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paul3mac Jan 16th, 2007 02:20 PM

Oregon Coast Drive
Hello, I'm planning a trip to Oregon the last week in April (I know weather conditions might not be ideal then, but thats when it worked out that we had time to go) and was hoping some locals or those that have done a similar trip could chime in with any suggestions. I feel like I've done a lot of research, but I'm definitely open to other's ideas. Thanks

Day One: Arive in Eugene at 5pm. Rent car and drive up to Portland and stay the night.

Day Two: All day in Portland (or close surrounding area)

Day Three: Head for the coast in the morning. Go to Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park then head down through Tillamook, Lincoln City and Depoe Bay to Newport. Stay the night.

Day Four: Continue down the coast making stops along the way. Stay at Cape Blanco State Park in Port Orford

Day Five: Head down the coast to Redwoods National Park area and Klamath, CA Explore/Hike Redwoods. Stay in the area. Crescent City , CA

Day Six: Leave Crescent City and drive back to Eugene, OR, making stops along the way. Stay in Eugene

Day Seven: Dropoff car at Eugene airport. Depart Euegene at 6 am

paul3mac Jan 16th, 2007 02:30 PM

I had also thought about starting my trek down the coast in either Astoria (for a longer trip) or Tillamook (for a shorter trip), but wasn't sure if that was too ambitious/cutting the trip short.

happytrailstoyou Jan 16th, 2007 02:46 PM

I gather you must arrive in and depart from Eugene and that you want to visit Portland and environs.

If so, I think you would have a much more enjoyable week if you concentrate on Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon Coast from Astoria to Coos Bay or Bandon.

Cannon Beach, Newport, Yachats, and Bandon are especially pleasing towns to stay while on the coast.

NWWanderer Jan 16th, 2007 02:50 PM

Well, that's a lot of driving and not much time for hiking, if that's your primary interest. But it definitely looks do-able. I would make time to drive the Three Capes loop near Tillamook if you can--the Cape Lookout trail off that road is a nice one (and I saw grey whales from the viewpoint at the end of it), but be careful--I did it in March last year and was going a little too fast and fell on one of the slippery boardwalk portions of the trail and hurt my tailbone. Trails throughout the region are likely to be wet but so long as you have the right footwear (and don't go too fast ;-)) you should be just fine.

How are you planning to come back to Eugene from Crescent City--via 199 to I-5, or will you drive up the coast again?

paul3mac Jan 16th, 2007 03:06 PM

The main purpose of this trip is to see as much of the Oregon coast as possible and the Northern portion of Redwood NP. We've talked about (but haven't planned yet) a trip to Portland and concentrate just on the Portland area.

I think I'm leaning towards starting in Tillamook. It seems like starting in Cannon Beach would only add about 60 miles to my trip, but is that 60 miles worth it? Think I'd probably rather put that time towards hiking/exploring the coast.

We plan on going the 199 to I-5 route on the way back up to Eugene.

NWWanderer Jan 16th, 2007 03:18 PM

Ok, then you'd have time to do at least a short hike in Jebediah Smith Park that morning on your way from Crescent City to Eugene assuming you don't have to be in Eugene at any particular time that day.

I'd go to Cannon Beach, but I suppose if it's a choice between going there and having time to do one more hike that day, then I'd do the hike if I were you. If you do the Three Capes loop (which you definitely should esp if you skip Cannon Beach and have extra time) then stop in Pacific City at the brewpub there for lunch.

MadeleineRenata Jan 16th, 2007 03:49 PM

What kind of experience are you wanting most? Relaxed and scenic, artsy little shops, galleries, book stores?

