Author Topic: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?  (Read 4955 times)

travelbug

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Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« on: June 29, 2016, 12:52:28 AM »
Hi

we are an Australian family who will be visiting Oregon next July for 2-3 weeks. We have only just decided and I remembered that many of you guys live in the area, or love to travel here.

We love the USA and are debating whether to drive from the CA border (we will also be visiting the redwoods around Santa Cruz, as we love this area and have driven the LA-SF coast a few times)

We have never been to the USA in the Summer and this trip has been waiting for such an event.

We are looking to enjoy the relaxed Summer lifestyle and submerge ourselves into the US/Norcal/Oregon culture.

Not sure if we want to go all the way up to Seattle and the islands yet, but I would love your opinions and recommendations.

Another option is to visit Colorado as well...we will have 5 weeks and will spend a week also in Anaheim doing the parks.

We would like to stay in a yurt somewhere, will have a car, love the coastal areas and lakes, our kids will be 7 and 10, we enjoy the outdoor lifestyle but are not mountaineering fitness freaks, iykwim? (although in my mind I may envisage that...LOL)

I suppose I would like recommendations on cool places to stay; campgrounds, yurts, airbnb, hotels, inns, anywhere that highlights the area. And also cool places like towns, cities, lakes, hikes (bearing in mind two children), cool attractions, food, events in the Summer, whatever else you think is cool.

Thanks,
TB
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 12:56:21 AM by travelbug »

Cornbread OMalley

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2016, 06:26:03 AM »
The drive north along the Oregon coast is absolutely beautiful.  You can stop somewhere and picnic out of the car and go fly a kite.  Portland is the craft brewing capital of the world and worth a stop to sample some breweries if you are into beer.  Perhaps you can venture inland and do a hike or two at Mt. Hood.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2016, 06:45:39 AM »
Ashland Shakespeare festival is awesome.

Yurts on the Oregon coast aplenty. I particularly like the southern and mid level coast- get anywhere within a 2 hour drive of Portland on the coast and it will be SWAMPED with people. That being said, Astoria is a favorite of many people. I just can't get over the crowds.

Olympic trials in Eugene at Hayward Field are lots of fun.

Trail riding out in Elijah Bristow Park is lovely, there are some ranches you can rent horses from or get guided trips if you don't have much experience.

Corvallis is one of the most wonderful towns on earth, IMO. Go hike Mary's Peak or Dimple Hill while you're there and get incredible views of the valley. Adorable downtown and an awesome music busking scene as well.

Great farmer's markets/saturday markets in Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland. Very different "feels" for each.

If you're here for the 4th of July, be sure to go to a fireworks show at a lake or a fair grounds. Lane county and Linn county both usually have good fireworks shows. Amusingly enough, Myrtle Creek has an awesome show every year.

That's off the top of my head. Ask me if you have any more questions! I love Oregon dearly. <3

Choices

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2016, 08:29:41 AM »
Please don't miss Crater Lake! It's absolutely gorgeous with a lot of picnic areas and hikes. If closer lodgings are full, Klamath Falls isn't too far and has cheap motels.

Cornbread OMalley

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2016, 11:01:36 AM »
Please don't miss Crater Lake! It's absolutely gorgeous with a lot of picnic areas and hikes.
+1.  Crater Lake is one of my favorite areas to hike in the continental US.  A fun thing to do there is find the 'Old Man of the Lake.'

Jesstache

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2016, 11:31:34 AM »
I live here so I'm a bit biased but Bend, OR is the best place on earth.  Craft breweries are more dense here than in Portland (so I hear, I'm not going to verify that claim).  SUP on the Deschutes is great, hiking (Tumalo Falls, Bend River Trail, Tumalo Mountain (not the same as the falls), Mountain Biking (if you're in to that sort of thing), Elk Lake Resort is gorgeous.  You can float the river through the town, etc).  We also just got back from a weekend visit to the coast.  We stayed at Beverly Beach State Park and it has lots of yurts but we tent camped.  Unfortunately, it looked like the Yurts are fully booked (on weekends) for months.  I don't know if the rest of the coast is similarly booked  but even our tent camp site was booked months ago.  Still, it was great, though the temp rarely gets above mid 60's and it's generally ALWAYS windy (so it's probably not going to be warm no matter when you go). 

