First Time on the Oregon Coast

We decided to take Thursday off.  Well actually I decided to take Thursday off, but Lee has a hard time just sitting when we arrive at a new place.  He ended up running some errands (which included going to 4 different stores looking for split top hot dog buns…obviously he is a big fan) while I mainly sat and read my book in the sun.  It was a nice day, and although we were expecting a very strong thunderstorm around 4pm, that storm missed us and we didn’t actually get rain until almost 11pm.  It’s pretty obvious at this point rain will be a factor this summer, so we need to be smart about when we do things and what we do.  To that end Lee and I started a Word document with a list of things to do in the area, and we will add to it as the summer progresses.  We have found it’s a good way to not forget about things you see or hear in passing, plus you can mark things off as you do them.

Thankfully there are tons of things to do in this area and on Friday Lee wanted to try the Oregon coast.  It was scheduled to rain all day in our area, but the coast looked somewhat clear, plus neither one of us had ever visited the Oregon coast before.  It’s roughly a two plus hour drive to get over there, but we are fine with long days and packed a lunch and headed out.  The first place we stopped was the town of Tillamook which has my very favorite ice cream and cheese dairy.  Unfortunately, the town itself was pretty torn up with a large construction project and the visitor center for the dairy has been closed for a major upgrade and they only have a small temporary store in it’s place.   It was pretty lame, and more importantly, their prices on the products were no better than you see out in the world, although I was a fan of their cheese tasting area.  I didn’t see anyplace to tour the factory, which was also a bummer because I would have liked that.  Worst of all I was hoping for some bargains on their ends and pieces, but the selection was minor and the prices weren’t really that much discounted.    Still, I am glad I got to visit, but I would prefer coming back once the new visitors center is completed in the Spring of 2018.

I did get to sit in the cheese bus

This was the interactivity portion of the temporary exhibit…lol

The store part was well stocked

And they had other cool local products, albeit at high prices

This cheese tasting bar was really good

We did spring for this cool ice cream scoop because it was very heavy duty and neither of us had seen one like it before. Plus it says Tillamook!

After our quick tour of the facility we headed to the Three Capes Scenic Drive.  Lee read quite a bit about it and although the article said it was clearly marked we still had some trouble finding it.  Part of the problem was that the road to Cape Meares (which was the northernmost part of the road) was closed.  We ended up finding an alternative route to get there and I was glad, because this State Park ended up being the coolest thing we saw all day.  By the time we reached the park it was close to 2pm and it was raining, so we parked the car facing an overlook and ate inside the truck.

The view from the truck was pretty good

And even better once the rain let up a bit and we could snap some pics

Since it was still sprinkling a bit we layered up and walked up a .1 mile path to see the Octopus Tree.  We visit nice trees wherever we go, but this one was very unique and was very cool to see.  We even met a guy who said he has a picture of himself when he was a little boy sitting in the tree, but it’s all been blocked off now to protect the tree. They also have trimmed several of the branches, but despite all that it still ranks up there with some of the coolest trees we have seen on our travels.

Lee walking up the path

The Octopus tree with Lee for scale

The base

After seeing the tree we walked down to the lighthouse and thankfully the rain had stopped and the sun even came out for some pictures.   I don’t mind light rain, but you just can’t take as good of pictures in it (well at least I can’t) and you get something extra in color when you have good sunshine.  So when you hear me lamenting the rain it’s not because I am worried about my hair or anything (it actually holds up well in the rain lol), but the pictures I could have gotten on a sunny day.  But that’s definitely part of the deal up here and the main reason everything is so beautifully green, so we will work with it the best we can.

All kinds of birds nest along these cliffs including puffins!!

Walking to the lighthouse we could see the top of it.

And you could stand right next to it which was pretty neat. Never seen that before

It’s a very small lighthouse, but you could walk right up inside

Lots of cool picture opportunities. See Lee through the red glass on the left

Lee likes lighthouses

Rainbow prism on Lee’s hand from the sun coming through the glass


We took a different path on the way and saw some more beautiful views.  Lots of birds hang out on these rocks but too far away for me to get a picture of any of them

Not sure what kind of bushes these were, but there were tons of these little flowers along our path

After the lighthouse we had high hopes for the rest of the drive, but unfortunately it was a bit of a bust.  We have taken the drive along the coast in Northern California and there are many more places to stop and see the ocean.  Here, the bulk of the drive was views of trees, which were beautiful, but precious few glimpses of the ocean, at least along this route.  We did like the fact that 100% of the beaches are public owned in Oregon, but many places also have very tall houses on the ocean side of the road so all you can see is them.  Still it was a pretty day and it was nice to get out and there is so much more coast to explore.

Some views were pretty

The towns were neat clinging to the hills and on both sides of the road

And we saw the first of what I am sure will be many rainbows on the way back home

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13 thoughts on “First Time on the Oregon Coast

  1. Oh ,these are great to see, Tracy. We will be there in October so I am collecting your observations for reference then. The picture of Lee at the lighthouse looking at you is wonderful! Be well. Liz

  2. Tracy, you have to do a taste comparison between Tillamook and Umpqua ice cream. Near where we used to live was a local ice cream shop and it was great, but once we tasted these ice creams, it went down on our list. I won’t tell you my #1 yet to spoil the fun. Let’s just say in 6 weeks we ate more ice cream then we had in the previous two years! LOL. AND we like ice cream.

  3. Next time try Newport and Depoe Bay. The tour of Yaquina lighthouse is very nice — and you can use your national park pass there.

    There’s a lot of great explorations in your future. I’m sure the Columbia Gorge is also on your list. Enjoy!

  4. Being an Oregonian, I have encouraging news for summer weather. Unlike the wet winters and springs, summers there are mild and extremely dry. If you can wait until July and August you will be rewarded with beautiful days full of sunshine and gorgeous green landscape. Your pictures of the coast are lovely. If you head south from Newport you will see a lot more of the ocean and have some gorgeous outlooks for pictures of the cliffs and beach. Enjoy your time in Oregon. It’s a truly wonderful state full of diverse landscapes.

  5. Beautiful photos, Tracy! It’s funny how prices are sometimes higher at the source. We paid over $30 for a bottle of Makers Mark in Kentucky. That same bottle is $26 in Florida and we saw it for $21 in California, of all places!

  6. This is my opinion only but I have been up and down the west coast and up and down the east coast and to me the Oregon coast is the best followed by Maine. Have followed you all from the beginning and first time comment.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love the Maine coast as well and am certainly going to give the Oregon coast more tries. There is so much of it to explore this summer ! Thanks very much for reading.

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