We spent the first week in August traveling down the Oregon coast, covering 1300 miles in 8 days, stopping in Cannon Beach, Florence and Gold Beach then dipping down into Crescent City, California, before heading inland to Crater Lake, with a stopover in Eugene on the way back home to Woodinville, Washington.
The scenery in Cannon Beach was so spectacular that I decided I had to go out and buy a new digital SLR camera (the 10.1 megapixel Canon EOS 400D / Digital Rebel XTi), as my Nokia N95 photos weren't doing full justice to the natural beauty there ... and I knew from a trip along the coast in 1986 (when I also bought some new camera equipment) that we were going to pass through lots of other beautiful places. As a side effect of this purchase, I was taking lots of photos, and the image files are large, so I've upgraded my Flickr account to "professional". Another side effect is that taking lots of photos with the new camera aggravated my right elbow, for which I underwent a Plasma Rich Platelet treatment a month ago (about which I'll post a separate update on progress - or regress - in the near future).
Before the trip, I'd made heavy use of TripAdvisor to investigate lodging options. During the trip, I tried to use Yelp to investigate dining and other activity options. TripAdvisor was very helpful; Yelp was [surprisingly] not very helpful (given how useful it's been for assessing options in the Seattle and Palo Alto areas). I decided to post a number of reviews of our lodging, dining and other experiences on both sites. I'm not sure if my reviews on TripAdvisor added much value to TripAdvisor, since my ratings were very closely aligned with the existing averages, and my reviews probably didn't add much new information. My reviews on Yelp may have been more helpful, as I was the first to review several restaurants and a bike shop ... though I suppose I'll leave it to others do decide how valuable those reviews really are are.
Since I've posted so many reviews elsewhere, I'll just briefly review our itinerary here, with 5-point ratings, brief comments and links to the full reviews (by me and others) on the other sites, in case our experience might be valuable to other families planning a similar vacation (the preponderance of favorable ratings is either the result of successful research or low standards ... I like to think it's more likely the former). I'll also include thumbnails and links to a few photos along the way. [A much more comprehensive guide to the Oregon coast can be found at 101 Mile by Mile.]
- Late lunch at Coffee Girl on Pier 39 (5 out of 5; great clam chowder [other Yelp reviews]), in Astoria
- Three night stay at The Ocean Lodge, in Cannon Beach (5 / 5; nicest hotel on the trip [other TripAdvisor reviews])
- Takeout dinner from Fultano's Pizza, downtown Cannon Beach (5 / 5; some of the best pizza we've had anywhere [other Yelp reviews])
- Takeout dinner from Lumberyard Rotisserie and Grill, downtown Cannon Beach (4 / 5 [other Yelp reviews])
- Dinner at Gower Street Bistro, midtown Cannon Beach (5 / 5; best meal on the trip [other Yelp reviews])
- Bike rental from Mike's Bike Shop, downtown Cannon Beach (1 / 5; most frustrating experience on the trip - a rusted chain fell off one of the funcycles and we had to walk the bike a half mile back to the shop [other Yelp reviews] ... Family Funcycles in midtown would get my future business)
- Tour of Sea Lion Caves (4 / 5; [other TripAdvisor reviews; Yelp reviews]), north of Florence
- One night stay at Best Western Pier Point Inn, in Florence (4 / 5 [other TripAdvisor reviews])
- Sand board rental from Sand Master Park, in Florence (5 / 5; most serendipitously discovered activity on the trip [other Yelp reviews])
- Dune tour (5 / 5; with driver Dann) and two-person dune buggy rental (2 / 5; the engine throttle kept sticking at full speed, compromising safety and fun) from Spinreel Dune Buggy and ATV Rental [other Yelp reviews], in North Bend
- Two night stay at Gold Beach Resort (4 / 5), in Gold Beach
- 104-mile tour of the Rogue River on Jerry's Rogue Jets (4 / 5; with 23-year veteran jet boat pilot Tom [other TripAdvisor reviews]), in Gold Beach
- A drive along a road less traveled (Howland Hill Road, NW from Crescent City) through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (5 / 5; most serendipitously discovered natural scenery on the trip [other TripAdvisor reviews])
- 90-minute tour of Oregon Caves National Monument (4 / 5 [other TripAdvisor reviews])
- One night stay at Prospect Historic Hotel (4 / 5 [other TripAdvisor reviews]), in Prospect
- Dinner at Prospect Historic Hotel Dinner House (4 / 5 [other Yelp reviews])
- Hike to Pearsony Falls and Avenue of the Boulders (5 / 5; most serendipitously discovered natural beauty on the trip), in Prospect
- Driving tour of Crater Lake National Park (5 / 5), with a hike up the Watchman Overlook trail (5 / 5) [other TripAdvisor reviews]
- One night stay at Phoenix Inn Suites (4 / 5 [other TripAdvisor reviews]), in Eugene
- Dinner at Rogue Ales Eugene City Brewery (5 / 5 [other Yelp reviews]), in Eugene