Earlier this month Sam and I took the car along the PNW coast and saw a few of the many, many spectacular beaches – each only about 2-3 hours away from Portland. The trip left such an impact on us that we’ve been longing to do it again, so we’re hitting the road again this weekend! So before there’s too many memories to recount, I wanted to take some time and reflect on our coastal trip and jot down some of my favorite moments.
Driving through the Country
After work, we drove directly to Newport in the hopes of getting there with some daylight to spare. With an obligatory Taco Bell burrito puddling up hot sauce on my lap, we made our way through windy, country roads with (frustratingly) low speed limits that gave us plenty of time to sightsee. Since every road trip requires lots of time in the car, it’s a bonus when there is always something new and beautiful to see. One thing we didn’t do? Take a picture. Just imagine rolling amber hills, forested cliffs, and a windshield with more than enough dead bugs to make me question my validity as a new Vegan.
Catching the Sunset in Newport
We did manage to get to Newport in time; we parked as close to the beach as we could and walked in the freezing cold coastal winds to enjoy the sun as it set behind the horizon. The majority of the town was asleep by the time we arrived, and was still asleep by the time we left in the morning, but seeing the cute shops in the street helped me imagine a bustling seaside town during peak hours. Maybe this weekend we’ll see that side of it.
Finding little Sea Creatures in Smelt Sands
The next morning we drove about thirty minutes south down the coast to visit Smelt Sands, a really cool beach with tide pools, which, for those of us who have lived 15 years in a desert, are little pools of ocean water that get holed up in the crevices of rocks as the tide changes. Sam and I saw a bunch of crabs and starfish and since I grew up catching little sea critters just like that with my brother, I was incredibly delighted to experience this. Other living things here? Ravens or crows, I can never tell the difference. But they hunt the crabs here and it’s interesting to watch them work their way strategically through a shell.
Exploring Sea Caves in Depoe Bay (and grabbing lunch)
Probably the highlight of the trip for me was Depoe Bay, where we spotted some caves along the cliffs that were accessible because of the low tide. I don’t keep up with the ocean’s schedule but we arrived around noon so I imagine that’s a good time to come and see these guys for yourself! Getting to them requires some scrambling and clambering but nothing too intense or advanced. (Sam’s Note: & don’t make the fun mistake that we did. You don’t have to scramble over the slippery algae rocks. There is a rope to help you get down towards the South side near the caves!)
Afterwards we grabbed lunch at the Chowder Bowl (the veggie burger was a special so they may not have it all the time) and grabbed some vegan Taffy at Ainslee’s.
Enjoying the Views in Neskowin
There’s a really cool hill/cliff/hump?/chunk of land on the beach in Neskowin. If you make your way up you can sit on branches and enjoy some incredibly peaceful views of the ocean. Another thing to do here is almost die because you lose your footing (SAM) so make sure to be careful when you start the descent. Neskowin seems like the type of place where you find more to do the more you visit, so I’m super excited to head back and do some more thorough exploring. We enjoyed a veggie burrito and a beer at a little shop near the beach as we prepared for our final stop of the day.
Sleeping in Oceanside
Oceanside automatically makes me think of Southern California, but the only thing the two cities have in common is that they’re both on the side of an ocean. Oceanside, Oregon is beautifully quiet, and quaint, and we found a good spot to listen to the waves as we got tucked in for the night. Just like Newport, I imagine this small town to be packed with surfers during the day but experiencing the quiet side of it was the perfect way to end the trip.
Our Way Home
On our way home, we stopped in several other small towns and revisited Cannon Beach (which is still my favorite, for now) and made it home with enough time to unwind and prepare for the workweek.
Sam and I never used to have two consecutive days off together, but now that we do (on occasion) we’ve discovered the absolute magic of weekend traveling. I highly suggest doing this and just bumming it out in your car and pack a ton of PB&J sandwiches to make it cheap, and fun, and easy. On to the next one!