top of page
  • Writer's pictureMagy Aguiluz

Discovering Oregon's Coast: A Road Trip Adventure

Updated: May 9

During the summer, our original road trip plans to Alberta were derailed by the devastating wildfires in the region. As a result, we decided to change course and set out on a journey from Vancouver to the picturesque shores of Oregon in the United States.


In preparation for this adventure, we dedicated countless hours researching the best stops, must-see attractions in Oregon, and ideal camping spots along the way. Recognizing that we intended to make camping a central part of our road trip experience, we packed strategically and carefully planned our stops, ensuring we would make the most of every moment along the route.


Join us as we recount our remarkable journey along the mesmerizing Oregon coast from Vancouver.

Discover More Roadtrips from Vancouver:


Table of Contents


Day One: Vancouver - Cannon Beach


We packed everything we needed for a week of exploration in Oregon and decided to start our journey at 3:30 a.m. to avoid traffic and long waits at the United States border. We arrived at the border around 4:00 a.m., and after seven more hours of driving, we reached our first stop: the stunning Cannon Beach.


ADVERTISEMENT


This place is famous for its majestic sea stacks, and during the day, it reveals a rich biodiversity of species, such as starfish, hermit crabs, small crabs, and anemones, among other wonders. To ensure the preservation of all these species, a group of rescuers patrols the area, protecting them and providing information about what can be seen.


Note Regarding Pets: One notable feature of Cannon Beach is that it allows pets on the beach, unlike many beaches in Vancouver. However, it's important to be cautious if your pet decides to chase or scare seagulls, as, during this time of year, the birds are laying their eggs on the rocks and foraging for food for their future chicks.


Despite encountering a foggy and somewhat chilly day, that didn't stop us from enjoying the afternoon on the beach, playing, and having an incredible time. Later, we decided to venture further into the town of Cannon Beach, where we found small restaurants, cafes, and a museum that unfortunately was closed during our visit. Perhaps next time, we'll have better luck.


Day One: Accommodations


We chose to camp at Thousand Trails, an option I highly recommend f you're travelling in an RV. The place features tennis courts, basketball, an indoor pool and a jacuzzi, as well as playground areas for children, and above all, it feels very secure.


However, if you plan to camp in a tent, the experience is different. The sites are close to each other, and you have to leave your vehicle in a parking area, which limits privacy. Additionally, the tennis courts are very close to the tent camping area, and the lights are quite bright, which can make you feel less immersed in nature. Personally, I consider camping as an opportunity to disconnect from everything and be more in touch with nature, so this place didn't provide me with the experience I was looking for.


Day Two: Tunnel Beach & Devil's Punchbowl Arch


On our second day, we set off towards Tunnel Beach, Oregon, a unique destination where you pass through a rocky tunnel within a mountain to move from one beach to another. The drive itself was an adventure as we marvelled at the rugged coastal scenery along the way.


Upon arriving at Tunnel Beach, we were greeted by the sight of this intriguing natural wonder. Walking through the tunnel felt like stepping into another world, and on the other side, we were welcomed by the pristine beauty of a secluded beach.


ADVERTISEMENT



Next on our itinerary was Devil's Punchbowl Arch, an awe-inspiring natural formation. The view from this point was nothing short of breathtaking, and from here, we could even catch a glimpse of Beverly Beach State Park, where we had planned to camp for the night. We decided to take a moment to soak in the panoramic vistas before continuing our journey.


Day Two: Accommodations


Upon reaching Beverly Beach State Park, we were pleasantly surprised by what we found. The campground had a cozy, Pacific Northwest feel, reminiscent of those we're accustomed to in British Columbia. It made us feel right at home.


One of the highlights of this campground was the convenient access to the beach via a path beneath a bridge. Beverly Beach itself was a sight to behold—vast and unspoiled, with soft sands and crashing waves. We couldn't resist spending the afternoon there, and as the day waned, we were treated to a stunning sunset that painted the sky with hues of orange and pink.


After a day filled with natural wonders and coastal beauty, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect place to call our home for the night. As we settled into our campsite, we couldn't help but feel grateful for the unexpected beauty and serenity that Oregon had to offer.


Day Three: Yaquina Head Lighthouse & Oregon Coast Aquarium


Our adventure continued as we made our way to Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint. While our timing didn't align with the whale-watching season, the viewpoint itself was a testament to the raw beauty of the Oregon coast. Perched atop a rugged cliff, we gazed out at the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, waves crashing against the rocky shores. The coastal winds carried a sense of freedom and wonder that enveloped us, even in the absence of the magnificent marine giants we had hoped to spot.


