Magic Along The Road To The Oregon Dunes

It started as an idea: What to do with the long weekend? Well, go on an adventure of course!

We set out after work on Friday, nowhere exactly to be, not entirely sure of where we would eat, sleep or shower. My best adventures are the ones with little planning.

“Let’s check out Aberdeen, It’s one of the first towns when you hit the ocean in Washington.”

So we did. We crept up at 10pm to Mack’s Tavern and Cardroom, after being told it was the best spot to grab a drink in Aberdeen. Fisherman, tradespeople, and poker players from their 20’s to 70’s were wrapped around the bar and card table. After some entertaining conversation from locals who were enamored by us gypsy Canadians, we gave a “cheers to Aberdeen,” and made our way on for a late night drive towards Astoria.

Waking up in a car, bundled under a sleeping bag, is quite possibly one of my favourite feelings. Especially when you’ve traveled somewhere in the pitch dark, knowing that as soon as the sun rises your view is something spectacular. Cannon Beach captivated me. Situated just south of Seaside, Oregon, this little tourist town has plenty of local charm – coffee shops, restaurants, stunning shoreline and Haystack Rock, which has a cave system accessible by foot when the tide is low. The homes that line the beach are full of character, and I find myself wondering who lives there and what their life is like.

“Emily! You’re in Seaside!? So are we!”

This was the Instagram conversation that turned our duo trip into an epic four-person roadie. The power of social media – it links people up even miles from home. We met up with two of my co-workers on the beach in Cannon, and reminisced about both of our previous night’s adventures. Shortly after, our friends had convinced us to drive south on the highway to the Oregon Dunes. Let’s be realistic though, not much convincing was needed.

Magic Along The Road To The Oregon Dunes - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of Emventurer

The best part about not having a plan and being open-minded is having the freedom to say yes to whatever blows your way. And saying yes feels good. We hit up Rogue Brewery in Newport for a couple drinks and some fresh west coast fish before moving further south. Windows down, music loud and great conversation – the open road led the way. Pulling into Florence well after dark, we weren’t sure where we would be laying our heads that night, but we were okay with that. Eventually, we landed a campsite at one of the many spots in the Dunes Park. We set up camp and made a fire into the wee hours of the morning.

Waking up and walking over the dunes to an unpopulated white sand beach, I knew we had found a little piece of paradise. We spent the day sipping drinks from our cooler and having epic beach adventures. Laughing, and unhindered by any external circumstance.

Magic Along The Road To The Oregon Dunes - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of Emventurer

Anywhere you go in the Oregon Dunes Park, you can expect dunes on dunes on dunes. At sunset, we ventured over to a common spot where many people ride dune buggies. We parked our truck and ran up the dunes, struggling and laughing as we slid down the moving sand. As the sun fell behind our view, the most beautiful colours lit up the sky. We were in paradise, and it was a free-for-all. We ran off into the sunset sliding down sand, even making friends and catching rides with dune buggy drivers out for an evening rip.

Waking up the next day and saying “au revoir” to such a spectacular spot was tough. It’s a place I could pitch a tent and call home for a while. After we said our sweet farewells, we took our time driving back up the coast. The 11-hour cruise back to Vancouver was filled with photo ops, breath-taking views, and a little rock climbing at Hug Point.

There’s magic in Oregon, and when you’re fortunate enough to experience it, you know you’ve been part of something special. The winding road to the dunes taught me things. Enjoy every feeling, stop and take in the moment, don’t be in a hurry, and laugh until your belly hurts as you roll around in unexpected sandy adventures.

Magic Along The Road To The Oregon Dunes - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of Emventurer