Off The Beaten Path: The Oregon Coast

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I woke up early with two things on my mind: 1. Coffee, and 2. The coast.  Portland is known for its amazing coffee and I couldn’t wait to try out Courier Coffee, which was just a few blocks from my hotel, the Vintage Plaza.  You may not even notice this coffee shop if you’re just walking by — it is barely marked, save for the word “coffee” in small red font above the doorway. The owners of Courier have a very hands-on, DIY approach to their shop, and serve outstanding coffee served pour-over style in mason jars.  The two guys working there were incredibly friendly and helpful when it came to which coffee I should try, and they were spinning some great tunes on their record player.  It’s the type of place where you can stool up at the bar and enjoy a cup, while breathing in the intoxicating aroma of muffins baking in the oven, and chat with the baristas about pretty much anything.  I would have stayed for a second cup, but I couldn’t wait to hit the road and head to the coast!

courier coffee

courier coffee

courier coffee

portland oregon

portland oregon

The drive to the coast is just over an hour, taking you over hills and through towering evergreens until you reach the 101, which can take you north to Washington or all the way south to San Diego. The first town I came upon was Cannon Beach, a sleepy beach town where many Portlanders head come summertime. But one of the local Free People girls had warned me the day before — the beaches here aren’t like the beaches back east.  They’re not the types of beaches packed with people in bathing suits and kids splashing around in the surf.  They are vast, empty, windswept beaches and even on a warm summer day there is a brisk chill to the air and a layer of fog that settles over the ocean.  Wind and wave battered rocks jut out of the water, startling you as you catch a glimpse of them through the evergreen trees.  In Cannon Beach, these rocky formations are known as Haystack Rock and The Needles, and all you can do is stop and stare, taking in their majestic beauty that makes you feel so small.

cannon beach

cannon beach

cannon beach

cannon beach portland

needles portland

portland coast

cannon beach portland

cannon beach portland

cannon beach

A little ways south of Cannon Beach off of 101, there’s a hidden beach… park and hike — just about a quarter mile — to where the creek meets the Pacific.  Wander through an emerald forest where every shade of green surrounds you…pine, evergreen, lime, forest, mint, grass…breathe in the cool, crisp air. You start to hear the sounds of the ocean calling you, and then it appears through the trees.  A peaceful crescent carved out amongst the cliffs, where the only sounds are waves crashing and brisk wind, and the two collide against each other until you don’t know which is which.  The water is shocking against bare feet, but a few brave souls in wetsuits paddle out into the waves, their belongings hanging on a piece of driftwood where their dog waits patiently in the sand.

short sands trail

short sands beach trail

portland oregon

short sands beach trail

short sands beach trail

short sands beach trail

short sands beach trail

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

short sands beach

portland

I fell in love with Portland, and Short Sands Beach was a big part of that.  I felt such an incredible calm wash over me, and I truly felt so far away from everything.  With the only sounds being the wind and the waves, you really have the opportunity to stop and listen to what your soul is telling you…those whispers normally ignored, but oh-so-important to your well being.  It was hard to say goodbye after such a short visit, but I know I’ll be back in the future.  Check back tomorrow to see where I go next — and be sure to enter our Off the Beaten Path Sweeps!

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Comments

Juliette Laura -August 27, 2013, 9:28AM

Oh this is so so beautiful! The editing on the photos is lovely, especially the quotes! The beaches there sound ideal, I prefer that so much. Lovely!

xo, Juliette Laura
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Danielle Wallis -August 27, 2013, 10:10AM

Absolutely beautiful! Looks so peaceful.

Megan -August 27, 2013, 10:49AM

Aw, hubs and I were here last summer….brings back happy, happy memories! <3

M.

Annejelina -August 27, 2013, 10:57AM

Wow. All I can say is wow. I hope my hubbby and I can go here someday. Our 1 year anniversary is coming up so maybe… if the stars align maybe? Thank you for a the beautiful pictures, just breathtaking <3
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Alexandra -August 27, 2013, 12:43PM

Hi Julia–your photos are absolutely lovely. I’m going on an adventure to Colorado Springs with my boyfriend this weekend. Do you have any adventure photo tips? He told me my camera might be too heavy for our hike up Pikes Peak, but I think it might be worth it ;)

fp julia -August 27, 2013, 1:47PM

Thanks so much Alexandra! I brought along my camera since this was a work trip, and it was nice to have it with me since it takes such great photos. but honestly a lot of times when I travel I use disposable cameras! I love the quality of film and with a little bit of editing they can still look beautiful.

Rosy -August 27, 2013, 3:46PM

Lovely pictures my favorite Oregon beach is pacific city, and bandon,

Artsy Forager -August 27, 2013, 3:54PM

What a lovely post about one of my favorite places in the world. As a Florida transplant to the Northwest, I’m always struck by the difference between the beaches on each coast. There is something so wild and untamed about the West Coast, even the ocean seems bigger and more powerful. Fantastic post, loved seeing you discover the beauty of the Oregon coast!

Paige -August 27, 2013, 4:25PM

What a fabulous way to show Oregon. Again, you keep posting awesome things about my home state. Cannon beach is really lovely. I am headed out for Labor day weekend like I do every Labor day just to admire the lovely coast. Gorgeous!

alessia cerqua -August 28, 2013, 2:47AM

I love . Very fantastic!!!

Dani -August 28, 2013, 12:25PM

Oregon looks beautiful – I plan on doing a road trip from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver next spring on my mini-honeymoon :) Can’t wait… this makes me even more anxious to go!

<3 dani
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Tessa -August 29, 2013, 5:04AM

Hi Julia — what a great post, and perfect timing being that I m doing a northwest road trip this fall! i m even more excited

I would love to know what app/program you used with the quotes and the photo with the map

thanks , tess

lori -August 29, 2013, 10:51PM

I love how you added the text – is that by hand or a program, i have to know lol – can you do a post a tutorial !!!

Britt -August 29, 2013, 11:28PM

Too bad you didn’t get to see/tour any of the lighthouses along the coast. When I did my Oregon Coast trip back in mid-June, I stopped at every lighthouse from Newport to Seaside. It was beautiful. (also stopped by the Sylvia Beach Hotel and spent the afternoon taking pictures. who can resist an author themed hotel?)

jamie -September 9, 2013, 4:10PM

If you ever go back to the Oregon Coast go to Newport. You won’t be disappointed. Portland is a bit far but it’s the best beach/beach town on the coast. There’s something for everyone there; podunk antique shops, upscale areas, traditional Oregon Beach shacks, good shopping and better food. The beach is slightly warmer too since its further south. The beach views are gorgeous but there is also a whole bay area where there’s little shops and restaurants where the boats dock and its like being in a different town all together. I guess the best way to explain it would be that Seaside/Cannon Beach area is more of a tourist trap and busier since its the closest beach to downtown Portland but also close to Washington state. Newport/Lincoln City is more of the true Oregon beach towns and more of a Oregon resident vacation spot.

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