Growing up in Oregon's Willamette Valley, it was always a rare and wonderful treat for me when our family could take a summer day off from work in the woods and the fields to drive over the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean Beaches. We always loved the Oregon coast and it's many wonderful, accessible state parks.
In 1977 my parents fulfilled a dream and purchased, with the help of my sister and her husband, the little cabin in Rockaway Beach. Jill was three and a half and Jake a year and a half old when we began our week long summer vacations at the ocean cabin. Now, many years later, it is the grandkids who are learning of all of our favorite, traditional haunts in and around Tillamook County.
Just south of the town of Rockaway Beach is Tillamook Bay, and at the south end of that bay is Cape Meares. From there a scenic drive takes the tourist on the Three Capes Loop. Cape Meares we have visited many times. With foggy beaches and time on our hands, I wanted to take the kids on a longer adventure to some cool places I remembered from my childhood.
Just south of Cape Meares is the hillside town of Oceanside with beach access at Oceanside Beach State Park. It's another great Oregon beach, but with a special feature.
I did a little research, after all of these years. The tunnel was made by a family who had grandiose ideas of creating a resort in the early 20th century. The resort didn't pan out but the tunnel remains and has been somewhat maintained.
The hillside was lovely with pink wild pea blooms.
Ready? Here we go.
I was too busy in the tunnel keeping my footing to take any photos, but I did make it through to Tunnel Beach on the other side, after crawling out of....
It's a lovely little beach, mostly accessible only at low tide.
There are tide pools and caves to explore.
And then you climb back up and into that hole and back through the tunnel.
And then we were off to Cape Kiawanda.
Located at Pacific City, Cape Kiawanda holds special memories of when I was little kid and could climb the giant sand dune and fly back down, heels barely touching the sand as we ran down.
The kids were saying "Sand dunes? Big deal. Done that." Until I showed then this one. "Whoa!"
But first, we needed lunch, and right there was the Pelican Brew Pub. We waited for our turn for a table.
We all had yummy lunches and I even had a brew - MacPelican, a Scottish ale. Very good.
Tom and I weren't going to be climbing up and flying down, so we found a log to sit on and watch.
That's our three in the center of the pic, half way up, Isaac leading the pack.
Lots of people had flocked to the beaches to escape the heat and smoke inland.
Lots more were making the climb to the top of the dune.
Pacific City is famous for its dory fishing, boats that land right on the beach where trucks with trailers drive out to pick them up.
And there they are, posing for the camera,
and contemplating which route to take down.
Isaac and Irene came down fast. Jill was a bit more cautious.
All three of them went again about half way up before their final run down. That was enough. Meanwhile a football team had arrived from Salem and the team was making their way up the dune. They gathered at the top, urging on the big ole' linemen and finally the big old coach. We never did see them come down. I think they had a team meeting first.
We poked around the base of the sandstone cape for a bit.
And then it was time for the drive back to the cabin.
Tom and I came home Friday afternoon. Jill and the kids managed to have a beach fire Friday evening as the fog thinned, and then came home Saturday.
Another summer vacation at the beach cabin has been logged in the books.