The Oregon Coast Belongs On Your Bucket List

Oregon CoastWe officially crossed something off our proverbial bucket lists this summer: a family trip to the Oregon coast. If you’ve been there, you already know the joy of it. Never been? Go. You’ll be forever delighted with the memories, sights and sounds of a rugged, breathtaking, magical slice of the Pacific coast.

oregon coast cannon beachWe enjoyed hikes through the towering forests, running across crescent beaches, kite flying (a favorite pastime here), a first attempt at skim boarding, early misty-morning beach combing, sand dollar discoveries, beach sunsets, and ice cream cones. All reasons to find a spot on your personal bucket list for the Oregon coast, for a perfectly amazing weekend.

oregon coast kites

oregon coastOur Oregon coast weekend was spent mainly on Cannon Beach, home to iconic Haystack Rock. It’s a behemoth rock right on the shore that serves as a nesting spot for Puffins and other sea birds. The rock is also surrounded by tidepools. At low tide we could walk right out to it and view hundreds of sea anemones, barnacles, mussels, even sea stars and hermit crab. Any fans of the movie Goonies. (“Hey you guys!”) will recognize lots of Cannon Beach scenery.

oregon coastI could not have anticipated the boundless joy my boys, age 7 and 5, found in the sand, the surf, and the tide pools at Cannon Beach.  Within seconds of setting their little toes in the (surprisingly) soft sand, they were obsessed. Sifting it through their fingers, making sand angels, building little moats and dams and pyramids. It was pure little boy happiness for hours on end.oregon coastoregon coast

Icy cold the water may have been, but it didn’t stop my little guys from hopping over tiny waves in succession or splashing to their hearts content, racing away from the waves, shrieking with glee. We even tried skim boarding one afternoon, which was a major hit with the boys.

oregon coastJust north of Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park, Lewis and Clark National Park and Fort Clatsop (among a host of other gorgeous and interesting places). The history of the Corps of Discovery is dear to my husband’s history-loving heart, and so to our sons’. To walk the paths they walked, see what they saw was a definite highlight of the weekend. I highly recommend adding these beautiful sites to your Oregon coast itinerary.

oregon coast oregon coastAnother gem just a few minutes to the north is Fort Stevens, where we found what remains of the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. Mainly just the bow is left, and the story isn’t one of great drama, but how often do you get to climb through a shipwreck from 100 years ago? It was completely cool.

oregon coastThe landscape and geography along the Oregon coast is, in a word, stunning. Dense Pacific rainforests, lush and green and towering, give way to gorgeous rocky cliffs and sandy beaches all along Highway 101. Amazing views at every turn. Soft sun-warmed sand at my feet, a cool ocean breeze in my hair, the taste of salt on my lips, the ocean’s roar in my ears, and cozy bonfires dotting the beachfront every evening while watching the golden sun melt gently into the horizon. Bliss.

oregon coast cannon beachIf you plan to go sometime yourself, there are a few things to remember. The weather isn’t always as sunny and warm as it was during our visit. So, pack lightweight layers for chilly mornings/evenings, and the likelihood of a drizzle.  A hat, sunglasses, flip flops and a pair of hiking shoes are the only accessories you’ll need. Nearly everywhere and everything is very casual; comfort is key what with the sand, water, and breezes. You’ll blend in just fine with the locals.

oregon coastThere’s really no need to stay in {pricier} accommodations right on the beach, since most everywhere is walking distance to the shore. The town is quaint, clean and charming, with all the requisite beach town fare: t-shirt & trinket shops, chowder joints, ice cream parlors and corner markets, a few places that rent beach bikes, surf gear, horseback rides and so on. Try the chowder, get the ice cream cones, rent the bikes. You won’t regret it.

oregon coastIs the Oregon Coast on your bucket list? We had such a lovely time we hope to go back and visit some other locations, maybe the central coast, and maybe in the early spring when the whales are migrating. I know this trip is one my little boys will remember for a very long time.

oregon coast**This trip was planned and paid for in its entirety by yours truly. Just for fun. I am happy to share it here. All images and thoughts are sincerely my own and are not affiliated with any sponsor.


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Kimberly day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.


  1. Jenni :

    I absolutely love the Oregon Coast. I grew up in landlocked Oklahoma and now that I live in Oregon I make it to the coast at least once a season. It is amazing!

    • Kimberly :

      Jenni, it’s so amazing there. I grew up near Seattle and visited Cannon Beach when I was a little girl. I didn’t expect to love it even more as a grown up with my own littles. And I know what you mean about landlocked. I live in Idaho now.

  2. Debi :

    As one of the ‘locals’ it’s so nice to hear you had a great time! We live through the months of misty ‘rain’ and cloudy days to glory in the days of sunshine amid the beauty that is at times, simply beyond words and pictures don’t adequately capture! Come back anytime!!!

    PS… yes, visitors do fit in the casual lifestyle we have here… we know that casual and laid back goes well with ‘Beach Hair’ that is just part of living here! :-)

    • Kimberly :

      Debi, it was great to feel so laid back for a few days. I didn’t do makeup, kept my hair in a hat or ponytail, and wore my comfiest clothes the whole time. We found the locals to be kind and easy-going. I’ll be back soon, I hope! Because it’s true, the photos just don’t quite get the job done.