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Where can I find some nice wines and B&Bs along the Oregon Coast? We’re coming for our anniversary.

North Oregon Coast: For special occasions, it’s hard to beat the experience at Cannon Beach’s Stephanie Inn. This is more of a country inn, not a traditional bed & breakfast home, but it is an exceptional splurge with a great restaurant and fine wines too. You’ll find the best wine list in town at the Wayfarer Restaurant. Another unique experience nearby is Arch Cape Inn & Retreat, a B&B that resembles a French Chateau. You might also consider The Awtrey House in Nehalem, a more traditional B&B home operated by a former professional basketball player who put a lot of attention to detail in this home. Astoria also has a large number of B&Bs, many in Victorian Homes. Rose River House is one of the most popular ones. You’ll find a nice wine list at Bridgewater Bistro on Astoria’s riverfront.

Central Oregon Coast: The Lightkeeper’s Inn Bed & Breakfast in Newport consistently ranks high with visitors, offering bay and bridge views. A few minutes to the north in Otter Rock is the coast’s only traditional working winery, Flying Dutchman Winery, offering tasting daily. There are several highly rated B&Bs in Depoe Bay, including Pana Sea Ah and An Ocean Paradise Whales Rendezvous. Whale Cove Inn is more of a boutique hotel, but offers amazing views and an acclaimed restaurant. It would also be worth the trip to plan a dinner at The Bay House in the south end of Lincoln City where you will find the coast’s largest wine list, literally a bound book.

South Oregon Coast: Tu Tu Tun Lodge up the Rogue River from Gold Beach is more of a country inn, but is highly rated and has an outstanding restaurant on the property. For more traditional B&B homes, consider The Compass Rose Bed and Breakfast in Port Orford. You’ll find the best wine list at Redfish restaurant. Also not a traditional B&B, but worth consider for its uniqueness is WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on April 26th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Which restaurant serves the best oysters on the Oregon Coast?

Any part of the coast you visit will offer great options for enjoying fresh, local oysters served in many preparations, from raw to pan-fried or in stews.

Here are some of my personal favorites and popular spots all along the coast. On the North Oregon Coast, Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria prides themselves on featuring the freshest Willapa Bay oysters and often features innovative accompaniments like the extra small Pacific oysters with an absolut pepper cocktail sauce or perfectly pan fried oysters with a creole mayo. Pacific Oyster Company located on a jetty in Tillamook Bay at Bay City is a commercial oyster packing plant with a casual restaurant. It will be harder to get fresher oysters than that. You’ll also find oyster stew and oyster burgers there.

On the Central Oregon Coast, Blackfish Cafe in Lincoln City never disappoints with their oyster choices, such as half-shell oysters with a shallot-infused sherry vinegar or crispy cornmeal fried Yaquina Bay oysters. Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport, a fish market and restaurant offering fresh oyster shooters, pan fried oysters and even an oyster salad with pan-fried oysters served with greens dressed with a warm bacon vinaigrette. Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay offers great pan fried oysters and I enjoyed their creamy-buttery oyster stew.

On the South Oregon Coast, the Hilltop House in North Bend is a longtime favorite that offers fresh local oysters including Cajun oysters. In nearby Charleston, you’ll find several restaurants in this fishing community that offer fresh oysters such as Fisherman’s Grotto. In Bandon, the Bandon Fish Market offers retail seafood and a casual restaurant with fresh local oysters.

I could keep going, but I hope this gives you a few can’t miss options for each region of the coast. I’ll be anxious to hear what you enjoy and the favorites of other readers. Most importantly, enjoy your search for the Oregon Coast’s best oyster and I’ll expect a full report.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on March 28th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

We are traveling the entire Oregon Coast. What are the top scenic viewpoints?

The top 10 attractions I would recommend include (north to south):

Astoria’s historic attractions including the Columbia River Maritime Museum and Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop.

Seaside’s automobile turnaround and oceanfront promenade, famous landmarks dating from the 1920s.

Ecola State Park and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

Three Capes Scenic Drive southwest of Tillamook (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda).

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport (lighthouse, views, bird watching and beautiful tidepool area).

