What’s a blustery day at the Oregon Coast without a bonfire at dusk? Or a brisk hike along a craggy coastline without a steaming bowl of chowder and coffee to warm up afterward?
As invigorating as is to play outside on the Oregon Coast in the off season, it’s just as delicious an experience to savor the warm-up afterward, to revive our bodies, minds and spirits. Here are are a handful of ways on the Coast to do just that:
On the North Coast
With its front-and-center view of Haystack rock from its rustic wood-paneled booths, The Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge in Cannon Beach serves up a mighty bowl of steamy classic Northwest chowder. Their steamer clams have also been satiating travelers’ appetites for decades. For a quick pick-me-up, beachcombers in Pacific City love to fuel up with a killer espresso drink or hot chocolate for the kids at Stimulus Espresso Cafe, right across the beach from the beach and Cape Kiwanda. Visitors craving a bit of luxury can book a deep-tissue massage at Spa Manzanita, where the use of heated Neahkahnie Mountain stones goes a long way to soothe tense muscles.
On the Central Coast
Anyone looking for a new spot for chowder should not miss Homegrown Public House, a cozy farm-to-table pub just steps from the dunes in Florence. Their scratch-made chowder is swoon-worthy, with local clams, potatoes and celery. Mid-afternoon, take shelter from the drizzle with a fair-trade, organic latte at Green Salmon Coffee and Tea in Yachats. And rejuvenate at Earthbound Beauty Day Spa in Newport, where you a little indulgence goes a long way. A hot stone massage and aromatherapy paraffin wax treatment for the hands and arms is sure to get the blood flowing again.
On the South Coast
Further down the Coast, a hot bowl of steamer clams awaits weathered diners at Blue Heron Bistro, a homey spot overlooking the pier at Coos Bay, specializing in classic German cuisine. Keep the beach vibes going in Brookings, where The Bell & Whistle Coffee House serves an exceptional cup of joe on the boardwalk at the Port of Brookings-Harbor. And in Bandon, you don’t have to be a guest at the luxurious Bandon Dunes Golf Resort to enjoy the sauna and jacuzzi in their main lodge.
Build a bonfire
Once you’re properly warmed from the inside, it’s a Coast tradition to stay toasty with a beach bonfire after dark.
Thanks to the Oregon Beach Bill, which turns 50 in 2017, all of Oregon’s 363 miles of beaches are open to the public. Beach campfires are allowed too, as long as they follow Oregon State Parks guidelines.
Visitors may build bonfires 3 by 3 feet or smaller, made of natural, untreated wood that is free from metal, nails, glass or plastic objects (no pallets). Petroleum-based products are not allowed as fire starters, so bring a camping lighter or firestarter from home.
And the fire must be built in an open, dry sand area at least 25 feet away (and not downwind) from vegetation, driftwood, other debris or beach access points. Stay with your bonfire at all times, and extinguish completely with water. There’s just one final rule: Don’t forget the s’mores!