Astoria to Ecola State Park ~ Oregon Coast

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My 28-year-old son had lived in Oregon for three years and never ventured to the Oregon Coast. Well, not since he was a year old. I’m a born and raised Oregonian but when I graduated from high school I left to travel and didn’t return until many years later when my son was a year old. We lived in Portland for four years and then I left for Los Angeles to finish college and didn’t return for more than 20 years. The Oregon I came home to had changed – I loved it even more.

Some of my friends that have stayed here all that time are a little more skeptical about Oregon’s changes, if they’re for the good. But I’m seeing it all with new eyes. Plus, I’ve been a lot of places. Seen a lot of things – good and bad.

I soon discovered my new found love of Oregon was so powerful I had to express it, share it, promote it – thus this blog and a Facebook travel page called Go Oregon Now and a Twitter account where I follow and tweet only about Oregon. I like to say, “I have my fingers on the pulse of Oregon.”

A few weekends ago I convinced my son and my mom to visit the Oregon Coast. We headed to Astoria because there were a couple of waterfalls along the way and my son loves waterfalls. That was the motivation, the carrot I dangled, to get him to go. I don’t think he knew he would love it so much, but he did.

I hope you enjoy the slide show of our journey.  We went from sun in Astoria to fog in Seaside.  But I think you’ll agree each carries it’s own special charm. There’s so much to see and experience along the coast when you travel in Oregon.


Manzanita – Northern Oregon Coast

The quaint village of Manzanita “little apple” is located in Tillamook County just two hours from Portland along the North Coast and offers visitors seven miles of pristine beach. An undisturbed beach community, unique gift shops and a thriving art venue help make Manzanita appealing to those who want a delightful getaway. You’ll find outstanding restaurants, vacation rentals and nice hotels to make your stay comfortable.

High above, on Oregon Coast cliffs, highway 101 turns out at the Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain Wayside. The broad sand of Manzanita Beach reaches into the sea. The Nehalem Bay Jetty lies south, enshrouded in morning fog. 

Popular locations abound for exploring, hiking, camping,  beach combing, fishing, crabbing, horseback riding, bicycling, boating, river kayaking, surfing, seal watching, kite flying, and wind surfing.

Build a sandcastle or study a tide pool but be sure to stay for a colorful sunset.

Visit nearby Oswald West State Park for beach exploration or Nehalem Bay State Park known for its forest hiking and exquisite vistas. Also close are Arcadia Beach and Hug Point.


If you’re staying for a few days and feel like venturing out, the little towns of Nehalem (on the Nahalem River) and Wheeler (overlooking Nehalem Bay) are inland on 101 not far away to the south.

Wheeler looking back at Manzanita

Along the Oregon Coast

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Today I’m thinking about the Oregon Coast. And I’m thinking about blue skies and sun. Perhaps a few colorful kites floating lazily in the sky, their long tails whipping in the breeze. Some kids playing in the sand, a few beachcombers, surfers, a sandboarder, the ever-present lovers and people under umbrellas smearing on lotion.

The fickle Oregon weather can just as easily change to storm clouds though, with gale force winds and pounding surf, but that won’t prevent an Oregonian from exploring all the wonders that abound.

It’s true the Oregon Coast has it all. I recently drove along Highway 101 and marveled at the diverse landscape – massive evergreens (even a few redwoods left), high cliffs, rocky shores, public parks, private homes, sand dunes, pristine sandy beaches, bays, harbors, bridges, marshes, estuaries, meadows, farmlands, sparkling surf, scrubby brush, grasses, wildflowers, wildlife and exquisite sunsets – each along its own stretch. Amazingly the entire 362 miles is public shoreline, thanks to a bill passed in 1967.

Along the way, from Brookings to Astoria, I found small town charm, abundant seafood eateries, museums, galleries, historic sites, an aquarium, distinctive shopping, a few festivals and other interesting places to visit and lodge for the night.

I made it a point to pull over at every breathtaking vista and follow the roads to distant beaches and a long list of lighthouse viewings. I was never disappointed. Every national forest and state park (more than 80) along the way were filled with abundant recreational activities and a plethora of campgrounds, hiking trails and fishing locales.

I’m one of those people that always gets a thrill from the first sighting of the beach every time I go. I’ve somehow managed to keep that wonder I had as a child on my first visit to the beach. I have a photo of my son, at about two, holding a pail and shovel, looking out at the distant horizon with that same awe on his face.

The ocean calls to us from an ancient place. And its a reminder we’re like a speck of sand. But everything that’s big is also small ~ somewhere ~ it’s all relative.

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