Why flying into Eugene then driving to Portland? Give me more of what you want to experience and I can be of more help. April is a great time of year... but don't let it out - more people will move here! :)

MadeleineRenata Jan 16th, 2007 03:55 PM

When you say experience the Oregon coast, what activities do you have in mind? Some people like to stroll around in and out of shops and cafes and a few walks on the beach itself. Others want to LIVE on the beach every second they can, while others want those invigorating hikes from vistas near the coast line so they can look at it from a more scenic perspective... very "REI" kind of vacation. Which is your interest? The diversity of experience is so huge in Oregon coastal areas that you could be getting or missing exactly what you want, depending on where you go. Also, how do you feel about extremely windy road trips? Do you get car sick? Let's talk about southern OR/northern CA hwy 101!!! For some, heaven... for others, there just isn't enough dramomine (sp?)!!!

paul3mac Jan 16th, 2007 04:16 PM

My girlfriend and I are both in our mid 20's. We're mostly looking for a relaxing and scenic trip. Exploring the beaches and taking short hikes. We're not looking for a full on "REI" kind of vacation, where all we do is do challenging hikes, but I guess we're looking to do more than just stop at the roadside overlooks. We also like artsy eclectic shops and good restaurants (good as in casual, but good food. maybe a brewpub with good food and good beer. The place NWWanderer mentioned sounds perfect). We're from the east coast and seafood lovers, so I'm interested in trying some Oregon coast seafood.
So overall, we'd like to stop in some neat shops and restaurants on the way, but mainly want to spend as much time on/near the beach as possible and take some invigorating hikes as well.

The reason for flying into Eugene is that my girlfriend had a frequent flyer certificate and there is nothing available to Portland from BWI using a frequent flyer certificate on US Air (at least not at the time we booked it). It seemed like it worked out pretty well though, since we were coming back from the South, we wouldn't have to drive all the way up to Portland. Originally we were scheduled to land in Eugene at 1:30, which would have given us much more time in Portland. The flight plan has since been changed on us and we're now arriving at 5 unfortunately. (but we also now have an extremely long layover in Phoenix, so we might have an unexpected city to explore on our trip)

Oh and yeah I've already started to look into what the best motion sickness prevention is for those windy roads, haha.

Thanks everyone for all your help.

sunbum1944 Jan 17th, 2007 07:44 AM

I think that some of the prettiest coastline is between Lincoln City and just south of Florence- and there is a lot to explore. A nice hike would be to stop at Devils Elbow State Park north of Florence- walk up to the lighthouse ( one of the most photographed in the US) and then walk the trails around there. From the lighthouse you can connect to a pretty trail called the Hobbit Trail - which takes you to a beach only accessable by walking. Its a nice hike and Devils Elbow is my favorite beach.

There are some other nice trails you can reach from the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and you can get maps there also. One trail takes you down to the ocean and the Devils Churn -
Outside of Florence you might enjoy a dune buggy ride - very fun!!
Enjoy- hope you dont get too much rain

happytrailstoyou Jan 17th, 2007 08:54 AM

The best way to enjoy the coast is to get off the highway--something your plan makes it hard to do.

My favorite places to enjoy the coast are these AREAS: Cannon Beach, Depoe Bay, Newport, Yachats, and Cape Perpetua. Much farther south, Bandon is particularly delightful. However, there is much else of interest which cannot be investigated traveling at 55-60 miles per hour.

luvabargain Jan 17th, 2007 12:24 PM

From Portland, I would drive to Seaside. It's one of my favorite towns and has nice beaches. Definitely put in a stop at Cannon Beach, it's a nice area, but small so wouldn't take up a lot of time. I'm not sure I would drive all the way to Newport in one day, but you could change your mind on the road, depending on how many stops you've made. Lincoln City is another of my favorites so I would make sure to put a stop in there, and Depoe Bay is fun to stop at. Bandon is another fun place to explore. If you like wind and sand dunes, then put a stop in at Florence, but be prepared. I really wouldn't recommend staying in Crescent City. Stay in Brookings instead, it's much nicer and only about 15 minutes away or so.

beachbum Jan 17th, 2007 12:54 PM

If you're not giving yourself the chance to see Cannon Beach, Ecola and Oswald West State Parks, I'd pass on Tillamook (and Portland) too. Instead, head straight to Newport, and go south from there. At least then you'll have a better chance of having the time to enjoy what you'll be seeing.

Regardless, I agree with other posters; you're not planning enough time to really enjoy what you'll be seeing.

beachbum Jan 17th, 2007 01:02 PM

Pardon the poorly edited post. Bottom line is that I think you'd be happier with 2-3 nights in Newport/Yachats, another 1-2 on the south coast, and 1 in Crescent City. Make a decision for either north and central, or central and south coast, but not both.

