Archive for the ‘State Parks’ Category

Three Capes Loop – Oregon Coast

IMG_2131One of my favorite coastal loops – I headed up that direction over the Christmas Holiday. As I was driving north along 101, I was blasted with a winter storm. Trudging north of Lincoln City, I noticed the weather beginning to break up. I turned off of 101 towards the ocean via Brooten Road on my way to Pacific City and the sun came out. I’ve visited Pacific City numerous times throughout my life and I always remember it being sunny there – even in the middle of the winter. Sure enough, this trip promised the same.

My first stop was at the beach at Pacific City. As you walk down to the beach to your right is a large sandy cliff and tide pools. This is a great place to watch surfers and the launching of dory boats. The amazing Pelican Brewery is right next to the parking area. The menu is diverse and they have a pretty tasty Kiwanda Cream Ale. I did sample the Mother of All Storms – and that it was! A little to strong for my taste but still pretty good.

Pelican Brewery

There’s also a great hotel across the street and an excellent coffee shop.

Stimulus Espresso Cafe

There’s nothing like walking along the Oregon Coast with a hot cup of coffee. I did stay at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. The views were great – and they are dog friendly! It was nice to stay in a well-appointed clean room and not feel like I was stuffed in the “dog” room. Watch for the little black bunnies.

Inn at Cape Kiwanda

Traveling north from the hotel, I found what I would consider a locals beach – as there are no markings on the road. There’s a little paved road that dips down into the trees, into a parking area with beach access. It’s about a mile north of Inn at Cape Kiwanda – just before the stop sign. It looks as if you can drive out onto the beach, but I didn’t have a current permit on hand. There was nobody there. It’s pretty exciting to find a quiet beach site along the very found Oregon Coast. With any situation like this, there’s always the dilemma of whether to share or not. I hate to see areas overused, but in today’s climate of closed down parks and campgrounds, I feel that our only defense is to try to publicize places enough to keep them open. So here is McPhillips Beach –


Continuing north along Sandlake Road, you will come across the turn off for Clay Myers Natural Area at Whalen Island. I can’t wait to return to canoe this area. You would definitely need to canoe or kayak during high tide, but I think it would be amazing. The campground and park area is really quaint. There is definitely a lot to explore here.

Clay Myers Natural Area

IMG_2120 IMG_2122 IMG_2123 IMG_2124 IMG_2126 IMG_2128Heading north, you will drive up to amazing scenic vistas and down along Netarts Bay. I would recommend taking time to stop or stay at Cape Lookout State Park. They offer cabins, yurts and a pretty nice campground. There’s a lot to explore in this area and during the winter months, there’s hardly anyone there.

Cape Lookout State Park

I’m going to stop here for now because an adventure is just that – an adventure. I hope you enjoy this area as much as I do!

More Guides to the Southwest

A few more recommendations if you are headed to the southwest this summer – or winter (which in my opinion is even better – no snakes and cooler weather).

Ancient Ruins of the Southwest by David Grant Noble

Canyon Country Arches and Bridges by F.A. Barnes

The Utah Guide by Allan Kent Powell  – I love this guide for the “on the road” portion of the adventure. It gives you great information about the areas you are driving through from history, to where to stay, good places to eat, landmarks, museums etc. If you have a co-pilot, it’s great to have them read about the areas you are driving through. It makes the adventure even better.

Day Trips with a Splash: Swimming Holes of the Southwest by Doll and Freely

Albino Redwood

When I first heard of the infamous Albino Redwood – I was definitely a skeptic. But, after careful research and a little luck I found one! Located north of Myers Flat in a smaller grove – there is one hidden amongst the taller trees. Albino redwoods are pretty rare. It’s estimated that there are around 50. The needles are completely white. They are lacking chlorophyl and must tap into a host tree to get their nutrients. The bark or stems are a pinkish red color. A pretty awesome find – I’m hoping to find more on future Redwood adventures!
Picture coming soon-

Cape Disappointment/Oysterville Washington

Wow – last spring I took my second trip to the Olympics and they are amazing. We just carved out a 4 day weekend, so it really didn’t take too much time for a quick road trip. The first night on the way up, we camped at Cape Disappointment State Park at the mouth of the Columbia River on the Washington side.  The park itself has 2 amazing lighthouses and other attractions worth taking the time to explore.  There are miles of natural beaches and hiking trails. The campground was pretty large with what I would describe as culdesac camp sites. We stayed there in early May, and pretty much had a lot of the area to ourselves. They offered decent showers and there was a little convenience/gift store near the entrance to the park (great for coffee on an early spring rainy day). From there, we explored Long Beach – which has quite a bit to offer. If you have the time, go up the inside road on the peninsula to the town of Oysterville. This is a little settlement that has been beautifully preserved. Stop at the old church and pick up the map that gives you the history of the town. On the ocean side of long beach, you can drive along the beach for miles. We stopped in the town of Long Beach briefly, but it was pretty quiet that time of year.

Soon I’ll post more on the rest of the trip – camping and exploring the Olympics.