had one piece in Manzanita, the espresso cream, and it was so good (but one was enough). My parents rarely bought us treats when we traveled, but I do remember my dad getting us salt water taffy.

      I hope you can make it out to the Oregon coast someday – it’s really a lovely place. Lots of funky little beach towns with beautiful and breathtaking scenery in between!

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  3. Thanks for the tip about the salt water taffy. It does look like a picture perfect getaway. Love those bridges. Where did you eat that wonderful seafood? I was amazed at the size of the scoops at the creamery. The line seemed to go pretty quickly when we were there so I hope it did for you.

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    1. The salt water taffy at Salt & Paper not only has the best flavors (IMHO), but it’s also the softest and creamiest taffy I’ve had out on the coast, and I’ve tried it from many places. It’s worth a stop.

      We had dinner at Gracie’s Sea Hag in Depoe Bay – it was just a short walk from the B&B, and we got to walk across the bridge and down under and over which was fun (and picturesque). The line for ice cream at Tillamook was so-so, not too slow though as they had plenty of servers working the line. Brett stuck with simple choices: old fashioned vanilla and Oregon strawberry (which is always loaded with real strawberries). I usually always get German Chocolate Cake and Mocha Fudge w/almonds, but I was a good girl this time. I didn’t even take a taste of Brett’s!

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  4. Wow. The coast in Oregon looks beautiful! I hope to go there someday! I think all coasts are crowded in the summer. I prefer to visit the Gulf Coast in late August, September and October. It is still warm enough to swim, but without the crowds. I would imagine the Oregon coast crowds would thin by then also.

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    1. The Oregon coast is fairly rugged, especially the lower part, and the views can be spectacular especially as you drive between the towns and through forests of Douglas firs. You can forget swimming though – too many rocks, dangerous currents, and mostly too cold (which I find interesting because it’s the offshore currents that keep it so temperate up here, with lots of rain versus snow, deep freezes, etc.).

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  5. The West Coast is so beautiful! We do miss the views, but not the cost of living. 🙂 DH is a bit of a lighthouse freak and he’s infected me with his enthusiasm. We’ve seen some great ones, and the W. Coast has some favorites. When he lived just north of Seattle, his house overlooked the Sound and he could see Point No Point in the distance – a highlight of his memories there.

    Ice cream is also a highlight of any trip we take – he would live on it if he could. I find it doesn’t agree with me as I age. But I do eat it randomly anyway. So tempting.

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    1. Oregon has gotten very expensive since we departed – we find it the same or more expensive now than it was in Hawaii! We’ve asked ourselves several times whether we could move back, but the the cost of living is one of the reasons we won’t.

      I wanted ice cream so much, but I’ve been so consistent about the carbs that I didn’t even risk a taste. Tillamook ice cream is so good too, and I love their flavors. We had a cheese and sausage platter for dinner that evening and that made me happy, so it was all good in the end.

      I’d love to stay overnight in a lighthouse B&B. I used to dream of living in one when I was young – it seemed so romantic (and a great location for an introvert). Of course someone else would be doing all the work, LOL. I just stand on the cliffs and listen to the ocean roar and look for ships.

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