Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oregon Coast - Sightseeing and Camping

After leaving Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Monday morning, we made a brief stop at Eel River Brewing Company near Fortuna, CA for some delicious beers.  The outdoor seating area was very nice and the weather was beautiful.  We continued north, heading back again through Eureka, and made our way to Harris Beach State Park in southern Oregon to set up camp for the night.

Eel River Brewing Company near Fortuna, CA
Setting up camp at Harris Beach State Park, OR
Harris Beach State Park, OR

The campground at Harris Beach State Park was nice and well-kept, but our site didn't have a good view of the ocean like some of the more exposed RV sites.  We decided to head down to the beach and spent the rest of the evening enjoying the beautiful scenery and spectacular rock formations.  It was a quiet Monday evening, and while the campground had a surprising number of people, we had the beach to ourselves.

Harris Beach State Park, OR
Harris Beach State Park, OR
Keith and Melissa at the beach
Keith enjoying a beer at the beach

After packing up camp and enjoying a warmer shower than I experienced at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, we continued north along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway.  Our first stop of the morning was at Cape Blanco, the westernmost point in Oregon and the state's most southern lighthouse.  Unfortunately, the lighthouse was closed for tours on Tuesdays, but we enjoyed hiking around the surrounding hills and taking in the spectacular views of the ocean below.

Cape Blanco lighthouse
Cape Blanco, OR
Cape Blanco, OR

We continued north and made a stop at the Oregon Dunes National recreation area near Eel Creek Campground.  We hiked to the first dunes viewpoint and enjoyed markedly different scenery from the rocky coastlines we'd seen farther south.  A surprising number of wildflowers were blooming, adding a splash of color to moving mounds of sand.

Hiking in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Wildflowers at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

We had lunch in  Florence at the Riverside Cafe, with excellent views of the Siuslaw River Bridge from our table.  After grabbing some groceries for dinner, we continued north to find a camping spot for the night.  We ended up camping at Tillicum Beach Campground,  which offered numerous ocean view sites, along with sites shrouded by dense pine trees.  Due to the wind, we decided against camping in the exposed sites facing the ocean and opted for a nice site in the trees with some partial ocean views.  Rain began to fall after we set up our tents, but Keith had brought a large rain tarp which allowed us to enjoy the rest of the evening outside.  I fell asleep to the sound of the crashing waves and rain falling on my tent.

On Wednesday morning, we stopped at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area on our way back to Portland.  The area offers great views of the ocean, a beautiful lighthouse, and a black rock cobble beach.

View from Yaquina Head
Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Black rock cobble beach at Yaquina Head
Yaquina Head

After passing through Lincoln City, OR, we headed northeast away from the coast and back towards Portland.  Keith and Melissa planned a perfect trip and I can't thank them enough for a memorable adventure through the Redwoods of northern California and the beaches southern Oregon!