Waaaaay too much fun here!

Waaaaay too much fun here!

We’ve been having waaaaay too good a time here on the coast, weather and all. You already know how I love the OR coast. I’ve gushed about it, fawned over it, even waxed poetic about it (yes, real live poetry folks), and the fun is only just starting. We’re at the very northern tip of our OR coast travels, hanging just south of Astoria a mere 20 miles or so from our last campground.

Totally new spot, totally new view. The 1906 wreck of Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens beach

Totally new spot, totally new view. The 1906 wreck of Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens beach

It may seem nuts to travel so short a distance, but we are deliberately taking our time down the coast and will be doing drives of only ~30-60 miles at each stop, fully soaking in each spot, until we get down to our summer jobs at Bandon. It’s not the first time we’ve driven this trip, but (apart from our current spot) we will be hitting all new state park campgrounds and all new areas. It’s one of the things I love about the coast. No matter how many times you drive it, you’ll always experience something new, and the changing weather makes it all the more so.

We don't mind a bit 'o fog & chill...not at all!

We don’t mind a bit ‘o fog & chill…not at all!

Speaking of which, the weather has been oh-so-good. You never know when it will change of course, this being the coast and all, but apart from a few chilly, foggy mornings (which, by the by, we love equally well…you can thank 10 years in San Francisco for that one) we’ve had afternoons of rockin’ sun and perfect mid-60’s temps. It’s the whole reason we’ve chosen to hang on the OR coast this summer. It’s the sure-promise of consistently cool temps, unending pooch-friendly beach and never having to run the AC (priceless!)

But before I get carried away, let me update you on our week here:

Poetically Historic Astoria

A Danish Bakery in downtown Astoria...awesome!

A Danish Bakery in downtown Astoria…awesome!

Even the bins have maritime history on them here

Even the bins have maritime history on them here

Astoria is a lovely town that lies on the southern shore of the mighty and dangerous Columbia River, and claims history as the first permanent US (non-European) settlement west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1811 as a fur-trading post, the town quickly progressed to the much more profitable business of fishing attracting, interestingly enough, a strong core of Scandinavian emigrants in the mid 1800’s. The salmon and canning industry waned and died in the late 1900’s, but the town has continued to thrive in other ways. Today, Astoria combines a colorful maritime history (the downtown Maritime Museum is a “must-see”) with a thriving arts community, a food co-op, a cool farmers market and no end of interesting places to eat. And those Scandinavian roots have endured. It’s tickles my heart strings to see Scandinavian flags fly around town and the heritage is celebrated each year by a massive Scandinavian festival (sadly, we’re just missing it) complete with serious musicians, folk dancing and food. We’ve spent several days just walking around town and seeing the sights. Plus we’ve sampled two awesome foodie-spots (the Bowpicker fish and chips, plus local hole-in-the-wall foodie favorite the Columbian Cafe), and even met a few blog readers!

Refined Cannon Beach

Perfect pose, doggie...and pretty neat background too!

Perfect pose, doggie…and pretty neat background too!

One of the many, cute patios where you can hang, eat & sip w/ doggie

One of the many, cute patios where you can hang, eat & sip w/ doggie

A clear favorite of ours on the Northern OR Coast is Cannon Beach. This lovely town, often known as the “Carmel of Oregon” (you Californians will know what I’m talking about) is a rather refined and upscale beach spot. Downtown is only a few blocks long, but packs in more restaurants, coffee shops, distilleries, tapas spots, wine, artisan chocolate etc. than just about any place I’ve been. You can don black tie and plonk down the $$$$ here, should you feel so inclined, but you can also find some pretty yummy and relaxed spots to eat, many of which have outdoor seating appropriate for doggie too (we had a lovely lunch with pooch at Sweet Basil’s Café followed by outdoor expresso at one of the gazillion coffee shops). If eating is not your style, then head to the coast which is superbly unique here. Cannon beach boasts the third tallest intertidal (=reachable at low tide) coastal monolith in the world, gorgeous Haystack Rock which rises 235 feet (72-meter) high. It’s quite the impressive sight and, as a bonus, it’s a gorgeous back-drop to just about any doggie shot :)

Scenic Ecola State Park & “Terrible Tilly”

