Pacific Northwest Beaches – Part 1

The waves are wild and endless, mercilessly crashing again the beach. The sand is light and fluffy, like all purpose flour. Rugged rock formations dot the shoreline offering visual interest. Spectacular, and surprisingly uncrowded beaches stretch for miles. IMG_6406

We fell in love with the rawness of the landscape and listening to the pounding waves upon the shore during our time in La Push and Third Beach. When we departed, we knew we wanted to explore more of Washington and Oregon’s coastline. Our first stop was Grayland State Park, WA. We arrived just before sunset and rushed out to the beach from our large site and were instantly amazed at width and length of the beach – and it was practically empty! As the sun sank behind the horizon, the lighting on the tidal pools reminded me of salt mines in Bolivia (at least what I’ve seen in pictures -going there is still on our list).

Grayland
Grayland

The dogs once again found themselves in off-leash beach heaven… running, frolicking, and unfortunately, finding stuff to roll in… they needed a bath anyway I suppose and were so soft for a couple days after we hosed them down. We really enjoyed our short stay there and absolutely would have stayed longer, but rain was expected to move in and we didn’t want to spend several days waiting it out, especially because there wasn’t much to do nearby in the rain, at least with kids. We’ve had insanely good luck with the weather this entire trip, so heading south a couple days early wasn’t a big deal.

Grayland
Grayland

Grayland State Park: 4 stars – for a State Park, it was a bit expensive and there wasn’t a playground (other than the beach) but sites were quite spacious and beautiful. No views of the beach from the sites but we could hear the ocean nonetheless. Well maintained. Absolutely amazing beach.

Happy and relaxed
Happy and relaxed

Upon leaving Grayland we found a restaurant for lunch, but London had fallen asleep so Raj and Nina had a mini-date and I stayed with sleepy London. I half-heartedly checked the restaurant’s wifi and discovered it was lightning fast! So fun! It’s amazing what makes me giddy these days… I spent the entire time uploading photos onto WordPress, and those 30 minutes probably would take me 3-4 hours at a typical campground, or an obscene amount of data! Fast and reliable Internet is definitely on Raj’s and my lists of top 3 things we miss about home (right up there with our bed). When we actually stay somewhere with decent wifi, it’s hard for us to leave… inevitably, if I write a post in one location and then move on, I am delayed by several days to post it because of the internet pendulum swings the other direction (hence, the reason this post is going out so late).

Frolicking Chai
Frolicking Chai

After lunch we made one last stop at a Washington State recreational Cannabis store (I need to write an entire post about this whole legal marijuana thing) in hopes of finding more Hawaiian Dutch (to no avail) then crossed into Oregon and settled in at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria. We saw deer in the campground every day and explored the extensive walking and biking trails by day and fireside chats by night. The beach there was similar to Grayland, but perhaps not as insanely wide. The last remains of the Wreck of Iredale offered something different, but of course drew tourists as well.

IMG_7166Raj’s favorite part of our stay at Fort Stevens was our daily drive on the beach – though the soft sand made it difficult, he managed a few donuts and checked out more of Lucy’s (aka our Jeep) skills. The dogs played in the flour-like sand until their legs wouldn’t move any longer and the kids and I practiced our yoga and cartwheels.

Fort Stevens State Park, OR: 4 stars – very big place with over 500 sites, but not as spacious as we’d like (though empty spots on both sides made it feel bigger for the duration of our stay). Ended up staying 3 nights –$29 per night for Water/Electric and the biking and beach were amazing.

Blue Heron Harvest Host
Blue Heron Harvest Host

When we were ready to head south, the place we wanted to stay in Cannon Beach was booked up so went further south and stayed at our first Harvest Host, Blue Heron Cheese Company. The Harvest Host memberships concept is brilliant – basically, farms, wineries, museums, etc., offer RVers a “free” place to park, in exchange for us visiting their property and hopefully buying their product as thanks. Usually this is dry-camping, or boondocking, but that’s fine with us for a night here and there, especially as we like escaping crowded campgrounds and seeing something different. At Blue Heron, we didn’t receive the warmest welcome, but we did have a lovely sunset and nice neighbors (parked far away), and were happy to buy some delicious smoked brie and caramel popcorn. Additionally, the kids enjoyed visiting the many animals on the farm… Llamas, goats, chickens, donkeys and an ostrich!

IMG_6583After a picnic lunch on the beach of Cape Lookout State Park (near Tillamook) and a failed attempt for a last minute reservation at their beachside campground, we drove back up the coast to Cannon Beach – only an hour and a bit and only the 2nd time we had to backtrack on this trip. It was worth it!

Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is pretty much perfection as far as beach towns go. There is a cute and quaint little town which is walkable, bike-able, dog friendly, has a healthy mix of casual and nicer restaurants, mom & pop shops – there is nothing commercial or touristy feeling despite it’s Goonies claim to fame. As if that wasn’t enough, we saw whales right off the shore both times we went down to the beach for the sunset – seriously – an entire pod of some kind of larger whale was breaching and blowing right off shore (and tragically we didn’t have our good camera or binoculars!) The sand there is like sugar and the architecture of the bungalows along the water and into town is just lovely – rustic and modern. Of all the places we’ve been, this goes to the top of my list of places I would like to live someday. As a side note, the nearby and more known town of Seaside wasn’t our thing at all – condominiums and basically a tourist trap.

After Cannon Beach, we took a one week break from the gorgeous coast to head to Portland and its surrounding areas! What an amazing city and so much to do! Can’t wait to share more!

Good puppies
Good puppies

Cannon Beach RV Resort: 4 stars – we stayed in their overflow our first night, which was tight (and expensive), but once we moved, we found the sites to be nice and wide with grass and (almost too much) shade. Despite other reviews, we found the wifi to be not so great, but they have a decent playground, and were very dog friendly. It was an easy bike ride into town. Would stay again. 

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