Oregon Coast Sunday Drive

Back in the good old days, my family would load up the car and go for a Sunday drive. I haven’t heard this term in years; however I found myself reminiscing in my mind about a drive that my husband and I took last summer. It brought back the same feelings of warmth and joy that I had when I was a little girl.

Last July we loaded up the three dogs into the cab of the pickup, threw a few sandwiches into a little cooler and headed out to Hug’s Beach, Oregon.  Since we live on a small peninsula which is located in Southwest Washington State we are just a stone’s throw away from historic Astoria, Oregon.  We arose early and quickly headed south on the Oregon Coast Highway (Highway 101).

Long Beach Peninsula, WA. – Marie Rhoades©
We decided to see what was off of the main highway so we found ourselves meandering through the town of Warrenton. We regularly shop in Warrenton (strip malls, Costco); however we didn’t realize that it actually has a quaint little downtown section…maybe we should turn onto side roads more often. The winding road took us into the beautiful Fort Stevens State Park where we discovered some very nice, yet extremely crowded, RV sites. We made note of which sites we liked for a return RV stay in the future, possibly during Spring when the park isn’t as overflowing with guests. We turned left, then right, then found a sign directing us to a shipwreck. The Peter Iredale shipwreck sits directly on the beach within the perimeter of the State Park and is easily viewable, especially at low tide. Evidentally the ship was an oceangoing vessel that was wrecked near the mouth of the Columbia River in the early part of the century.
I must mention that the traffic on this particular day was absolutley horrific. The Portland, Oregon region isn’t very far away by automobile and predicted temperatures were to hit 100 degrees so everyone got the great idea to visit the beach. We didn’t mind the traffic too much as we kept busy by chatting as well as enjoying the large evergreens and nature which lined the highway. Once we saw signs for Cannon Beach we veered towards town to get a better look at Haystack Rock which is Cannon Beach’s protected marine garden and claim to fame. Again, the place was packed, in fact we gave up on parking because there literally was no where to park in the entire town…fear not, we still enjoyed the gorgeous beach view as well as oooing and awing over all the expensive beach homes. After a few quick pictures we got back on the road searching for a beach known as Hug Point State Park Beach. As the road continued to twist and turn through lush trees we finally saw the sign for the Beach…and you guessed it…there wasn’t a single place to park. People had parked their cars on the side of the highway for miles just to get to this beach. Oh well, so much for a quiet and private beach experience.
Haystack Rock – Cannon Beach, OR.  – Marie Rhoades©
The next section of the roadway was probably my favorite. It curves right through the middle of the Oswalt State Park. We were all getting anci to get out of the car so we turned down a road which headed steeply through a thick forest of trees, ferns and rhododenrons. The road kept going down, down, down towards the beach. There wasn’t a single person on the road so we pulled over in the middle of this extremely lovely forest for a break. There is nothing quite like being somewhere where there isn’t a single car, person or sound around. It was extremely awesome!
Oregon Coast Forest – Marie Rhoades©
We weren’t done with our adventure yet, and we hadn’t given up on finding a nice spot to eat our little picnic lunch. We leisurely drove to Manzanita and then slowly drove through this fabulous little berg. The cafes and art galleries were full of smiling people and the vibe was very positive. We parked right next to the sandy beach and just sat…quietly…breathing. I took some more pictures of the beach vista before we headed down the road for a few more minutes. It was definitley time for lunch and we ate it in a parking lot. Yes, we actually found parking and not in just any parking lot! This one was perched atop a Beach Cliff. We sat on a stone wall overlooking the ocean as we enjoyed our bologna sandwiches and fruit.
Manzanita, OR – Marie Rhoades©
Our goal this day was to find Hug Beach, eat lunch, go home…very planned and not open to change. What we discovered was a day of unpredicability yet extreme enjoyment, relaxation and wonderful memories that will last my lifetime…it was the best ‘Sunday Drive’ that I can recall.
Lunch View, OR. – Marie Rhoades©
Additional articles about the North Oregon Coast:

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