The Oregon Coast

I spent two fantastic weeks in the USA earlier this month! My main reason for going there was the wedding of Nicole and Patrick in Seattle on the 14th of August. Unfortunately, Paul wasn’t able to come, as it was too close to his annual research cruise. Never mind, I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity! I got there almost a week before the wedding, so I decided to go on a little road trip by myself. It wasn’t hard to decide where to go, as I had always dreamt of visiting the wild coast of Oregon. Run an image search on google, and I think you’ll understand why!

To get there, I took the train from Seattle to Eugene in Oregon, a 6.5 hrs journey. It was a great way to travel, I really enjoyed watching the landscapes roll by from my comfy chair. I spent one night in Eugene, then picked up a rental car and pretty much drove straight to the coast. Florence was my first stop, I stopped to browse the old town and admire the views along the river – I even saw 2 seals. The area south of Florence is covered by the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area – quite impressive dunes that at times even spill over the highway.

Florence, my first stop on the Oregon Coast. In the background you can see the dunes! The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area - an area with lots of sand dunes. They would sometimes spill over the road!

And here I finally reached what I had come for: the beach!! I went for a nice walk. It was a warm sunny day, but the water was surprisingly cold.

I went for a walk on the beach in the Oregon Dunes area - I just love these wide beaches! Self portrait on the beach :)

I continued south along the coast, and had a quick stop in Reedsport for some food, and a visit to the Umpqua Discovery Center. This was a kind of museum on the natural and cultural history of the area, illustrated by amazing wall-to-ceiling painted murals. Afterwards, I continued to Bandon, where I had booked a room at the Bandon Beach Motel. The hotel wasn’t anything special, but the VIEW… I could actually see the view in the lower left image from my room :D I was so excited, and it was getting close to sunset so I took my camera bag and went for a walk. And took lots and LOTS of photos :) It was just so beautiful!

And this is what drew me to this area: the beaches with stacks (the large rocks). This was taken from the parking lot in front of my hotel in Bandon :) The beach at Bandon, looking north

The light was getting very soft around sunset, and there always seems to be some spray/mist hanging on the horizon.

The beach at Bandon close to sunset, views were just getting better and better... A few of the stacks in the evening light

Finally the sun disappeared behind the stacks – that’s the official name for these rocks on the beach.

The sun setting behind the stacks This little boy enjoyed the sunset during a break from playing with his sister

After that, the light turned even prettier and I took lots of photos of the wild waves and the gulls along the shore.

Waves crashing at sunset Gulls playing in the waves

And this little plane flying near the moon :) and more gulls!

I noticed this small plane flying near the moon - they must have had a nice view! This gull landed into my picture :D

Later I climbed back up the cliffs to watch the last part of the sunset. The colours turned very intense, it was just incredible. What a day!

I climbed back on to the cliffs to watch the sunset Impressive sunset!

The next morning I got up at 06:30 to catch sunrise… but it turned out to be a foggy morning! Not that surprising, this part of the coast is known for being quite foggy. I actually liked it, it was a very special atmosphere. I was on the beach very early, but there were a couple of other photographers around too :D plus some very keen joggers.

The next morning at 06:45... fog! Imagine living in one of those lovely houses right on the beach...

It was low tide, and you could now actually walk around the stacks. At the bottom, you could see lots of brightly coloured starfish, sea anemones, mussels, barnacles… fascinating!

At low tide, all kinds of creatures are visible at the bottom of the stacks. I love the brigh coloured starfish

It was very special to walk around those stacks early in the morning in deep fog. Everything was so quiet… it was almost surreal. You feel like you might be sleepwalking or something :D

It was a very special atmosphere, walking between those stacks in the fog On this stack you can clearly see the water level at high tide

Here I climbed back on the cliff, and walked back to the hotel along the top.

Such a long list of warnings... Walking back to the hotel on this sleepy foggy morning

This was the hotel I stayed in, I had an upstairs room with balcony. Not that I spent much time there! The second photo is taken a bit later, when the fog started clearing and the sun came out again. I took that photo from the hotel room, have you ever had such a good view??

The hotel I stayed in, I had one of the rooms on the top floor, with balcony. Not very amazing from the outside, or the inside... ...but who cares when this is the view from your room! Here the fog started disappearing and the sun came out again

As the fog cleared, it turned into another beautiful sunny day. I continued my way south along U.S . Highway 101, stopping about every mile ;) I went for many short walks along the beach, wishing I was there for a couple of weeks instead of 2 days!

Little river at the beach, this is still in Bandon - I never drove very far without stopping!

I took a short sidetrip to Cape Blanco Lighthouse, but it was extremely windy there, so I didn’t stay very long. Lots of people were flying model planes there which was fun to watch :)

Cape Blanco Lighthouse A beach at Cape Blanco... it was really windy here!

And the good views just kept coming…  it was unbelievable! I walked some short stretches of the Oregon Coast Trail, which follows the coast for 684 km  – I’m sure it would be an amazing experience to hike the entire length.

