Dune surfing is not for sissies. Flying down a 45-degree vertical slope on a snowboard would have you believing you are on Mount Hood or Mount Bachelor. In fact, there is no snow and the sound of waves from the Pacific Ocean is pounding in your ears. You're on the Oregon coast near Pacific City.
It is the height of summer and riders are careening down a mega sand dune on snowboards and boogie boards. The temperature is hovering around 85 degrees and a much welcome breeze coming off the Pacific offers a reprieve from the searing heat radiating up from the sand.
Located halfway between Lincoln City and Tillamook (along Hwy 101), Pacific City is actually not a city at all, but a village with a population of approximately 900 people. Although 60% of the homes here are considered “second homes”, which means that the actual population most of the year is about 400. Therefore, regardless of the time of year you visit, the beach, restaurants and shops will not be too busy.
After enjoying a picturesque drive on the Three Capes Scenic Loop (a 35-mile by-way in Tillamook County) along the Oregon Coast you arrive at the sleepy town of Pacific City (the last cape on the route).
Whether looking for a romantic getaway, storm watching weekend, active adventure, a picnic on the beach or just to build sand castles with the kids you can achieve this and more at PC.
Fishing is a very big sport in the area and you can catch Coho salmon in the Big Nestucca River, with bottom fish and ling cod being popular catches in the Pacific Ocean.
Crabbing, clamming, horse riding, bird watching and viewing the launch of the dory boats as local fishermen set off are a few favorite beach activities.
If you drive your vehicle onto Pacific City beach via the public beach access ramp from the Cape Kiwanda parking lot, remember to keep an eye on the tides as they can change quickly. While there enjoy a picnic, fly a kite, play in the surf, walk the beach or just take in the spectacular views of Haystack Rock.
If whale watching is what you’re up for, the migration of the gray whale is best watched in March, May and late fall. Staying at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda will afford some of the best views for doing this.
Spectacular views of Haystack Rock (a 327-foot rock formation known as Chief Kiawanda by locals) can be had at most times of the day, but being on the beach for sunset with the “Chief“ painted in hues of crimson and amber is magical.
Whether a novice or experienced wave rider, rent a wet suit, surfboard or boogie board and spend an afternoon catching the waves rolling in.
If keeping on dry land is more your style, bring your bicycle and take a ride through town, along the beach or up part of the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
When it is time to build up an appetite or work off all that Tillamook ice cream, a hike up to the top of the dune at Cape Kiwanda for sweeping views of the area is well worth the effort. Boarding down the dune is not mandatory and only advisable for the young and/or foolish - roll, slide, jump or skip down for the less adventurous.
Shoppers will delight in the dozen or so galleries, antique and gift stores and can find that special gift in the galleries of local artisans before heading over to the Pelican Pub & Brewery for one of their award-winning microbrews and a tasty bowl of chowder. Doryland Pizza can promptly serve up a mean slice or pie as well as soup, salads and sandwiches (dine-in or take-out) for very reasonable prices.
By Vivienne Chapleo - Co-founder WAVE Journey.com
WAVE Journey.com is your one-stop online resource for women-oriented businesses and services around the world.
If you go:
Pacific City is about a 2hr drive southwest of Portland. Follow Hwy 26 from Portland in the direction of Tillamook. From Tillamook travel south on Hwy 101 for approximately 22 miles until you see the turnoff for Pacific City.
From Salem (I-5) follow Hwy 99 or Hwy 18 west to Hwy 22 and continue (approx. 1hr) until you reach Hwy 101. On Hwy 101 head north for about 18 miles until you see the turnoff for Pacific City.
Pelican Pub & Brewery - Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. www.pelicanbrewery.com 33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive. PH: (503)-965-7007
The Grateful Bread Bakery - Known for their fresh bread and pastries. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pizza. www.pacificcity.org/GratefulBread/home.html 34805 Brooten Road. PH: (503) 965-7337
Doryland Pizza - Serving soups, salads, sandwiches and pizza. 33315 Cape Kiwanda Drive
The Riverhouse Fine Restaurant - Specializing in fresh seafood dishes for lunch and dinner. www.riverhousefoods.com
34450 Brooten Road. PH: (503) 965-6722
Horseback Riding On the Beach - Oregon Beach Rides Rentals www.oregonbeachrides.com PH: (971) 237-6653
Kiwanda Surf Co. Custom Boards - Boards & Accessories, Sales, rentals, & lessons. www.kiwandasurfco.com PH: (503) 965-3627
Pacific City Sporting Goods - Fishing Supplies. www.pcsportinggoods.com
34650 Brooten Road PH: (503) 965-6410
Haystack Fishing Dory Charter - Beach Launched Dory. Captain Joe Hay www.haystackfishing.com PH: (866) 965-7555
Barnett's Guide Service - Nestucca River drift boat fishing for salmon and steelhead. Captain Tim Barnett www.nestuccariver.com PH: (503) 398-2888
Oregon Hang Gliding - Offering three to five day summer instruction camps. www.oregonhanggliding.com 33105 Cape Kiwanda Dr. PH: (541) 913-1339
Shops, Galleries & Gifts:
Cape Kiwanda Market Place - Beach Supply & Gifts. www.capekiwandarvresort.com 33305 Cape Kiwanda Dr. PH: (503) 965-6230
Pacific City Gallery Local & NW Artists - Featuring over 100 artists. www.pc-gallery.com 35350 Brooten Road. PH: (503) 965-7181
The Dapper Frog Worldwide Art & Gifts - www.dapperfrog.com 34930 Brooten Road. PH: (503) 965-0085
Soaring Crane Gallery - 33105 Cape Kiwanda Dr. PH: (503) 965-7848