How to Spend Two Perfect Days on the Oregon Coast
If there is one place I could imagine myself living a quiet life, away from a major city, and Target, it would definitely be the Oregon Coast. The coastal towns of Oregon nestled along cold, rocky beaches are totally dreamy. The way the fog rolls in off the water. The giant barnacle covered rocks. The weathered shingle homes. The quaint downtown that smells like fresh ice cream. It is MAGIC.
A two day stop in Seaside and Cannon Beach was towards the end of our epic road trip through the Pacific Northwest. If you need to catch up, you can read about our quick start in San Francisco, our adventure in an airstream trailer in Santa Rosa, our absolutely amazing drive through the California redwoods, and finally, the city we fell for completely, Portland. I was so excited for two relaxing days “on the beach” and Oregon’s coast really delivered.
Where We Stayed
Originally, we planned on staying in Cannon Beach instead of Seaside. Growing up, my family took a trip to Oregon and we stayed in Cannon Beach. It was one of my best memories with its adorable downtown and the big Haystack rock on the beach. But when I began looking to book a hotel, Airbnb, or even beach rental, it was crazy expensive. I guess I’m not the only one who loves Cannon Beach!
I discovered Seaside was a short drive down the road, a little bit more touristy, but a whole lot more affordable. We stayed at Ashore Hotel, a renovated motel a block from the Seaside boardwalk and beach. It’s right near downtown but it’s incredibly cozy and quiet. It’s got lots of industrial details, a warm saltwater indoor pool, and a fire pit. They also offer a bar with local craft beer and wines and a small menu of food. There’s really no reason to leave the hotel and we actually spent our two evenings there sitting around the fire pit.
What We Did
I’m happy to report that we didn’t do much! We didn’t really want to. This part of our trip was all about chilling out and enjoying the beach. That doesn’t mean there isn’t lots to do in Cannon Beach and Seaside. We relaxed, we explored, and we definitely left enough to do for when we go back.
Eat grilled cheese at Tillamook Creamery
On our drive from Portland to Seaside, I made sure our route took us past Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook. This ginormous, newly remodeled cheese factory is like Disneyworld for cheese. You can take a self-guided tour past windows that show the factory floor where they’re making and packaging real cheese. On the level below, you can get ice cream and cheesy foods like pizza, cheeseburgers, and grilled cheese. It’s very popular and busy so be prepared for big crowds, but lots of cheese.
Visit Jacobsen Sea Salt Company
All over Portland we kept seeing salt and other products made with salt from Jacobsen Salt Company. When I realized their salt works and gift shop wasn’t far from Tillamook or Seaside, in Netarts Bay, a detour was planned! So it wasn’t that exciting: just a big salt warehouse and operations we couldn’t see plus a gift shop as big as a garden shed. But it was really cool to see the water and another local business.
Walk on the Seaside boardwalk
Seaside boasts a long boardwalk that runs the length of its oceanfront. We took a nice long walk past families and people riding bikes and rollerblading. There are a few hotels, including some really big ones, right on the boardwalk but there are also quaint beachfront cottages too.
See the End of the Trail statue
Lewis and Clark aren’t two people I think about much (I mean, if that means I’m weird than so be it). But the two American explorers finished their major journey right in Seaside. A statue facing the ocean commemorates them and their final stop.
Visit Haystack rock
Are you a fan of the 90’s cult favorite, the Goonies? Well then you’ve seen Haystack rock. It’s a big, big rock right in the sand in Cannon Beach. At low tide, you can get pretty close and explore the little tide pools that form. They have really nice guides who will tell you what to look for and also keep it protected. Haystack also makes for a pretty amazing backdrop for your vacation photos!
Wander through downtown Cannon Beach
We spent a whole day wandering through the shops in Cannon Beach. Of course there are the kitschy touristy gift shops you’d find in any beach town but there are some great small shops as well. There are also wine tasting rooms for local Oregon wines and even handmade soap shop, the Cannon Beach Soap Company.
Grab a beer at Pelican Brewing Company
Being pregnant, I couldn’t drink but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to rest for a bit while exploring Cannon Beach. Pelican Brewing Company was the perfect spot for it. A block or so off the beach and a little ways out of the downtown hustle and bustle. We sat inside out of the sun but they had big windows rolled up and the breeze was blowing and it was heavenly. Oh, and their beer flight comes in this big circular carrier and they give you a great selection. Or so I saw since Nick enjoyed them all himself.
Get an ice cream or grab a marionberry turnover
You’re at the beach: get an ice cream cone or two. But honestly, if you’re looking for the real treat, visit The Cannon Beach Bakery and get a marionberry turnover. Oregonians love their marionberries and this turnover is the best way to try this regional treat.
What We Ate
Angelina’s Pizza, Seaside
Our first night in Seaside, we hopped back into the car to grab a pizza. I mean, there were plenty of seafood restaurant, but sometimes you just want pizza, you know? The pizza was so, so good and there are lots of other options as well. They also have a fire pit outdoors if you have to wait. I would recommend seeing if you can sit at the bar or in the front room with it’s big garage window all rolled up.
Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House, a.k.a. Screw and Brew
After walking on the beach and visiting Haystack rock, we debated where we wanted to go to lunch. Unlike my usual over-planning self, I was just going with the flow. But of course, I couldn’t go with the flow without a little research. I pulled up a few lists of best places to eat in Cannon Beach and consistently on the lists was a…hardware store.
One of the best restaurants in Cannon Beach is inside of a hardware store. Known to locals and visitors as the Screw and Brew, there’s a bar and tables set up among the nail display and tools. We ended up sitting in their tiny outdoor garden space. It was one of the best meals of our trip and I still dream about my tender fish and chips.
Public Coast Brewing
Cannon Beach has not one, but two breweries right on the main drag. Public Coast is a bit newer to the scene, very laid back, and has a great beer list (again, I sadly couldn’t sample any). They have a small menu with counter service which was just fine for our easygoing mindset. After eating, we grabbed a spot outside in their Adirondack chairs. But beware: even in the summer, the Oregon coast gets pretty chilly!
What better way to fortify ourselves for the drive to Seattle than with donuts? If you’re in Seaside, you must get a dozen of Dundee’s donuts. They’re delicious and fluffy and do I need to say more? They’re really good donuts!