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (rainforest hiking trails, views of dramatic coastline formations like Spouting Horn, Devil’s Churn, Cook’s Chasm and Thor’s Well).

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Honeyman State Park and Oregon Dunes Overlook near Florence or hike the John Dellenback Trail south of Reedsport).

Cape Arago (three spectacular State Parks southwest of Coos Bay).

Beach Loop Drive in Bandon (beautiful beach with many rock formations at the edge of the shore).

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor (lots of viewpoints and beaches south of Gold Beach).

 

Hope this helps and happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on February 28th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Which cities on the Oregon Coast offer the best natural sites and unique geological features?

There would be many cities, towns and natural areas I would recommend along the 363-mile Oregon Coast for your September birthday trip. Since you like natural areas with unique geologic formations, I’d recommend a visit to the Central Oregon Coast. Newport is centrally located and is one of the coast’s larger towns, but will offer access to great natural areas and attractions nearby. Newport itself features the world-class Oregon Coast Aquarium, has nice beaches and an interesting bayfront area that is blend of working waterfront and tourist attractions. Just to the north is the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area featuring one of Oregon’s prettiest lighthouse in a spectacular setting at the end of the cape offering panoramic views and great wildlife and marine life watching. A stairway leads to one of the most beautiful and easily accessible tidepool areas on the coast. Just a little further north is Otter Rock, another headland overlooking a unique geologic formation called Devil’s Punchbowl. Also worth a visit to the north is Depoe Bay, the world’s smallest navigable harbor. The town is built right on the edge of the ocean with a seawall where spouting horns send geysers of water high into the air when the surf is up. There is a whale watching center here which is one of the most dependable locations to spot gray whales during the non-migratory times of year.

South of Newport, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area also offers access to great natural areas and viewing of unique geologic formations. Trails and roadside parking areas offer viewing of Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well and Cook’s Chasm, interesting geologic formations driven by the ocean waves. There is a great interpretive center here and hiking trails through old growth Sitka Spruce rainforest.

If you’d prefer to stay in a small town, you could consider Yachats (close to Cape Perpetua), which would make day trips possible to Newport’s attractions and other attractions to the south like Heceta Head (another beautiful lighthouse) and Sea Lion Caves, one of the coast’s longest running attractions with an elevator down to the world’s largest sea cave frequented by sea lions.

There would be other options for your trip in other regions of the coast too. On the
South Oregon Coast I would recommend the Gold Beach area where you could explore the beautiful stretch of coast to the south known as the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor. This stunning stretch offers viewpoints and access to coastline and beaches decorated with dramatic rock formations. Bandon also offers one of the most interesting beaches with rock formations adjacent to this charming beach town. From Bandon, a day trip to the spectacular State Parks on Cape Arago, southwest of Coos Bay would be a must for you.

On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend the Cannon Beach area, home to Oregon’s iconic Haystack Rock, famous for tidepools and nesting seabirds. There are nearby State Parks that offer beach access and viewpoints of sea stack decorated shoreline. Ecola State Park is located in the north end of Cannon Beach and Oswald West State Park is located just about 10 minutes to the south. Cannon Beach is another charming beach town known as one of the coast’s more upscale destinations and one of the Northwest’s top art towns.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on January 8th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Which parks on the coast offer yurt camping? We want to stay close to Portland and are traveling with our young grandson.

The State Parks closest to Portland that offer yurt camping include the following (north to south):

Fort Stevens State Park at the mouth of the Columbia River offers 15 yurts. The park is large and is great for families with access to river, beach, lakes and several miles of hiking and biking trails. The park is famous for the 1906 shipwreck Peter Iredale on the beach and military fortifications used to guard the entrance to the river from the Civil War through World War II. From here you can make day trips to other attractions in Astoria, Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop and Seaside, known as one of Oregon’s best family destinations with arcades, an indoor carousel, kiddie rides and more that your 6-year-old grandson would love. Visitors have come to the small Seaside Aquarium for 75 years to feed the seals.