MadeleineRenata Jan 17th, 2007 11:20 PM

Reading your wish-list of what kind of experience you're after, I'd STRONGLY suggest less mileage over the trip. If you absolutely must fly in and out of Eugene, then I would cut over and drive north to Cannon area to begin. Seaside is tacky touristy with a lot less real charm and art to it, IMO :) and I think you'll find the food and relaxed but artsy feel you are after far far more at Cannon. There is a wonderful beach area, where it is ideal to rent these low to the ground recumbent bikes and pedal along the beach - cheap and great fun. Grab fish and chips at Bill's tavern, which is far better than Ecola Seafood, ever since they changed hands. The homemade rootbeer, and other goodies are great. It is casual, but the food is really outstanding for that kind of thing. The fish and chips will literally melt in your mouth. For fine dining, The Bistro is the only place to rely on - and they are amazingly good. Otherwise, there is a great wine shop in town and also good deli choice, so you can put together a picnic and eat on the beach. If the weather is bad, drive souht of cannon a bit, and you can pull over at the most amazing overlooks, such as arcadia. YOU WILL LOVE exploring all the areas of the coast at Hug Point, including a waterfall, cave, really less tourists and very mellow and beautiful. Oswald West State Park will knock you out with this beautiful path/hike down across tiny foot bridge, feeling like you are deep in the forest until you come to the clearing of the coastline itself. There is camping there too. If you want a southern Oregon coast highlight, find your way to a spot called Devil's churn" which is the most dramatic wve crashing spot - small and lovely. I'd forget about Portland all together, unless you really want to see the city, which is great - but again, not enough time here to kick back and enjoy anything.

I'm with Beach Bum! Less locations! Also, I think someone here should point out that the culture of the coast is also about the politics and social fabric of the people. In Cannon and just south to Manzanita, you'll find a higher employment/higher education group, with theater and arts groups traveling there from larger cities. Thus, the vibe is more, well, vibrant - at least to us. In more economically challenged areas, it is very different. This matters to some people, not to others. We've found that people in some of the really smaller towns along the coastline are so surprising with their "twin peaks" kind of groove, that it can influence the feeling of being there. It all depends on your politics, if you catch my drift. Since you mention coming from the east coast, I think its important to point this out - just as one thing to think about. The Oregon coast isn't Laguna Beach artist community! (THANK HEAVENS!)

Speaking of Manzanita, it has some great little hangouts, and a long expanse of nice beach. If you want a nice house to rent, check out the Stuga at Hug Point, just south of Cannon. It is a privately owned house with an amazing view of the coast, very affordable, and relaxed but oh-so-romantic with a fireplace. Even if the weather is really bad, you'd love it there, and walking in the rain on the beach is wonderful, especially with a fire nearby. You can find them here:

We've stayed there many a time, and always loved it. There is an upper balcony with a complete view of ocean right at your edge! If it were me, I'd stay there the whole time and just take a few day trips. Good luck!

panhandle Jan 18th, 2007 05:17 AM

I am not sure I understand the comment about the "social fabric" I do agree that Cannon beach and the north coast in general does have more money and it really shows when you drive through. Towns like Cannon, Seaside, Florence, and Newport are all great to visit because the towns themselves have done a great job promoting tourism. Other towns...such as my old hometown Coos Bay, Reedsport, and others have clung to the Lumber and Fishing industry too long and have suffered as a result. Coos Bay actually was front runner to get the Oregon Coast Aquarium but Newport got it because the town really doesn't like to forces new things to conform to the way they do things or get get out. When I say town I really mean the people and the politics...its not really because the area is depressed necessarily but more because there isnt alot of young blood in power there. Honestly though...I do find more charm in a place like Coos Bay as well as very dramatic Cape Arago Hwy...Which to me is the best kept secret on the Oregon coast. Get away from the Tshirt shops and the Shell stores you find farther north and you will see why people LOVE to live in rural Oregon.No you will never get to "Wicked" there but they dont care and prefer it that way. When I moved to Coos Bay it took me a long time to learn to SLOW down and get into the lifestyle of the coast. BTW I lived in Coos Bay for 10 years, Newport for 1 year and now reside in Grants Pass in the Rogue Valley inland.

