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Are there dog-friendly campgrounds on the Southern Oregon Coast near Florence?

Nearly all Oregon State Park campgrounds welcome dogs. Pets must be confined by the owner, or on a leash not more than six (6) feet long, and kept under physical control at all times. The closest State Park campground to Florence would be Honeyman State Park.

The following link is to Oregon State Parks brochure on pets in parks: http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=main.loadFile&load=_siteFiles/publications/pets-in-parks.pdf

The following link is to Oregon State Parks “Find a Park” page and you can check all of the State Park campgrounds south of Florence: http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=visit.dsp_find

There are also countless private and Forest Service campgrounds that are dog friendly, but rules can vary.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What is the weather like on the Oregon Coast during the holiday season? We’ll be in the Lincoln City area.

Temperatures in December and January on the Oregon Coast are typically mild, ranging from low temperatures in the high 30s to high temperatures in the low 50s. Weather can vary greatly this time of year, so be prepared for warmer or colder conditions. You should also be prepared for rain. This is typically the wettest month on the Central Coast with precipitation in double digits (averaging over 11 inches in December). Come prepared and you will enjoy a season like no other. Huge crashing waves, wildlife sightings and maybe experiencing a famous Oregon Coast storm are all possibilities.

You will be arriving during the peak of winter whale watching season and the week of December 26-through January 1, a program called Whale Watching Spoken Here is conducted at over 25 of the coast’s best whale watching sites. Trained volunteers assist visitors in spotting migrating Gray Whales. The Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay, less than a half hour south of Lincoln City, is one of the best spots for seeing whales year round. The seawall at Depoe Bay and the nearby wayside of Boiler Bay are great locations for watching crashing waves. The seawall at Depoe Bay has “spouting horns,” the coast’s answer to geysers, where when surf is up, water is forced through small channels in lava rock and shoots through small openings high into the air. A little further south is Devils Punchbowl at Otter Rock, another of the coast’s best spots for watching winter waves.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 2nd, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What places on the Oregon Coast commemorate the Lewis & Clark expedition?

The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park encompasses several sites along the Lower Columbia River in both Oregon and Washington. Just south of Astoria is Fort Clatsop, featuring a visitor center and a full-size re-creation of the explorer’s fort built to endure the winter of 1806.

There are several other sites you may find interesting further south along the Oregon Coast. The explorers set up a salt making camp in the area of present day Seaside during their winter on the coast. There is a commemorative “salt cairn” just off Seaside’s oceanfront promenade at Lewis and Clark Way. A large bronze sculpture of Lewis and Clark sits at the center of Seaside’s automobile turnaround at the beach. The explorers sent a party over Tillamook Head from the salt camp to find a whale they had heard was beached on the other side of the headland and that route can be hiked today from Seaside to Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach. In Cannon Beach, a small pocket park called Whale Park commemorates the explorers visit to the area where the whale was found on the south side of the creek Clark named Ecola, the native term for whale. There is interpretive signage on the north side of the creek at Les Shirley Park.

Happy exploring the explorers!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on July 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What are some good hikes and bird watching spots in Newport?

There are several options for hiking in the Newport area. For a great beach walk, you can walk from Beverly Beach State Park south to Otter Rock where a stairway leads you to the fascinating Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area.  There’s also the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, located in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. This is a great seabird birdwatching area, has beautiful tidepools and some short hiking trails. For more serious hiking, consider Beaver Creek State Natural Area about seven miles south of Newport, another great birdwatching location. To experience coastal rainforest, you could also consider the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area about 45 minutes south of Newport. This is one of the most dramatic stretches of the coast with several options for hikes from the visitor center. A little further south is the Heceta Head Lighthouse with another beautiful short walk to the recently restored lighthouse.
Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on July 3rd, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Where is the best place to camp, hike and bike on the North Oregon Coast?

My top choice would be Cape Lookout State Park southwest of Tillamook for the best camping experience. The campground is right next to the beach and there are several miles of hiking trails including one to the end of the cape through old-growth Sitka Spruce rainforest. Bikes are not allowed on State Park trails, so you would have to look at other options for off-road biking. An alternative would be Nehalem Bay State State Park near Manzanita that borders both bay and ocean. There are campground biking trails that are more for family recreation, so if you are looking for more off-road biking, you could look at logging roads on Neahkahnie Mountain about 10 minutes to the north in Oswald West State Park. The hiking trails in Oswald West State Park are great, but again, are not open to bikes.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 30th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

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
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