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North Oregon Coast a scenic escape from the city
Oregon Coast Notes - News
From cheese to trees, there’s a bit of everything along the Pacific Ocean

By Ryan Imondi for the Oregon Daily Emerald

Rockaway BeachWhen beach-loving retirees sought out coastal relaxation in the small beach town of Manzanita, they became only a small percentage of a century's worth of settlers staking claim to the northern Oregon coast. Now, after generations of ocean-view enthusiasts settling down, small friendly towns have emerged all along the coastline, making the northern Oregon coast one of the most attractive summer destinations in the state.

With new towns only moments away from each other, with breathtaking views in between, it's no wonder why thousands of people visit the Oregon coast every year and find themselves permanent residences.

Following the meandering Highway 101 along the Oregon coastline, the northern region is about three hours from Eugene. With rocky cliffs barraged by crashing waves on one side and the Oregon forests rolling up tall hills on the other, the scenic drive is one of the best parts about visiting the coast. The road moves through coves and atop vistas, making the landscape ever changing.

Throughout the drive there are pull-offs where drivers can get out and soak up the great coastal views.

Fans and locals of the northern coast will have endless amounts of bucket-list-type activities that are a must do when visiting each town. Because this is a quick and dirty guide to the coast, this article will gloss over each town, leaving the traveler to discover the hidden treasures.

Tillamook

The first northern town when venturing up the coast is Tillamook. It's impossible to write an Oregon coast guide without mentioning Tillamook and the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. The most popular tourist destination on the coast and the second most popular destination in all of Oregon, the factory offers genuine entertainment for all ages. Although Tillamook does not have beaches because it's slightly inland, the town works as a great pit-stop on the way to other northern towns.

Garibaldi, Rockaway and Manzanita

These three towns lie directly north of Tillamook. Garibaldi and Rockaway are both popular vacation spots for Portlanders and offer great water activities, including fishing and crabbing. The town of Manzanita has more year-round inhabitants. The great thing about Manzanita is that it offers a distinct change in landscape. The town lies at the bottom of a large vista that provides great views and hikes.

Oswald West State Park

After Manzanita is one of the coast's hidden treasures: Oswald West State Park. Nestled in a cove, the park gives visitors a relaxing campsite near the beach. Outdoor activities around the park include surfing, hiking and fishing.

Cannon Beach

Farther north is the town of Cannon Beach. Many Oregonians consider Cannon Beach to be a coastal gem. By far the most photographed town on the northern coast, Cannon Beach's summertimes mean kite flying, sand castle competitions and beach bonfires. Haystack Rock, a 235-foot rock accessible at low tides, attracts tourists' attention as they relax on the beach. The town also has a thriving art community with original paintings, sculptures and blown glass.

Seaside

Seven miles north of Cannon Beach is Seaside. Modeled after beach towns on the East coast, Seaside has a traditional promenade accompanied by arcades, bumper cars and miniature golf. Motels and hotels dot where the sand meets the concrete, making it an ideal location for traditional tourists to crash at night. Like Cannon Beach, the Seaside beach is covered with bonfires at night.

Astoria

Located at the northernmost tip of the state, Astoria is where the Oregon section of Highway 101 ends or begins, depending upon your perspective. Astoria offers a wide range of attractions from Fort Clatsop and Fort Stevens to museums and excellent dining.
Great views of the mouth of the Columbia can be seen from atop the Astoria Column. One of the more interesting features about Astoria is that the town is the oldest American settlement west of the Mississippi. This aspect gives Astoria a rich history that attracts anyone fascinated with Lewis and Clark's journey.


Unfortunately, Astoria marks the end of the Oregon coastal towns. The good thing about driving up Highway 101 is that the journey back is just as interesting. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself a permanent resident at one of Oregon's most attractive destinations.

ODE-mark

The Oregon Daily Emerald is the Independent Student Newspaper at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.

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