Looking for a place on the northern Oregon Coast off the beaten path? Go to Oceanside, a quaint little beach town eight miles west of Tillamook.
In summer, Oceanside makes a terrific home base for exploring the greater Tillamook area’s many parks and trails, from the Bayocean Spit to the north, to Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda State Parks to the south. In winter months, you almost feel like you have the entire place to yourself. The trails are still there to hike on calm days, and if a storm comes in you’ll have a front-row seat–many winter travelers come to Oceanside to watch frothy waves and horizontal rain as they relax by a warm fire. Just south of Oceanside is another great beach town off the beaten path called Netarts.
Oceanside is about 82 miles from Portland, and the drive is pretty straightforward and quite beautiful. From Portland, take US 26 west to OR 6, then continue west over the coast range until you come into the town of Tillamook. Continue west on OR 131 until you come to Oceanside.
Where to Eat
Oceanside is a tiny little town, but its few eateries make a big impression.
- For a perfect cup of coffee, omelet made to order or satisfying lunch, try Brewing in the Wind, a favorite of locals on this part of the Oregon coast.
- For dinner head to Roseanna’s Café where the taste of the ocean is deliciously served on your plate – try fresh local oysters, grilled wild salmon or a steaming bowl of clam chowder, and save room for some cobbler made with seasonal Oregon berries.
Things to Do
- Watch whitecaps thrash in from the sea. From late fall through early spring, the Oregon Coast is the place to watch ocean storms roll in, and you’ll have a front-row seat from your inn or cabin in Oceanside.
- Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is ½ mile off the coast, so to really enjoy it you’ll want to pack your binoculars. View the rocks from the beach, and in the spring you will see more than 100,000 nesting Common Murres. The rocks also provide habitat for Oregon’s largest breeding colony of Tufted Puffins and other seabirds.
- Is quilting one of your hobbies? In nearby Tillamook is the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center (admission $4) where you can ogle antique and contemporary quilts and watch live demos of weaving and spinning – a perfect rainy day activity.
- If the weather keeps you indoors, seize the perfect opportunity to tour the nearby Tillamook Cheese Factory and grab a cone of their house-made ice cream (the free tour is self-guided, daily 8am to 6pm).
- Just north of Oceanside is the Cape Meares Lighthouse and National Wildlife Refuge (open daily, 7 am to dusk, no entrance fee) with three miles of hiking trails, including a path to Big Spruce, Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce tree.
Oceanside Cheap Sleeps
- South of Oceanside, Cape Lookout State Park has 173 campsites, 13 yurts and six deluxe cabins.
- Fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves in one of the cute shingled cottages just steps away from beach at Ocean Front Cabins in Oceanside ($55-$85 per night). The cottages are clean, comfortable and have kitchens, so stop in Tillamook for groceries on your way into town. Many of the cottages boast beautiful views of the Three Arch Rocks sea stacks.