We took a trip last May to celebrate my 40th birthday, our wedding anniversary and just to have some time alone. We wanted to visit a place completely different from any place we had ever been so we chose Oregon. (Michael had been to Portland on business but never the Oregon country or coast.) I cannot say enough about how spectacular the forests, parks and beaches are in this state.
We landed in Portland but immediately drove up to the northwest corner of the state. We started exploring in Washington state following the Lewis and Clark Trail. We saw where they first glimpsed the Pacific Ocean. We loved thinking about their expedition experiencing the land and sea.
(Tip: You can get a multi-day pass for all the state parks and recreation areas so don’t pay at each individual parks. However, the Oregon ones don’t work in Washington even thought the parks are so close together.)
We worked our way down the coast visiting Astoria, a port town where the Columbia River meets the ocean. You may also know it from “Goonies” fame. The movie was shot there.
While climbing the Astoria Column we got a call from the owner of the Arch Cape Inn and Retreat, where we were staying on the trip. She was calling to let us know that it was the first sunny weekend in three months (no rain!!) and the people were going crazy heading to the shore. She told us to eat dinner in Astoria (all the restaurants by her had a several-hour wait) and that she would leave us a hidden key to get into the inn when we arrived. We appreciated her call very much!
We had a lovely candlelight seafood dinner in the harbor overlooking the Columbia River. Then we continued down the coast toward Cannon Beach, which is famous and was crazy crowded. I was glad we were staying a little further down at Arch Cape instead. It was still an easy drive to Cannon Beach but completely quiet and secluded.
I cannot say enough about the Arch Cape Inn and Retreat. I had the most fun dithering over which room to choose for our stay. In the end I chose one with a rooftop porch and a fireplace of course. It has a view of the ocean. Your stay comes with a three-course breakfast. We didn’t need lunch and showed back up for wine and cheese hour and then went for late dinners.
After two days there, we continued down the coast hiking and exploring the state parks. I have never seen anything like the way the forest meets the ocean in Oregon. It is breathtaking.
We ended our trip in Portland, which sadly I was not crazy about. There were extremely aggressive panhandlers that were downright scary. I lived in New York City for two years, and I never experienced this level of aggression. I was kind of afraid to go buy coffee alone in the morning.
The best part of Portland for me was the International Rose Test Garden and the Hoyt Arboretum. We had a lovely morning walking around the gardens before flying out. It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city.
It didn’t rain a single drop so that may have colored my view of the state. I was actually hoping for rain since we rarely see it in Arizona. I loved the rest of the state of Oregon and hope to take the kids to visit.
Sit back and enjoy my slideshow about the beauty of Oregon. (There is music with it so watch the volume if you are at work.) I am happy to try to answer questions about our trip and the state. Please share your favorite parent getaway places or any special spots you visited in Oregon.
(Check out our family road trip through California. We hit three national parks, camped in Yosemite, visited San Francisco, wine country and then checked out beaches all down the northern coast.)