Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
I will be in Eugene for a meeting on Jan 14th and 15th and would like to see some of the Oregon Coast; perhaps on the previous weekend or maybe starting on Jan 10th. What area would be relatively easy to drive to from Eugene or Portland? What kind of weather should I expect? Can you suggest some B&Bs? — Lois
From the coast, the most direct route to Eugene is from Florence on the Oregon Coast via OR 126 (just under 1.5 hours). You didn’t mention where you are traveling from, but it sounds like you may be coming from the north and you could easily spend four days traveling the North and Central coast between Astoria and Florence. Astoria is famous for bed & breakfasts in historical Victorian homes. If you are looking for more ocean beach destinations, I would consider starting in Seaside or Cannon Beach. In Seaside, you may want to try the Gilbert Inn B&B (historic home). In Cannon Beach, consider Song of the Sea B&B (modern home, close to town and beach). Just south of Cannon Beach is the unique French Chateau-like Arch Cape Inn. In the Newport area, you may want to consider the Sylvia Beach Hotel. It’s actually a historic beach hotel, but very B&B like with a literary slant. Rooms are furnished and decorated based on famous authors. Another unique B&B stay would be the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B, the original lighthouse keepers’ home (near Florence).
Weather is typically mild and rarely below freezing on the coast, so your travel along the coast should not be a problem. You will want to check on pass conditions as you pass through the Coast Range on your way to and from the coast. From the Portland/Longview area, the lowest elevation on the North Oregon Coast is Highway 30 into Astoria (the Washington side of the Columbia is even closer to sea level). Highway 26 is the most direct route to the coast from Portland, but the Coast Range summit is about 1500 feet and is most likely to have mountain travel conditions. The highest point on OR 126 from Florence to Eugene is under 800 feet.
Weather in January is typically cool with highs average in the high 40s and lows in the mid to high 30s. It is one of the wetter months of the year, averaging nine or more inches of rain during the month, so be prepared. Many come to the coast for storm watching this time of year. There can be high winds. The storm tossed seas can be an awesome site.
Hope this helps.
|Coast, General Travel, Portland, Willamette Valley|
In the Southern Oregon Region, the most beautiful site arguably is Crater Lake, the centerpiece of the state’s only national park and a sacred site to native tribes long before settlers “discovered it.” The summertime and wintertime landscapes each show unique facets of this natural wonder.
In Southern Oregon, there are several sites I recommend at various points along the coast. Starting with the farthest south, Harris Beach State Park has 36 full-hookup sites; http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_79.php About 80 miles north in Bandon, Bullards Beach State Park is larger with 104 full-hookup sites. About 25 miles just outside Charleston, Bastendorff Beach county park has 74 full-hookup sites: http://www.co.coos.or.us/Departments/CoosCountyParks/Bastendorff.aspx.
And although Bastendorff Beach isn’t quite as easy to access on foot as beaches at the previous two sites mentioned, this is my personal favorite beach on the South Coast, and the one I always go to. On the south end of the Coos Bay jetty, the beach is long and flat with finely textured sand. A sandstone cliff borders one end that makes for nice tidepooling and surf fishing at low tide. Water is shallow for a quite a ways in the surf zone. It’s popular with surfers and people flying kites and walking dogs. On a clear day, Cape Arago lighthouse (isolated, closed to the public and hard to spot from almost any other point on the coast) is visible from the beach’s north end.
Enjoy your stay,
|Coast, General Travel, Southern Oregon|
We are looking to spend 5 days around the coast in June 2013. We have found lots of cool lodges to stay in, but they mostly want at least 2 nights minimum stay. Would you recommend hotels and moving around the coast? Or, base ourselves in a lodge and travel from there each day? — Pete
I would recommend you plan your itinerary to base yourself strategically in two places and make day trips north and south from each base. For instance, to explore the South Coast, you could stay in Bandon and spend one day exploring north to the great State Parks southwest of Coos Bay (Shore Acres, Sunset Bay and Cape Arago) and another day going south, perhaps as far as Samuel H Boardman State Park near Brookings. On the Central Coast, you could base your stay in Yachats, then venture north to visit the attractions in Newport like the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the historic bay front and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. To the south, you could explore the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Heceta Head Lighthouse and Florence where you can experience the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. If you wanted to explore the North Oregon Coast, you could have a base in Cannon Beach or Manzanita that would offer day tripping north to Ecola State Park, Seaside and Astoria. For a day trip south, I would recommend the Three Capes Scenic Route that begins west of Tillamook and includes Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda.
