Having traversed the Oregon coast numerous times by car, I must profess an affinity to southern Oregon. But which Oregon town or city is the best? Cannon Beach seems to always appear on travel web sites, road trip advice, and suggested places to visit.
Newport and Florence are both little towns that boast fishing, some interesting restaurants, and farmers markets. Coos Bay became famous when their native son, Steve Prefontaine became a world class distance runner, though he met an early and tragic death.
Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia River is generally the northernmost point of departure for most road trippers. Its main claim to fame is serving as the town for Ahhhnold’s movie, Kindergarten Cop.
Cannon Beach, mentioned above, is often listed as one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world, as well as one of the 100 best art towns in the U.S. The film, Goonies, was filmed here.
Just 90 minutes down the road is the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Can you believe it draws over a million visitors a year? It is a dairy co-op, much the same as our favorite co-op in the Valley, Sun Maid Raisins.
The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is Oregon’s tallest. Located in Newport, it is 93 feet tall. It has been around since 1873. Newport also has the Oregon Coast Aquarium. And MASH actor, David Ogden Stiers is from Newport. Speaking of water, some of you have been drawn here to the famous Rogue River jet boat rides. Having done this in New Zealand, and with Lexi in tow, I doubt this will happen again here.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area has 40 miles of dunes, some of which reach over 500 feet above the ocean. It is one of the most popular places to camp along the Oregon coast.
Florence is known for its famous Sea Lion Caves. It also has a 19th century lighthouse, busy fishing village, and historic Old Town district. I recall a nice seafood place there.
Coos Bay is known for Prefontaine’s home, and the half way point between San Francisco and Seattle. It is also home to the Oregon Coast Music Festival.
Bandon, where we are staying this week, is known for its small town charm, fresh seafood, and gorgeous beaches with over sized rocks. It is also home to the world famous golf resort, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (five golf courses). Bandon is also a center for cranberry production, though us raisin people could care less! The famous Jules Verne book, The Begum’s Fortune, was located precisely here.
So, I think you get the point. There is plenty to see and do along the coast, in the fog or sunshine. And when you get bored, head inland to some of Oregon’s best wine regions.
But the cool weather is what draws most of us from the hot Central Valley here. August generally has highs in the mid 60s, and lows in the low 50s. In other words, just about right. Bring a jacket, build a fire, roast some hot dogs and marshmallows, and save some brandy for the coffee.
We will also be in the area for the Oregon Wine Experience event, based in Jacksonville, OR. Since Lexi is with us, I doubt we can attend any functions. But the vintner dinners sound interesting! And we will see some old high school friends, who spend the summer nearby in Gold Beach.
We had a great barbecue in Gold Beach with three couples we know from back home. We brought a big ring of the fabulous Italian sausage that I make each winter with my younger brother. We had a great time, and they loved the sausage. Thanks to my brother and his buddy, Big Doug!
See you at one of the Oregon wineries or at the beach??