8/11/17

Cannon Beach + Astoria Oregon Travel Recap

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Last week I spent about five days on the Oregon Coast. I was primarily in Cannon Beach but we did drive up to Astoria for a day for some fun activities. The whole trip was planned as a family reunion for my husband's family (many of them live in the Portland area so Cannon Beach is just an easy 2 hour drive for them). We had a group of about 30 people ages 4 months to 76 years so it was a challenge to find activities that would suit everyone. Here's the breakdown of what we did, where we ate, what I packed, and all of the highlights of the trip!

Cannon Beach is filled with cute shops and beautiful flowers

DAY ONE:
This was mostly a travel day for us since we had to fly to Portland then drive the two hours to the coast. We also stopped at a Target near the airport in Portland to do a little grocery shopping for the week. Cannon Beach has lots of restaurants (although no chain restaurants or fast food at all) but only one small market for groceries, and we knew from past experience that it was a bit pricey with limited selection. Since we were staying at a place with a kitchen and planned to eat several meals at "home," we bought pantry items at Target and picked up perishables later at the local market.

Our family of four stayed at The Waves, and so did several other family members. It's a very convenient beachfront location in walking distance to all of the shops and restaurants in Cannon Beach. It has beautiful ocean views (depending on the room you get, of course), and clean, nice rooms. Some family members had rooms that were not as newly renovated and up-to-date as others, so if you want to stay there you may want to inquire about that to be sure you get something that suits your taste.
Looking up at The Waves from the beach

A couple of families who came to the reunion opted to rent a house through VRBO. They didn't mind being further from town so they could have a bigger space to share. They ended up loving the property they rented so that's another option for accommodations depending on your preferences.

After checking in to our room we got settled, did our grocery shopping at the market, and then it was time for our first campfire of the week!
Photo taken of our actual group via my nephew's drone camera

We had a campfire every night (for four nights) of the reunion and it was a great way to gather and visit, and enjoy the weather, scenery etc. Different families at the reunion were in charge of campfire each night so we took turns bringing the firewood, treats (S'mores mostly!), and planning games and activities. Every night was a little different so that kept it interesting. It also gets very chilly at night there! You'll see my campfire outfit below, and even with that I needed to sit very close to the fire to stay warm!

DAY TWO:
We kicked off day two with a hike at Ecola State Park

That was the view from the parking lot before we took off on the trail, and there were plenty more amazing views along the way!  We hiked the Clatsop Loop Trail:

I picked this trail because Oregon Hikers said it was "Easy" and "Family Friendly." Most of our group did not think it was especially easy! I think it depends on your hiking experience and fitness level. What was nice is that most of the trail was wide and clear (as you can see in the photo above), so there wasn't a lot of tricky, careful footing required. However you are hiking up hill for 1.5 hours, and that was a workout. Our youngest hiker was six years old and he did get tired and need quite a few breaks. But it was very doable for him so I agree with the family-friendly rating. All that said, we really did love the hike and I would absolutely recommend it to others and do it again myself if I have the chance. The views and scenery all throughout were beautiful, and the trees provided great sun protection so we didn't get hot or sunburned.

Several people in our group were not up for the hike, and many of them opted to go Crabbing at Kelly's Marina:
Kelly's Marina is about 30 minutes south of Cannon Beach. I did the hike so I didn't experience this, but the group who did it loved it. They went out in little boats to catch crabs, although you can also opt for fishing. Whatever they caught they brought back and ate for lunch! Next time I go to the Oregon Coast I think it would be fun to try this based on their experience.

Post-hike we ate lunch at Tom's Fish & Chips, then headed down to the beach to play.

We were there on the hottest days of the year so far (upper 80s for the first two days, then it cooled down to the 70s), and even still the water was pretty chilly! But the kids still had a blast playing in the sand and splashing in the waves.

At night it was campfire time again, and some of the group played frisbee and beach volleyball until it finally got too dark to play. At this time of year it didn't get too dark until 9 PM or so, which gave everyone plenty of play time.
Another aerial shot of the group playing volleyball and gathering at the campfire


DAY THREE:
For our third day we headed 30 minutes north of Cannon Beach to Astoria, Oregon. This Red Tricycle Article convinced me to head north and helped me plan all of our activities that day. We started off at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
Image via TripAdvisor

The Columbia River Maritime Museum gets great reviews on TripAdvisor and while I don't think it was anyone's very favorite activity of the entire trip, it was enjoyable and educational. I do think it's worth the time and money if you happen to be in the area, and especially if you enjoy learning the history and culture of that area. They had lots of kid-friendly, interactive exhibits too so the kids (who were ages 8+ for this activity) didn't get bored or antsy.  There were other more static exhibits with a of reading required for those who wanted to learn as much as possible. The Yosegaki Hinomaru exhibit was very memorable for me and very touching!

