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Northern Oregon Coast in April

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Feb 4th, 2012, 07:27 AM
  #1
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Northern Oregon Coast in April

I'm flying into Portland on April 7 with my mother and 8 year old son, and plan to spend a couple of nights in Portland (for Columbia River Gorge) and 5 full days on the coast. Our timeline was dictated by son's spring break, but I now realize that it may be everyone else's spring break as well, seeing as Easter is April 8!

We are prepared for cool, rainy weather, but I'm wondering - just how cool and rainy might it be, if we're sticking to the north coast? And, does anyone have experience/insight as to how busy things might be over Easter week?

We were thinking of staying in Cannon Beach for a couple/three nights, then heading down to Newport for two nights before heading back to Portland for our homebound flight. We are hoping to go on a whale watching boat ride, visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and just enjoy the beaches and scenery.

So my questions are:

- Guesses on range of weather conditions?
- Will the coastal attractions be jammed on Easter week?
- Any input on moderately priced, near-the-beach accomodations, possibly with kitchenettes and an indoor pool?
- Ideas for kid-friendly, but not cheesy attractions would be welcome!

Thanks!
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Feb 4th, 2012, 08:15 AM
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My favorite "cheesy" attraction is the Tillamook Cheese factory.
They make great ice cream as well.
While in the Tillamook area, head out to see Cape Meares.
With a good pair of binos you can see whales spouting from the coast. April may be too late for whale watching.
Make sure to visit Powell's book store in Portland.
Be prepared for strong wind on the coast even if it is not raining.
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Feb 4th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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Go to www.weatherbase.com for historical weather statistics.
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Feb 4th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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Tom - that "cheesy" attraction sounds pretty good! I've heard from others it was a nice place to visit, so we'll probably head to the Tillamook cheese factory. I wondered if it might be too late to catch the whale migration, although there are always a few whales about - perhaps we'll get lucky. Thanks for the tip on the wind.

And thank you, Bobmrg, for the link. It's about what I expected - cool and potentially wet. In my estimation, that's part of what the Oregon coast is all about - one doesn't go there for sunbathing! (Although I was on the southern OR coast in Feb. once and experienced sunny, 70 degree weather, so who can say!)
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Feb 4th, 2012, 02:39 PM
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I would change the "potentially wet" to absolutely wet. I is a cold and drizzly coast- always a drizzle, not generally sheet of rain.
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Feb 4th, 2012, 03:30 PM
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The aquarium is wonderful! We rented a cottage within walking distance of the beach for tide pooling. This could be a great activity for your son, but be prepared for the water to be icy cold.
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Feb 4th, 2012, 05:32 PM
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The Hallmark Inn in Newport has kitchenettes, ocean views, and an indoor pool.

The Newport aquarium in well regarded.

The weather is impossible to predict. Today (2/4/2011) we should be having rain and gloom, but instead the skies are clear and there is sun over most of Washington and Oregon.

Dress in layers and bring a slicker (or its equivalent).

HTTY
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Feb 4th, 2012, 06:42 PM
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We enjoyed:

Ecola State Park--just north of Cannon Beach--this is not a camping state park. It exists for it's fabulous views of the coast.

Astoria's wonderful Coast Guard museum--something your 8 year old son would enjoy. He would also enjoy climbing the stairs to the top of the Astoria Column as well.

Just south of Astoria--Lewis & Clark's Fort Clatsop.

Tillamook Cheese Factory
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Feb 4th, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Thanks to all for the replies - especially the tips on activities for the 8 year old. I'm thinking we would all enjoy all of those things!

HTTY - The Hallmark Inn looks wonderful. A little pricey, but it looks like you get a lot for the price. Thanks!
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Feb 5th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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In Newport you can do a lighthouse tour- and they do a presentation/movie about the ghost of the lighthouse. Took my niece there and it was the highlight of her trip.( she was about 10 at the time) Old Town Newport is still a working fishing village so you will see fish processing plants mixed with shops and restaurants. Fun place to see sea lions up close as they come and lay on the docks .

I like to whale watch out of Depoe Bay- not far from Newport. The harbor you leave from is the one from the movie "One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest" if you remember that movie. The coastline at Depoe Bay juts out farther and more in line with the whales travel paths.
Tidal Raves is a great restaurant there with views of the crashing waves on the rocks below.

