I love a good road trip, that is no secret. I have discussed the elements of a good road trip and we have talked about some of our favorites including an three-day Oregon Coast road trip and an epic road trip through the South. But …
Tag: Road trip
Several years ago, B was spending part of her time working out of her company’s in New Jersey office. Serendipitously, I was sent to a work conference in Rhode Island at the same time. Of course the two of us would plan a few days around work and go on an epic Northeast road trip (because why not?). If you and your bestie find yourselves with a few days to spare on the Eastern seaboard, try hitting up a few of these places. You won’t be sorry!
The one downside of our great plan was that it happened to fall during the coldest, snowiest Februarys in many moons. Even B, who grew up in the rural Idaho mountains, was impressed by the amount of snow. The snow banks were up to the roof of our little Ford Focus. Fortunately, the car handled the treacherous conditions well enough to get us around our Northeast road trip.
Northeast Road Trip – Maine
I was very excited to see Portland, Maine, as I work with a company that is based there. I was pleased by the little town; it actually reminded me a bit of Boise. Not so much the geography (hello desert vs. ocean), but the vibe. People seem friendly and not terribly concerned about what their clothes said about them. A pretty good chunk of them were wearing L.L. Bean, as the headquarters for the company is nearby. If you visit Portland, here are some places you should definitely check out.
Being as the headquarters is here, there is also a fine store that offers sale priced L.L. Bean merch. So if you are one of the people who simply *must* have some duck boots, you might be able to pick up your pair here for cheap.
How could we not go to a restaurant that was named Duckfat? It sounds just gross enough to be delicious. Being as we were quite close to Canada, it made sense that poutin was on the menu. B partook. I stuck to the Belgian fries sans gravy and cheese curds. Yummy!
Portland is on the ocean and hence, sailboats abound. What to do with the sails when they are no longer functioning on the boats? Why, make adorable purses and bags from the resilient material. B had researched this company long before we went on our trip and as a bag aficionado, simply needed one for her collection. We went down a quiet wharf street and found the small storefront where they had a shop selling their wares. Most of the building is dedicated to the actual sewing of the bags. You never know exactly what you are going to get as far as design because they are made from repurposed sails. You can bet your bottom dollar they do well in the rain!
As we drove up the coast line towards Acadia National Park, we went right through a little slice of idyllic heaven in the form of Camden. This town is quaint and charming. It is on the coast, so there are sweeping views of the ocean. But then, there are adorable little shops lining the adorable little streets. You could tell that this town is more upscale and touristy, but most things get tourists for a reason. There is definitely a reason Camden is popular.
Maine’s coast is pocketed with lots of little towns (although maybe not as cute) as Camden. You can definitely tell that this whole area gets infested by people in the summertime. Since it was winter, most stores and hotels were shuttered up so it was very quiet and peaceful.
Acadia National Park
I can’t get enough of National Parks. So when we were planning this trip, my number one goal was to get to Acadia. It’s important to make stuff happen when you can. Because this is not an easy part of the U.S. to get to, you really have to want it. Well, I wanted it, even though it was the middle of a fierce winter. Sadly, there was so much snow everywhere we didn’t get to walk around that much. What little we saw was breathtaking, though. The cliffs along the park are dramatic and steep and the white of the snow and the blue of the water was striking.
Northeast Road Trip – New Hampshire
New Hampshire is not known for lots of visitors. However, B and I were both working on our 50 states list and wanted to be able to check it off. Like Maine, New Hampshire seemed to be sleepy and quiet; the difference is I’m not quite sure how busy it becomes when the weather warms. I could be wrong…New Hampshirites, set me straight. Actually, maybe I shouldn’t say anything derogatory about this state. The most striking memory I have of the visit was coming up to a three way traffic light and watching people drive right through the red light when it was clear. They clearly take their motto to ‘Live Free or Die’ to heart. No man (red light) was going to come between them and their freedom!
We stayed in a town that looking back, neither B nor I can remember the name of. It probably is kinder that way, as our experience wasn’t that notable. We showed up at our hotel and found no one there for us. They did leave a note, but the key they had left in the envelope on the counter didn’t open our door. So we had to wait in the dark in sub-zero temperatures until they came to unlock the door. With nothing else to do that night (nothing was open) I read the review of the hotel and sure enough, the last person who stayed there got locked out to.
I will say, I did dig the people in New Hampshire. We visited Vermont next and while we met delightful folks there, I could tell that I would just fit in better in New Hampshire. It is more…unpolished.
Northeast Road Trip – Vermont
Ah, Woodstock. No, not the one you are thinking of, but the one that is infinitely cooler than that other one in New York. This town is a gem. It is small, but has everything you need with shops, restaurants, plenty of covered bridges and antique farmhouses that have been converted into B&Bs. We wandered through town as much as we could but were soon forced indoors by the negative temperatures. I don’t actually recall being anywhere that was that low on the ol’ mercury. In the center of town they have a board (a.k.a. town crier) with the temperature written on it. Newflash: it was cold! Woodstock actually reminded me a lot of the fictional town of Star’s Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Who knows, Lorelai might have been just around the corner.