A good thing about Bend is it's an easy 2 hour drive north of Crater Lake, and I'd say that's a definite "don't miss".  visitbend.com is a great resource if you're thinking of coming to the area. 

QueenV

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2016, 02:41:05 PM »
Since you'll already be in Northern California, I'd highly recommend driving the coastal highway up the Oregon Coast!  There are so many wonderful views and cute little towns along the way.  I've lived near the Oregon Coast most of my life and will never stop enjoying traveling there.  Some fun kids locations on the coast (if you don't mind paying some entrance fees) - Trees of Mystery just sound of the Oregon/California border.  It's a forest of redwood trees that have grown into various funky shapes.  We lived in Southern Oregon when I was 4 and I absolutely loved going there.  I also enjoyed The Prehistoric Gardens in Southern Oregon when I was 4.  Your kids are a little older, so they may or may not be interested.  It's basically a collection of dinosaur statues which I found endlessly fascinating as a dinosaur-obsessed 4 year old.  Central Coast has the Sea Lion Cave.  It's a giant cave where hundreds of Sea Lions hang out.  There's an entrance fee, but I always enjoyed it.  You can see Sea Lions other places along the coast for free, but not as many all at once.  If you don't want to pay, Newport is just a little farther north and usually has sea lions hanging out in their downtown bay area.  Speaking of Newport, there's an aquarium there, but it's pretty expensive and probably not too different from what you could find at home.  They also have other touristy attractions - wax works, Ripley's Believe it or Not, etc.  I'd personally skip all those and just spend time walking around the beach towns and on the beach.  Further north, the Tillamook Cheese Factory is fun and free to tour.  Seaside is my favorite beach town, but that's pretty far north.  It's got more of a carnival atmosphere with arcades, bumper cards, stuff like that.  And as other posters mentioned, the farther north you go, the more likely you are to run into weekend crowds from Portland.

There are tons of options for camping along the coast.  I'm not much of a camper so I can't make any recommendations, but many of the state parks have yurts you can rent and they seem quite nice.  I've always wanted to stay in one, but you have to plan ahead because they book out fast.  I assume you are visiting in July 2017, since you mention next July?  If so, you'll want to start looking at campground reservations now.  I'm not sure how far in advance they take reservations, but you'll want to find out and then make your reservations as soon as possible.  The yurts and cabins are especially popular, and reservations fill up quickly!

You may already know this, but it can be quite cold on the Oregon Coast even in July.  Definitely bring plenty of long pants and jackets, including a rain jacket.  Even when the days are warm, evenings and mornings can be chilly.  Even on a nice day, it can be super windy on the actual beach!  Actually, bring stocking hats too, in case you're there on a windy day.  Most Oregonians visit the beach wearing jeans and a fleece jacket year round.  :)

As for visiting Seattle, I'd only recommend that if you really want to see the San Juan Islands.  I've never been to the islands, but they are supposed to be amazing.  Otherwise, driving to Seattle probably isn't worth the extra driving for you.  Visit Portland instead, it's the same cultural experience.  Craft beer, local wine, excellent coffee, amazing food and we have Powell's Books!  Powell's would be another fun activity for kids, if they enjoy reading.  It's a huge local bookstore that fills a city block.  If you don't mind some extra driving you could visit Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Hood, both relatively close to Portland. 

acroy

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2016, 02:44:10 PM »
Please don't miss Crater Lake! It's absolutely gorgeous with a lot of picnic areas and hikes.
+1.  Crater Lake is one of my favorite areas to hike in the continental US.  A fun thing to do there is find the 'Old Man of the Lake.'
+2. Amazing.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2016, 03:30:12 PM »
My sister always goes to the Quilt show in Sisters, OR.  http://sistersoutdoorquiltshow.org/

seathink

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2016, 04:07:57 PM »
Please don't miss Crater Lake! It's absolutely gorgeous with a lot of picnic areas and hikes.
+1.  Crater Lake is one of my favorite areas to hike in the continental US.  A fun thing to do there is find the 'Old Man of the Lake.'
+2. Amazing.