Nehalem Bay State Park is located near Manzanita and offers access to both bay and beach. The park has 18 yurts and nearly two miles of biking trails. During July, the Park’s interpretive programs and guided hikes would be offered daily and they have Junior Ranger programs for kids ages 6-12. Seals are frequently seen basking on the beach near the mouth of the bay (also take note of the coyote warning the park issued last summer). I would suggest you take your grandson on a crabbing aventure. Jetty Fishery on the other side of the bay offers boat and crab gear rentals or crabbing from the docks.

Wet of Tillamook is Cape Lookout State Park with miles of beach and hiking trails. There are 13 yurts available. I love this park and this area. It is just a few minutes away from the small town of Oceanside and Cape Meares State Park (lighthouse and panoramic views). To the south is Cape Kiwanda with its giant sand dune on the flank of the sculpted sandstone cape.

The next closest park with yurts is on the Central Oregon Coast. Devil’s Lake State Park in Lincoln City offers 10 yurts and is a short drive to the beach, but is not on the beach. You may want to consider Beverly Beach State Park north of Newport. It’s a large park with 21 yurts and a playground. I still remember as a child following the trail along the creek from the campground, under a highway bridge and emerging at a long stretch of beach between Yaquina Head and Otter Rock. The park is a short drive to Newport’s attractions like the world class Oregon Coast Aquarium, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Wax Works wax museum and Undersea Gardens. Natural attractions include the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (lighthouse, panoramic views and great tidepool area) and Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock.

Do make your reservations early. Call 1-800-452-5687 to check on availability and make your reservations (online reservations unavailable). These parks also offer small cabins as an option.

Happy exploring and memory creating!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on January 4th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

We want to see lighthouses on the Oregon Coast in November. Are there RV campgrounds open year-round?

Temperatures are typically mild along the Oregon Coast in November, so only on rare occasions do you need to worry about ice or frost on our roads. This is the rainy season on the coast and it can rain hard and be windy, but the Oregon Coast is spectacular anytime of year and many people come specifically to experience the weather and stormy seas.

There are several State Parks that offer year round RV campsites including Cape Lookout State Park (close to Cape Meares Lighthouse), Beverly Beach State Park (near Yaquina Head and Yaquina Bay Lighthouses), Sunset Bay State Park (near Cape Arago Lighthouse), Umpqua Lighthouse State Park (near Umpqua River Lighthouse), Bullards Beach State Park (near Coquille River Lighthouse) and Cape Blanco State Park (near Cape Blanco Lighthouse). There are also many private RV parks that remain open year-round.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse north of Florence is undergoing an extensive renovation and it is currently completely covered, but Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park nearby is also open year round for RVs.

Visit the Oregon State Parks website to look into the RV facilities.

Hope this is helpful and happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on November 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

Where is the best place to observe the whales is December? –Jane

There are many great places to view migrating Gray Whales in December all along the Oregon Coast. On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, the Highway 101 viewpoints from Neahkahnie Mountain near Manzanita or Cape Meares State Park west of Tillamook. On the Central Oregon Coast, I recommend Depoe Bay, Yaquina Head near Newport or the Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center near Yachats. On the South Oregon Coast, try Shore Acres State Park near Charleston, the Face Rock Viewpoint in Bandon or Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.

The winter Gray Whale migration typically peaks in late December and December 26-30, a statewide program called “Whale Watching Spoken Here” positions volunteers at these locations and others to help visitors spot the migrating mammoths.

You can find more information on the program HERE along with a list of all of the locations which can be good for spotting whales anytime between mid-December and mid-January.

Happy whale watching!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on November 9th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are good spots on the Oregon Coast for beachcombing? I’m looking for agates. -Sandi

There are many beaches along Oregon’s 363 mile coastline where you will find agates. On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend beaches south of Cannon Beach such as Arcadia Beach or Short Sand Beach (Oswald West State Park). Further south, Oceanside is known for agates where at low tide you can pass through a tunnel at Maxwell Point to find gravel beds great for agate hunters.

On the Central Oregon Coast, the stretch of beach between Otter Rock and Newport are famous for agates, including the appropriately named Agate Beach. Further south you will find some good agate beaches between Yachats and Florence. Consider the beach access areas adjacent to small creeks such as Agate Point just south of Yachats, Neptune Beach or Stonefield Beach.

