Recently, we celebrated Mason’s 4th birthday with an overnight trip to the Oregon Coast. We headed to Gearhart, about an hour and half drive northwest from our home in Portland, to stay at McMenanmins Gearhart Hotel.
It happened to be the opening week for the dog-friendly hotel, which is part of the popular McMenamins brew pub/movie theater/hotel chain, and the hotel offered us just what we were looking for—stylish comfort, easy beach access and good food and drink. We arrived in the evening and the vibe at the Gearhart was so low-key that the bartender checked us in! The hotel, which is the newest version of a retreat built in 1890, has just 18 rooms and is located across the street from the beach. The hotel’s restaurant, the Sand Trap Pub, which overlooks the hotel’s golf course, delighted us with a menu that leaves bar food in the dust.
The next morning, Mason was so excited to hit the beach that I allowed him to pull me past the complimentary coffee. (Note: The hotel’s rooms are on the small side so if you’re traveling with a large dog, don’t ask for a king-sized bed … unless all your dog wants is to be on the bed, in that case, he’ll be in heaven!)
All Mason wants is to do zoomies on the sand and boy, the North Coast of Oregon’s beaches are perfect for it!
Having grown up in densely-populated coastal Southern California, I will never get used to the fact that you can show up at the beach in Oregon and pretty much have the whole place to yourself.
This was our first time in Gearhart, which is about a 15-minute drive north of popular Cannon Beach and I was was in for another Oregon coast surprise: Cars are allowed along this stretch of beach! As you can see, there wasn’t a lot of traffic but still my first reaction was disappointment. I don’t want to have to look both ways before crossing the beach.
But on the way back to the hotel, as we hiked up and over the dune, I realized that cars being allowed on this 10-mile stretch of sand means the beach is accessible to every person and every dog, regardless of their mobility. That’s a very big plus. Find a map of Oregon’s North Coast beaches, which are all dog friendly—whoohoo!—here and details on driving on the beach here.
After breakfast, we packed up, ordered lunch to go and headed for Cannon Beach. Gopetfriendly.com offers a great guide to visiting the popular town, “Pet Travel Paradise in Cannon Beach,” here. We alway head straight for Ecola State Park at the north end of town, where you can hike trails that are lined with trees sporting three inches of moss and soak up some rays on the beach.
If you’re up for a hike, park in the Ecola Point lot and take the trail down to Crescent Beach. The return will be all up hill but here’s what waiting for you and your dog:
If you turn right at the parking kiosk (left will take you down the hill to the Ecola Point lot) you’ll wind around to Indian Point, where you’ll find another gorgeous beach that’s just a short stroll from the parking lot, as well as more trails. Here’s the view from near “Hiker’s Camp.” That’s a lighthouse in the distance, perched on a rock!
We picnicked on the beach at Indian Point and after a few more zoomies, Mason enjoyed his personalized birthday cookie (which I brought with me all the way from Three Dog Bakery in Los Angeles)!
Don’t worry, he didn’t finish the whole cookie in one sitting! But it was the perfect way to finish a great birthday and stay at the beach. We’re giving Oregon’s dog-friendly beaches two sandy paws way up!