The End of the Trail…and a fantastic beach town

We are in the middle of what I like to call “the teaser,” the one to two weeks we usually get in the middle of winter when the weather warms up, skies are blue again, and we get the false sense that spring is right around the corner. It’s Mother Nature’s trick on us because our most dreary, rainy months are ahead of us. But there are many happy faces now as we try to forget the savage month of December that brought so much snow and ice.
I made the quick decision yesterday morning to head out to the coast to enjoy what sounded like the last day of sunshine we may see for some time. If I head northwest to Highway 26 I can make a loop through Seaside and Cannon Beach and then head down Highway 101 to Rockaway, Garibaldi, and finally Tillamook and my way home through Forest Grove. A wonderful day trip along some of the most beautiful country one could find.

Seaside is the official end of Lewis and Clark trail. This monument commemorates the 18 month, 4,000 mile journey from St. Louis to the Oregon coast.

The Turnaround on The Prom is where locals and tourists gather to people watch, see the ocean, and enjoy the sunshine. Our famous Hood to Coast Relay ends here when over 12,000 runners complete one of the longest relay races in North America: 197 miles from Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, through Portland, to Seaside. This event is usually the weekend before Labor Day.

Cars can drive up the main street, turn around on the Prom and head back down Broadway. This is where one could always find the cool kids in the cool cars on Friday night. Right out of the movies.

The Prom runs along the ocean front north and south of the Turnaround for over a mile. My grandparents lived in Seaside when I was a child and I spent summers and vacations there with them. I have vivid memories of standing at the cement wall with my feet in one of the cutouts and my elbows resting on top of the wall as I watched children playing on the swings or families building beach bonfires. I developed my love of the ocean at a very young age. My family still vacations here every chance we get.

You can see Tillamook Head in the background. Very hazy day today.

This is one of the best areas on the Oregon coast for razor clamming. Yesterday I stopped at the Bell Buoy for my fix of clams and cracked Dungeness crab. How lucky am I!!!

This is a replica of the salt cairn where the members of the Lewis and Clark party boiled seawater for salt.

Water had to be carried in copper buckets to the large fires that produced the salt they needed for winter at Fort Clatsop.

One of the most famous West Coast landmarks: Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. It was a beautiful day yesterday, just light jacket weather. But there was no wind and it was hazy, as you can see. I’ll get better pictures another time when it’s clear and when I know how to use my camera with more skill. Oh well, you get the idea anyway.

This beautiful carousel used to be in a little amusement park just a block from The Prom many years ago, and is now housed in a large commercial area where children can ride it year around. I rode it when I was little, my children rode it, and now my grandchildren enjoy the fun.

This is one of my favorite quilt shops anywhere, The Center Diamond in Cannon Beach. Another is The Stitching Post in Sisters, Oregon. But that’s another post.
I wouldn’t think of coming to the coast without stopping here. The gals who run it are so creative and have the best of everything. I didn’t intend to buy anything, but came away with all the materials for needle felting. Can’t wait to try it. I’m thinking ahead to Christmas ornament gifts for next Christmas. Oops, did I give away the surprise?

This is a typical small beach town along the coast. A block or two of retail shops and a couple of restaurants (usually excellent) and always a place with fishing, clamming or crabbing gear.
Tillamook Bay
Captain Robert Gray played a prominent part in Oregon’s history. In 1787 he set out from Boston to find trade routes between the Northwest Coast and China. His ship, the Rediviva, was the first to circumnavigate the globe. In 1788 he sailed into Tillamook Bay, mistaking it for the Columbia River. After several near fatal skirmishes with the local Indian tribes he retreated and finally made it to the Columbia River in 1792.
I continued on down the coast to Bayview and stopped for lunch at Pacific Seafood, a commercial fishing company with a retail store and small restaurant. Beautiful view and delicious prawns.

My last stop along the way was in Tillamook for a quick tour of the Cheese Factory. This is a must see if you ever come to Oregon for a visit. You can see the cheeses being made and can purchase all their products, plus out of this world ice cream, in their huge retail store.

Tillamook Cheese is celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary this year.

So, I had a wonderful mini-vacation, saw my beloved ocean, had some great food, and talked to some of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. When you come to visit Oregon be sure to save a day for this amazing excursion. You’ll love every minute of it.


  1. SusanQ says

    I loved the tour, Cathy. Thank you for the history lesson along with the beautiful scenery. What a wonderful town. We finally have a grocery store that sells Tillamook cheese here.