We decided before we left that we should take advantage of the copious amounts of snow and go skiing while we were on our Northeast road trip. The ski hill closest to Woodstock is called Suicide Six and we had a delightful time skiing the runs on this little resort. There are only three lifts and 24 runs, and I’m pretty sure that in the few hours we were there we did all of them. Since it was so cold, we had no problems going skiing for a few hours and calling it a day. Who says you have to spend all day on the hill? Not me.
The Sugarbush Farm is not far from Woodstock. This little place makes real maple syrup and cheese. It is a small operation and when we visited, we went right into the room where a few women were dipping cheese in wax to prepare it for curing and selling. I hadn’t ever seen cheese being made so it was pretty fascinating to learn how long they had to leave certain cheese before they were ready to go. B tried a cheddar that had been aged 10 years! Sugarbush wasn’t fancy, but it was authentic.
I hadn’t ever stayed in a bed and breakfast, so we thought when better to try it out than in Vermont? By luck of the draw we reserved what must be one of the best little B&Bs in Vermont: the Farmhouse Inn. I’m not sure if we just got lucky in our stay, but it was downright magical. The house is beautiful and since we were the only ones there, we got to peak in all the rooms as we went up to the Maple Room (it had two cute single beds). All the rooms looked homey and inviting, so I don’t think you could go wrong.
Our hosts were lovely and warm and inviting. There was a room with books and a tv, but we spend our time in the music room. They had lots of instruments so I took the piano and B accompanied me on the guitar. I don’t know if the owners appreciated our rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believin,’ but we had lots of fun, stopping only to work on a puzzle laid out on a table before we went up to bed. We had a delicious breakfast, way bigger than we could eat, with farm fresh items. It really was a wonderful experience.
I can only imagine how lovely it would be in this area during peak leaf season. But it was quite spectacular when frozen. Whatever time of year you get there, you won’t be disappointed if you visit these places on a Northeast road trip.
I am very excited to share this road trip itinerary for three days on the Oregon coast. I take no credit for its amazingness. It was given to me by a former local and all-around Oregon expert. She really came through and provided the greatest Oregon coast three-day itinerary. You can trust me on this.
Are you wondering what the Oregon coast is like? Well, there is a reason why people say “the Oregon coast” in such a dreamy voice. The Oregon coast is a pretty dreamy place. It is made up of beautify coastal views, lots of green and fun and funky towns. Plus, it is not too hot. That may be my favorite part.
Given that it is not too far from Idaho, many people from my home state like to vacation there. It is an easy destination for part-time travelers like us and can even be turned into a weekend getaway.
Planning for three days on the Oregon Coast
The first thing I like to do when planning a trip is talk to an expert—someone who knows the lay of the land. After all, Oregon has 363 miles of coastline. I was wondering which part of the Oregon Coast is the best for a road trip. I also needed to know what should go on my must-see list.
Lucky for me, I work with someone who knows Oregon and its coast very well (she is a former local). She laid out a very nice itinerary for me filled with suggestions about what to see and, perhaps more importantly, what not to see. I printed it out and followed her suggestions as I moved on down the coastline.
My road trip was north to south, but you can just as easily make your Oregon coast road trip south to north.
What time of the year should I plan my three days on the Oregon Coast?
My visit was in October and it was beautiful. I heard the traffic can be bad in the summer; but in October, I experienced very little traffic and almost perfect weather. I know it rains a lot in Oregon (it must because everything is so green), but it did not rain at all while I was there. I am not sure if I was lucky, or if October is the time to go. Either way, my timing was impeccable.
Three Days on the Oregon Coast Day 1: 137 Miles
I started my road trip in Portland since I was there for work. First I took the train to the airport and picked up a rental car. Then I headed north. Up first was Astoria. Most of us are familiar with the town because Goonies was filmed there. It is a cute town and fun to walk around. I made sure to check out the Astoria Tower and climb to the top. The views were great!
Per my suggested itinerary, I avoided Seaside. I do not like touristy places anyway and when my friend said it was a “tourist-trap hell-hole,” I knew I could do without. (Sorry to anyone who loves Seaside.) Instead, I stopped at Cannon Beach. My coworker said it was also a tourist trap, but less of a hell-hole. I did not stay long, but I wanted to see Haystack Rock. Luckily, I also had fairly empty beaches and blue skies.
The hardest part about taking a road trip like this is the desire to look out the window. I had to stop often in order to gaze in wonder at the beauty around me. Luckily, there are plenty of places to pull off the road and take a picture. There are also places to get out and hike around. My friend recommended a great little hike just north of Manzanita called Neahkahnie Mountain. I attempted to hike that, but I actually found a different trail. I did not realize it until after I finished my hike, got back in my car and drove past the trail head for Neahkahnie Mountain. Oh well. No idea which trail I hiked, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I imagine all the hiking trails are nice. And the views are fantastic.
After my hike, I rolled into Manzanita, my stop for the night. The town was small, but very cute and there are a lot of little vacation houses for rent. I stayed in a hotel right on the beach. After picking up some dinner from Marzano’s, I settled in to watch the sunset. It did not disappoint.
