There’s something about the Oregon coast that has always called me back. Growing up, I pleaded with my parents to take weekend vacations at the coast, even settling for day trips. I took whatever I could get. Before I realized that beaches could be tropical, I thought the Oregon coast was as good as it got and would swim in the frigid waves with other uninformed kiddos as early as February, transforming into shivering human prunes every time.
Since moving from Portland to Eugene, Florence has particularly captured my heart, from its natural sand dunes and beach attractions, old timey downtown shops and overall relaxed feel. After enduring months of overcast Oregon winter days, I felt myself being drawn to the ocean once again last Saturday. It was a day forecasted to be a sunny 45 degrees, AKA an Oregon paradise.
Taylor, my southern Californian friend and fellow resident assistant, accompanied me for a day of exploring the wonders of the coast. After growing up around beaches that actually see sunlight, Taylor had a high bar for the Oregon coast, one that Florence met and even exceeded.
The Honeyman State Park, with its surrounding sand dunes, was our first destination. Before we knew it, 30 minutes of scrambling up and around the dunes became one hour, then two. With only the sounds of ATV riders in the distance, we lost ourselves and almost got legitimately lost, too…
Our appetite was the only thing not lost Saturday. After trekking for miles, we decided to engage in my personal favorite activity: eating. Our next destination was Mo’s, an iconic seafood restaurant that is also conveniently located in Newport, Lincoln City and a few other beach towns. So if you have not checked it out before, what are you waiting for?
With our bellies full of clam chowder, clam melts, French fries and lemonade, we lingered around downtown Florence for a few minutes, somehow still finding room for saltwater taffy and energy for window-shopping.
With the sunset fast approaching, we headed to our final destination of the day: Heceta Head Lighthouse.
The structure, build in 1894, shines the brightest light on the Oregon coast of any lighthouse. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, the Heceta Head Lighthouse and surrounding beach was the ideal setting for an Oregon coast sunset. Surfers caught the waves while pugs chased bubbles around the shore and children walked out a bit too far for their parents’ liking.
There was a sense of harmony on the coast, as tourists and locals alike soaked in the sun until it finally disappeared below the horizon.
It took less than seven hours at the coast for Taylor and I to feel rejuvenated. Have you heard that saying, “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints?” Well, now it’s your turn!
PSA: it’s expected to rain in Florence through next Friday, but don’t let that stop you.
Words and photos by Kendra Siebert, @