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April 16th 2022, life changing vacation: Roadtrip in Oregon!

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

April 16th 2022. A full year ago, I was in the middle of an 11-day road trip on the Northern Pacific Coast, with one of my besties Sarah. It started in Seattle and ended in San Francisco. On this day of the road trip in particular, we were leaving the mountains behind and heading to the beach. Also, on this day was when I started contemplating changing my life by becoming a travel blogger, researcher and advisor.

You know how it is with Facebook, memories popped up, I knew that this week last year I was on this amazing vacation, but when the memories popped up today. I saw the picture, actually 3 pictures that started to make me realize I need to be writing about my travels for a living.

So, on this post I will be going over that day, basic sights, routes taken, food and lodging. Most importantly I will be sharing tons of pictures. More details about Cannon Beach, Wheeler, Portland, Multnomah Falls (Oregon) and Kelso (Washington) will be in a different post in the future.

Starting the day

We started the morning in Kelso Washington, waking up at a budget hotel (Super 8 by Wyndham). The hotel was cheap, but the beds were comfy, and it was a clean hotel. Some people hate budget hotels, but with the strict budget we had for this trip, budget hotels were a must from time to time.

Columbia River

At 8 AM we grabbed some coffee and hit the road. We were on Interstate 5, chatting about the D. B. Cooper hijacking from the early 1970's (He possibly parachuted out of a plane somewhere near here since some money was found near the Columbia River). While driving we crossed over and beside the Columbia River while heading to Multnomah Falls. It was about an hour's drive before we were at the falls from Kelso Washington, On the drive we turned onto Interstate 84 in Portland and headed east for about 30 minutes, driving right beside the river. It is huge, as you can see by the pictures. It pours out into the ocean at Astoria, Oregon. Astoria was not visited on this trip, but it will be a future blog also

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is simple to see, right off Interstate 84. The exit off the Interstate for Multnomah Falls is basically a large roadside stop in the middle of the interstate, then you walk under the interstate via a tunnel to get closer to the falls. Driving on the interstate you can see these massive falls, but I recommend stopping to get an up close and personal look. Of course, this is the Pacific Northwest, it rains a lot up here. So, I was glad to have purchased an umbrella. The best purchase for the trip. I believe it rained at least a little bit every day of our trip except for one. I was grateful that while we were exploring the falls it wasn't a downpour, but the umbrella came in handy.

The falls are amazing, with a bridge you can walk on to get you closer to them. I didn't walk the bridge, but I got plenty of pics. There is a gift shop there with some amazing local-made treats for sale, along with Hoodies, shirts, and other typical gift shop items. Random Fact about all of Washington, and Oregon....... You will see a bunch of Bigfoots. lol

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is the largest waterfall in Oregon at 620 feet. As you can tell from the pictures it is a 2-tier waterfall. The bridge was built in 1914, and the Multnomah Lodge was built in 1925 and both are on the National Registry of Historic Places. If you are up for a serious hike, there is a switchback trail that takes you to the top of the falls with an overlook over top of it. Random fact, did you know that the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 mentioned the falls in a journal entry for October 5th. Neat huh!

Lunch time in Portland

Streets of Portland

After the falls we spent a couple hours around lunch time in Portland. Not near enough time to give this city its due, but that's what another trip out west will be good for. Sarah and I walked a little bit of the Old Town area. But we spent the most time walking in the Pearl District. So many restaurants, and shops. The main focus was on food and Powell's Books, which is a must if you are book lover. Just a warning though it is overwhelming with the number of books they have there.

I recommend the restaurants in these pictures. Grab some food at these places. They are cheap, quick and are not disappointing.

-LoveJoy Bakers has great coffee, tea and the cookies are to die for.

-Sizzle Pie has great pizza and is definitely different. If you are splitting a pizza with someone that helps with the price. I recommend the Pig Destroyer, but I love the name of the ham and pineapple pizza. It's called 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. lol

-Little Big Burger, try the Sweet Fire Burger, just like the name, its hot but sweet. I have never had goat cheese on a burger, but I loved it.

After our time in Portland, and our full belly's, we drove on to Cannon Beach on Route 26. This is the best route to the beach. It is a shame you miss Astoria, Warrington and Seaside, but when you get to Route 101 at Cannon Beach you can always go north and catch these places. Route 26 is a good road, in fact one of the best 2 lane roads in Oregon. Compared to the crazy twists and turns on the 101, Route 26 is a breeze. And after an hour and a half you are at Cannon Beach.

