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If you want to get off the grid, Oceanside, Oregon is a good place to go. Its a speck of a town with houses stacked up from the beach like stadium seats with ocean views. There’s no cell service in town, which was part of the appeal. I wanted us all to unplug and to chill the *bleep* out. We rented a home where we could see whales from the deck. We relaxed, hunted for agates on the beach, explored and played. This was the middle part of our big Northwest trip last summer. We had just spent a few days in Seattle (catch that itinerary here!) and then Portland.
Getting there: was not difficult. It was about an hour and a half drive from Portland. We stopped in Tillamook to visit the cheese factory. I weep for the lactose intolerant. The cheese samples at the end of the self-guided tour were good, but their ice cream was nirvana. I’m usually a chocolate-vanilla-peanut butter type gal, but Marionberry Pie changed my life.
We rented: through vacasa.com kind of last minute. There wasn’t a ton of availability, but I feel like we really lucked out. While I was initially looking to stay closer to the Cannon Beach area, I did a ton of research on the surrounding area, decided to go off the beaten path, unplug, and chose this particular rental because it a. offered an outdoor deck that didn’t look like a danger zone to our two year old b. had a million dollar view c. got good reviews from prior renters and d. could accommodate us and our budget. It really checked all the boxes.
Activities we enjoyed: besides eating ice cream at the cheese factory. We visited the Cape Mears lighthouse, which was kind of funny to me because when you approach the Cape Mears lighthouse, you come at it from up on a hill, so you kind of walk down toward it and you’re at eye level with the actual light and top of the lighthouse. You think, “whoa! that thing is huge!” But then you come around the corner and its actually this kind of short, squatty little thing. Sorry if I ruined it for you. You should still go visit. Its very beautiful and doesn’t need the height because of its situation way up on a coastal cliff. If you go there, be sure to also hike the short trail to the Octopus Tree, a Sitka spruce with giant trunks growing like tentacles. No one really knows why.
We went for a little hike at a turnout off Hwy 101 (there are a million to choose from, just pick one and go) and then just went back and explored the beach for basically the rest of the weekend. There was so much to explore. This is why I love the Pacific Northwest. Everything changes with the tide, there are tide pools to investigate, new areas of beach that open and close, boulders to climb, neat rocks to discover. At one end of the beach there was a tunnel through the cliff, you came out on an uninhabited beach on the other side, where we wandered and looked for neat rocks and agates. In the evening we could see whales spouting out in the ocean from our deck.
We ate: at both of the restaurants in town. The town of Oceanside consists of two restaurants, a little store and a post office. That is it. Both of these restaurants do what they do well. We visited Roseanna’s Cafe for dinner the first night. It was a pleasant surprise. You know how sometimes when you’re in a place where they know you have to eat there because they’re the only option, they cut corners and produce crap food just because they have a nice view and can get away with it? This was the opposite. They had seafood and pasta dishes, all of which were excellent. The decor was like fishing shanty meets grandma’s house? If that’s a thing? Its not. But it worked. And you weren’t really looking indoors anyway, because the ocean was right there. I went back the second night to get a takeout dessert, because we were too full the first night and they looked sooooooo good. And I was pregnant and the mere suggestion of something created an obsessive craving that would nag and nag until it was satisfied.
We also had breakfast at the second of the two dining options, the Blue Agate Cafe. Also no-frills. Also delicious. We had to wait on a Sunday morning, but it was worth it. They gave us mugs of coffee to enjoy outdoors while we waited.
The rest of the time we ate at the house. We had pizza delivered…or maybe we had to pick it up? I don’t remember. But that’s the beauty of a vacation rental. Especially, because for me, eating out with a two year old is one of the least relaxing activities we can do together.
The Oregon coast is mystical and magical and impressive and refreshing. It makes for an excellent mid-late summer getaway, if you’re looking to escape the heat elsewhere, cool off and just really chill out.
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