I do think the weather will be cool- bring layers. High topped rubber boots are great for wading in the tide pools.
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Feb 5th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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Spring Break for Oregon schools is usually the 4th week of March, so Easter week shouldn't be much busier than most other spring weeks. But, busy has become the norm for places like Cannon Beach and Manzanita. We drove to Cannon Beach for the day yesterday, and with the 60° temps and the crowds, I'd have thought it was the middle of summer.
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Feb 5th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Thank you Sunbum44 and islandaze - great tips about Newport and spring break. I just put "buy rubber boots" on my to-do list!

I am very excited to do a whale-watching boat trip - I had planned to be a marine biologist once upon a time.

In terms of crowds, would there be a better place than Cannon Beach to stay?
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Feb 5th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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well I love Cannon Beach crowds and all - usually when I stay at the beach I stay around Yachats - also a cute beach town but not nearly as upscale as Cannon Beach, but a shorter drive from my home. I love the area between Newport and Florence- lots of great beaches, things to see and do.
If you drive as far south as Florence, your son will think climbing on the sand dunes fun and also the dune buggy rides- you go with a driver who takes you just flying over the dunes. Its hard to visualize how vast the dunes are until you are actually in a vehicle driving over them.

Honeyman State park south of Florence is a great place to go climbing on the dunes if you get that far south.
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Feb 5th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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The Hallmark also has a family-friendly restaurant--Georgie's Beachside Grill. (We like the Hallmark in Newport, but not the one in Cannon Beach.)

HTTY
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Feb 5th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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Link to the Hatfield Marine Science Center which is next to the aquarium. http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/
Enjoy your stay on the Oregon coast.
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Feb 7th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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Spring Break for the largest school district in Oregon is indeed the final week of March this year.

In addition it is unlikely that enough people will have designs on the Oregon coast in early April to adversely effect your plans.

The weather in the Portland area is likely to be a mix of gray, rain, and damp-chill, with intermittent sunny surprises in early April. The coast is MORE likely to be damp, windy, and gray at that time of year (sunny surprises not out of the question).

Right NOW in the northwest, in the middle of winter, there are few clouds in the sky I see, and it is a staggering 58 degrees in what is the northern-most major city in the U.S. (too bad it isn't Portland - one report says "46 and cloudy" there right now).

I second (or 3rd, or 6th) the notion of the Tillamook Cheese Factory... it's definitely 'cheesy' in one sense, but it's the real deal.

Hope you have fun... nothing sounds amiss about your plans.
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Feb 7th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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I wonder if the recent layoffs (47 workers) at Tillamook Cheese will change the experience for future visitors.
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Feb 7th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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You will be able to go upstairs and see the exhibits and look through the windows even if they are not running the packaging line at the cheese factory. Sit and watch the short video when you come in. If you like cheese curds, this is where to buy them.
There is an elevator to go upstairs to be handicap accessable.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 05:02 AM
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In addition to the great cheese they make at Tilamook - there is also I believe an old/huge blimp hanger/museum near there that your son might like. Here it is: http://www.tillamookair.com/

And while the Oregon coast can be rainy/stormy - I think that is part of the rugged beauty. Broing a poncho type garment - and a decent umbrella - and some 3/4 or mini-boot size walking shoes - and you should be fine. And if the wind is blowing - just layer up.

And driving around the Ecola St park area is as beautiful as it gets - with the forest/trees coming down to the Ocean. And if you can head inland a bit - you might also find a temperate rain forest - with ferns and the like.

While I was in grad school at U of O in Eugene - waaaaaay back when - our Saturday "splurge" was to drive over to the Coast - Florence - and then grab a couple of crabs, some wine or beer - a loaf of french bread - and go make a fire on the beach. And it was quite reasonable for "starving students" back then.
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Feb 8th, 2012, 08:09 PM
  #20
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Thanks so much everyone for all the great feedback. We will come prepared for the weather. I agree with Tomsd that rainy weather lends itself to the rugged beauty of the area, and surely discourages the hoards of folks headed to warmer, sunnier climes for spring break, which suits me just fine .

You have all suggested some wonderful activities that we can all enjoy - Mom and I will be in heaven, just being near the ocean (I live at the other extreme - 10,000' elevation!), and my son will have plenty of opportunity to indulge his insatiable quest for information on all things science and nature related. Can't wait!
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