The stunning view from Ecola Point

The stunning view from Ecola Point

The other awesome thing to do around Canon Beach is to visit Ecola State Park just north of town and take in the gorgeous 1.5-mile hike from Ecola Point to Indian Beach. This brisk walk will open up stunning views of the coast and, in clear weather, a peek to “Terrible Tilly“, easily the craziest lighthouse on the entire west coast. Tillamook Lighthouse was built on a huge ocean rock ~1.2 miles from land and first lit in 1881. Not only was it an amazing feat of engineering to get the thing built (the fact that they even tried is beyond comprehension), but the lighthouse keepers who stayed at this isolated and dangerous rock had to be particularly hardy folk (only single men were allowed). It’s privately owned these days and not visitable unless you happen to have special pull and lots of $$$, but it’s a helluva sight to see.

And then of course there’s Fort Stevens State Park where we’ve been spending the rest of our fine time. I have fond memories of this place from 2 years ago, especially where a certain dent in my head is concerned. I’m happy to report there have been no further head incidents and the beach is just as fabulous as I remember. We’ve got toes & paws in the sand, no matter what the weather, at least twice a day and we just happen to be in a loop with not a single RV in sight (seriously, all 25 sites around us are empty). We’ve had an awesome week here and will be heading a grand total of 43 miles south to another great coast-stop tomorrow AM. Hope you like beach shots folks, because you’ll be seeing around 3 months of them. Ahhh…’tis a tough life, I know.

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43 Responses to Astoria & Cannon Beach, OR -> Maritime Refinement & Bloody Beautiful Coastline

  1. Sally says:

    Beautiful pictures!!!

  2. Ray Burr says:

    Dogs love Oregon! Great shots. When we were back east and went to Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail everyone loves so much, we were a little underwhelmed after the awesome Oregon Coast.

  3. Ooohh, love the Oregon Coast. You are sooo reliving our spring there and you had better weather. Bowpickers fish and chips still ranks high on our list.

  4. Karen says:

    Gosh, we must have been at Fort Stephens at the same time. I left on Friday. Our paths will have to cross another time. I am heading North as you head south. Luv the coast!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh bum! So sorry we missed each other! It’s kinda easy to do that in this big park. Good travels north to you!

  5. Desert Diva says:

    OMG, I love the Oregon Coast in the summer. I’m headed out in a few days from HOT Southern New Mexico… :-)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup! We were lucky enough to visit Haceta Head 2 years ago, but have not seen it since the restoration. Hope to stop along the way. It’s a fabulous lighthouse!

  6. Amanda says:

    So glad to see your photos from the always gorgeous Oregon coast! Fort Stevens was our first ever stop in Oregon and from then on we were hooked. Somehow we missed Cannon beach, so I guess we’ll have to go back :) Can’t wait to see where you end up next.

  7. We are jealous! 30 to 60 miles a day. That’s amazing. Just keep the 60 mile days to a minimum and stay as long add you can at each stop. Perfect!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We love a slow pace of travel! It’s very similar to how we spent our winter in AZ. Small drives, long stops and great weather. Good for the gas budget too :)

  8. Larry Vanstone says:

    Reblogged this on the Amazing Vanstones and commented:
    We thought we moved slow this winter when we stayed a cv couple of weeks, then moved two or three hours, then stopping again for a week or two. These guys are down to moving thirty to sixty miles then stopping.

  9. O this is going to be delicious! Enjoy enjoy! LOVE the pix…

  10. Rowanova says:

    I’ve less time and experience on the Oregon coast as compared to the Washington coast, but it is amazing. Never a bad spot along the way. Enjoy, and I’ll enjoy following along behind you.
    BTW, Tillamook can be a great stop for a stay. (definition of “short” your choice) :-)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Indeed. This is our 3rd time on the OR coast, and we find new experiences each trip. Love it!

