What to do this Summer on the Oregon Coast

oregonrock.jpgThe Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful stretches of land I have been privileged enough to spend time exploring.  If you are an Oregon native or you are visiting this summer, don't miss some of these great local stops along the way. Have fun!!

-Stay in Astoria's renovated Hotel Elliott, a 1924 historic beauty.  Stop at the Columbian Cafe and ask chef Uriah Hulsey for his catch-of-the-day crepe.  Save room for the wild campfire salmon or the ale-steamed local clams at Baked Alaska .

-Coast Cabins  in Manzanita has the most Northwest-cool lodging on the Oregon Coast.  Rent the North Tower for its loft view and outdoor hot tub.

-Dip your toes into surf culture with Lanny at Shuler Surfboards, his Seaside store and shaping studio.

-Sip on Willamette Valley red or cool down with the Oregon berry sorbet at sleek little Yummy  in downtown Seaside.

-Stretch your legs at Hug Point, mile markers 32 and 33.  Do as the sign says.

-Get a clifftop view at Oswald West State Park  via a short hike on the Oregon Coast trail (parking pullout at mile marker 41.3).

oregonstrain.jpg-Hop aboard the 1910 Heisler Steam Locomotive  from Garibaldi and ride the historic rails around Tillamook Bay and back.

-Stroll the 2-mile stretch of deserted beach at Bob Straub State Park.  You'll wander through a shaded pine forest and wade knee-deep through sea grass before reaching Nestucca Spit, where the Nestucca River meets the Pacific and barking sea lions bask in the sun between bites of salmon.

-Stay at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda  with its amazing view of the Pacific.  Spring for the Haystack Suite and savor it from a jetted tub.  Order the Campfire Package and they'll shoo you off to the beach with a bundle of wood, skewers and all the fixings for a s'mores smorgasbord by the moonlit ocean.

-Head out with Doryman Dave Stiles who will take you into the deep sea for a day with Eagle Charters.  Wake up at dawn to climb aboard Freedom, a flat-bottomed dory that rockets you past Haystack Rock, where you'll haul in pounds of lingcod, halibut and salmon while you watch for gray whales.

-Have breakfast in Pacific City at the Village Coffee Shoppe, an RV-sized diner with a pegboard wall.  Start your day with a breakfast immortalized by a local, like the Warren Deluxe (a pancake topped with an egg) or the Jim (slice of ham, two eggs, and raisin toast).  For lunch, head over to Grateful Bread Bakery for a dory-caught lingcod sandwich on an oven-hot bun. 

-Willamette Valley vintners Chenin and Sean Carlton downsized from an estate in the Eola Hills to a beach house in Pacific City where they opened Twist Wine Company, a 1980's-themed tasting room and lounge, done up with vintage beanbag chairs and Atari video games.  Cozy up to the bar, a lane salvaged from a bowling alley, and enjoy the wine.

  oregonsurf.jpg-Try surfing with Mike Jipp at Lincoln City Surf Shop .  The waves here can be mellow and perfect for beginners on longboards.

-Side Door Cafe  in Gleneden Beach has converted a former tile-and-brick factory into a lunch-and-dinner cafe serving some of the best food on the coast.

-Hunt for agates at the aptly named Agate Beach State Park  just north of Newport.

-Consider a longer road trip at the junction of Highway 101 and Highway 20 in Newport.  Highway 20 heads east and doesn't stop until Boston, making it the longest road in the country.

-Check out the Oregon Aquarium .  It shares a parking lot in Newport with Rogue Ales Brewery.

-Stock up on fresh-from-the-water seafood at the South Beach Fish Market in the blip of a town called South Beach.

-Eat clam chowder and watch the seagulls fly from Yachats' Landmark Restaurant and Lounge.

-At high tide, see the surf channel into a narrow, deep, basalt chasm at the Devil's Churn on Cape Perpetua (mile markers 166 & 167).

-Go underground at the Sea Lion Caves .  Descend 200 feet via elevator into a gigantic cave where sea lions cavort on the rocks.

-Have a cuppa in Florence at Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters .  It's almost hidden under the Siuslaw River Bridge, one of Conde McCullough's historic bridges that span rivers along the Oregon portion of Highway 101.

oregonlighthouse.jpg-Take a few hours to complete the trail at the Tahkenitch Dune Area  (mile marker 204).  It's a six-mile forest-dunes-beach loop that's almost always deserted.

-Head coastward in North Bend onto the Cape Arago Beach Loop.  In 24 miles, the loop meanders past three state parks and the Cape Arago Lighthouse, dropping you back on the 101 further south near Bandon.

-Get some cool wool hats, scarfs and sweaters at Wild Rivers Wool Factory Outlet  in Langlois.

-Sit at a picnic table and eat crispy cod at The Crazy Norwegian's Fish & Chips in Port Orford.

-Hike to the top of Humbug Mountain in the Oregon state park of the same name.  The trail leaves from the parking lot on the west side of the 101 at mile marker 305.5.

-Between mile markers 314 and 315, use the pullout north of the big hill.  Take a short, steep trail down to the base of the rocks and to the sea stacks at low tide.

Enjoy your summer in Oregon!!


Cathy is currently in the development stages of her vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living.  She lives with her husband and two sons.  You can visit her at noblepig.com.