The Oregon Coast

The coast of Oregon is one of the finest coastlines in the world. It has all the beauty of say a Big Sur, with none of the crowds. This also makes it one of the most underrated coastal ranges as well. While it does get busy in summer, springtime is quiet and if you’re lucky enough to get down on a weekday, you can literally have miles of wild, beautiful, sandy beaches to yourself.

I’ve been to the Oregon Coast probably two dozen times. Last week I had some meetings down in the SF Bay area and decided to drive down with the family. We left a few days in advance, took the I-5 to Salem and then cut across to Yachats were we stayed a couple of nights.

Yachats is a sleepy fishing village with a couple of great restaurants, plenty of lodging and some of the finest geological features on the entire coast. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the sky was on fire.

Sunset at Yachats

Yachats is also the location of Thor’s Well. Some of you may have seen this on Pinterest, Instagram, 500px and the like — it’s within the Cape Perpetua National Scenic area. Cape Perpetua was named by Captain James Cook in the 18th century as he was cruising up and down the coast.

Thor’s Well is an unusual geological feature that at certain times of the day, gives the appearance of a ‘hole in the ocean’. It’s best experienced when an hour or two before / after high tide. You can’t get close to it at high tide — it’s far too dangerous. When it’s safe though, you get to experience something like this:

The Ocean emptying into Thor’s Well

This is from the same location, looking back into the town.

Looking back towards Yachats

Along this part of the Oregon Coast, the coastline snakes in and out, creating excellent viewpoints to sit, photograph and contemplate our role in the universe.

For my recommended path along the Oregon Coast, starting from Seattle. I’d hit up the following:

  • Astoria (location of the Goonies, great for food)
  • Cannon Beach (the most famous “haystack rocks” along the coast)
  • Cape Kiwanda (another favorite of mine and way less explored than Cannon Beach)
  • Newport (seaside town, food, lodging)
  • Yachats (covered above)
  • Bandon (wonderful views, hiking and a great turnaround point)

As for us, we made it much father — getting to SF for a couple of nights and then basically driving back in a day. We had the chance to take in a little of Highway 1 which seems equally stunning — somewhere I plan to visit much more in the future.