The next morning, I woke with the sun to look for sand dollars. It was worth the early wake-up call (and I rarely feel that way). Sand dollars were plentiful, but it would have been worth it even if I had not seen any. An almost empty beach coupled with a beautiful sunrise gave me a sense that this is what life on the Oregon coast is all about.
Three Days on the Oregon Coast Day 2: 135 miles
Back on the road, I headed toward Tillamook. My friend said that Tillamook is classic Oregon coast, “a little grimy and a little quirky.” The big draw is the Tillamook Cheese Factory. You can tour it for free and then enjoy some free cheese curds. It is definitely worth a stop. And instead of cheese curds, I went for ice cream….at 10:30 a.m.! I just couldn’t resist. Tillamook is a good-sized town (with a Safeway) so it makes a good place to stock up on provisions other than ice cream.
Since the road was open, I headed to Cape Meares next. The drive was pretty and I got to check out the lighthouse and octopus tree. This was a great place to walk around, stretch my legs and get some photos.
Just south of Cape Meares is Oceanside. If you are wondering which Oregon Coast town is the best, for me, it is Oceanside. In fact, if ever I move to Oregon, Oceanside will be my new home. The little town is super cute, has easy beach access and neat sea stacks. There is also a tunnel through the headland at the north end of the beach and the views on the other side are stunning! Not to mention that walking through a tunnel is just plain fun. I was hesitant to get back on the road and I considered staying in Oceanside forever. But alas, the call to see more eventually propelled me on down the road.
Gorgeous views to the right were now my new norm. I stopped in Pacific City for lunch at the Pelican Brewing Company. This was another suggestion from my friend since it boasts good food and even better views of the sea stack and surfers. It was also good timing since I was hungry for lunch.
After walking around and getting some sand on my feet, I was rejuvenated and ready to see more. I passed on through Lincoln City and did not bother stopping. Even though my friend had already told me not to stop there, I would have been able to tell it was not the Oregon coast town for me (and again, I apologize if this is your favorite place to visit in Oregon). It was too touristy and even a little tacky. Not at all like the rest of the Oregon coast I was coming to know. So I made tracks and headed south.
Up next was Depoe Bay. I stopped, hoping to see the whales, which I did, and walk around, which I didn’t. It was pretty busy for whatever reason, so I decided to forgo walking around got back on the road. The city of Newport was just down the road anyway.
Newport is a bit of a “big city” for the Oregon Coast. However, main street is adorable with good places to eat and fun shops to poke around in. I tried the chowder at Mo’s and then watched the seals sun themselves near the docks—all things I could never do in Idaho, making it a memorable experience.
My last stop of the day was Yachats. This town is a favorite of my friend’s so I opted to stay the night. The town is not big, but it has great restaurants and the beach is loaded with agates. I found the tide pools particularly fun to explore. And after dinner, I enjoyed another great sunset—they appear to be a staple on the Oregon Coast.
Three Days on the Oregon Coast Day 3: 197 miles
The next morning, I awoke knowing it was my last day to explore the Oregon coast. So I started early and got on the road. I was not very far along before I just had to get out and walk along the beach. With no one around, it was a great time to explore and look for agates.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
My first official stop was the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Per the ush, the views and photo ops were great. It was during this stop that I saw some seals floating around in the water, which made me excited for my next official stop: the Sea Lion Caves. My friend described this must-see like this: “the Sea Lion Caves are so, so strange, and weird, and wonderful. It’s a giant, stinky sea cave loaded with sea lions. It is noisy, and kitchy, and kind of weirdly worth it. It’s kind of expensive for a ticket, but one of those ‘must-do’ Oregon coast things.” I was ready! Unfortunately, I was there at the wrong time of year and there were no sea lions in the caves. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I will just have to go back and visit it another time.
Further south was Florence and its famous dunes. I liked Florence. There was a cute harbor with lots of shops and things to see. But sadly, it signaled the end my journey down the coast. I headed inland at that point, stopping briefly in Eugene before arriving back in Portland.
Overall, my road trip down the coast was a delight. I know there is still a lot more to see in both Oregon and its coast, but I feel like I got to see a good chunk of it on this first voyage. The best part is that I finally understand why people talk about the Oregon coast in such a dreamy voice.
A Conclusion to Three Days on the Oregon Coast
As a couple of part-time travelers, we can highly recommend road tripping in Oregon. Even three days on the Oregon coast is well worth your time to see and explore this beautiful part of the world. Hopefully, the tips above will help you with your own epic road trip itinerary.
Related posts you might like:
- Five things to love about Portland, Oregon
- 10 Ideas for a girls’ weekend getaway
- Unique tips for your next road trip
- Elements of a good road trip
Or if you want to see all of our posts, visit Past Posts.
Let’s talk about road trips. I know they are not for everyone and some people go stir crazy if they are stuck in a car too long. But I love them. If done right, a road trip is one of the best ways to see …
The Pendleton Round-Up has been on my bucket list for years and I have finally checked it off! I am going to tell you all about it, but first, let’s talk for a minute about bucket lists. Now you may not be quite as obsessed …