ADVERTISEMENT


Our journey then led us to the iconic Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Standing in the shadow of this towering beacon, we couldn't help but appreciate the craftsmanship and history that it represented. The panoramic views from the headland were a photographer's dream, offering an unobstructed vista of the untamed coastline, where nature's forces had shaped the land and sea into a breathtaking tableau.


The day concluded with a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a place of wonder and education. What truly captured our imaginations were the transparent tunnels that allowed us to walk through aquatic wonderlands, surrounded by an array of fish species, including the most thrilling of all—sharks. It was an enchanting experience, as though we were submerged in the deep blue, just inches away from these magnificent creatures. The aquarium not only entertained but also provided valuable insights into the rich marine life of the region.


ADVERTISEMENT



Day Three: Accommodations

On our third night, we decided to stay at another campground within the Thousand Trails network, as I mentioned earlier, it's an excellent choice if you plan to spend multiple nights and are travelling in an RV.


Day Four: Bastendorff Beach & Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge


We awoke to the promise of a new day and the allure of Bastendorff Beach. Our morning was filled with laughter, as we revealed the simple joys of beachcombing and the refreshing embrace of the ocean. As we ventured further along the shore, the beach revealed its secrets—tidal pools teeming with life, shorebirds dancing on the water's edge, and the vastness of the Pacific stretching to the horizon.


In the afternoon, we journeyed to the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, where the coastal landscape took on an otherworldly quality. Here, unique rock formations adorned the shoreline, providing shelter for an incredible variety of marine life. Our fascination with the natural world deepened as we encountered countless starfish, vibrant anemones, and an astonishing array of coastal creatures. Though we had heard that seals often frequented the refuge, they remained elusive on this occasion. Nevertheless, the refuge was a testament to the resilience and adaptability of life in the intertidal zone, and it was a place we vowed to return to someday.



Day Four: Accommodations

On our fourth night, we made the decision to stay at another campground within the Thousand Trails network, which, as mentioned earlier, is an excellent choice if you plan to spend several nights and are travelling in an RV.


Day Five & Six: Aditional Beaches and Ultimately Portland

During the next couple of days, our Oregon adventure continued. We explored more stunning beaches, each with its own special charm. These coastal gems left a lasting impression, and we felt a deep connection to nature and the beauty of the Oregon coast.


As we headed towards Portland, we were excited for more discoveries, but I have to be honest about our experience there. We were taken aback by the homelessness situation in the city. It was disheartening and made us feel somewhat unsafe as we explored. Portland is undeniably a beautiful city, but this issue was hard to ignore. While every city has its less glamorous side, if we had known about this beforehand, we might have chosen to focus on nearby cities or return to the scenic Oregon coast.


Accommodations

In Portland, we stayed at a dog-friendly hotel called Staypineapple, which I must recommend. The service was excellent, and it allowed us to rest comfortably before continuing our journey back home the next day.


Our road trip was coming to an end, but we couldn't help reflecting on the incredible coastal landscapes we had encountered. However, the homelessness situation in Portland served as a poignant reminder of the challenges many cities face. Nonetheless, the allure of the open road and new adventures remained, and we looked forward to more unforgettable moments in the future.


Lessons Learned/ Tips


1. Buy a US SIM card with data: Purchasing a US SIM card with a local number and data proved to be much more cost-effective than paying for roaming with our Canadian numbers from Vancouver. For just $50, we got unlimited calls, unlimited messaging, and unlimited data. In contrast, roaming would have cost us $15 per day. This option allowed us to stay connected at reasonable prices and explore without worrying about roaming fees.


2. Download maps and data for the area: Downloading maps and data for the Oregon area was a smart precaution. It ensured that even in areas with weak or no cell signal, we could still access the necessary information to navigate, look up points of interest, and check their opening hours. This safety measure helped us stay in control of our trip at all times.


3. Get a parking pass: Many tourist attractions along the Oregon coast require a parking pass. You can purchase an annual vehicle pass for $35 or a 5-day vehicle pass for $10. These passes are available at various offices and visitor centers, including the Forest Service, National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Oregon State Parks. Having a valid parking pass will save you time and money when accessing points of interest along your journey.


Conclusion: Roadtrip from Vancouver through Oregon's Coast


In closing, our road trip along the Oregon coast has been nothing short of extraordinary. From the rugged cliffs of Yaquina Head to the tranquil beauty of Bastendorff Beach, and the mesmerizing wonders of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, we've uncovered a tapestry of natural treasures that have left us in awe.


If you're a Vancouverite seeking to venture beyond Canada's borders, don't forget to consider the enchanting Oregon coast as your next destination. Pack your bags, hit the road, and let the spirit of adventure guide you.


We can't wait to share more of our adventures with you, and we hope you'll be inspired to create your own stories on the open road.


ADVERTISEMENT




Comments


bottom of page