Road Trip Guide: The Oregon Coast and Portland

Everything you need to know for your 4 day road-trip through the Oregon Coast to Portland.

Leon and I frequently get called Weekend Warriors (which I find hilarious).   We definitely jump on any opportunity to slip away on a mini vacation.  I work for a wonderful company that gives me Easter Friday and Easter Monday off so Leon and I decided to go on a road trip from Vancouver, BC to Portland, Oregon; stopping at various destinations along the Oregon Coast on the way.

DAY 1

We left the house an hour later than anticipated and had to pull some risky manoeuvres to cut down on the THREE HOUR border line-up.  We found a secret way to get to the front of the line quicker and I’ll never tell.

Seattle

We we starving when we arrived in Seattle around 1 p.m.  Originally, we had planned to eat at Stateside, however unbeknownst to us at the time, it’s closed on Mondays.  After a quick google search we ended up at Sitka and Spruce located inside the Melrose Market in the Capitol Hill area.  The rustic – chic décor is photo-op perfection and the food was to die for.  Leon devoured the pork sausage dish and I had the vegetarian gnocchi with cauliflower, chilli & aged cheese.  I also enjoyed a yummy Bloody Mary.  Stateside who?!  Sitka and Spruce and will now be on our list of must do’s whenever we are in Seattle!

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Side note: If you make it to Seattle for brunch, I highly recommend the trés bohemian Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge.  The menu is extensive but everything sounds mouth-watering delicious.  Without a question you’ll be able find something that peaks your interest (it’s also awesome hang-over food).  I’ve tried the Acadiana Benedict and the Acadiana Scramble and they were extremely good.

Astoria

The weather was taking a turn for the worst as we approached Astoria, Oregon.  We could make out tiny bits of the little hillside city which peaked through the fog as we drove across the extremely long and eerie Astoria Bridge.  Our first and only stop in the city was at a water-front brewery “Buoy” for a Beer and some rather large oysters.  The Brewery is made up of two different areas, a wooden lodge-like bar/brewery and the restaurant.  As you walk through to the restaurant area, there is clear class on the ground allowing you to watch the wild SEA LIONS as you wait for your table!! Talk about having a beer with a view. Order the Dubbel beer.

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We then headed to Fort Stevens State Park to take a look a the shipwreck of Peter Iredale.  The beach was almost empty with only the odd couple and car making their way down the beach.  Everything was so stunning as the clouds started to lift.

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Seaside

We stayed in Seaside Oregon because by the time we decided on going on this road trip the cheapest place in Cannon beach was $600.00 + per night.  Seaside is a little tacky but charming nonetheless.  We stayed at the fairly new Ashore hotel which is just a block from the beach and has a beautiful indoor salt water pool.  This hotel was perfect. The room was massive and the bed was so comfortable.

Don’t expect to get a late night bite to eat in Seaside.  By the time were all settled and ready to go for dinner (around 8:30), every place I wanted to go was closed.  We ended up walking a block down from out hotel to an authentic Mexican Restaurant down the road which filled the gap.  After this we drove to Cannon Beach (it’s only a short drive away) and had a relaxing beer around a perfect outdoor fire-pit at Pelican Brewing.

DAY 2

Ecola State Park

We drove straight to Ecola State Park as soon as we woke up as  it is conveniently located between Seaside and Cannon Beach.  There is 5 dollar entrance fee and we had to wait in a 10 minute line to get in.  It’s well worth the wait.  If you park your car at Indian Beach and walk straight towards the undercover picnic benches and washrooms you’ll eventually see a roped off trail leading to Indian Point.  It’s closed due to erosion, however, we went anyway. We figured it would be fine because the trail was completely dry.  Here, there are breathtaking views of the ocean and cliffs. The cliffs edge in Ecola State park are jaw-dropping spectacular.  Once at the peak, we could even see the Tillamook lighthouse far far far off into the distance.  This was a highlight for me but I don’t recommend doing it if the trail is wet or if it looks unsafe to you!

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Cannon Beach

I am in love with Cannon Beach.  The first thing we did was head straight for breakfast.  We decided on Lazy Susan’s due to it’s rave reviews.  This family-run restaurant is located in a rustic little home; you feel like you’re sitting at your grandmas house.  The food was also delicious.  Leon had the eggs Benedict and I had the Mexican Omelette.

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After this, we were on our patio hunt to soak in as much sunshine as we could.  We happened upon Driftwood and had some drinks around their cute outdoor fire-pit.  We then went to Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters to grab a coffee for our stroll around Cannon Beach to check out Haystack Rock.

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Manzanita

We continued driving down south to Manzanita’s Rockaway Beach.  I slept most of the way (worst road-trip partner ever). If a relaxing, quiet beach is what you are looking for, this is the one you want to stop at. There are just a light sprinkling of people wandering the beach or windsurfing.

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Cape Meares

Honestly, I would think about skipping this spot if your end destination is Portland and you have a tight timeline like ourselves. Cape Meares is further south and makes the drive to Portland an hour longer. However, the windy road and the final stretch along Parc Bayocean Peninsula Park is stunning. We ended up walking on a sandy trail which took us through really tall grass and shrubs. After walking for 20 minutes and climbing a semi-steep hill, the grass finally parted and a beautiful quaint beach emerged.

