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Can you suggest a 2-day Oregon Coast itinerary beginning in Brookings?

The South Oregon Coast has many attractions that you could easily spend two days without traveling too far up the coast, depending on how long you want to linger and explore.

DAY ONE: I would save a full day for Harris Beach State Park and the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Plan your visit to Harris Beach for low tide and enjoy the tidepools and abundant bird life. There are many stops along the Boardman Corridor that offer easy access to stunning viewpoints and also some great short hikes. For short easy stops, consider Lone Ranch (beach access and tidepools), Cape Ferrelo (short walk to viewpoints), House Rock Viewpoint, Whaleshead Beach (steep, rough road to scenic rock formations and beach), Natural Bridges (short walk to an amazing view), Thunder Rock Cove (short hike to amazing views) and Arch Rock Viewpoint (easy walking paths with dramatic views).

DAY TWO: Otter Point State Recreation Site is a fascinating area just north of Gold Beach with interested rock formations of basalt and sandstone a short walk from the parking area. The drive north is very scenic from there, hugging the coastline to Port Orford. You will likely want to stop at several waysides for the views. If you continue north, make the side trip to Cape Blanco State Park to see the lighthouse at the end of the dramatic cape. If you save time to go as far as Bandon, you will be rewarded with amazing views along Beach Loop Drive. Must stops are Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Coquille Point, where walking paths overlook amazing rock formations. The Coquille River Lighthouse can be seen from the south side of the river, or you can cross over and get a close look at it in Bullards Beach State Park.

Brookings to Bandon is only about 85 miles, but there is so much great sightseeing, I can’t image you can do more than that in two very busy days!

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on December 1st, 2015 - Post Your Answer

Are the waterfall hikes in Southern Oregon accessible during the winter?

I often visit Mill Creek Falls and Pearsoney Falls, but have not done so this late in the season. This region, between Prospect and Crater Lake and Diamond Lake, gets quite a bit of snow most years. Highway 62 and 138, which lead from Prospect and around Diamond Lake, will be plowed and remain open in almost all cases. You’ll want four-wheel drive or snow tires if conditions warrant them. The smaller access roads to Barr Creek Falls, Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls may well close.

I think a winter trip to this area is a very fun idea (we spend time in this area during the winter ourselves), but if you go, plan on the chance of snow, and perhaps rethink the trip to being a snowshoe trek or snow play type of experience. Instead of planning to hike to waterfalls, I’d plan to snowshoe or cross country ski in the Diamond Lake area or at Crater Lake. Diamond Lake’s resort is on the rustic/bare bones side, and Crater Lake is historical and more upscale. Snowshoeing around the lake is stunning! Of course, during the time of your visit, the snow may be gone, in which case you could do the same routes on foot.

Either way, you’ll have a fun trip, but flexibility will be the name of the game!

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on November 14th, 2015 - Post Your Answer

Where should two Texan beer connoisseurs visit during their Oregon honeymoon?

Congratulations on the wedding! The McMenamins pubs are definitely worth checking out — they have some of the most interesting properties in the region. (I have my favorites.) Beyond that, there are literally dozens of breweries in Oregon (six dozen, last I counted). Unless you’re planning for a very long honeymoon, you may not be able to see them all. Because we drink so much of our own beer, a lot of it never leaves Oregon, so most of our breweries are considered obscure to people even a state or two away. Here are my recommendations for the most interesting ones in Portland:

  • Breakside. Consistently one of the best, Breakside has a wide range of beers for all tastes and their Northeast Portland pub has great food. Another good brewery, Ex Novo, is just around the corner.
  • Deschutes. Downtown in the Pearl District, Deschutes is possibly the most accomplished brewery in Oregon, and they also have an extensive taplist of beers you won’t find outside that pub — plus great food. (Try the elk burger.) Not far from Deschutes is Pints, which has a German-trained brewer and does great German beer.
  • Cascade Barrel House and The Commons. These two breweries are about five blocks from each other. Cascade is famous for its barrel-aged sours, and even if you don’t like that type of beer, it’s worth having a sample or two. The Commons focuses on farmhouse beers and especially for the non-hopheads, do some of the best ales in town.
  • Culmination. This is a new brewery in the inner Southeast Portland that has exceptional beer — and I bet no one in Texas has ever heard of it.
  • Upright. Located in the Lloyd District, Upright has limited taproom hours, but does wonderful European styles and some barrel-aged specialties.
  • Gigantic is in an industrial part of town, but they make up for it with their amusing “Champagne Lounge,” where you can get a nice range of their beers.
  • Finally, for the ultimate Portland vibe, stop into the Lucky Lab for a pint (go to the Hawthorne location). It is about as Portlandia a place as you can find (and beloved by locals).