It's a lake in an old volcano top (hence the "Crater"). Not to be missed!

dougules

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2016, 04:45:00 PM »
You can easily fill a few weeks in Oregon and not even scratch the surface.  I would definitely pick Oregon over Colorado.  Oregon is so much greener, and Colorado doesn't have a coast.  IMHO the NW is hands-down the most scenic part of the US.  Also the most laid-back. 

Portland - not sure how you feel about cities, but if you're going to like an urban area it will most likely be Portland.
Aside from the well-known attractions in town there are:
Kennedy School - old school converted by a local craft brewery into a whole set of different bars in each room. 
Chinatown - pretty cool, although if you want the real Asian experience, go out to 82nd Avenue. 
NW 23rd and NW 21st - nice little strips in a picturesque neighborhood
Bagdad Theater - Catch a movie in a historic middle-eastern themed theater along with good craft beer. 
Coffee Shops - Portland has way too many good ones to name.  Coffee is not taken lightly in the land where sunshine has to be taken in liquid form.
Powell's - This bookstore is well-known, but I still had to throw it out.  If you like books at all it's a must. 
Neighborhoods - Portland's life is lived in all the little neighborhoods.  They tend to be laid out along streets that had streetcar a century ago.  Some of them are Hawthorne Blvd, Mississippi Ave, Division St, Alberta St, along with several others.
I could go on for a while

The Coast - you really can't go wrong anywhere on the Oregon Coast but I'll give you some of my favorites.  I haven't been very far south, though.
Neskowin - Nice beach with a huge 3 story rock that the waves wash around.  There's also the Ghost Forest of stumps drowned in an earthquake 2000 years ago. 
Cascade Head - headland with a big open meadow and great views out over the ocean
Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City - nice beach with a big dune you can sled down.
Oregon Dunes. 

The Cascades - The Cascades are beautiful mountains covered in rainforest if you can tear yourself away from the coast.
Mt. St. Helens - I'm sure you've heard of it.  The size is staggering.  In Washington, but very close to Oregon. 
Mount Hood - huge volcano where you can go out on the glacier. 
Bagby Hot Springs - soak in hot spring water in big log pools back up in the woods.
Columbia Gorge - the Columbia is a huge river that cuts right through the mountains at sea level.  the gorge has good views, waterfalls, and rainforest.  It's also a very short drive out of Portland. 

Interesting Towns:
Hood River - cool funky little town on the far side of the Gorge from Portland.  It's renowned for wind surfing and fruit orchards. 
Astoria - picturesque town with a lot of Victorian houses.  Also where the Goonies was filmed. 
Eugene - possibly the largest concentration of hippies on Earth. 

Painted Hills - very picturesque.  A bit out of the way though. 

Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert - if you want to get well off the beaten path, this is it.  Very remote, at least by US standards.  Beautiful highland meadows with wildlife then a big open dry lake below. 

I could go on, but I'd be typing for a long time. 

monstermonster

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2016, 05:22:16 PM »
Please don't miss Crater Lake! It's absolutely gorgeous with a lot of picnic areas and hikes.
+1.  Crater Lake is one of my favorite areas to hike in the continental US.  A fun thing to do there is find the 'Old Man of the Lake.'
+2. Amazing.

It's a lake in an old volcano top (hence the "Crater"). Not to be missed!
+3 Crater Lake is one of the 7 wonders of Oregon. You can take a camera there and point it in any direction without looking through the viewfinder and get a drop-dead gorgeous picture. Amazing.

JoJo

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2016, 06:21:45 PM »
I LOVE Oregon!  I live in the Seattle Area but make 1-2 trips a year. 

