Yesterday we bid farewell to one of the most dog friendly places on the planet, Cannon Beach, OR and made the four hour trek to Florence, OR. We didn’t leave until almost 11AM so we wanted to plough through the drive as quickly as possible to get to Florence with enough time left to take the dogs on a late afternoon walk on the beach.
The drive down US 101 alternated between stunning and not so much. The road twisted and turned through coastal forests and then plunged down to hug the coast just above the water in many spots. But we had several stop and go traffic moments driving through overdeveloped beach towns filled with pavement, traffic lights, trinket shops, and fast food joints.
Florence has a similar combination of scenery. The main drag through town is crowded with touristy shops and chain restaurants. But the Old Town area by the Siuslaw River has several locally oriented shops and restaurants, and docks with working fishing boats that reflect the city’s maritime roots.
We stayed at the Best Western Inn, which is perched on the side of a hill on the river opposite from Old Town. While dogs are welcomed, no ammenities were provided for them – no treats, gift bags, etc. They just take $20 for each pet and that’s it.
The room was nothing fancy but it was twice as big as our room in Cannon Beach, so it was much more comfortable, and the view from the balcony overlooking the river was exceptional.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t just walk from our room to the off-leash beach as we did in Cannon Beach. Instead we had to pile back in the car and drive for about 10 minutes to get to the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area.
As you may have guessed from the name, the primary attraction are the huge sand dunes that border the ocean for about 40 miles. These dunes aren’t just little mounds of sand – the ones we climbed over to get to the beach were 50-60 feet high.
And the climb over the dune to get to the beach is not for the faint of heart. The sand is extremely soft, and we felt like we were slogging uphill through thick mud with 50 pound weights on each leg. We only climbed for about 2 mintues, but by the time we reached the top of the dune we were spent.
If you have any physical problems or disabilities you probably aren’t going to be able to climb over the dunes. I don’t know if you can access the beach without going over the dunes – check with the park office to find out.
For dinner we ate at the Waterfront Depot in Old Town, which appeared to be popular with the locals. It had a variety of everything – seafood, steak, chicken, etc.
The price was about half as much you would pay in Seattle, but the food was half as good. Not bad, but not great. Kind of meh.
The next morning, after a quick sample of the complimentary breakfast that wasn’t worth the price, we headed out to our next destination, Arcata, CA.
Talk to you tomorrow….