The secret is out! Oregon is scenic, beautiful and it’s beaches are far more stunning than their reputation allows. Known for it’s Douglas Fir’s and variety of greens this state has something to offer to anyone – cities, culture, forests and an abundance of beautiful beaches.
The land where the green meets the blue has to be considered Oregon, you can just feel it in the air, maybe it’s the months of rain that washes everything away, though it only showed me sunny days and clean, uncrowded beaches, even on a long weekend. Maybe it’s the haze that settles on the landscape and blurs where the sea ends and the hills begin. This is a place where breathing slows down and life has a magic you can feel seep into your bones.
In 1859 Oregon became the 33rd state on Valentines Day and it’s hard not to fall in love with this place. Entering Portland through thick clouds on a Sunday morning we broke through to find hills smothered in green trees. Coming into land a thought that ‘I was home’ had crossed my mind. Yes, Oregon felt very familiar from where I come from, the people are friendly and so welcoming that it’s no wonder that Portland’s population is rising.
After picking up a rental car, I made some new friends who invited me to an afternoon barbecue before I headed out to the coast. Portland is perfectly located only an hour-and-a-half from the Pacific and if you have a few days up your sleeve than it’s worth renting a car and making your way through the scenic drive of highway 101 to the Pacific coast.
The next day-and-a-half were spent traipsing along the coast between Seaside in the north and Oceanside in the south, which lies closest to the town of Tillamook. Looking at the map it’s only 46 miles, a rather small piece of the entire Oregon coastline, an appetizer of what this great state has to offer and yet it’s obvious from the first beach that the Pacific Northwest deserves its renowned reputation even if that reputation doesn’t convey the sheer brilliance of the landscape.
Just 10 minutes drive from Seaside is ever famous Cannon Beach, a boutique town of quaint stores and the towering Haystack Rock which attracts thousands of tourists a year for the beautiful scenery and stellar sunsets that the West coast is known for. As I stood with my camera ready to capture the sunset on a Labor Day Monday I felt like a nerd looking down either side of the rock to see photographers with their tripods at the ready for the show. Yes, Cannon Beach is the superstar of this area, but if you allow yourself time to travel further afield there are a handful of beaches either side that are just as scenic and beautiful.
After my sandy adventures I returned my car in Portland and took the MAX and a bus to my airbnb accommodation in north Portland, only 20 minutes by bus from downtown, this area has plenty of bars and eateries to enjoy in it’s own right.
Portland’s own motto is ‘Keep Portland Weird’, rather similar to Austin, Texas, both cities have a rivers running through and art, food and nature at their doorstep. Portland’s fabric is made up of coffee, Washington Park, Willamette and Columbia Rivers, beer, doughnuts and locally made things. It’s got a twist of hippy in the stitching and friendly people in the seams.
Taking the MAX only 10 minutes from downtown, up to Washington park allowed for entering a space so full of trees, trails and green that you could no longer hear nor see the city from the large park. Navigating my way through the greens of the park I returned to the station to go back to downtown, a rather easy journey into the hustle and bustle of the States largest city.
Walking downtown I had a mission so walked the streets past the food trucks to Voodoo Doughnuts, one of the institutions of this doughnut infatuated city, something we all know goes well with coffee. The following day in the warmth of the sunshine I visited a second Doughnut store, Tonalli’s Doughnuts and Creamery with a selection of original and interesting doughnuts, this small store on NE Alberta Street had no lines and my doughnut was deliciously full of apples. My doughnut tasting was over and I will let you decide which is better when you go on your own doughnut tasting adventure here.
With food trucks a plenty throughout Portland, a stop at the Grilled Cheese Grill where chips and a pickle are served beside a perfect grilled cheese was exactly what I was hankering for upon my arrival. A stop in Portland isn’t complete without visiting Salt and Straw an ice cream shop of unique and local flavors with a perfectly creamy scoop, being full on donuts I opted for a small scoop. Next time I won’t make that mistake!
Oh Oregon. The Pacific Northwest wakes up each day worthy of it’s reputation and I’m so so so glad I came to visit. I’m also sorry that I couldn’t stay longer and explore further. This state really has something to offer for anyone. The city full of things to see, do and eat. The nature to walk amongst and the beaches to immerse yourself in. I know I’ll be back!
If you have enough time to fully experience everything this state has to offer than this site is a good place to start. With the Discover America site also offering information on what to see and do during your visit.
For more information on events on offer during your stay, Visit Portland will get your itinerary off to a great start.
If you are planning a visit to the coast than this is a great place to start.
Portland is one of the top coffee towns in America and Stumptown has an ever expanding reputation and they sell all over the city and coast. They should definitely be your first stop for coffee in the city.
Trimet is the transportation system in Portland and you can get a one day pass for $5 on the bus.
The Portland Zoo is located in Washington Park and is directly across from the MAX exit.
If you like a challenge than here is the list of the best donut spots in Portland, you could try one from each.