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Portland

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We were a little bummed that we had checked in to the lovely Kimpton Hotel right after wine O’clock ended. However, we must have looked parched because the lovely receptionist sent us up to our room with complementary glasses of wine which we sipped on as we got ready for our dinner reservation at Han Oak.  Han Oak is a share style restaurant with a cozy yet upscale indoor/outdoor patio vibe.  It was really good, however, I am a pescatarian and I feel like they specialize in their more meaty dishes.

Admittedly I’m not a huge whiskey drinker but we headed to the Multnomah Whiskey Library where we luckily snagged a seat at the lower bar.  The “library” upstairs has roughly 1,000 bottles of whiskey to choose from and had a 2 hour wait (no thanks).  You don’t have to order whiskey, but, I figured this would be the place to do it.  The bartender did not disappoint and I basically chugged my delicious Whiskey Sour.  The space is much like a 1920’s speakeasy; cozy, dark and romantic. Go early around 5:00 to increase your chances of nabbing a spot upstairs.

We also had a romantic late night drink at the super trendy Pépé le Moko.  Expect a lengthy wait on Friday and Saturday nights (we had put our name in before heading to the Whiskey Library).   Pépé le Moko is a cocktail bar located in a small intimate basement with some serious mood lighting.

DAY 3

I love me a good brunch so when I looked at the rave reviews for  Mothers Bistro I couldn’t wait to give it a try.  It was PACKED!  Luckily Leon and I hadn’t yet had our morning coffee so we put our name in and then headed to The ACE Hotel.  We also stopped by Blue Star Donuts because why not?  I was actually a little surprised that there was such a long line at 10:30 am.  Do people really have donuts for breakfast?!  The Donuts were good, Mothers Bistro was AMAZING.  Leon had the frittata and I had the Salmon Hash, they come highly recommended.

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PHOTO-2757Did you even enjoy your meal if you didn’t look at it like this?

Leon and I decided to try a couple different breweries before exploring the city a little more (because that always makes it more fun, duh). Our first stop was at LABrewatory and happened to be my favorite. The interior is rustic yet modern and the beer was really, really tasty.

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Our second stop was at Ex Novo Brewing Company . It had equally as good beer as our last stop and it was super busy. We sat at a high table and shared a beer flight.

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Lastly we went to Deschutes Brewery and enjoyed another flight. These flights were massive and gave us the choice of 5 beers, so sharing one was perfect.

Leon LOVES Stumptown coffee, so we had to make a pit stop at the ever so hipster Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I find the coffee here to be a little bit bitter but I swear Leon has dreams about it.

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We had dinner at Pok pok NW.  I didn’t like it.  I read rave reviews from the Pok Pok food truck and assumed the sit down dinner would be of the same quality of food.  Safe to say, if you want authentic Thai food, try the Pok Pok food truck instead.

So apparently Portland is known for it’s Strip Clubs.  I don’t know if this is weird but Leon and I decided to check two of them out.  We went to Sassy’s which was close to our hotel but had some serious punk rock meets biker-gang vibes.  If that’s your thing then power to ya! We however, shared a beer and left.

THEN we went to Casa Diablo.  We have a friend that goes to school in Portland and she said to go to Casa Diablo “if you want to see some ratchet things and hate yourself after”.  So obviously curiosity got the best of us and we went.  I’m not going to elaborate, but there were things I saw that I would like to erase from my memory.

DAY 4

We decided to brunch at Tasty n Alder after another friend from Portland said the wait was 2 hours+ every time he tried to go.  The bonus of going to the USA when Canada has a stat holiday is that we get to go to the best restaurants while the city is at work.  They still had a little bit of a wait so we walked to a brewery down the road for some pre-brunch, picnic table flights of beer (I cant remember the name of the brewery but it used to be called Big Dog).  Don’t get whiskey flavored beer. Ever.

Tasty n Alder was simply amazing and definitely rivals Mother’s Bistro.  Leon and I shared a Mexican style starter, a fish burger (which may have been the best burger I’ve ever tasted in my life) and the Bim Bop Bowl. All while sipping on Bloody Mary’s and a couple of beers.

We hadn’t had any ice-cream on this trip yet (which is so unlike us) so we stopped at Salt and Straw located in the Richmond area.  After trying almost every flavor they had, we grabbed our cones and walked around the neighborhood.  The Richmond area is really artsy, clean and super cute.

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Multomah Falls was our last stop before embarking on our drive home.  The falls are a short 30 minutes east of Portland and were beautiful.  It was nice that we didn’t have to hike to go see them because I was stuffed to the brim with ice-cream.

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Then we headed home!

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9 thoughts on “Road Trip Guide: The Oregon Coast and Portland”

  1. Thank you! There was lots of smoke further South too in Oregon and Northern California. I don’t think the BC side actually impacted me too much luckily.

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  2. Fantastic read, I’ll be in Portland in a couple of weeks and this has made me so much more excited to visit! Sadly we’ll be visiting more of the Southern spots down the coast but if we end up further North I’ll make note of your recommendation for those too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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