Before I drove up to Seattle in mid-January for my seasonal job working on commercial fishing boats in Alaska, I had several travel plans. On my way back from Seattle after working, I was going to take my time and explore a few spots coming back down the coast to my usual residence outside Los Angeles, California before heading to Utila, Honduras for a month for divemaster training.
And then COVID-19 happened. Cancelled or rescheduled travel plans is not by any stretch of the imagination the worst thing that’s come out of this pandemic, but we can all agree it still sucks.
However, after reading that camping is relatively low-risk, I figured if proper precautions were taken, we could have a relatively safe mini-vacation… at least safer than Satan’s trifecta of ever-increasing new cases in Arizona, abysmal public health response and the fact that Tucson is literally on fire.
So, I drove to Newport, Oregon where my special friend Grant lives and the following morning with a trunk full of camping gear, we were off to Cannon Beach.
Although most state parks aren’t open for camping, I found an RV park called Sea Ranch that is extremely close to town and turned out to be more perfect than we ever could have thought! Not only was the park beautiful and wonderfully located, our specific tent site (site 18) was probably the best in the park. Over a small bridge and surrounded by brush and trees, our site was especially secluded and peaceful. We erected The Hive (what we’ve come to call my tent as the raincover is yellow), set up the gazebo and got comfortable.
What we did
We then spent the next week in Cannon Beach doing the following:
- Walking through town and popping into shops (favorites were Cannon Beach Book Co. and The Butler Did It Antiques)
- Going to the beach, including Haystack Rock (best access from Gower Ave)
- Enjoying nature (especially one certain plant legal in Oregon)
- Hanging out around the campfire reading and making hot dogs and s’mores
- Playing Monopoly in The Hive during rainy evenings
- Trying a bunch of different restaurants and bars (sitting outside most of the time)
- Day trip to Seaside
- Explored Fort Stevens State Park (saw the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale and enjoyed an easy 2-mile hike around Coffenbury Lake)
What we ate
I wouldn’t identify as a “foodie,” but as this was a big part of our trip, I’d like to share all the eateries in Cannon Beach we tried!
- The Table: we didn’t eat here until we were leaving but my goodness, it was worth the wait! We both got breakfast hand pies and shared an Oregon strawberry beignet
- Public Coast: great food (chicken salad and fish tacos), cute merchandise and great drinks. I enjoyed the peach cider that was currently on
- Seasons Cafe: we ate here twice it was so delicious and reasonably priced!
- Tom’s Fish & Chips: one of the more famous spots lived up to the hype. Very affordable and tasty (although I think I preferred the Public Coast fish tacos)
- Lazy Susan: amazing breakfast of oatmeal waffles with fruit
- Pelican Brewing: my meal was decent, but I think Grant’s tri-tip sandwich one of his favorite meals
- Pizza A’Fetta: Rated as one of top 50 pizzerias in the US by Pizza Today Magazine! Pizza was tasty, but the cheese breadsticks were exceptional
- Bald Eagle Coffee House: good coffee (serves some Starbucks), great pastries and also has a lovely gallery attached
- Crepe Neptune: with a maddening selection of both sweet and savory crepes and bubble tea, it makes for the perfect walking around snack
- Schwietert’s Cones & Candy: the ice cream is half (almost local) Tillamook and half Cascade Glacier, both times we went we enjoyed what we got!
- Local Grill & Scoop: food is average with small portions and was criminally overpriced, but the latter just might be the pandemic
We returned to Newport for an afternoon of walking on the beach and roaming around town before I started the 22-hour drive back home. I had the most amazing time on my first proper camping trip and I’m excited for more!