 

I think the ones I mentioned will give you a good sense of what Oregon and Portland have to offer, but they are certainly only the tip of the iceberg.

Answered by Jeff Alworth, Ask Oregon Beer Expert on October 16th, 2015 - Post Your Answer
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Where can we look for agates on the Coast?

Agates are found along many beaches on the Oregon Coast that are adjacent to cliffs and streams. In addition to finding a good location for agates, beach conditions are a critical factor. Typically, sand builds up on beaches during the summer and covers gravel beds containing agates, while winter storms loosen agates from cliff sides and strip the sand off beaches to reveal these deposits. This usually makes November to March the best time to discover significant agate deposits. Your best best in October would be to concentrate on cliff-side beaches at stream outfalls that wash sand away from rocky deposits. Closest to Portland, the beaches south of Cannon Beach would be a good bet. Consider Hug Point (near the waterfall), Arcadia Beach near stream outfalls or Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park where Necarney Creek flows into the ocean. One of my favorite beaches for agate hunting on the North Oregon Coast is the beach at Oceanside on the north side of Maxwell Mountain that is accessed by a tunnel at low tide, though it can be hit or miss depending on sand deposits.

This stretch of Coast, south of Cannon Beach and following the Three Capes Scenic Route (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda) makes a nice touring route for spending just a few days at the Coast. You can make this trip a loop by driving to the Coast via US 26W to Cannon Beach, south on US 101, following the Three Capes Route from Tillamook, then returning to Portland via OR 6E from Tillamook. You should note that the road north of Cape Meares is indefinitely closed due to slides, so you have to reach Cape Meares and Oceanside by driving through Netarts.

Happy agate hunting!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 10th, 2015 - Post Your Answer

What outdoorsy things can my dog and I do together in Portland?

October is my favorite month and dogs are my favorite humans — so you’re in good hands.

When I first moved to Portland I picked up this book and it’s changed my life. And my dog’s. But really, most of the trails in and around Portland are dog-friendly as long as your dog remains on a leash. All of the hikes in the Gorge allow dogs (on-leash) and everywhere near Mt. Hood allows dogs — so long as you’re not trying to forge the Elliot Glacier washout. Because that would be dangerous for everyone involved.

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I’m staying in Portland for several days. What are some “don’t miss” places in and around the city?

Portland is surrounded by the beautiful ocean and the mountains, plus there are so many get restaurants and shops in the city that you would surely appreciate staying a few more days to explore the NW.

Here are some suggestions:

Get lost in Powell’s books, the largest new and used bookstore in the world.

Go see the symphony or a concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall

Schedule a walking tour to see the Best of Portland, Epicurean Excursion, Flavor Street (food cart tour) or the Chocolate Decadence tour.

Eats:

Best Pizza: Ken’s Artisan Pizza

French: Le Pigoen

Seafood: Woodsman Tavern

Steak: Ox

Brunch: Clyde Commons

Happy Hour: Portland City Grill (best view of the city)

If you rent a car:

Visit one of the 32 wineries near Portland.

The Columbia River Gorge is a great scenic drive only 35 minutes from Portland. Visit Multnomah falls and have dinner at the lodge.

The coast is only a 1.5 hour drive. Cannon Beach has great restaurants and shops.

Answered by Tally Gunstone, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on September 25th, 2015 - Post Your Answer

Where can I find large, family-friendly lake cabins in Southern Oregon?

I actually just answered a similar question, so you’re not alone in your love of lakes! For a family that size, I would suggest renting cabins at either Lake of the Woods or Fish Lake, both located on Highway 140 between Medford and Klamath Falls. Both have rustic cabins situated around the lake, and both have nice swimming, fishing, and kayaking onsite. You can also find hiking trails in the nearby Sky Lakes Wilderness. Book early, as these resorts do fill up fast for summer!

If you want something a bit more comfy, I’d recommend The Running Y Ranch in Klamath, though the lake it’s on (Klamath Lake) does not offer any swimming. Have fun!

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on September 15th, 2015 - Post Your Answer

I want to propose to my girlfriend during our 6 days camping around Oregon — where should I pop the question?

First of all, congratulations! When I opened this email, I got goosebumps and butterflies and my heart started racing and I immediately had a million ideas in my mind of where you should go.

