Most of the places on the Oregon Coast that draw tourists and hold a true beach appeal can be found north of Florence, our easy coastal point of contact from Eugene. We have traveled that direction several times since we moved here four years ago visiting Yachats and Depoe Bay where you can find some of Oregon’s 5-star hotels such as the Whale Cove Inn and the Overleaf Lodge. We also enjoyed a stay at the Heceta Lighthouse B & B near the very scenic Cape Perpetua.
This summer, we decided to explore a little farther afield starting with Cannon Beach, the location of one of Oregon’s most familiar landmarks — Haystack Rock, a basalt sea stack that rises 235 feet above the water. The area is also renown as the setting for a number of novels, television programs, and movies such as The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, Point Break, and Twilight. Here you will encounter a real walkable sandy beach no doubt one of the many attractions for filming.
As most of you will know, I am not a camper. I need my creature comforts, but I do like to get a taste of the outdoors. When Norman and I first got together, he was sorting out his things and trying to decide what to bring with him. He told me that he had a lot of camping gear and asked me what he should do with it. I immediately replied, “Don’t bring it here! We won’t be using it.” We’ve had a running joke for all these years that my idea of camping is staying at the Marriott. And so it is!
For this trip, we stayed at a small but well-appointed cabin that felt just a little bit like camping (to me anyway). Located amongst a small group of beach homes just off Highway 101 in Arch Cape, we were only a few minutes from all the places we wanted to visit. Sitting next to this picture window surrounded by huge trees for an afternoon snack was just perfect!
Just outside our doorway was this immense tree trunk that reminded you who or what was in charge every time you left the cabin.
A short walk across the highway took us on a path down to the beach with a dramatic entrance. (That’s Norman walking toward the waves.)
Upon exciting this natural tunnel, we were rewarded with a pristine sunset beach scene where we watched a fleet of pelicans diving for their dinner.
The following day, we set out for Ecola State Park which stretches along nine miles of coastline just outside Cannon Beach. I did my research (or so I thought) and found an intriguing trail I figured we could manage without too much difficulty. We parked at the Indian Beach Trailhead with a beautiful view overlooking the ocean and set off on Clatsop Loop Trail, a 2.5 mile roundtrip. Easy peasy, right? Well, we immediately found ourselves climbing up a steep hill and the incline didn’t let up until we reached the top. Turns out the elevation gain for this trail is 785 ft. Whew! No problem for Norman. I was the one struggling, but I made it! Don’t I look happy here? I had no idea what I was getting into. Ignorance is bliss perhaps?
The incentive for making this climb is to get a view of “Terrible Tilly”, or the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse — the most expensive lighthouse ever constructed on the west coast. However, when we arrived at that viewpoint, this was all we were able to see. They forgot to mention that it’s often socked in with clouds or fog.
On the return, farther down the trail there are some great views of the sea stacks to the south… along the edge of one very steep cliff. You have to be careful not to lean too far to get your shot.
In the end, it was quite a challenging hike for me, but it was satisfying to know that I accomplished it. Not too bad — I’m still smiling.
Just as you realize you have almost arrived back at the parking area experiencing some relief, you come upon a bench where you can sit and take in the splendor of Indian Beach. What a treat! A rest stop with a view. The sea stacks you see in the distance appear much larger and more impressive in reality than what any photograph reveals.
Lastly, we found a shaded picnic bench where we enjoyed a snack we had brought along and then ventured down to the beach to cool our tired feet.
This was definitely a successful Day at the Beach!