  11. Sheryn says:

    Now you are in our favorite part of our beautiful Country! Oh my gosh I visit a web site almost every day to visit the beach. My husband and I have been to Astoria 3 times and I hope to choose my birth parents next time around to be born there… hee hee. We usually stay at the KOA across from Fort Stevens, but visit the jetty’s daily. Our favorite restaurant is the Bridgewater Bistro under the bridge….oh sooooo good. So wonderful to sit and watch the ships coming in from the Ocean. A bit $$, but a must once or twice while there. Another good and FUN place is the Rogue Ale Public House. Good food and the view at sunset is outstanding! Hope you were able to see the sea lions or should I say “hear” them!! LOL!! The views from Ecola State Park is awesome, as well as Haystack Monolith in Canon Beach. Don’t mean to go on, but Astoria is…..no words can describe the love I feel for this beautiful place!! Enjoy the rest of your trip s l o w l y along the coast! Haceta coming up soon…..
    Your pictures bring a tear to my eyes…….

    • libertatemamo says:

      Nice tips on the restaurants! We’ll have to add them to the list for next time we come back. Sure have enjoyed it here.

    • I would second the recommendation on the Bridgewater Bistro, casual but fine dining. We Need to try the Bowpicker for fish and chips.
      We plan to visit Cannon Beach next Sun/Mon for the lowest tides of the year. You’ll be able to walk around Haystack Rock and see piles of sea stars clinging to the rocks.

      • libertatemamo says:

        Looks like we definitely need to check that place out. It’s on our “list” for when we come back!
        Very cool that you can walk all around Haystack Rock at ultra-low tide. Too bad we’ll be further south by then otherwise we’d come join you.

  12. placestheygo says:

    So glad you are having such a fabulous time. The Oregon coast is a beautiful place. Looking forward to more beach photos. We’ve only done the coast on a motorcycle trip without much stopping. Someday we’ll get back with the motorhome. Meantime, we’ll ride with you!

    • libertatemamo says:

      The OR coast is simply the best for RVing. Lots of fabulous state parks, private parks plus beaches and hiking. I think you guys would enjoy it a lot

  13. geogypsy2u says:

    Love the Oregon coast. So much to see and do.

  14. HoboHounds says:


  15. Sue says:

    Never too many beach photos Nina….bring em on. We felt so sad leaving the Oregon coast last week. Who knows when we’ll be back, but we have lovely memories. We’ll live vicariously through your posts this summer, thanks! Sue and Dave et al

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ll miss you guys!! Just won’t feel the same out here without you. Hope you have good travels back!

  16. Charlotte says:

    Thanks again for beautiful pictures and great stories. My list of “must see” just gets longer and longer. When we get there next summer, we may never head back east!

  17. I am having such a hard time getting ready to leave Durango, but your post is helping to remind me that there are wonderful things ahead as well! We’ll be in Oregon for most of July. We visited the coast once before, but that was only for a day. I’m really looking forward to spending some time there!

    • libertatemamo says:

      There sure is ALOT to see out there. I hear Durango is getting hotter too, and you know the weather is just lovely and cool out here :) Am I tempting you yet?

  18. Julie says:

    My husband and I just started following you guys. Fabulous blog!! I’m also reading Paul’s investing blog and hoping to put it to use soon (lots to learn). We have taken a few 3-4 trips in the last few years and loved the Oregon Coast also. I spent 20 years living in SF, Palo Alto, Mill Valley and miss the great weather. We now live in central FL. Back to the OR coast – have you guys been to Cape Perpetua? The St. Perpetua Trail has some fantastic views. Keep up the great blogging. We will be hitting the road again soon. We are getting so many great ideas on spot to visit. Thanks so much

    Julie and Mike

    • libertatemamo says:

      No we’ve not (yet) been to Cape Perpetua. Might try and hit it this time south as I’ve heard several recommendations for it. We’re spending the next week around Nehalem Bay and will go from there. LOVE everything up here!

  19. LuAnn says:

    It is always wonderful to read a post and be able to say “hey, we’ve been there” and this post was chock-full of them for me. You have brought some lovely memories to the forefront. Looking forward to more fabulous OR posts. :)

  20. That is an excellent picture of you 3! Very nice! I love love love this blog post. Absolutely CANNOT wait to get back up there next year. Beautiful!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks! I was pretty thrilled to get that shot of all 3 of us. Doggie kept trying to lick our faces, so it was hard to focus, pose and shoot at the same time. LOL.

  21. […] to the many immigrants that made it this way in the mid 1800′s. I’ve written about this great town before, and everytime we come back we find more things we like about […]

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