North
John Day fossil monument
Smith Rock
Painted Hills
Silver Falls State Park
Ghost towns (near John Day area)
There are some places to search for agates & fossil if you're into that kind of thing

South
Crater Lake
Jet boat on Rogue River -either from Grant's pass or Gold Beach
Oregon Caves
Meat/BBQ place (awesome burgers) in Cave Junction
Crescent Beach (CA), small aquarium & lighthouse & Redwood forest nearby.  There's the elk herd & drive thru tree.
self guided river rafting (1-2 class) from Shady Cove
if the kids like animals there's Wildlife Safari near Roseburg

Coast
Dunes
Scenic drive


The motels are quite cheap in Oregon and there's no sales tax so it makes shopping and restaurants particularly cheap.  Sometimes Fred Meyer has 60-70% off clearance and I've gotten alot of cute dresses for $8-12.


sparkytheop

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2016, 07:22:54 PM »
If only going North, and not back down to California...

Starting from Redwoods, head to Ashland and go to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (all summer long, but you may need to buy theater tickets early).

Then head through Medford and the Rogue River area up to Crater Lake.

Go to Bend/Redmond to see some high desert areas, mountains, etc.  The Lava River Caves are great on a hot day, nice and chilly underground.

From Bend, head to the coast and drive 101 north.  Stop in Newport (old bay area) and Depot Bay.

At some point, turn right and head to Portland.

Do not miss the Columbia Gorge.  Seriously beautiful, awesome, amazing area.  Take I-84 east and just soak in the trees, mountains, waterfalls.  Stop at Multnomah Falls.  Risk the log jam and having to wade through the water to get to Oneota Falls (a great area on a hot day).

Head up to the Vista House, stopping at the Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint on the way (to get an amazing photo).

Stop in Hood River for some hard cider made from local apples.

Drive up (south) 35 through Parkdale to Mt Hood and see Timberline Lodge.

Can head back to Portland through Sandy, making a loop.  The gorge, with Mt. Hood and waterfalls is a good day trip.

ETA: and for the areas around the Rouge River (Medford to Crater Lake), you'll lose GPS, so have it mapped out.  Actually not a bad idea to have a map for a lot of the state, because you just never know when you'll want one.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 07:36:31 PM by sparkytheop »

Dee18

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2016, 07:59:33 PM »
Some of the Oregon state parks have yurts for a reasonable rate, including ones in walking distance of the beach.  Their website is easy to use for reservations.

slowsynapse

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2016, 08:22:57 PM »
The pacific northwest has so many great spots.  A bunch of good suggestions already.  The coast in Oregon is beautiful.  However, if you made it all the to Portland in the north, going up the gorge maybe as far as Hood River is something to consider.  Lots of waterfalls (including Multnomah) and a very unique scenery.  In a little bit separate direction, you are also close to Mt. St. Helens and there are some super nice hikes to see the volcano. 

Either way, Oregon has some beautiful places all over the state and I would say is worth visiting.  More dessert in the center and east, a little cooler on the coast and Portland is usually nice weather wise in July just in case you have weather preferences.

jenn_ifer

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2016, 06:56:39 AM »
If you're interested in wine at all, Oregon's wine country is located south of Portland, west of Salem.  This area is home to some of the world's best Pinot Noir, and the tasting fees at local wineries are much less than those in California.

Add me to the list of people recommending the coast - it's gorgeous!

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2016, 07:33:34 AM »
Yeah the coast is very scenic (although I've only been from Florence south). The old part of Florence at the river front is very nice, by the way :)

Tough decision whether to do the coastal route via 101 or go the inland route. I think next time I'm going to do the northern OR coast, and also head inland to Bend (last time I took I-5 from Portland to Salem, and then had to take back roads at night to Eugene because I-5 was closed and I was stuck in a traffic jam in Salem for two and a half hours...it was a good story at least) :)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2016, 07:34:56 AM »
If you're interested in wine at all, Oregon's wine country is located south of Portland, west of Salem.  This area is home to some of the world's best Pinot Noir, and the tasting fees at local wineries are much less than those in California.

Add me to the list of people recommending the coast - it's gorgeous!

