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Exploring the Oregon Coast

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For years while living in the San Francisco Bay Area I wanted to take a road trip up the Oregon coast. Mr. Misadventures and I had planned several one-to-two week trips, but when it came time to pull the trigger we were always lured back to Europe. Last year when we bought the RV I knew that I was finally going to get the trip I wanted.

We spent five weeks slowly climbing the coast. We started on the Oregon-California border, staying in Brookings and getting our first taste of fresh seafood, rocky beaches, tidepools, and redwood trails.

We also began experiencing the temperamental weather that would be the bane of Mr. Misadventures photography for our entire trip.

But he did get a few shots here and there. Like this one from McVay Rock Park and beach where we watched several sunsets and hunted creatures in the tidepools.

My favorite kind of hike is the redwood forest ones with cool air and pillowy trails. The shades of green are never-ending and we hiked the Oregon Redwood Trail with ease and with pleasure.

(Also, the road to get there allowed us to do a little off-roading which we were sorely missing!)

In Brookings, we got sushi for the first time in nearly six months! We ate tons of crab, Chinook salmon, shrimp, rockfish and halibut.

We changed RV sites every week, moving north about two hours each leg. We visited everything around and between our home bases so that we didn’t miss an inch of the coast.

After Brookings was Bandon, one of our favorite places we stayed at. The beaches are magnificent, albeit cold and windy. The rock formations on the beaches are impressive.

The sand dune hikes, not so much.

We absolutely loved the Cape Arago area and spent several days there. The area is made up of several smaller parks and there was so much to do. From watching the sea lion colony at the Simpson Reef & Shell Island Overlook (bring binoculars!) to an eight-mile coastal hike, to a beautiful beach in calm Sunset Bay, to tidepools in the rough rocky Shore Acres Park with really unique striations in the rocks that reminded me of White Pocket.

Oregon Coast Cape Arego Rocks

All along the Oregon coast there are lighthouses to see as well, some better looking than others. I liked this one at Cape Blanco.

Oregon Coast Cape Blanco Lighthouse

In Bandon, we ate more crab, more salmon, halibut and checked out the fish and chips at the superb Bandon Market.

Next, we hit Florence, catching up with our friends that we met in Moab. We arrived a couple of days of ahead of them and checked out the dunes out on the jetty, beautiful to look at, a pain in the ass to climb.

Oregon Coast Florence Jetty Dunes

The same for the sand dunes behind our RV park near Woahink Lake. I can say after multiple attempts, I am no fan of dune hiking!

Oregon Coast Florence Dune Hike

What we did love was the tidepools. Especially at Strawberry Hill Beach, north of Florence. So much so we went back nearly every day. Sometimes trying to catch the sunrise (we didn’t, too much of that ever-present fog) but mostly timing it to hit the tidepools at low tide. I can honestly say these tidepools are THE BEST that I have ever been to!

Dozens and dozens of sea anemones in the oddest shade of green:

Lots of sea stars, a variety of life that is disappearing on the coast due to illness. We found them in shades of orange, purple and red.

A tiny patch of purple sea urchins that were quite difficult to get to, along with crabs of all sizes and about two dozen of these guys including their pups:

oregon-coast-strawberry-hill-harbor-seal

Every day was liking seeing it for the first time, new discoveries surfaced with the changing of the light and water levels. These mussels, which were everywhere, showed their flash of blue once the sun hit them, it was insane. And beautiful and so fun to explore.

About 15 minutes further north was the dramatic Thor’s Well part of Cape Perpetua. Standing next to this natural hole as the high tide enters and shoots water up through it, is scary but exhilarating!

One day we stepped away from the coast and headed up into the mountains on bumpy roads to do a short hike to Kentucky Falls.

In Florence, we ate more crab, salmon, lingcod, and the best clam chowder of my life along with many meals with our friends that included lots of salad and fish. We parted ways with them and continued north to Newport.

Newport, as expected, was busier and more crowded. We visited the aquarium, Rogue Ales Headquarters, and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. We had a great view of the lighthouse every single day from our RV site, but most of the time it was covered in fog.

In ten days time, we got one fogless sunset. It was hilarious because every single person in the RV park sat at and watched it as if it was the last sunset they would ever see!

Oregon Coast Yaquina-Lighthouse-Sunset

That same fogless night, Mr. Misadventures got up at 4 a.m. to catch the Milky Way on the beach. You can see the lighthouse doing its job as well!

I didn’t mind the fog too much (more the lack of wifi!) and loved falling asleep at night to the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks on the beach.

We visited Lincoln City and Pacific City including driving on the beach at Cape Kiwanda to take a look at this giant rock that reminded me of Shiprock on the water!

Oregon Coast Cape-Kiwanda-Rock

Here we ate sockeye salmon, smoked salmon, and halibut. We would have eaten more fresh fish but the seafood markets are in the harbor which is where all the tourists go, meaning zero parking. It was aggravating!

Garibaldi, just north of Tillamook, was our last home base on our coastal trip, and we visited north and south including Cape Meares on Tillamook Bay which has an adorable lighthouse.

Oregon-Coast-Cape Meares Lighthouse

We also visited Hug Point, Cape Lookout, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and of course Tillamook. We ate our last Dungeness carbs and last fish and chips.

We did eat more than just seafood on our trip, we feasted on berries as well: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, you name it – the fresh fruit and vegetables were welcome after missing them for many, many months.

We took advantage of all that the Oregon coast has to offer: beaches, tidepools, seafood, coastal trails, lighthouses, sand dunes, waterfalls, and forests. It really was the ultimate road trip, and despite the wait, it was definitely worth every single day we spent in this really special region of the West Coast.

How about you? Have you been to the Oregon Coast? What was your favorite spot? If not, where do you want to visit?

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RV Travels: Weekly Wanderings #30 – Portland
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