I had wanted to visit some smaller towns on my US trip, and the northern coast of Oregon seemed like a good place to do just that. Getting there without a car might have been difficult – though buses do exist – but fortunately I had a travel buddy so we rented a car for a few days, loaded up on supplies, and took off west from Portland.
We began in the small town of Tillamook, just off the coast, and camped nearby only to be rained on the next day. Tillamook has kind of a one-horse town feel, with most of the shops and cafe’s lining a single main street, with a cute cinema thrown in for good measure.
Despite the weather, we headed north following the coastal road, encountering many more small towns and villages with a similar feel, including Garibaldi, where an old steam train still operates up and down the coast. Oregon in general feels like a very laid-back state, and the wet weather lends it a lush environment. Some of the views we encountered were beautiful, tarnished only slightly by the showers, which seemed to follow us as we moved north.
My favourite spot was probably Rockaway Beach, which had the perfect blend of small-town charm and scenic shoreline.
We ended up in Astoria, a larger city though still much smaller than Portland. Again, the place had a good vibe and we had dinner here in a cosy diner cafe, where I tucked into some very good grilled mac and cheese, American-style. I’m glad I got to the chance to experience this quieter side of Oregonian life.