I hope this helps, but if you narrow down the areas you’d prefer to visit, I may be able to help with some more specific recommendations on itinerary, attractions or lodging based on your interests.
|Coast, General Travel|
We are thinking of visiting Oregon in either November, December or during the Spring. One of the things we would like to do is clam digging, is there anyone that offers this activity? – Lori
Most of the razor clamming on the coast is in Clatsop County (Warrenton to Cannon Beach). These beaches have the most stable populations of razor clams. There are other beaches that support razor clams including (north to south): Short Sands (Oswald West State Park); Cape Meares beach; Agate Beach; North Beach and South Beach (Newport); Waldport beach; North Umpqua Spit; Bastendorff beach and North Spit (Coos Bay); Whiskey Run (Bandon); and Meyers Creek beach (Gold Beach), but about 95 percent of the razor clamming is on Clatsop County beaches.
Razor clamming is open on Clatsop beaches from October 1 to July 14. The most popular times for clamming is during the spring and summer, when tides are lowest. There are some minus tides during daylight hours this year in November and December that would be your best opportunity this year, so check a tide table for those dates. Tidal predictions for the north jetty of the Columbia River would be the most accurate for Clatsop beaches.
A license for recreational clamming is required through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and clammers are limited to the first 15 clams taken. The ODFW website can offer more information on licenses and regulations. I don’t know of anyone who offers razor clamming as an activity commercially.
Hope this helps and happy clamming!
We love cycling, although more road cycling than mountain biking, and I’m not too great on hills! Are there any particularly good (and relatively flat) cycle routes you could suggest? -Gill
Yes… as a matter of fact, where I live in Albany, OR we are actually right in the middle of an awesome scenic bikeway. I actually have a B & B there and we get bicyclists from all over the world stay with us because of our location. Check out this site, and we often have guests ride our covered bridges that begin just a few miles from Albany. You can certainly find shorter distances within these rides and many areas offer flat riding areas. That happens to be why our scenic bikeway and covered bridge area in Linn County is so popular.
Also, many people ride the bikeway just partially let’s say from Albany to Eugene and then take the train back to Albany for example. Amtrak has a great schedule and is a great resource for our bicyclists wanting to ride only a portion. You can certainly just enjoy a ride around one of our towns such as Corvallis! It’s all flat and riding to Oregon State University and around the downtown will offer you some great sites. There’s even a bicycle renting shop downtown if you aren’t bringing your own. They are all super nice and helpful.
Hope this helps!
|Cycling, Willamette Valley|
I’d like to plan a trip to visit colleges in Portland and Eugene. I’d also like to visit Medford all in 3-days! ~ Marnie S.
First of all, you can certainly fly in to the Medford area or begin even in Eugene or Portland. That depends on you of course. Portland is just shy of 2-1/2 hours north from the Eugene area. Medford is about 3 hours south of Eugene. So, if you fly in to Portland, you can spend one whole day enjoying the city and touring a few colleges. As you may already know, Portland is home to many colleges/universities and I just happened to have driven by Reed College today… it’s gorgeous! You could really spend several days here but I know you have three days so one day in Portland will give you a small idea of what it’s like here.
From the Portland area, I would almost say to jet down to Medford and spend one night there and come back up to Eugene from there the next afternoon or evening. Usually I tell folks to stay of I 5 driving however you have a lot of ground to cover. So, heading from Medford back up to Eugene, I would first stop at Lillie Belle Chocolate: http://www.lilliebellefarms.com for some road snacks! Also, grab some of Southern Oregon’s delicious cheese right next door at Rogue Creamery: http://www.roguecreamery.com/store/ You can grab some bread there too and to experience the greatness of Southern Oregon on a road trip is a good thing! Both places are just outside Medford in Central Point.
The University of Oregon is a gorgeous campus. Take the tour!! You will find the campus has a certain feel that exudes it’s history, it’s place in Oregon and a vibe that is young and exciting. I have taken the tour of the campus a few times and suggest that you bring your camera and settle somewhere for a coffee and enjoy!
For lodging ideas, I am going to suggest you check out www.obbg.org I happen to be an B & B inspector for The Oregon Bed & Breakfast Guild and there are tons of great B & B’s along the route for you to choose from!
Here’s a list that may make it easier:
Touvelle House B & B: http://www.touvellehouse.com In Jacksonville if you decide you have time to drive just a tad further than Medford. This is totally worth the extra few miles and plus… Jacksonville is a “must see” as far as I am concerned!
