The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. I couldn’t get over the fact that there were rainforests, mountains, and gorgeous coastlines all in one place! What more could an outdoor enthusiast want? I felt like we were in heaven and I cannot wait to make it back someday.
We started our road trip driving from Boise, Idaho. The first part of the trip was pretty boring considering much of it was desert. But, we were never prepared for what the coast had in store for us.
At the time, neither one of us had set eyes on the Pacific Ocean. It was of course on our bucket list (yes, we have a literal hand written 10-year-old bucket list). The goal was to make another slash on the list, so we hit the road with our pup and made some unforgettable memories.
Picnic On The Columbia River
On the way to Astoria, we thought we would make a stop along the way on the Columbia River. We decided it would be a good place to eat our lunch, stretch our legs, and let the dog run a little bit. It’s part of our routine to always plan a good lunch stop while we’re travelling, so that’s what we did. Our dog Micah loved the stop… probably more than us, because she found a lovely smelling dead fish on the shore and of course decided to roll in it. Yup…the joys of being a dog mom.
It wouldn’t have been such a big deal except we had just literally bought our truck. It was brand new, fresh from the dealership a week prior and Micah was literally covered in fish guts. Fun stuff. Luckily, we were able to google a pet grooming place and found one that had an outdoor dog bath just a few miles away. We laugh about it now when we reflect back, but it wasn’t funny then. 🙂
Once we made it to the actual coast we started in Astoria. As a 80s and 90s kids, we were especially excited to see where parts of ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Free Willy’ were filmed. But little did I know that those places weren’t near as cool as seeing the rugged coastline and visiting a busy fisherman’s dock where hungry elephant seals wait for any scraps they can get their hands on. It was my first experience seeing the seals outside of a place like a zoo or animal refuge. I was just so excited and interested to watch them. It seems kind of silly, but I’m admittedly kind of dorky too, that’s just me. They were super fun to watch and we really enjoyed them…from a safe distance 😉.
Haystack Rock is one of the most iconic rock formations on the West Coast. It was also a film location for ‘The Goonies’ movie. The rock itself rises 235 feet from the shoreline. It’s really a wonder to look at. Not only is it really cool and unique for its geological aspects, but it’s awesome to see all of the different types of birds that make their home in the area and the tidal pools were full of marine life. I could have probably spent weeks hanging out in Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock is definitely an Oregon Coast bucket list item.
One of my favorite days spent on the coast was at Depoe Bay. We went whale watching and it was an unforgettable experience. As I mentioned earlier, seeing the Pacific Ocean was a bucket list item for us, but we wanted to step our game up a notch and experience the Pacific on a boat…watching whales. It ended up being the highlight of our trip.
Depoe Bay is the World’s Smallest Navigable Harbor. When we went, it was October and the ocean swells were a bit sketchy and there was a small chance we wouldn’t even be able go. We were super bummed out about it, but luck was on our side, and we got the green light to go and happily boarded the boat with a few other couples.
We had a phenomenal captain, and we knew it from the beginning of our excursion. The water was rough and there was only a very small gap in between the rocks to go through, in order to get out to sea. After several minutes of bobbing and weaving, he suddenly accelerated the boat and navigated us safely out of the harbor. He knew just what he was doing and nailed it with his timing. It was a little dangerous and really exciting. He knew the bay like the back of his hand and knew so much about the whales and their behaviors.
Watching the whales was really special. Seeing an animal of that size in its own environment is a truly unique experience and it is something I will never forget. The captain told us we were lucky because we happened upon a sleeping whale who we watched for a good 15 minutes. Apparently, it’s an uncommon site to see them in that particular state of sleep.
Everything about Yaquina Head was stunning. There’s a lighthouse located on the rugged coastline. It was a captivating place to be. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is Oregon’s tallest lighthouse standing at 93 feet, and she is a beauty. The lighthouse is located in Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area which is also a nesting spot for birds of the area.
We took a few short loop trails during the trip. Because we went in October, we had perfect weather to hike and took full advantage of the beauty of the forest. There was little to no foot traffic, so we pretty much had the trails to ourselves. The foliage was full and unique, the trees were impressive in their size, and the diversity of plants and wildlife was really cool for us to see.
We hope you enjoyed the pictures and tale of our trip!
The coast is absolutely stunning and I’m already dreaming of going back.
Have you ever been to the Oregon Coast?
If so, what was your favorite place or attraction?