After the museum we walked a few blocks to T. Paul's Urban Cafe and it was excellent! Very cute decor and delicious food. Right across the street from our lunch spot was A Gypsy's Whimsy Herbal Apochecary shop. They had signs inside asking you not to take pictures, so I didn't want to disrespect that, but it was so cool and quirky. I wouldn't take children under 8 in there though since there are so many breakable items.

Our last stop in Astoria was the Astoria Column, and this was one of my favorites of the trip.

See that door at the bottom of the column? You can enter there and climb a winding staircase all the way to the platform at the top. It really didn't look like much from a distance (or even driving up to it), but once you climb to the top and stand out on the platform the views are spectacular.

We talked about driving by the Goonies house (from the movie) after the Column, but some of the locals heard us discussing it and recommended that we not do it since the people who live there apparently get annoyed. I was one of the only ones who cared about seeing it, so that made the final decision easy.

Some of the families stopped at Seaside, OR on the way back from Astoria for arcade games, bumper cars, etc., but we opted to just get back to the room and relax a bit before the nightly campfire.

DAY FOUR:
The whole group met up again at Ecola State Park for family photos by Jessica Landrum. She's based out of Astoria and drove down to meet us for pictures. She did a great job working with a large group and I would highly recommend her. After pictures we had lunch at Fultano's Pizza. I'm not a huge pizza fan in general so I thought it was fine, but the people in our group who ordered the "Meatza" pizza really loved it.

Next up was the Cannon Beach Escape Room. This was my first time going to an Escape Room and I didn't love it. It's a themed room (ours was a pirate theme) that you get locked in with a group and you have to search for clues all over the room and piece them together to get yourself out of there in one hour or you fail the mission.

Part of the problem was it made me feel claustrophobic to be locked in a small room with nine people with no air conditioning and no ventilation. (Eventually the manager did have to open a door to give us some air.) The kids enjoyed it though, so that was good. I also heard from other family members who have done Escape Rooms in other towns that this was a more "bare bones" version. I'd consider doing it again in another town and preferably with a smaller group. There were four adults and five children in our group and it was a little too chaotic trying to keep track of who found what and where and so forth, so we didn't escape and had to "Walk the Plank!" (i.e. get our picture taken with a sign that said, "I walked the plank!")

Since we could only do The Escape Room in groups of ten, after my group went I had a little time to meet up with one of my Instagram friends, Kristi, who lives in Oregon. We met up at Bella Espresso, which had delicious drinks and picturesque outdoor seating, like a lot of places in Cannon Beach!.

We had so much fun chatting about all things life and Instagram. I know a lot of my blogger friends have connected with Kristi on Instagram as well and I'm excited for them to hopefully get to meet her too because she is just such a positive, grounded person and so fun to be around. I really wish we lived closer!

After meeting up with Kristi it was time for dinner and our last campfire of the trip!

DAY FIVE:
Day five was all about packing up, saying good-bye, and heading home. I did have the best Blueberry Muffin I've had in ages (maybe ever?) at Insomnia Coffee and I'll definitely be getting another one if we go back!

What I Packed + Wore:
I stayed with my tried-and-true t-shirts and jeans travel style for this trip. The only exception was that I packed a "nicer" top for family picture day, which was conveniently the same day I met up with Kristi so I at least got to look more presentable than hiking/beach day! These are not shown in the order I wore them, rather my "nicer outfits" vs. outdoorsy/casual.
ONE: (Airport and travel)
Cardigan: Target | Tee: Abercrombie | Jeans: Express | Bag: c/o Amazon | Shoes: Charming Charlie (Similar)

TWO: (Family pictures)
Top: Abercrombie (Similar) | Jeans: Express | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o SheIn

THREE: (Touring Astoria)
Top: Nordstrom | Jeans: Express | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o SheIn | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Earrings: Kendra Scott | Necklace: Kendra Scott

FOUR: (Hiking + Beach)
Top: Express (Similar) | Shorts: Adidas | Shoes: New Balance, More Sizes | Hat: Target

FIVE: (Extra t-shirt for campfire and shorts for warm afternoons)
Tee: Nordstrom | Shorts: Target | Sandals: Sam Edelman | Bag: c/o SheIn

SIX: (Campfire)
Jacket: Express (Similar) | Jeans: Express (Similar) | Shoes: New Balance, More Sizes | Bag: c//o SheIn

All in all it was a really great trip and there's not much I would change about it! If you need a break from the summer heat and like to be near the ocean and mountains all in one place, the Oregon Coast is the place to go!


Linking up with:

CONVERSATION

29 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to visit Oregon and so cool you got to meet Kristi. I know for sure I would do that hike and climb the column, I've done something similar before and it was so fun.

    xo
    Pinksole

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    1. You would love it in the summer! Such a great break from the heat.

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  2. I would love to visit Oregon one day. I love the shots from your son's drone camera! And the view from the column is amazing! Have a great weekend!