C’lest a Vie Inn is a great neighborhood location in Eugene and not too far from Ninkasi… a place to grab a delicious local beer. In the Portland area, I would highly suggest you check out Ace Hotel, it is the best location to “feel the city” and experience true Portland fun! Kenny and Zukes on the corner have the best bagels and Powell’s is just a block away… you have to check out Powells!
I hope this info has helped and please let me know if I can help you further! You have a lot to cover in just three days! Have fun and thanks for your AskOR question!
Travel Oregon AskOR Willamette Valley Expert. You can find my blog at: www.whitebreadandjam.blogspot.com
p.s. in Eugene… check out The Vintage for food and the Sweet Life for dessert!! Yum!!
|General Travel, Hotel Recommendations|
If I had 3 days in Oregon, where would I travel to? Love sun, water and rock formations. Love to eat seafood (especially shell fish).
Sounds like you need to plan a trip to the Oregon Coast! If sun is an important part of the equation, you should plan your trip for July, August or September. Of course, the coast is spectacular no matter what the weather, but those are the months with the best chance of dry days and sunny skies. The rocks, water and seafood are the easy part. The Oregon Coast is known for its coastline punctuated by nearly 2000 sea stacks and small islands that are all part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. They are great areas for exploring tidepools and watching birds, marine life and crashing waves. On the North Oregon Coast, the state’s most famous landmark is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. From Cannon Beach, you can also see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse built on a small rock a mile from the shore. Pacific City also has a Haystack Rock a little further offshore and the beautifully sculpted sandstone headland, Cape Kiwanda. On the Central Oregon Coast, Seal Rocks is named for it’s rock formations at the edge of the shoreline. Other great geologic formations include Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock and Devil’s Churn in the Cape Perpetual Scenic Area near Yachats. On the South Oregon Coast, the beach at Bandon offers numerous rock formations. These are just a few examples. Here’s a recent story we did on the Oregon Coast’s sea stacks.
Wherever you choose to go on the coast you will find great, fresh seafood. Dungeness Crab, oysters and razor clams are among the Pacific shellfish delicacies you will find. If you’d like to provide more information on what area of the coast you are interested in or where you are coming from, I can make some more specific recommendations. I hope this helps for now.
Thor’s Well is also known simply as Spouting Horn and is located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. It can be viewed by taking the Captain Cook Trailhead from the Visitor Center. When surf is up, water shoots upward from the bowl carved out of the basalt shoreline, then drains back into the opening. Many photographers trying to capture the action report how dangerous it is to try to get close to the spouting horn when it’s active, so if you visit, be careful and keep your distance.
Formations like these are typically formed over long periods of time geologically. They begin as a sea cave and eventually the top of the cave collapses, leaving an opening where the tide surges in, then shoots upward with dramatic force. Similar dramatic formations can be seen nearby at Devil’s Churn and at Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock to the north.
Editor’s Note: Our own Grant McOmie traveled to Cape Perpetua earlier this year; see the story and video here.
We are thinking of doing a road trip through Oregon for 2 weeks in early July 2013. We’re most interested in mountain / wildlife scenery in Oregon and coastal and wine experiences. We would also like to know if it is easy to do this by motorhome rather than car? – Gill W., Cardiff, Wales.
I believe I can give you some great ideas on how you can road trip your way around Oregon and see as much as possible in two weeks! First of all, let me say that either way you choose to travel, you will love it. I personally would love a road trip via motorhome because of all the perks of “having your home ride with you” and it will give you a chance to pick up some delicious food from many regions and prepare and enjoy it yourself. Although, traveling via auto isn’t bad either cause I do enjoy dining at a different place each day when I’m out and about so be sure to treat yourself to some of our local restaurants too if you do motorhome it! We have some pretty amazing chefs in our towns and cities that LOVE to share all the goodness found here.
I would probably begin in or near the Portland area. From there, I would def stop at Multnomah Falls and possibly enjoy a short hike and of course take tons of photos. It’s quite beautiful there and if you have never seen it, you will wonder what took you so long!
Moseying along hwy 84 east, you will find the town of Hood River. You must stop and stay a day to enjoy all it has to offer! There is always something delicious going on in that region! Also, as you may well know, a stunning Mt. Hood awaits your visit too! Gaze and be amazed at our mountain and be sure to bring your camera and binoculars! Here’s more info about the area. There is hiking at my favorite Mt. Hood area trail called Tamanawas Trail; it’s pretty easy and worth the surprise at the end!