  2. Debbie says

    I’m very homesick now. We used to vacation every year on the Oregon Coast…all the places you mentioned. I grew up in southeast Washington. I recognizd every photo you posted.
    How fun!!

  3. kab says

    Great getaway! We love Manzanita, just south of Cannon Beach, and its collection of shops, especially the Manzanita News and Espresso shop, where you can browse their newsstand and sip a perfectly brewed cappuccino.

  4. Kathleen says

    That was a great history lesson for this retired teacher…loved it!

    Very cold here today, but they are saying by Sunday it will be near 50, and you can be sure I will be walking the beach!

  5. noble pig says

    Funny but I’ve done that drive. I of course love the Tillamook Ice cream the best…so do my kids….I’ll be heading for Oregon tomorrow…however the rain is coming right?

  6. julie walker says

    thanks so much for the nice comments about center diamond! glad you were able to join us in the winter!

    julie walker
    center diamond

  7. Pam says

    What a fun time Cathy. I love going to the coast (we are going this weekend). Cannon Beach is my very favorite spot on the Oregon Coast but I also love Seaside and Tillamook.

  8. Lynda says

    Beautiful sights and your pictures make me wish I was there! I’m enjoying your blog, so I have some awards for you at my blog!

  9. Tallie says

    I LOVE that town. I have only been there once on my way to Astoria years and years ago but it embedded itself deeply in my mind and I really want to go back especially since I adore Tillamook Cheese. I grew up on the very Northern California Coast and will always favor the rocky foggy coastline to the miles of flat sunny beach that we have here in Southern California. Thanks for reviving my memories!

  10. Becky says

    Just this last year we motorcycled from our home here in the midwest to your coast…Bandon Ore and we literally fell in love with the area and both of us can’t wait to come back . Thanks for the tour and making us yearn for it again!

  11. La Table De Nana says

    Oh the ocean is definitely one of my beloved friends too.
    Thank you for the trip..I would have liked to accompany you.

  12. Paula says

    Hey! I know that tour route very well! It was so lovely to experience it virtually through your post! Looks like you had decent skies while you were out and about, too. I’ve grown to love the peace at the coast, and my kids enjoy camping at the state parks there. *sigh* They also like getting some ice cream at Tillamook, too. I love the gift shop there … mmm, cheese curds! Great post!

  13. Cathy says

    Thanks, everybody, for stopping by to visit. This is a wonderful day trip and I hope you all can take it someday.

    Paula – I’ve tried forever to get a yurt at Beverly Beach but can never get a vacancy. I don’t care much for cheese curds. Don’t like food that squeeks when I eat it.

  14. Suzy says

    I’m close enough to take your trip Cathy and have been bugging husband to do just that. I’m up near Tacoma, Wa. This really gives me inspiration to make a plan and do it. I’d love to find a little place to stay that’s pet friendly. Know any good ones?

  15. Loulou says

    What gorgeous photos of one of my most favorite places on this earth! I can feel that misty air on my face. So beautiful and atmospheric.
    And reading about the Dungeness crabs made me very, very jealous. :)

  16. Cathy says

    Hi Suzy – I hope you will make this little trip one day soon. I don’t think there is a more beautiful place on earth. One of my family’s favorite places to stay is The Tides in Seaside, 1-800-548-2846. Don’t know their pet policy. If you do decide to come this way email me and I’ll tell you some of my favorite places.

  17. Suzy says

    What a nice offer Cathy. I will surely let you know if I come that way. I would love to plan something come spring. I’ll check out The Tides. Our little Jigs is such a baby we hate to leave him. Plus I think he’s enjoy walking on the beach! Thanks again for the wonderful little tour.

  18. Proud Italian Cook says

    Cathy, Thank you! I never got to Seaside, we’ve gone to Cannon beach though, and each time I see it I’m in awe! I was just telling my husband that a I need an Oregon Coast fix. Love razor clams, and we always stop at Tilamook cheese for the tour and some good icecream. My husband loved the old plane hanger near there, I forgot the name. Oh how I miss the smell of the sea air, wind and all!!!


  1. […] If you drive north up Highway 101  just a few miles from Cannon Beach you will find the old  historically important towns of Seaside and Astoria.  They are the locations of the end of the Oregon Trail and the site of Lewis and Clark’s last encampments after an 18 month, 4,000 mile journey from St. Louis to the Oregon coast.  Learn more about this amazing part of American history here. […]

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