On the South Oregon coast, consider Seven Devils Wayside south of Coos Bay, the beaches near Cape Blanco State Park and beaches both north and south of Gold Beach.

The quieter seasons of the year are often the best for agate hunters. Not only is there less competition for the prized stones, but off season storms often pull sand off the beach and waves dislodge agates from the shoreline revealing them to beachcombers. Look for areas of gravel deposits, then look closer to find the polished translucent quartz stones along with polished jasper and sometimes petrified wood and fossils.

Happy agate hunting!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on November 1st, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some romantic spots along the Oregon Coast? We’re driving up the coastline from California.

If your idea of romantic spots is sharing spectacular scenery, your visit to the Oregon Coast will be a can’t-miss. I suggest you stop at the Oregon Welcome Center as you cross the state line near Brookings. Be sure to pick up information on the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. You will enter this beautiful scenic area as you drive between Brookings and Gold Beach. There are many scenic viewpoints and if you like to hike, most of these stops are intersected by some of the most beautiful portions of the Oregon Coast Trail.

I would recommend you spend at least a couple days in Gold Beach, allowing you to explore this scenic area. If you don’t mind not staying on the beach and want to splurge, one of the most romantic spots to stay would be Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, just up the north side of the Rogue River. Their dining room is open May through October and will offer some of the finest food you will find in the region, though you will be seated in tables of eight. For more intimate dining, return to downtown Gold Beach and look for Anna’s by the Sea, a small, quirky spot just off the main track that will offer a high level of dining. If you would prefer more of a cabin stay experience, consider Ireland’s Rustic Lodges, each cabin with wood burning fireplaces. They also offer traditional oceanfront motel rooms at Gold Beach Inn. For breakfast or lunch, consider a visit to Rollin in Dough Bakery and Bistro. I enjoyed the breakfast here last week and the lunch menu looked great. If you day trip to the north at Port Orford, consider a visit to Redfish restaurant.

If it were me, I would enjoy the drive north about 60 miles and spend the balance of your nights in Bandon. A visit to Cape Blanco State Park on the way would be a don’t miss place to visit. The beach at Bandon is spectacular, dotted with sea stacks, making for beautiful beach strolling at sunset. Beach Loop Drive in Bandon offers several great view points and beach access areas, most notably the Face Rock viewpoint and Coquille Point to the north. For romantic dining, don’t miss Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant in old town Bandon. Also nearby to consider is The Loft Restaurant and Bar with views of the Coquille River. For coffee or desserts, look for Coastal Mist. I’ve also heard good things about Lord Bennett’s Restaurant. There are a number of oceanfront hotels in Bandon. Consider the Table Rock Motel, Windermere on the Beach, Bandon Beach Motel or Sunset Oceanfront Lodging. I recently stayed in one of the suites at Inn at Face Rock (Best Western) and the room was nicely upgraded and had a wood burning (presto log) fireplace. Though not oceanfront, it had some ocean views and the property also has a good restaurant, Bandon Bill’s.

One great day trip from Bandon is to drive north to Charleston and the State Parks at Cape Arago. You can make this trip via the Charleston to Bandon Tour Route. Just a few minutes away is a nice restaurant, Empire Cafe.

Hope this is some help on your romantic getaway!

Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 29th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some fun activities on the Oregon Coast for a young family? -Corin

There are some great family attractions on the coast. Obviously the beach is the number one attraction, but many communities also offer the opportunity to catch live crab off the docks which is always a hit with kids. You may want to consider some of the following:

Seaside: Indoor carousel, kiddie rides and Seaside Aquarium.
Newport: Oregon Coast Aquarium
North of Florence: Sea Lion Caves
South of Bandon: West Coast Game Park Safari (petting zoo with opportunity to pet exotic baby animals).
Reedsport: Umpqua Discovery Center (Interactive walk through natural history exhibits). Nearby is a dependable location for elk watching.
Between Gold Beach and Port Orford: Prehistoric Gardens (rainforest walk with 23 life size dinosaur replicas).

You didn’t mention which part of the coast you are visiting, so this list includes attractions covering almost 300 miles of the Oregon Coast. If you’d like to let me know where you will be spending your two days, I can get more specific about that region. Hope this helps for now. Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 24th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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