When the conditions are right, the North Coast has some of the best beach breaks. Short Sands Beach in Oswald State Park is a popular destination for both skilled surfers and guided beginners. And you can’t beat this view. (Photo credit: Director of Toughness)
Oregon’s North Coast is known for the giant pillars of Cannon Beach, the Lewis & Clark statue in Seaside’s Promenade and the cult classic movie, The Goonies. But there’s more to discover about our beloved coastline. From tasting at local breweries to guided paddle tours, I took advantage of some “off-the-beaten-path” activities and I’m glad I get to share them with you.
We started our weekend of adventure with NW Women’s Surf Camps at Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park. Decked out in our gear from Cleanline Surf Shop, we were ready and hoping to ride our very first waves in the Pacific! Much to our dismay, the ocean was a little too threatening that day and we weren’t allowed out on the water.
But our visit was made worthwhile when Lexie, the instructor at NW Women’s Surf Camps, filled us in on the history of surfing in Oregon and gave us some practical lessons on dry land. She made us feel welcome and comfortable as we learned how to read the tides, wind direction, swell height and swell direction. We also practiced how to paddle out, hit waves and stand up on the board. I’m looking forward to the next time I visit Lexie so I can complete my lesson and finally get out on the water.
Next up, we stopped at our beautiful accommodations at the Ashore Hotel in the heart of downtown Seaside. They were just my style. Simple, modern and rustic, with a lobby bar offering local beers, wine, and your choice of espresso, an outdoor fire pit and a heated salon pool and dry sauna. We dropped our bags off, enjoyed our first beer of the evening and walked the block to the beach to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Then we checked out some cruiser bikes from the friendly staff at the Ashore (for free) and rode through town to Seaside Brewing Co., enjoying the cold salty air on our faces.
Seaside Brewing is located in the Old Seaside City Jail — ask about the building’s history. We saddled up to our tables and were immediately presented with a beer tasting. We sipped some varieties, all of us choosing a different favorite. Seaside Brewing’s beer comes with complex and distinguishable flavors. From IPA to ESB, Marionberry Hefe to Imperial Stout, everyone is guaranteed to find a beer that suits their tastes.
Up early the next day to experience my first paddle board adventure! Clatsop Paddle Company offers a variety of guided stand-up paddleboard (SUP) tours. We opted to spend a couple of hours on the Skipanon Waterway, sailing leisurely around old commercial fishing ships, catching views of Astoria and Saddle Mountain in the distance.
CJ, our tour guide, not only taught me how to stand and paddle (surprisingly easier and more fun than I anticipated), but she filled us in on the history of the area, the role of pilot boats and why the Columbia River Bar has been nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” The tours last 2 1/2-3 hours and are a wonderfully unique way to experience the area.
Having worked up a bit of an appetite, we headed down to Buoy Beer Co. on the Astoria waterfront. We were treated to some of the most delicious food, beer and views on the entire North Oregon Coast. Unsurprisingly, the old warehouse that now houses Buoy Beer is full of local flavor and ripe with history as well, and we were delighted to hear the tale of construction from start to finish. You can find all that information on their website or check out the progress photos at the entrance of the brewery. This clean industrial space has a rustic flare. For the wildlife enthusiasts, it also comes complete with a window through the floor to the ocean where native sea lions bark and lounge on the daily. After a quick tour of the brewery side, we exited out into the sun and returned to the Ashore to nap off our afternoon beers.
Just a short walk from the Ashore Hotel is Maggie’s on the Prom, where we watched the sun set over the ocean waves from the comfort of our dinner table. If you’re looking for a fine dining restaurant in Seaside, look no further. This seafood-heavy, seasonally specific menu will give you the coastal experience you desire. The staff is friendly and helpful, the food is elegant and fresh, and the cocktails are absolutely divine.
Stuffed to the brim, we rolled ourselves back to the hotel to enjoy our last night around the fire pit before retiring quietly to our comfortable beds.
I wish I had more time to explore Oregon’s North Coast.
During our stay we were rewarded with lots of sun and great company. I’ll gladly head back to both Astoria and Seaside to revisit those same spots as well as new ones. Hopefully the ocean swell cooperates on my next visit so I can take those land-learned skills Lexie taught me into the salty sea.