That is definitely the best wine country in many ways. BUT, if you want a VIP treatment, with some really incredible "part of the family" experiences, visit some of the small wineries around Eugene/Roseburg.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2016, 08:55:07 AM »
Only went to Portland once for a weekend trip. Check out Multnomah Falls (gorgeous and free). Cannon Beach (chill little beach town with great food and Haystack Rock). Powell's bookstore is huge and awesome. Astoria is cool to check out; it's an old school town with nice houses all built on the side a large hill, almost surrounded by water. 

When we go back to visit eventually, we plan to check out Tillamook (cheese is my weakness) and do the Mt. Hood hiking stuff, as we really wanted to do those things but simply ran out of time.

BigHaus89

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2016, 10:18:04 AM »
East of Salem along the Santiam river is pretty awesome. Also Silver Creek falls is a cool place to check out.

dougules

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2016, 10:52:46 AM »
Go hike Mary's Peak or Dimple Hill while you're there and get incredible views of the valley.

Ooo yes, Mary's Peak is great.  Saddle Mountain, Neahkahnie Mountain, and Cape Lookout are also really nice Coast Range spots if you're up for a hike. 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 10:55:20 AM by dougules »

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2016, 08:23:35 AM »
Go hike Mary's Peak or Dimple Hill while you're there and get incredible views of the valley.

Ooo yes, Mary's Peak is great.  Saddle Mountain, Neahkahnie Mountain, and Cape Lookout are also really nice Coast Range spots if you're up for a hike.

Probably too hard a hike for a family group, but Dougles, if you like these hikes, you would probably love Hart's Cove!

travelbug

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2016, 10:14:12 PM »
You guys are so awesome! Thanks a lot for all the amazingly detailed advice. Exactly what I was hoping for. I am off to google a zillion places and get my head around a more detailed map of Oregon than my atlas shows.

We will have to fly out of LAX again back to Australia but think we may fly from LAX to Portland first and then drive down, we are not sure if we will include the CA coastline after Santa Cruz/SF, as we have driven it twice and loooove it but want to add more time to Oregon now to fit all of these cool places in!

What is the weather like in July? Could it be cold and rainy still?

sparkytheop

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2016, 11:01:50 PM »
July will be pretty warm (unless you plan to go to Mt Hood or the Lava Caves, those are nice and chilly). I was just in Portland the last few days, and it was low 80s (F).  It is Oregon though, and weather can be spastic, so I always leave a lightweight hoody in my car.  I'd expect anywhere from 70s to 100s. 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2016, 07:31:36 AM »
The coast can always, always be wet, rainy, and windy. The Valley (Portland down to Eugene) will usually be warm to hot in July. It's been 80s this week, will be 70s next week. If I'm remembering right, last year, the last two weeks of July were high 90s and oppressively hot. Of note: many places in Oregon do not have AC. This whole global warming thing is new to us, it didn't used to be this hot all the time in the summer. So if it's hot while you're here, be sure to check if your hotel has AC! Definitely not a sure thing.

For Oregon weather, the key is always having layers on hand. Leggings to add for a chill night or early morning hike. A wind breaker/rain jacket for brisk or wet days. Some nice thick wool socks if you're going camping overnight. All the way down to swim suits. (Although the Pacific is filliping cold here, make no mistake. Summer on this side of the Pacific is "upwelling" season, so the water is actually colder, on average, in the summer than in the winter. At least that's what my Ocean Ecology class taught... Better Informed Coast Guard folks (you know who you are) are welcome to correct me if this is wrong).

travelbug

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2016, 06:06:06 PM »
Thank you x

dougules

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Re: Travelling to Oregon...where do you recommend?
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2016, 11:08:37 AM »
Go hike Mary's Peak or Dimple Hill while you're there and get incredible views of the valley.

Ooo yes, Mary's Peak is great.  Saddle Mountain, Neahkahnie Mountain, and Cape Lookout are also really nice Coast Range spots if you're up for a hike.

Probably too hard a hike for a family group, but Dougles, if you like these hikes, you would probably love Hart's Cove!

Yeah, that one's pretty cool, too.  There really are way too many great spots on the Oregon coast to list, and I really only know the stuff north of Florence.