But first. I’m going to give you my top 5 favorite places in each of those three locations. And then I’m going to give you a list of wineries to look at, too.

Here is an ambitious itinerary that is also doable without feeling like you’re constantly on the go:

Day 1: Crater Lake

Campground: Lost Creek Campground

You can stay here without feeling like you’re in a box of sardines. It’s my favorite campsite in the area and doesn’t have a lot of people. Also, the Pacific Crest Trail is accessible here and you can take a short walk/hike to the Pinnacles in the area. It’s not far from the rim of the lake, but it’s not overlooking the lake. It’s also a first-come, first-serve campground, so if you can snag a spot, this would be an ideal place to pop the question.

Another option for a campsite would be Diamond Lake. It’s just 12 miles north of the rim and there are significantly LESS people there. So after a day of exploring Crater Lake it might be nice to settle down near another ridiculously beautiful lake with an epic view of Mt. Thielsen.

One thing to keep in mind: Sometimes the rim road is closed to cars and only accessible by bike. Keep that in mind and maybe double check the weekend you’re planning on coming out.

Day 2: Hot Springs

A must-see attraction is the Umpqua Hot Springs. You’ve gotta do it.

You can still get your hike to Tokatee Falls in, and you should, because it’s awesome. But make sure you spare an hour or two to check out these natural hot springs! This wouldn’t be the worst place to propose.

Day 3: Bend

I love Bend. Everyone loves Bend. It’s true. You’ll love it, too, I promise.

By then, a shower and fireplace will probably be welcomed and there’s also so much more to do there! If you haven’t proposed yet, check out Tumalo Falls, it might be what you’re looking for. Crux Fermentation Project, McMenimans, and Rogue Brewery are all really great places to celebrate as well. Honestly, Bend has more beer than anywhere else you’ll ever go in your life. Except maybe Germany. But that’s up for debate. You could rent bikes and ride along the Deschutes River Trail or go for a run along it. You could also hike Pilot Butte, take a scenic drive along the Cascade Lakes Scenic byway (it’ll drop your jaw), there are lava lands outside of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Mt. Bachelor is pretty incredible, too.

Day 4: Smith Rock

Mmmm, Smith Rock. One of my all-time favorite places.

So, you can’t actually ‘hike’ Monkey Face. But you CAN see it from the hike called ‘Misery Ridge.’ It’s not that bad of a hike. I was able to do it two weeks after having ACL surgery last spring. This hike offers the best views, the best elevation gain and the best bang for your buck in the area if you’re going to hike. You get to experience everything Smith Rock has to offer.

If you decide that you want to climb, I’d suggest Five Gallon Buckets. It’s a popular route but it’s easy and is the best route for gym-climbers to get comfortable climbing outside. If you want to climb Monkey Face, I’d suggest getting here early an expecting a bit of a wait before roping in for this multi-pitch. It takes awhile, but it’s worth it.

If you’re looking for campsites in this area, there’s the climber’s bivvy. But it might be filled with loud climbers scrounging for leftovers. Skulls Hollow is another site that’s not too far from Smith Rock but I would highly, highly recommend camping at Haystack Reservoir. If you can get a spot by the water, you get an excellent view of Mt. Jefferson and sometimes, when the sky is clear enough, the stars reflect onto the water and it is the most amazing thing.

Day 5: Hood River

Alright, Hood River is cool. I wish I could tell you it was worth skipping but if you did skip it, I’d be offended I think. And I think you’d regret it. On your way from Bend to Hood River, there’s a hike called Tamanawas Falls. The pull-off is on the left-hand side of the road. It’s four miles round trip and is easy, fun and the payoff is totally worth it. When you’re done doing that… there’s an awesome little coffee shop in Hood River called Doppio’s. There are sandwiches, soup and some of the best coffee, ever.

If you’re still thinking about mountain biking, check out Discover Bicycles. They rent bikes for $60/day and give you helmets, maps, directions, etc. Everything you could ever need or hope for. Check out Surveyor’s Ridge for the mountain bike ride. It’s relatively easy and follows a ribbon of single track through the trees, down valleys and opens up to incredible views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.

But if you don’t want to mountain bike… take a drive along the Fruit Loop! Depending on the time of year, there are U-pick flower fields, u-pick fruit and vegetable fields and (!) wineries. Mt. Hood Winery is a great place to stop with a great view of the north side of Hood. You should be able to see Mt. Adams from here, as well.

At this point, you’ll probably be exhausted. You’ll probably be love drunk. And you’ll probably be looking for houses to rent or buy and planning on moving to Oregon.

