Editor’s Note: Ask Oregon is a program that allows travelers to ask Oregon experts about traveling throughout the state. We’d like to introduce you to our expert on all things Oregon Coast, Gary Hayes. Gary is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Pelican Productions, Inc, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside, Oregon. A native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast, he now lives in Cannon Beach with his dog Jackson, a nearly constant travel companion. 

What’s your favorite thing about living in Oregon?
I love living in a region surrounded by awe-inspiring landscapes and remarkable natural wonders. There is a magic to these places that never disappoints. The availability of superb Northwest wines and exceptional regional cuisine, from seafood to farm, doesn’t hurt either.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Oregon?
By day, I’m a walker and a hiker and my camera is always close at hand. I love to get beyond the standard viewpoints and main streets and explore places from different angles. I’m driven to discover great out-of-the-way spots or unique “just around the corner” finds. By night, I like to seek out food where passionate chefs surprise me with Northwest flavors and I can sample the regional wine or beer.

What’s the one tip you always give to visitors?
The coast can be unpredictable and I love that about it, so I always recommend that visitors are prepared to get out and experience the region regardless of what the day offers, because it’s always magical. I also say: come back. Experience these remarkable places in different seasons. We truly have four unique seasons and each place can change from day to day and season to season. Oops, that’s two tips, sorry.

Describe your perfect Oregon vacation:
My perfect Oregon vacation would alternate exploring the state’s most dramatic natural areas with meandering through wine country. I’d hike the Columbia River Gorge, visit Willamette Valley wineries, drive down the coast, then make the rounds of Southern Oregon wineries. Jackson, my dog, would be along for the trip, of course.

Have an Oregon Coast question for Gary? Ask him in the comments below, or visit our Ask Oregon page to send him an email.

Curious about our other experts? Meet our other Ask Oregon ambassadors

About the Author: Emily Forsha

Emily Forsha is Travel Oregon’s content editor and a runner, hiker and biker of many Oregon trails. When she’s not road tripping around the state with her husband and two little boys, this proud native Oregonian is cooking up new recipes in her kitchen, sampling the latest craft brews and cheering on her beloved Oregon Ducks.

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