If you can tear yourself away from Mt. Hood, head east once more and follow the road to places such as Pendleton, Enterprise and Joseph, Oregon. I would suggest a night in Joseph so you can enjoy the beautiful Wallowa Mountains via Hells Canyon Scenic Byways.
This site is awesome and will take you on a wild ride of beauty and the “all natural” side of Oregon! Baker City is where I would suggest you take a break! I loved this route when I took it a few years ago. Don’t be surprised if you see a “real” cowboy herding cattle or find some restaurant in some quaint western Oregon town where everyone turns and looks at you when you walk in. You aren’t a local but it’s all good cause you’ll sit and enjoy a burger made of all local ingredients and smile as you enjoy every bite!
From the Baker City area, it’s time to head to Bend and Sisters Oregon! Stay a night in either town and enjoy our Central Oregon region. I have taken a Lava Cave Tour in Bend, I have taken the beer tour at Deschutes Brewery… and I love downtown Bend! If you decide to drive a car, you have to check out The Old St. Francis School for lodging. I have also enjoyed snowmobiling a few times too at Mt. Bachelor but of course there won’t be any snow however, driving around and enjoying some of our cascade mountains in this region is quite spectacular. See Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Bachelor and the rest! You can see many of these mountains when you take hwy 20 toward the Willamette Valley! Hwy 20 is also the part of the Over The River and Through The Woods Scenic Byway! Enjoy the gorgeous ride all the way to Albany, Corvallis and up in to hwy 99W!
You are now nestled quite nicely in to the Willamette Valley so it’s time for some delicious wine! You can certainly find info on our hundreds of wineries or you can wing it and enjoy finding some on your own! I always enjoy finding new things and experiences by chance but for just a little guidance, here are a few of my fav wine stops:
It’s a little tough to choose here but if you’d like, you can shoot over to the coast whenever you want from the Willamette Valley. If I could suggest a few cities that I love along the Oregon Coast… Canon Beach, Seaside, Tillamook and Astoria! I truly love all of it and the cities I listed are all pretty much in our North Coast and so would be doable in a day or two depending on your timing. Once you are in Astoria, you aren’t too far from Portland.
You can of course change up this route as much as you want and if time allows, you can shoot down to Crater Lake in Southern Oregon around the Albany area taking I 5. It’s probably a “must see” if I may say so but I wouldn’t stuff so much in that you can’t take your time to enjoy where you are!
As far as enjoying our Oregon wildlife, you will find that we do take preservation of many things very serious. Our reserves and estuaries are protected wildlife areas and to name a few places for viewing wildlife:
William Finley: http://www.fws.gov/WillametteValley/finley/ (loved this area)
Oak Park Refuge: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=490&action=ViewPark (I’m actually hiking this refuge tomorrow!)
Sauvie Island: http://www.pdxinfo.com/hikes/sauvie.php (awesome hikes and scenery!)
Here’s a few links to check out when you choose which mode of travel you will be taking:
This is a lot of info to take in so please let me know if I can overwhelm you some more! I can provide more detail about roads to take, etc. but I am sure part of the fun in planning is finding your way and finding those out of the way places that will make your trip so special.
Please feel free to follow my on Facebook page… look for Oregon Bliss and on my blog at www.whitebreadandjam.blogspot.com I am Sweet Bliss there! You can follow me around Oregon and beyond at both these sites. I enjoy Oregon and my new experiences and share all of them!
The Oregon Coast is different and spectacular in each season. Summer is the warmest and driest, but busiest time. Spring is beautiful with new growth on the foliage, blooming wildflowers and is good for enjoying birds and wildlife. Winter is a favorite for storm watchers and those who like it quiet and secluded. The ocean is a totally different experience in the winter with dramatic crashing waves. There are many savvy travelers that wait until after the summer rush (after Labor Day) and enjoy the usually beautiful Indian Summer and fall. I personally love mid-September to mid-October. There’s still a good chance of warm weather and it can be beautiful or dramatic with fog, mist and beautiful cloud formations.
If you like to antique along the way, I would suggest the quieter seasons. Lincoln City is known for it’s numerous antique stores. Astoria and Seaside also features several. Each February, Lincoln City hosts Antique Week – actually 10 days of antique sales and events. We just did a story on Antiquing in Lincoln City you can find HERE.
Hope this is helpful.