    Jill
    Doused in Pink

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    1. Isn't that cool? It was my nephew's and I didn't even realize he was taking pictures with it! It ended up providing some cool perspective shots of the trip.

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  3. The pictures and the trip look amazing!!! Cute outfits too : )

    Rachel
    Stickers for Mommy Blog

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  4. What a fun trip! I loved reading this. Oregon really is beautiful and hopefully I can back there again! Jealous of your meetup with Kristi! Awesome seeing the two of you together!
    Caryl | http://morepiecesofme.com

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    1. It was a great trip and I really can't wait for you to meet Kristi. You'll love her!

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  5. oh my goodness, i love how your families do the reunion thing. it's so smart. i loved the place you stayed at! fancy drone camera lol. i haven't done one of those escape rooms, i don't think i'd be a fan.. i'm quite bossy and i don't like to do things incorrectly so i'd totally annoy everyone by bossing them around and taking the fun out of it. and then i'd get claustrophobic and start freaking out. as you do ;) and now i want a blueberry muffin ;) glad you had a fun time!

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    1. Oh, thanks so much! Given that I was the Chief Reunion Planner this time around that means a lot! :)

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  6. I'm a Seattleite, but I've been wanting to get to the Oregon coast forever. I've been to the Washington coast quite a few times, but everyone always raves about Oregon's coast. This post confirmed it! Also your outfits are all super cute. <3

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    1. Thanks Amanda! I'm happy to hear that! As a former Seattle-ite, I know exactly what you mean! People talked often about vacationing at the Oregon coast but I didn't understand the appeal. (I thought it would be a long drive for more of the same scenery.) But Cannon Beach in particular really is a lot different. Maybe not the hiking (you can find similar hikes in the Seattle area), but the beach and the town are different.

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    2. Looks like you've had a lot of fun! Great outfits, they're all so casual, yet stylish!

      Have an awesome day!
      xx Kris

      https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com

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    3. Thanks so much Kris! Mainly I just wanted to be comfortable and functional. Bonus points for anything that ended up looking "stylish!"

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  7. I love this post, Gina! It's so timely and helpful. We haven't officially booked, but we've been talking about it for an October vacation. I was researching best beach locations in October and Cannon Beach was listed. Your thorough post and suggestions are going to be helpful. And, of course, I love those shoes.

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    1. So glad it was helpful Megan!! Hope you are able to go in October!

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  8. Sounds like you had a a fun vacation with the family.

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  9. My husband and I used to live in the Portland area and Cannon Beach was our favorite place on the coast. We always stayed at The Waves - upper corner room with views from both ways. Bella Expresso was "our spot" for coffee and I loved all the unique shops. It could be cold & rainy or warm & sunny - we loved it. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. They brought back so many great memories.

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    1. Hi Peg! Thanks so much for your comment! It makes my day to know this post brought back such fond memories for you. And how cool that you went to so many of the same places (and even stayed at The Waves!). I can easily see why it's your favorite place on the West Coast! It's so storybook picturesque and charming!

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  10. What a fun picture of you and your friend, and I love the practical travel looks. I've never been to Oregon, but it's definitely on my bucket list.

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  11. Okay, I REALLY want to go up there after reading this! Cannon beach looks like the perfect town. I love the hiking prospects too - something Nate and I enjoy doing even though we are out of shape! Happy you had fun :)

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  12. I drove the Oregon coast last year and your photos bring back memories of the fantastic views. I like the birds eye view of your campfires.

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  13. So many beautiful places! I am dying to check out Oregon and its coast. I have never been. #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. I hope you get to go someday! It was wonderful!

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  14. The Oregon coast is very scenic and I love all that local sea food. In my experience it isn't very sunny and warm, though, unless you really luck out. Still is seems liked a great destination for a family reunion from the POV of costs and things to do.

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    1. Yes, that's very true - sunny and warm is definitely NOT the standard description for the weather there! Going in July/August give you the best chance of reasonably warm weather, and even still it's a gamble. It was mostly 70s and low 80s when we were there, but this past week (after we were home) it was only in the 50s! So we did get lucky. As for cost, all of the activities were very affordable! Food/restaurant prices were very normal (similar to what I'd pay at a similar restaurant here in San Diego). Accommodations were pricey, though. A lot of places sell out a year in advance! It's a very popular summer getaway so unfortunately we did have to pay peak rates for our room. They don't have any big hotels at all so space is limited.

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  15. I think it's so neat you have a yearly family reunion! This looks like a fun place with lots of things for people to do! I'd love to go out on the west coast. The scenery is gorgeous!

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  16. I love the Oregon coast. What a great venue for a family reunion, I really like the idea of the nightly campfire on the beach with a different family in charge each night. I just might steal it! Thanks for linking up, #wkendtravelinspiration

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