THINGS TO DO AROUND SEATTLE - #10 NORTH COAST, OREGON
After Saturday morning at Columbia River Gorge amidst the canyon, river and waterfalls and Saturday night at Portland downtown, it was time to hit the coast on Sunday. As the plan was to head back to Seattle by Sunday night, we did the north coast of Oregon, starting with Cannon Beach, then heading north to Seaside to Astoria, and finally back to Seattle.
Cannon Beach is 1.5 hr drive northwest of Portland, and as you enter, you will be greeted by a cute little downtown, with local restaurants, gift, kite, ice-cream shops, bakeries, cafes, etc…a perfect beach town for the summer. But before hitting the beach or taking a leisurely stroll through the downtown, I’d recommend start with the best thing this place has to offer…the cliff-top Crescent Beach view from Ecola State Park.
About 1-2 miles from Cannon Beach downtown, entry into Ecola State Park costs $5 and you can drive right upto the lookout point without having to hike. Although a hike would have made the final end view seem even sweeter, but it is the most spectacular coastal view you will have ever seen…it is what paintings are made of. The view of the uninhabited Crescent beach, the Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, the numerous other rock formations, the blue water, the clear sky, the ocean wind…it is truly picture perfect! Take your best wine to sip while you sit at the bench to enjoy one of the best sights of your life. Next time I go here, I’m probably going to sit here for half a day instead of the measly one-hour we spent.
Close to Ecola State Park are Indian Beach, popular among surfers and kayakers and Crescent Beach, favorite among locals, hence largely deserted. The majority of tourists will be at Cannon Beach, with the anchor point being Haystack Rock. It’s a magnificent piece of rock, best seen from close quarters during low tide. It almost feels like a magnet, attracting every visitor’s eyes towards itself. Sun, sand, the rock and some wine made for an afternoon well spent at the beautiful Cannon Beach. Grab a bite somewhere downtown and then head northwards.
Our next stop was Seaside, another beach town, but the moment we entered, we knew we wanted to get out. The street to the beach is like a commercialized street meets amusement park – with slot machines, shopping malls and what not. A big downgrade after Cannon Beach, so my reco is, don’t even bother going here.
After a quick 10-min drive through Seaside, we headed to our last stop in Oregon, the town of Astoria. The best attraction here is the 125-foot Astoria column, which can be climbed with 164-step spiral to the top. Another spot I definitely want to visit is Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark ended their westward journey. Unfortunately we did not have enough time for that, so after a dinner at one of the restaurants that offered gorgeous views of the Columbia River, we drove across the 4-mile Astoria bridge, and struck 101 N.
It is unbelievable sometimes that every new leg of your journey can be as beautiful as the last one. Just when we thought we were about to leave behind the scenic views, the drive through 101N continued the momentum of our picturesque getaway, making for a perfect ending.
Cannon Beach - Highway 101, Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Ecola State Park - 84318 Ecola State Park Rd, Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Cannon Beach Visitor Center - Right in the heart of downtown Cannon Beach at the intersection of 2nd and Spruce. As a best practice, always hit the Visitor Centre at any place to get the local know-how, the must-dos and the quickest routes.
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