Come closer to your computer screen. Ssh, I want to tell you a secret. October is a good month to travel the Oregon Coast. Oregon, so renowned for rainfall that her best football team is called the “Ducks” doesn’t get down to serious pouring until November. October is a great time to experience this lush and beautiful part of the world while the crowds are light and the lodging prices reasonable.
“Oregon has 415 miles of coastline,” you may say. “What should I see? Where should I stay?”
Relax. Gildshire Magazine has been in every nook and cranny of the Oregon Coast. We’ll get through this together and have a great time doing it.
1. The Oregon Coast Begins in California: Crescent City, California to be precise. From aesthetics to attitude Crescent City is an honorary Oregon town. Start your journey with an early lunch at Harbor View Grotto Restaurant and Lounge. The view is magnificent and, if you’re lucky, a rising young performer may be getting a start in the lounge. Rumor has it that songstress Brandee Evans got her start on the Harbor View stage. After lunch get on Hwy. 101 northbound.
2. Gold Beach: Your first extended look at Oregon’s gorgeous coastline will be at Gold Beach. The beaches, uncrowded most of the year, will be all yours in October. Put on a sweater and watch the sun go down. Gold Beach got it’s name from a gold strike at the mouth of the river. But you will believe it was from the way the sun hits the sand in the late afternoon. Hiking, fishing, strolling and relaxation are yours at Gold Beach. Make plans to come back next summer for a run up the Rogue River in one of Jerry’s Jet Boats.
3. Bandon: You’ve seen the ocean out of the driver’s side window for almost 100 miles (off and on) by the time you get to Bandon. But some of the most breathtaking views are found off Hwy. 101. Follow the signs to Bandon Beach Loop Drive. You’ll see some of the most spectacular ocean vistas in the world. Get out and stretch your legs at Coquille Rock. Breathe in the fresh moist air and be glad you are along on our little vacation. Before you leave Bandon, stop and pick up some cranberry candy. Forged from the many cranberry bogs found nearby, Bandon’s cranberry candy is a unique treat in the world of sweet.
4. Finish Day One at The Mill Casino/Hotel in Coos Bay. No drab and sterile motel rooms here!The rooms in the hotel are decorated to celebrate the traditions of the Native American tribes in Western Oregon. The Mill is a convenient stop on our way north. Who knows? You might hit the jackpot or get to shout, “BINGO” in the adjacent casino.
5. Florence: The geographic center of the Oregon Coast, Florence is a charming community, surrounded by lush rain forest. Visit the dunes that stretch from the edge of town south through Reedsport and almost to Coos Bay. Walk picturesque Old Town and see the fishing boats with their sails aloft. We may be halfway, but we have taken enough pictures to fill our Facebook albums. How can this get any better?
6. Tillamook: A few miles inland from the beach proper, Tillamook offers weather a few degrees warmer than what we have been experiencing on the coast. While in Tillamook sample some of the local cheese and ice cream before visiting the Tillamook Air Museum. Visitors will be astounded by the museum’s display of over 30 meticulously restored vintage aircraft, such as the 1938 Bellanca Air Cruiser, the P-38 Lightning, the P-51 Mustang, and many more.
7. Cannon Beach: Four out of five visitors surveyed want to retire in Cannon Beach once they have walked its artsy downtown. I made that statistic up, but you will believe it once you have experienced this picturesque little burg hard up against Haystack Rock. With enough museums, galleries and specialty shops to satisfy the most rigorous shopper, Cannon Beach (known as “Cannon” to the locals) remains a gentle little town. Contrast Cannon with our next stop:
8. Finish Day Two at Seaside: Seaside is a hopping place! Catering to the tourism trade out of Portland and Seattle, downtown Seaside resembles the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz. Games of chance, rides, bumper cars, Pronto Pups and music keep Seaside’s Broadway active all summer long, and weekends year-round. You may prefer Cannon Beach. I’ll bet your dollar to my paycheck your kids will want to return to Seaside. It is a place for the young…and the young at heart. More hotel rooms are available (and occupied in the summer) than a town this size should be able to boast. Stay the night where you can hear the surf.
9. We End Our Journey in Astoria: Astoria could be called Little Hollywood. Numerous movie producers have found the picturesque harbor backdrop and soaring Columbia River Bridge irresistible for a movie project. Films as disparate as Goonies, Short Circuit, and An Officer and a Gentlemen have called Astoria, Oregon a location. Visit Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark’s final Oregon encampment, just north of town.
How About a Funky and Fun Lunch Idea before We say Goodbye? Astoria and Seaside both feature “Pig and Pancake.” They keep the coffee flowing and a smile on their face while you decide between dozens of pancake creations never before seen. P ‘N P is a coastal tradition. Your full tummy will bear witness to the congregation.
Leave Astoria and zip over Hwy. 30 to Portland. There you will find Interstate Five, which will have you back to California in four short hours. They won’t be the most enjoyable four hours you’ve spent, however. The Oregon Coast owns that distinction, and may own you as well.