Another pretty beach I walked a small stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail, really nice! This was one of the views along the way

The road almost goes ON the beach at times… and there are many parking places so it was hard for me to make any progress ;)

My rental car :) see how close the road comes to the beach! Highway 101 crossing Pistol River

I was surprised to see lots of sweet pea (my favourite flower!) next to the road, though I guess this is a wild version. So pretty…

Sweet peas - my favourite flower! I was surprised to see them grow all along the roads here :)

I visited Cape Sebastian, which gives you a high view point over the coast and the highway. Spectacular!

From Cape Sebastian looking north A great viewpoint from Cape Sebastian towards Gold Beach

A bit further along I found these sand dunes on the beach. I have never seen them like this! A bit like I imagine the Sahara to look like, with these dunes shaped by the wind. You could actually see them change, would be fun to watch when the wind changes direction! They were bigger than they looked like in the photo, in the enlarged version you can see some footsteps and get an idea of the size.

Impressive dunes! They are bigger than they look, watch for the footsteps in the sand for scale More sweet peas, and dunes

Another pretty beach… and some cute little birds!

Another beautiful beach... are you getting tired of it yet? ;) Cute little birds on the beach

One of my last stops was at Whalehead Beach. You can see where it got its name from! It was a lovely place :)

Whalehead Beach, a lovely place Another picture of Whalehead Beach

This photo is taken near Brookings. I was planning to stay at the coast for sunset, but it was getting cloudy and I was quite tired. I still had quite a way to drive, as I had to get to Grants Pass in order to catch a plane from Medford the next morning – I had to make it back in time for Nicoles bachelorette party :D

One last look at the beautiful coast of Oregon... hope to be back some day!

I had to drive through California to get to Grants Pass. At the border between Oregon and California, all cars are stopped and checked for fruit! The drive to Grants Pass was a windy road through the hills and forest, quite beautiful, but tiring to drive. I arrived at my hotel at Grants Pass just after 22:00, completely exhausted.

I thoroughly enjoyed my road trip along the coast of Oregon – I had been dreaming of visiting this area for many years, and it was even more beautiful than I imagined! I hope I can come back with Paul one day and spend more time there :) But this was just the first part of my trip to the USA… stay tuned for many more photos!

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14 Responses to “The Oregon Coast”

  1. Ben says:

    It looks like you had a great time, and you took so many lovely photos. I especially love the panorama of Whalehead Beach. I can see why you love this coast so much. It’s nearly as beautiful as Norway. :-)

    • Hanneke says:

      Or more beautiful :P hehe… thanks Ben! This is really “my” kind of landscape, I love beaches… in Tromsø I really miss being able to go for a long walk on the beach! There are beautiful beaches here, but they are all very small ;)

  2. Eelke says:

    Wow! Wat een geweldige foto’s! Misschien moet ik toch ook eens gaan overwegen een reis naar Amerika te gaan maken. Je hebt echt een fantastische reis gedaan en super mooie foto’s gemaakt!

    • Hanneke says:

      Dankje! En deze foto’s zijn nog maar van de eerste paar dagen :D Amerika is fantastisch, ik/wij zijn van plan er een keer 3 maanden rond te trekken, want er is zoveel moois te zien!

  3. I also love Oregon! When we drove from FL to AK in 2003, we made sure to spend a week on the Oregon coast as we had never been there before. It was spectacular! We visited every lighthouse along the shore (except for one that is out in the bay… forget the name now). I loved Haystack Rock and all the huge rocks along the coast. Such a pretty part of the country and we hope to return again someday. Loved your photos, and the memories they brought back!

    • Hanneke says:

      Thanks Susan! I would have loved to spend a whole week there.. or 2, or 3 :D I only had 2 days and it was much too short. I’m now dreaming of coming back to the USA for 3 months (the maximum time I can stay without needing a visa) – there is so much to see!

  4. Virginia Jordan says:

    And Hanneke, the next time you do return to the U.S., I would suggest driving from Florence, Oregon north on the Coast Hwy. 101.

    You will be even more amazed with the wild Oregon coast. Waldport, Newport, Depoe Bay, Lincoln City and north to Tillamook, home of the absolutely best ice cream (I suggest Marionberry Cheesecake) and Tillamook cheese. My favorite is the sharpest cheddar that they produce. From Tillamook you can continue north to Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River.

    • Hanneke says:

      That was actually my original plan, to drive all the way from Brookings to Astoria, but that would have been too much in just 2 days! I’d love to come back and see the rest of the coast, and those food suggestions sound amazing :) Thanks for your advice!

  5. Andy Burke says:

    I live in Florida but the west coast is my Favorite I am glad you were able to come and enjoy the sights there, I lived in Oregon for three years and still did not see all there was to see but hope to go back to live again.

  6. Martha says:

    THANK YOU for sharing! love the flowers…the stacks in the sun, fog and sunset…the foggy houses….the starfish…the birds…and your sunny happy face. Those were beautiful days. I am glad you had them. Keep the memories.

  7. Betty Roule says:

    Lovely pictures. You must had a brilliant time at the beach and watch the sunset. Nothing is more romantic they say. Hope you enjoyed it!