The further north we follow the coast from San Francisco, the more the landscape changes. The area is getting rougher, rockier, and wilder – this is roughly how we imagined the Oregon Coast. But as it soon turns out, the nature of Oregon will impress us even more than we ever thought!
To say goodbye to NORTH CALIFORNIA, a large full moon greets us in the purple-blue morning sky of Smith River. We follow Highway 101 and finally pass the Oregon border at Brookings. But we never really get going: Behind every curve, a new beach, a new bay, a new photo motif await us, which seem to outdo each other and encourage us to stop again and again.
The nearby wildfires cloud our good view of bays like Gold Beach in the first section – but from Bandon Beach, an endless wide sandy beach, the air finally clears up. Nothing but sand and the Pacific as far as the eye can see. The historic old town of Bandon Beach exudes old fishing and seafaring romance. The numerous boutiques and art galleries as well as locally prepared sweet delicacies and seafood specialties invite us to take another break while the fishing boats and yachts sway comfortably in the sun at the small port of the city.
After this beautiful Oregon beaches start, Highway 101 takes us away from the coast and inland. A less exciting section of the route follows. Coos Bay, Winchester Bay, Reedsport with its huge dune landscape, Florence … all places that we quickly leave behind because there is simply not much to see.
The sea, as powerful as Thor’s hammer!
Now Oregon is really beginning to unfold its full glory mile after mile. On the rugged coast, the wind whips up huge waves that crash against the rocks. The Heceta Head Lighthouse above the cliffs seems to be above the forces of nature.
Just a few miles further, at Cape Perpetua, we venture down to the water to feel the power of the sea up close. Here is the famous “Thor’s well” cliff, a kind of cave that clearly amplifies the sound of the breaking waves. The water slaps ashore with loud thunder and a heavy spray wets our faces. Manzanita restaurants location makes our Inn the obvious choice for beach lovers, families looking for a fun Oregon coast vacation and of course, conventioneers. Cheerful, spacious two-bedroom suites, double queen-bedded rooms, and hospitality suites are perfect to accommodate families, small groups, or couples on a romantic coastal getaway.
Whales just off Oregon Beach
We arrive in Newport, a small town with 10,000 inhabitants, located directly on Yaquina Bay. As we pass the great old arch bridge, our attention falls on the Historic Bayfront. We spontaneously decide to check into a cozy motel in neighboring Agate Beach. We have enough time to watch the fishermen at work on the oceanfront. After all, Newport is very famous for its crabs! But not only the fishermen seem to be doing well here, but also the sea lions. Like at Pier 39 in San Francisco, the fat mammals bask in the sun or splash around in the water.
The next morning we start with a long walk on Agate Beach, which we only have to share with a dozen seagulls early. Otherwise, nobody is to be seen here far and wide. Before we continue our drive north, we make a detour to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is located directly above Agate Beach. Once there, we can’t believe our eyes: less than 50 meters from the beach, we see a humpback whale swimming back and forth between the rocks, while countless sea lions float in the water like lazy buoys.
We have never seen such a large whale from land – as it turns out, it won’t be the last whale either. Along the Oregon Coast, we repeatedly discover humpback whales, which cannot be overlooked with their huge fountains, for example at the “Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint”.