Morgan and I returned back to our home in SW Washington last night from a 3-day road trip along the Northern Oregon Coast. After exploring the Coos Bay area coastline a few weeks (read about that trip here: Getting Crosscut Certified), we were eager to explore more of the coast closer to home. Our original “plan” was to pack up Friday morning and explore Cannon Beach then camp when ever felt right, keep driving and stopping at pretty sites on Saturday before finding a hotel, then driving home Sunday.
We ended up getting to the Cannon Beach area which was much closer than expected (we really did hardly any research other than constantly checking the weather!), and fell in love and spent all 3 days there.
After a quick stop at our favorite coffee stand in town with the best vegan treats, Red Leaf, we headed onwards on highway 30 into Oregon towards Astoria/Seaside. Our first stop was a taco place, The Stand, in seaside for lunch which we got to go and ate at a bench overlooking the water. Delicious!
We headed on another 20 min down the road to Cannon Beach. After finding parking in a local neighborhood, we walked along the beach to Haystack Rock. We lucked out showing up at low tide and being able to walk all the way out to the rock. This was quite the spectacle from a geology background to see the different plant and life forms thriving on this rock sitting more or less on its own in the ocean.
We then circled back into downtown Cannon Beach to explore local shops and get a snack from the Creperie 🙂
Still hoping to camp for the night, we continued our drive South on highway 101 for another 45 minutes, taking a few viewpoint photo stops and walk/stretch break stops. As the wind started picking up and the temperature dropped rapidly while touring campsites through a state park, we decided to find a hotel for the night. A few minutes of google research later and we realized it was a 90 min drive South or a 45 min drive North to the nearest hotel where we had a membership to rack up more points. We thought on it and decided that since we were becoming less and less impressed with the stretch of road going more inland South and taking into account how much we loved the area we explored that morning, we decided to go back North and make our road trip more localized. I am so happy we made that decision!
We woke up in our fluffy hotel beds, grabbed a banana, put on our new Eddie Bauer gloves and walked out the side door of the Best Western Hotel onto the beach. Oh what a morning of finding sand dollars, listening to waves crash, and watching the fog move throughout the coastal mountains.
We then packed up our bags and headed to Hug Point to make oatmeal over our Coleman stove. It was a bit windy, but so worth it to eat amongst the trees with a view of the ocean. After a warming breakfast and an unplanned boots and toes dip in the ocean, we headed a little further into Oswald West State Park to hike down the Short Sands Trail. Parking is fairly accessible on either side of highway 101 with accessible restrooms at the larger parking areas.
We walked underneath the highway and escaped into the old growth forest to discover a community of surfers and families and dogs enjoying the brisk but beautiful Oregon coast morning.
What I love about hiking as a form of self care is that sometimes we need a walk with nature and a walk away from social stimulation to really understand our thoughts and feelings and our state of mind. We need that connection and refocus with our intuitive selves to be able to improve into the best version of ourselves. Most of the hikes Morgan and I go on together result in deep conversations, some tears, and a lot of reflection and growth. I’m thankful we can share in that space together.
Pushing noon, we were on the road again back to Cannon Beach (it was a weekend full of back and forth and back and forth) to find a local lunch spot. We chose the Seasons Cafe since it had raving vegan reviews. We both got the special: Curried carrot soup with a bread basket to split. I did not think I would be able to get Morgan to leave. Our meal was so delicious, he was tempted to order a 2nd serving!
After lunch and a brief change of shoes into something dry, we headed back to Oswald West State Park to hike a different trail, the Cape Falcon Trail. This trail was full of mud and I slightly regretted changing from my hiking boots to my street running shoes…oh well! It was a fun hike in thick woods.
[ I want to take a brief moment here to remind you and me that even though I chose to wear leggings instead of hiking pants, sneakers instead of boots, and a fanny pack while Morgan carried most of our gear in his day pack: I am not weak, I am not letting the man wear the pants, I am no less a hiker girl. I chose comfort and practicality for our trip over standards of attire. For the most part, I felt light on my feet and comfortable, but I did have moments of worry that people may not think I’m as outdoorsy as I am. That is their problem, not mine. ]
Saturday was a long day full of great adventure and conversation. We decided to head a little closer to home to one of our favorite towns – Astoria- to find a hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and enjoyed one of the last available rooms overlooking the Columbia River and the bridge between OR and WA! It was on the pricier side, but well worth it for our first real vacation in over a year!
For dinner, we went to our tried and true favorite: Rogue Brewhouse. They have a great selection of both house made beer and spirits, as well as multiple vegan options on the menu.
We woke up slowly, poured some juice from the hotel breakfast bar, and took a quick step outside to take in the rainy morning. Fog was rolling in and out of the WA side mountains and over the river and bridge. Mystical.
After breakfast and again packing up our belongings, we took the riverside railway trail from the hotel into downtown Astoria. We listened to the seals echoing their calls beneath the docks and admired old buildings turned into modern hotels and breweries. We can’t wait to go back!
For lunch, we stopped at another tried and true favorite: the Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro for their vegan TempehLTA (like a BLT) and a bowl of butternut squash soup. We read our books for a little bit, and then decided it was finally time to head back home and dream about the next vacation we will take together!
We had so much fun on this trip with very few pre-determined plans. At times, it was a little stressful and annoying finding good vegan food when waiting until I was starving to eat, but overall we were satisfied with all of our meals and destinations and would easily go back to anywhere we visited this trip! I hope this inspires you to take a trip or explore a new place along the OR coast you haven’t been to before. Comment below if you have been to the OR coast and what places you explored and enjoyed 🙂