Oregon Coast
Wanderlust Travel Magazine|November/December 2021
Explore the piece of the Pacific Northwest that most people don't, mixing wild beaches, whale-watching, wine, cheese, trees, explorers and arguably America's hippest city
Aaron Millar

Oregon is perhaps the least well-known and least-visited corner of America's dramatic Pacific Northwest. But don't be fooled: it may be an enigma to most, but for wine, untamed beaches and good times Oregon is hard to beat. Especially on its wild west coast where giant dunes, endless surf, fresh seafood and deserted sands await.

The star of the state is Portland, rightly deserving of its reputation as one of the country's coolest, greenest and most creative cities. It's where most Oregon trips begin and end and it is, without doubt, one of the country's best left-of-center city breaks.

Soak it up, but don't get stuck. Because just outside Portland, where crashing waves meet temperate rainforests and rocky headlands afford uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean, there are other stars too. Hop in a car, drive from the top of the state to the bottom, hugging the ocean the entire way, and you'll find them. This is what roadtrip dreams are made of. This is Oregon's spectacular Pacific coast. Here's how to see it best.

HIGHLIGHTS

PORTLAND

The hit comedy series Portlandia, which parodies the city to hilarious effect, describes it as the place 'where young people go to retire'. They're joking, of course, but they're also spot on. This is a place to have fun.

The Alberta Arts District is overflowing with vibrant craft shops, vintage boutiques and galleries while the east side is hipster heaven, with tattooed trendsetters dunking vegan doughnuts in their Fairtrade coffee. Portland also has one of the best food-truck scenes in America, with over 500 to choose from, and one of the largest farmers' markets too. But more than that, there is a spark here. Those young so-called retirees are using their free time well, intersecting sustainable living with youthful idealism and bohemian creativity. It's infectious. It's the kind of place that makes you want to write a novel or join a band.

And it's beautiful. Hundreds of miles of bike paths weave through leafy suburbs and along the banks of the Columbia River. Head up into the Japanese Garden, a Zen oasis in the heart of the city, and on a clear day you'll see the pyramidal peak of Mount Hood in the distance, framing the city skyline.

PACIFIC COAST SCENIC BYWAY

Tracing the entire Oregon seaboard, from the Columbia River in the north down to the Californian border, 584 jaw-dropping kilometres to the south, this is your route along the Pacific coast and it does not disappoint.

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