According to the weekend New York Times, Euromonitor International has predicted the top ten states that will lure visitors in 2015. California is #1 with a projected tourist inflow of 134,145,000. #2 is one of my favorite destinations–Texas! #3 is predictable Florida. Ohio made EI’s top ten, but not Oregon. That’s crazy. If true, that must change. Two of our last trips of 2014 took Ruth and me down the entire Oregon Coast and it is, excuse me Ohio, a far better place for your vacation.
The Mile-by-Mile Guide to the Oregon Coast published by Oregon Coast Magazine divides it into 3 sections, which totally works. It also includes southern Washington and Northern California, which I won’t as I write about only Oregon over the next 3 days and name the best attractions in each section–North, Central, and South. I will exclude only Oregon’s 11 lighthouses, a separate endeavor.
Wise travelers begin their trip down Oregon’s Coast in Astoria, the most historic and colorful city in the Beaver State. Its story began in 1805, which makes it both the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and an amazement. The Lewis & Clark Expedition didn’t end until 1806! I wrote about Astoria way back in November 2011 and, since the info is still accurate with one exception, please refer to it to find out what makes Astoria so great. The exception is Flavel House. It descended into dereliction but was sold in early December, 2014, according to the Associated Press. There’s hope it will be restored. Happier news is that the Urban Cafe, the best dining spot in town, is still doing well.
Between Astoria and Seaside there are 3 not-to-be-missed attractions. Fort Clatsop National Monument commemorates where the Corps of Discovery wintered. Their modest, rained-upon fortress, which completely burned in 2005, has been lovingly rebuilt; and other improvements have made visiting Fort Clatsop an even better experience. Nearby, Fort Stevens State Park has a quirky museum that history buffs will love. Gearhart, birthplace of James Beard, remains my favorite small town on the Oregon Coast. It’s quiet and upscale, like Carmel, CA. Gearhart’s Pacific Way Cafe and Bakery is one of the best dining spots on the entire West Coast. But be warned. It has odd hours of operation.
If Gearhart is Carmel, Seaside is Coney Island. Mile-by-Mile calls it a “classic resort town”. It is the Oregon Coast’s 1st seaside resort area and has evolved into a family oriented fun town–Antique shops! Bumper cars! Miniature golf! Candy stores!
Ecola State Park, 25 miles south of Astoria, sounds wonderful; but it remains one of the very few Oregon Coast attractions I haven’t seen. Yet. It’s at Cannon Beach, which Ruth & I have extensively explored over the years. I wrote about it in May, 2012 (Oregon’s North Coast Beaches) and as recently as November, 2014 in 2 parts–Cannon Beach to Manzanita & Manzanita to Cape Meares. Use the blog’s Search window if interested in learning about this stretch of the Oregon Coast.
The North Coast section ends at Lincoln City, a tacky and congested town that lovers of smoky casinos and overcrowded outlet malls will favor. As you might guess, it’s not my kind of place. But between Cape Meares and Lincoln City, wise travelers leave Highway 101, which goes temporarily inland, and drive the coast road that takes them to the Cape Meares lighthouse, Cape Lookout & its State Park, and Cape Kiwanda. All are splendidly scenic. The wise also stop at Pacific City to be among Asian tourists and learn about dory boats.