I had heard about the beautiful Oregon coast; but had never visited. I had also heard of the "rainy, cold weather" and being a masochist, I could not resist the charm of visiting over Thanksgiving to see both first hand. I was not disappointed!
Our plan was simple. Fly into Portand & explore the coast before returning to Portland for the flight home. Simple - no plan, few reservations. Just start driving! As it turned out, we visited the following places:
We arrived at Portland airport quite late; but, had arranged accommodations at the convenient Hyatt Place Portland Airport/Cascade Station hotel (about 1 mile away from the airport just off the main road). It was good with breakfast provided. In the morning, we visited the old down town section of Portland for a few hours before beginning our coastal adventure.
In summary, Portland proved to be a lovely place with convinces of a real city, a deep personality & a lot going on. The airport is clean & easy to use. Many people may want to visit the zoo, the sky lift and a host of other fineries. It is also a great walking city with friendly people. But these are not what attracted me most about Portland .
Astoria is a pleasant drive from Portland. Clementine's B&B was wonderful (but their website seems to have closed). Walking in this miniature city of 10K people gave us the chance to see lovely victorian homes. The next day, drove half an hour to Cannon Beach.
Our next stop was Cannon Beach which is only a half hour from Astoria. It is touted as the 7th best beach in the world & maybe it is. The town is mostly a single hi-way strip of modern & coordinated buildings well suited to a tourist's taste. Cafes, coffee shops & art galleries abound. The beach is wonderful and a range of accommodations near/on the beach are available. For most, this may be the ideal Oregon Coast destination. (see Cannon Beach Haystack Rock above)
After visiting Newport, we drove north up U.S. 101, the way we had come. Where 101 takes a "jag" inland at Lincoln City (headed north) , we took the small coast road past Cape Kiwanda to Tillamook . Despite constant rain showers, we enjoyed hugging the road in our VW Goff as we passed through rain forests & little coastal villages. Dotted along the coast were many small parks & headlands that beg to be explored. Had we stuck to the main road, we would have missed many lovely sites.
Tillamook is a farming town where U.S. 101 (the coast hi-way) jogs inland away form the coast. It features a large dairy/cheese facility & a nice old down town. It's probably not a vacation destination; but, is the commercial hub near some really nice coastal areas
We spent 3 nights at Oceanside Oregon (see photos at link). It's a tiny community just 9 miles from Tillamook. The village is perched on a steep slope down to a magnificent beach. Oceanside is beautiful but basic. Visitors must plan ahead to get accommodations, as the village has a following of regular visitors who come repeatedly. I can confidently say we rented the last good room in town, thanks to the "Oceanside Inn" ( Oceanside Inn .)