Spring is in the air and what better way to welcome warmer days than to head to the Oregon coast. The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is one of the most beautiful places in the world. From all of its greenery, weird people, awesome food culture, and of course the ability to be up in the snowy mountains one day and then on the beach the next. Now I’m not suggesting swimming in the oceans along the Oregon coast (especially at this time of year), but it is possible to put on a wet suit and jump in during the summers.
For first timers headed to the coast from Portland for a weekend, pack some snacks and prepare a playlist for about a 2 1/2 hour car ride. I took my first trip to the coast with my cousin and our mommas, and every bit of it was perfect. Our snacks included a quick stop to Starbucks and chips, and our music consisted of a Country Pandora station. Within no time, and a few naps, we were on the Oregon Coast, starting in Lincoln City.
Here are some must-sees and dos along the Oregon Coast for first timers:
Peter Shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park
One way to feel like a mermaid is to hangout at a shipwreck. Along Oregon’s vast coast sits the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. The Iredale ranground on Oct. 25, 1906. This giant ship had sailed from Salina, Cruiz, Mexico, and was en route to the Columbia River when it encountered bad weather.
Ecola state park
Between Seaside and Cannon Beach, is Ecola State Park, which stretches along 9 miles of coastline and offers breathtaking views and hiking opportunities (seriously, you could hike along the entire Oregon Coast if you really wanted to). The entrance road meanders through a lush forest, and eventually opens up to a grassy area overlooking the Pacific Ocean and all of its wonders.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
We are so used to having our eyes locked down on a screen that sometimes we forget to look up. Yaquina Head Lighthouse is bound to force you to look up and enjoy the view. Whether it’s because of the nasty smell of bird poop, the immense amount of history that this place holds, or the immaculate views of the Pacific Ocean and its coastlines, this place will cause you to put your phone and camera away and just appreciate the company you are in.
Standing at 93 feet, Yaquina Head is Oregon’s tallest lighthouse and was first lit on Aug. 20, 1873. Visitors are also welcome to tour the lighthouse and look out into the ocean for whales, we were lucky enough to spot a few. You just need to be patient! Below the lighthouse is a trail to Cobble Beach which is covered in round basalt river-looking rocks that produce the sound of a cheering crowd each time the waves roll in.
Tillamook dairy factory
One word: Yum. From free samples of cheese and ice cream, you really can’t go wrong at the nationally renowned dairy factory (unless you’re lactose intolerant). On the drive there, stop on the side at one of the many fruit stands you will see. We stopped for fresh cherries and boy, were they delicious.
Sure, it’s touristy, but it’s supposedly history, and if you’re a first time coaster, then why not?! Nye Beach is surrounded by restaurants with mouthwatering clam chowder, shops to splurge in, and of course the beach to hangout on and dip your toes in. There are also intriguing art galleries, if you’re into that sort of thing. Plus, it’s a great place for mother-daughter selfies.
Build a fire
Sure, we’ve been to bonfires before having grown up in Hawaii, but building bonfires there is illegal. In Oregon, it’s so legal that the hotel we stayed at included a “Build your own beach fire kit.” So at sunset, we headed to the beach with our smore ingredients, and built a small fire. It was definitely a relaxing and enjoyable way to end our trip, even if the beach was covered with drunk 20-somethings and tons of family, there was enough space for everyone to be in their own little bubble. Along with smores, we couldn’t forget the wine, cheeses, and meats!