MadeleineRenata Jan 18th, 2007 06:46 AM

I agree with you re: the beauty of parts of the southern OR coast line, they are really beautiful. The thing is, there are two reasons to question going far south for this traveling couple: first, and mostly, he says they want to enjoy little shops, eat great food... hang out in the town etc... that suggests a place like Manzanita or Cannon to me. Since he wanted to head to Portland as well, again, in as few days as he will be here, the northern coast area made sense.

When I'm saying social fabric, I am suggesting that, quite frankly, if they are a young couple from the east coast, hanging out in small towns where people tend to be extremely conservative as a generality, will either be a great fit, or a terrible fit, and for many people, traveling to areas where people have cultural values that are offensive can be a very uncomfortable thing. I AM NOT SAYING THAT COASTAL AREA OFFENDS ME... I am just saying that young people in general often find towns that as you point out, are economically depressed via hanging onto logging etc... to be places that don't have the "vibe" they would enjoy.

This is why I asked what he wanted to experience - just the outdoors of the coast line itself, or they towns cultures too.

Its just a matter of different strokes for different people. I can look past the strong flavor of "one man-one woman... we all love George Bush and if you don't why are you in our town" but some young tourists find that overwhelming. Don't shoot me, but this is my personal experience over 30 years of living in and around these areas, and it may or may not be relevant for this travel couple. It just is part of the travel experience, like reminding people when traveling to Rome, if Catholicism really turns them off, they might want to re-think IF that matters enough to effect their trip. Some people it will, because that social fabric is everywhere. Other people couldn't care less, and enjoy meeting people different from themselves. It is a very personal thing. Please know I love those areas, and yet, I've met a great many people who felt very strange about their time visiting there because of these issues, while others absolutely felt great in the towns. This is why I said it. It is one factor.

paul3mac Jan 18th, 2007 07:22 AM

I understand what you're saying and hanging out in ultra conservative towns wouldn't be a great fit for us, but we've spent enough time in towns like that, that we wouldn't be completely turned off either. We'd much rather hang out in towns with a more liberal feel though, like Portland and Eugene are I believe. Are there any towns like that on the south coast, or are they all in the northern coast area? We plan to spend most of our time out on the coast itself when we are not in the car (might not have gotten that across clearly in my previous post), so hopefully we can avoid people all together, haha.

As far as why are we traveling so far south? Well I guess this trip is going to be sort of an overview of the whole region. We're interested in seeing the Redwoods, the Oregon coast and Portland. I think my plan is a doable way to see all these things, but I guess its not really giving us much time to fully explore one region. So the plan is to find what areas we like and maybe come back at a later date to spend more time in.

I have a question about the roads from Portland to the coast though. It seems like my options would be start in Astoria via rt 30, start in Cannon Beach via Rt 26, start in Tillamook via rt 6, or start in Lincoln city via rt 18. After reading all the suggestions, I do want to save as much time as possible from Portland, so I would think Lincoln City would give us the most time because its the farthest down the coast. However, what are the state highways, like rt 6 and 18, like? It seems like if rt 26 is a faster road, even though it'd take me much farther up the coast, it wouldn't add too much time on to our trip.

Thanks again. I thought I had researched extensively , but I'm learning a lot. Advice from people actually there is priceless.

beachbum Jan 18th, 2007 08:04 AM

Regardless of where you go, you won't be in any one place long enough to encounter much of the liberal vs. conservative difference. But, until Bend is overrun by Californians, you won't find the liberalism of Portland and Eugene anywhere else in Oregon, much less the south coast.

Hwys 26, 6, and 18 are all good. Via 26 or 6, the drive from Portland is about 90 minutes to the coast. Via 18 is closer to two hours. You might also consider I-5 from Portland to Albany, then west on hwy 20 to Newport. Last time I took this route, it was about 2.5 hours.

bbqboy Jan 18th, 2007 09:02 AM

Hey! Don't leave Ashland out of the liberal sphere.

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