In October 2017 John and I took a road trip across Oregon (our fourth!). We spent a week traveling throughout Portland, the coast, southern Oregon, the Willamette Valley, and central Oregon. These trip recap posts will be organized by region for guidance, in case you want to replicate anything we did on our trip. The map reflects the days traveled, and I will reference what day the pictures/information corresponds to.
On Day 2 we left Forest Grove, Oregon to some pretty dense fog.
We made the hour-long drive west to the coast on Route 26, and watching the fog lift as we drove was a spectacular sight.
This is why I love the landscape of Oregon so much: you drive through huge, lush green forests right to the coast and then the whole waterfront opens up and it’s an unreal sight.
When we arrived in Cannon Beach on Day 2 we stopped for brunch at Sea Level Bakery. It was quaint and adorable, with great pastries and sandwiches.
Bellies full, we headed down to the beach. We’ve been here several times before and the sight of Haystack Rock never gets old. Nature at it’s absolute perfection.
From the beach we drove 10 minutes up to our favorite vantage point – Ecola State Park.
The views from here are breathtaking. I am so glad we stumbled upon this park 7 years ago on our honeymoon.
The other amazing thing was on this particular day if you looked south at Cannon Beach, the skies were gray and rainy. If you looked northwest, out on to the Pacific, and towards the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, the sky was blue and sunny. Go figure!
It looks so small out there; the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is about a mile out in the Pacific.
Ecola State Park itself is just stunning – there is one road that winds up through a thick, dense forest to get to the park/coastal overlook area. It’s pretty magical in there.
From the Cannon Beach/Seaside area, we drove due south into dairy farm country. We stopped in Bay City at the Country Smoker Outlet where John purchased a 2-foot pepperoni stick. I think his face says all you need to know.
Our next stop on Day 2 was the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon. We’d been before and, on this visit, quickly realized they were undergoing some major construction so the experience was a very different one than when we visited in 2011.
It wasn’t bad, just different – they have a temporary visitor’s center set up until summer 2018. This meant we couldn’t go in the actual factory or take the factory tour proper. They had a ton of free cheese to sample though, and that’s always a win.
They had a few interactive exhibits, a snack bar, and their merch shop. A good experience, but I definitely recommend the full factory tour if you can do it.
From Tillamook we kept driving south on the 101. There were highways turnouts every few miles because Oregon is awesome like that; the coast is so beautiful they know you need to stop every 15 minutes to stare out over the Pacific Ocean with your mouth hanging open.
One particularly notable stop was the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint.
Onward! Another hour’s drive south brought us to just about sunset time in Lane County, Oregon.
I had read online that the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint was a stellar place to watch the sunset and it absolutely did not disappoint. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever watched the sunset from a more beautiful spot.
Here’s a little 15 second video of the beach at sunset:
Another drive 45 minutes south on Day 2, enjoying the lingering sunset, and we stopped for some good mexican food at Aztlan Mexican Restaurant in Reedsport, Oregon.
After dinner we drove another 45 minutes – for a total of about 6 hours of driving down the coast on the 101 – to our final destination for Day 2: Coos Bay, Oregon. I will say, breaking that drive up into 1-2 hour chunks was great. There are so many places to stop along the coast, and so much to see along the drive, that it really didn’t feel bad at all.
On Day 3 we woke up in Coos Bay to fog again. That’s the coast for ya!
But, again, it quickly broke up and we were treated to more gorgeous coastal views from Port Orford Visitor’s Center.
Another hour drive south on the 101 and we were getting close to California! We made a little pit spot here at Meyers Creek Beach in Pistol River, Oregon.
And here’s where we crossed into northern California for a little bit. There weren’t any direct roads through Oregon to get to our big stop on Day 3 so we had to drop into CA for about an hour.
This is also where we officially drove inland toward southern Oregon, which is the topic of the next installment!
Next up on our regional tour of Oregon state: Southern Oregon!