Afternoon and Evening Cannon Beach area

This is a very touristy little town, but I love it. Haystack Rock is the main reason for this stop. But when we arrived, we realized we needed to stay several hours and check this area out.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock, you can't miss it. You see it when you first peak over the hill coming into the Cannon Beach area. Watch out for those Roosevelt Elk, (Fluffy Butt Beach Elk), we spotted several in the area. If you are wondering why you have heard about Haystack Rock, remember the 1980;s movie The Goonies? This is the rock featured in it, and Kindergarten Cop. Side note, the house in The Goonies is in Astoria.

At low tide you can walk right up to the rock. When we were walking the beach it was just before low tide, so we could have done it. But of course, this was April 16th, the water was so cold, and we were not planning to get in the water. If you plan on getting in the water, check out the tidal pools. You can spot sea stars, green anemones, limpets, and crabs. Do not remove marine life from the tidal area and do not climb on Haystack Rock, it is a protected area. That way you don't disturb birds that are nesting.

Puffin Statue

The animal life in this area is amazing. Great bird watching, and many use Haystack Rock as a resting area. If you are lucky and visit Cannon Beach at the right time of year you will see Puffins. I brought my binoculars hoping to catch a glimpse, but I was not lucky enough to spot them, but they are there in April. Most active time is between 7 and 10 AM. Cannon Beach offers Puffin Watching help on the weekends by HRAP (Haystack Rock Awareness Program). They set up equipment from May until Labor Day to help in viewing the Puffins and other birds. Check out the schedule at the Visitors Information Center. Even though I did not see puffins I was still able to spot Cormorants, Western Gulls, and Pigeon Guillemots.

After leaving the beach, we walked the quaint downtown area. There are little boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Even after the large lunch we went on and grabbed some dinner. We stopped at the Toms Fish and Chips, and it was great. Great clam chowder.

Cannon Beach

There are several places to stay at Cannon Beach, but be prepared to pay for it, they can be pricey. I will go into this more in a Cannon Beach post in the future, but here is a quick list of likes, even though I didn't stay there on this trip.

-The Ocean Lodge

-Hallmark Resort and Spa

-Inn at Haystack Rock

-Surf Sand Resort

-McBee Cottage

-Guesthouse Inn

Late evening stops

After leaving Cannon Beach, with about an hour and a half before it became dark, we stopped at every roadside stop along Route 101 for the next 18 miles to Wheeler Oregon. At one stop I even brought out my binoculars and we spotted whales. I am telling you if you are the least bit in love with scenery and animals, buy and bring binoculars, the second-best purchase for the trip.

Arcadia Beach

Travel tip for the area. If you want to be away from the crowds at Cannon Beach for some quiet beach time, head north or south a little bit. The further you get from Cannon Beach the beaches become more peaceful. Just don't go too far or you will find Seaside to the North or Rockaway to the South, and they are crowded beachside towns.

One stop was Arcadia Beach State Park. Took my breath away. After you park you have to walk down some uneven steps to get to the beach, but it is worth it. If you are unsteady, or have difficulty walking, just take your time and you will be fine. I am not sure if it is because the rain clouds fully went away for the evening, the beach wasn't crowded, or because of all the little tidal pools we were searching, but whatever the reason I was in love with this place. At this point, we didn't care if we got wet, or our toes got cold. The pictures here are some of my best memories of the trip.

Finishing the drive

Wheeler on the Bay

After playing in the sand, we jumped back in the car to warm up and continue our drive to Wheeler Oregon. We stayed at a cute boutique lodge called Wheeler on the Bay Lodge. It is small, peaceful, and I highly recommend it. We spotted cranes, ducks, and otters while staying here at the lodge. Plus, a beautiful view. Book early because there are only 12 rooms, The lodge is cheaper than most places at Cannon Beach and each room has its own theme. We stayed in the Otter room, where there are otters everywhere. I had to share the pictures because it made my day. When checking in for the night they give you a picnic basket of goodies to munch on that night or in the morning for breakfast. This place is so calm, and peaceful. You could use their kayaks and go out into the bay, fish from their own private dock, or bring your own boat.

As you can tell April 16th, 2022, was a busy day for Sarah and me. The only thing I would change would be to stay in this area for an extended amount of time. So much to see and do, but also need some extended time here to stare at the ocean and relax.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and as I said at the beginning of this post, this was the time I really started giving serious thought to starting a blog, travel research, and advisory website. So, you can say, the Pacific Northwest changed my life.

If you would like some help planning your adventure, just book an appointment on

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N Whitt
N Whitt
May 01, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

great read!


Apr 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Makes me want to go there.


Linda Todisco
Linda Todisco
Apr 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great post! Now I need to go there!

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