This is Part 2 of my post about our Oregon road trip; in Part 1 you can find some suggestions for what to do, eat, and drink on a weekend in Portland! (You can also find out how much I freak out about driving… #roadtrippp.)
Day 4: Wine and Dunes: Portland to Florence
By now you probably know that Portland is cool, but byeeee Portland! Today’s the day you get to drive out to the coast with the wind in your h—ohh but actually you have loads of time, may as well make a couple of stops along the way!
Eugene’s right on the route from Portland to Florence, so it’s a great spot for lunch. We needed a cheap food day after PDX, so we opted for scrumptious food truck tacos, but there are loads of options, and even a Voodoo Doughnuts if you were too stuffed to try it in Portland.
Ok now it’s time to drive off to the coas—oooh hang on though, there’s a WINERY route basically ON THE WAY?! Durrrr you are going there! There are lots of wineries to choose from near the Territorial Highway, just off the route between Eugene and Florence. We visited Sweet Cheeks Winery and Sarver Winery to share a tasting at each (had to be responsible, we were driving). Both offered great wines and stunning views of the rolling vineyards.
Next stop for us was Jessie M. Honeyman State Park campground: just south of Florence, essentially on the DUNES! We set up our tent quickly, then set off towards the sand! After a short walk along an easy trail, the trees opened up to rolling dunes in every direction, and the Pacific just a few miles to the west. It was one of those *tingly moments* where I felt awestruck and minuscule at the same time. We ran down the sandy hill, yelling and smiling (and then effortfully lumbered back up, smiling a little less). It was too windy to stay for sunset, but we sat on a massive dune for a while, taking in the view before heading back to our campsite to get a toasty fire going!
Day 5: Dunes dunes dunes: Camping Near Florence
Today’s the day to fill all your crevices with sand! (PSA: be careful with your camera. Mine has since died, and I’m 100% sure it’s because I got too close and personal with the sand. Beautiful pictures, but RIP camera.)
Go ATVing and sandboarding! There are a plethora of ATV rental places to choose from, and tbh we didn’t really do any research, we just looked for the place closest to the campground. I would maybe not recommend the business we used; they basically had us sign a waiver, watch a video, led us to the dunes, and set us free for an hour. Overall, it didn’t feel suuuuper safe. (Maybe don’t go ATVing if you want to feel super safe, Leslie.) Once I got comfortable speeding up over the hills, and turning cautiously so that I didn’t get stuck, it was FUN! We got lost finding the entrance to the rental place on the way back though – keep an eye on landmarks because it can be easy to lose your way.
We got a cheap sandboard rental from the ATV place, so we tried that too! Turns out, sandboarding is HARD! We took our board (and a bar of wax – essential!) to South Jetty, near Florence. People were zooming all around us on ATVs, and we were awkwardly trying to stay standing on our boards but mostly ended up on our bums. Looking cool, no doubt! Getting back up the dunes after bellyflopping our way down was a workout for sure, but a nice guy with an ATV kept showing up to give us rides back up. Dune Uber would be a lucrative business, just saying!
After showering off as much sand as we could (not much), this was a good night for beer, board games, and roasting things over a campfire.
Day 6: Coastal Towns & Views: Florence to Oceanside
Time to see the coast! Our next sleep was booked in Oceanside, a few hours north. There’s no limit to the interesting places you can stop at on your way there from Florence, but these were some we loved:
- Thor’s Well area: known for its giant drain-like sinkhole, this is a pretty spectacular place to stretch your legs, even at low tide.
- The Green Salmon Coffee Company in Yachats: If you want to stop in a cute seaside town for good food and good coffee, Yachats will deliver. The Green Salmon is funky and quirky, and it comes with an extra dose of Oregon: you can add CBD oil to any drink!
- Seal Rock: cool rocks. Rocks rock.
- Depoe Bay: Ok so I only REALLY stopped here to pee, but it’s apparently the place to go whale-watching. There were also tons of shops with stereotypically coastal things, like saltwater taffy and clam chowder, and the neatest-looking little winery (sadly it was closing when I went by).
- Lincoln City Outlet Malls: If you want a good deal, or if it’s rainy out, this is a good stop!
- Oceanside: If you’re not staying in Oceanside, I definitely recommend stopping! (But consider staying in Oceanside.) Roseanna’s Cafe is a PERFECT spot for a romantic (and pricier) date night. While you enjoy seafood, wine, and luscious desserts, you can watch the sun go down over the Three Arch Rocks. If you arrive earlier in the day, the Blue Agate Cafe is a casual, cheaper option – fish and chips, anyone?
If you’re staying over, you probably won’t find too much going on in the evening; a walk along the beach, maybe some drinks around a fire, and curling up at your hotel or Airbnb are reasonable expectations. This was absolutely perfect for us!
Day 7: Explore the seaside in Oceanside
Our Airbnb made our stay, but I don’t think you can go wrong in a town where most of the homes are built on a hill, facing the ocean. We went to bed watching the sunset over the Three Arch Rocks from our giant window, and woke up to a WHALE SPOUT in the same area. That’s right, we were whale-watching from our bed! We also pulled out the binoculars, and spotted a bunch of sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks.
As much as you can spend your whole time in Oceanside relaxing, there’s lots to explore too. At the north end of the beach is a short tunnel which leads to aptly-named Tunnel Beach. There are lots of rocks to clamber over, and quiet places for a picnic.
Cape Meares is a short drive away: you can check out a historical lighthouse, the famous Octopus Tree and, if you’re lucky, see some Tufted Puffins – bring your binos!
Day 8: The Slow Route Back to Portland/ The Extra Long Drive up to Port Angeles/ Cry Because It’s Time to Go Home
Again, there are lots of options for stops on your last leg of the coast! We didn’t make too many, because we were heading up to Port Angeles to spend the night before catching a ferry back to Victoria, and it was going to be a looong day of driving, but there was lots of coastal eye candy. Here are a couple options for stops:
- Tillamook Creamery (cheese factory): sadly this wasn’t top of my lactose intolerant girlfriend’s list… but I was into it! The factory has an educational/mini museum component, lotsss of delicious samples, and creamy ice cream for sale!
- Rockaway Beach: we pulled over here on a whim and were delighted to discover tons of well-fed, friendly ground squirrels to hang out with by the beach!
- Cannon Beach: there are tons of lunch options in this city, and you can walk along the gorgeous beach out to Haystack Rock, a giant basalt rock stack and Oregon landmark. The stack is home to a bunch of bird species (on track for grandma-hood), so don’t forget your binoculars!
The coast absolutely blew me away! I would go back again and again. Let me know if you have suggestions for other stops!