Central Oregon Coast: Umpqua Dunes, Florence, Cape Perpetua
Some good friends got married over the weekend. We planned to make a mini-vacation out of it and stay overnight in Reedsport but by the time I got around to calling about a room at the hotel, the block was booked. Since we didn’t really want to spend a hundred bucks on a room anyway, we threw our backpacks in the car and figured we would try to find a place/beach to camp on. And if not, we would just drive home. It’s only a three hour drive from Salem anyway.
So, if you’re looking for an overnight trip – and maybe trying to get out of the 90 degree weather in the Willamette Valley – this is a perfect trip.
On your way to the Coast, make sure to stop at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. It’s just a few miles outside Reedsport and there were at least a dozen bull elk in the fields right off the road.
The largest sand dunes in America are found on the Central Oregon Coast. It’s 40 miles of dunes and they’re absolutely breath-taking…not something you’d be expecting on the Coast.
We snagged the last spot (!) at Waxmyrtle Campground in the Siltcoos Recreation Area before heading into Florence dinner and some firewood. We watched a group of 4-wheelers on the Dunes and hiked to Siltcoos Beach for this view of the sunset. Gorgeous.
No camping trip is complete without dinner from a can and roasting marshmallows around the campfire
Old Town Florence is the quintessential beach town. Gift shops, restaurants, coffee shops. Adorable. Have lunch at ICM (short for International C-Food Market. Clever.) Reasonable prices, friendly service, and delicious seafood. I had fish and chips and my husband had clam chowder. Yum.
Before heading out to explore the Coast, get some coffee at Suislaw River Coffee Roasters. My mocha was perfect. And super pretty too :)
Cape Perpetua Visitors Center is 18 miles north. Take the “tidepool” trail and play on the rocks. We didn’t see any animals but the crashing waves were worth the mile there and back.
Back at the Visitors Center, follow the St. Perpetua Trail Signs. The guidebook rates this trail “difficult” and they aren’t lying. It’s uphill the entire 803 feet up the side of the mountain but it’s worth it. The fog made everything soft and glowing.
I want to go back now, please :)