But you should actually start driving toward Portland. Because you’re almost out of time. Get some more coffee.

You’re going to pass the Columbia River Gorge, on your left. Once you hit Cascade Locks, take the exit to get onto the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. This road will pull you past handfuls of waterfalls and lush, natural rainforest. There will be plenty of places to pull over, get out, hike up to and take a ton of pictures in front of some really awesome falls. My favorite is Elowah Falls. It’s a short hike in, but whoah. It’s worth it.

Multnomah Falls is by far the busiest area of the Gorge, but once you see it, you’ll know why. (It’s also the waterfall from Twilight, just a heads up). This waterfall comes with it’s own parking area and lodge. There are a handful of other falls to see along the way, too, so save your neck muscles and don’t spend too much time looking up.

I’d suggest staying somewhere in Portland this night. Especially if you’re going to fly back the next day. But if not, take your time! There are plenty of places to see and things to do and you might want to try stopping at every waterfall. Who knows?!

I hope you guys have the best trip. I’m so excited for you!

What should we do and see in Central Oregon in September?

Hi! You’re in for a treat. Central Oregon in September is so beautiful.

I have several recommendations for you. Don’t miss the High Desert Museum, which presents natural and cultural history and also has live animals on site. For hiking, try Smith Rock State Park, the Deschutes River Trail, or the Cascade Lakes region. Tumalo Falls is near Bend and easy to access. The Newberry National Monument offers cool volcanic history and views as well as a waterfall, Paulina Falls.

Take a stroll through Sisters - a fun little town with Western flair. Many events take place in Sisters in September, too. There is a ton of great dining in the area – try the Old Mill District or downtown in Bend for starters.

What else do you want to know? Have a great time!

What interesting tourist attractions are between Newport and Astoria?

There are many great attractions and scenic areas between Newport and Astoria. My must stops for any trip in the immediate Newport area would include the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and the historic bayfront. If you have at least a couple hours to devote, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is also a must. As you travel north, Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock and the Otter Crest viewpoint at Cape Foulweather make easy stops for great views. I always find the beach north of Devil’s Punchbowl interesting, but especially at low tide.

Whenever traveling this route, I try to take the Three Capes Scenic Route, turning off at Pacific City. If you have time to climb the dune-flanking Cape Kiwanda, the views from the top are inspiring and a great place to watch wave action. Cape Lookout State Park is great, especially if you have time to hike the cape or spend some time on the beach. Cape Meares is an easy stop with a short walk to views and lighthouse. As you return to US 101 N in Tillamook, many travelers include a visit to the Tillamook County Creamery, the visitor center for the home of Tillamook cheese, ice cream and fudge.

Continuing north, the drive is scenic as you skirt Tillamook Bay and pass through small towns. Just past Garibaldi, the Three Graces rock formation at the mouth of the bay entices many visitors to pull over. Past Manzanita, the roadside viewpoints as the highway climbs Neahkahnie Mountain offer panoramic view of miles of coastline where you just traveled. Hikers will want to spend to time in Oswald West State Park, but casual sightseers should consider Hug Point where, if it’s low tide, you can walk around the point to the north to a picturesque waterfall carved out of the sandstone. Highway-side viewpoints offer views of Haystack Rock as you approach the small beach community of Cannon Beach. You can walk to the rock at low tide and explore its tidepools by parking in the Midtown area of Cannon Beach by City Hall. The best views in town are had at Ecola State Park where easy walking paths offer views of the coastline, Haystack Rock and the offshore Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. There are also great hiking trails, but at minimum you should also drive the curvy, up-and-down, narrow road to Indian Beach within the park.

Seaside is a unique Oregon Coast experience and the state’s original beach resort town, still featuring family attractions in the crowded downtown including an arcade, indoor carousel, bumper cars and the now nearly 80-year-old Seaside Aquarium. The city is famous for its 1.5-mile oceanfront promenade and the automobile turnaround at the end of Broadway that offer a glimpse back to the early days of travel to Oregon’s Pacific Coast.

As you approach Astoria, history buffs are drawn to Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark’s encampment from 1806 and, to the west, Fort Stevens State Park where the remains of the 1906 shipwreck Peter Iredale are still visible on the beach. Astoria itself has more historical attractions, most notably the Columbia River Maritime Museum which is along the city’s riverwalk, a fun place to stroll and watch ships on the river.

My list would grow with increased time if you have it to explore this portion of the Oregon Coast, but this itinerary should keep you pretty busy!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on August 30th, 2015 - Post Your Answer
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