How many days do you have? I have been to many beaches in Florida. Comparing the beaches here is like comparing apples to bananas. You really can't compare the two. If you are looking for something similar then don't even bother with the Oregon Coast.
We have long stretches of beach that you can walk for miles on and pass very few people. The water is too cold to swim in without a wetsuit but there are many brave souls who wade out in the cold surf.
Astoria doesn't really have a beach. It is a very nice little historic town with quaint little antique shops, gift shops, good restaurants, a fun trolley that you can hop on and ride along the water, learning the history of the town from the conductor and a good maritime museum.
Astoria is easily done in a day trip from Portland as it only takes 1 1/2 hours to get there. I would definitely consider it if any of the things I mentioned appeal to you.
I grew up on Oregon coast. Until I traveled I did not realize what a special place it is.
PDXWindJ hits it right on. I have been on both coasts of Florida. and totally different.
Only eastern coast that is even close is Maine, for beauty. And Oregon a lot more accessible.
And Astoria a great place, but not good taste of Oregon coast
Scarlett where are you?? ,
You want to be in water out west go to S Cal, or even better Hawaii
We arrive Saturday afternoon and leave the following Saturday evening and will probably stay at the Benson Hotel. I'd like to go to the Saturday craft market. We are planning to visit the North Willamette Valley wineries and may stay at the Black Walnut Inn one night. Based on other posts, I'd like to see the Columbia River Gorge area and waterfalls and maybe Mt Hood and the lodge there. We'd like to see the Japanese and Chinese Gardens. I'd like to do a little exploring / shopping in the metro area, but don't want to waste any time on large chain stores. I hope to visit at least one quilt shop. We love great restaurants (especially Seattle & Vancouver BC restaurants) and I'm interested in Paley's and Andina. We also want to try some brewpubs, enjoy great Oregon Pinot Noirs, and find a unique breakfast place or two, if they have good strong coffees/lattes. A few years ago we drove west from Sonoma wine country to the coast and it was very beautiful, with fog and boulders jutting out of the ocean. I'm not set on Astoria if you recommend another coastal area. Thanks.
As as been said, Astoria isn't really on the coast; it's a couple miles upriver from the mouth of the Columbia. You can get a better feel for Oregon's coastline with a visit to Cannon Beach and nearby Ecola St. Park. Again, it's an easy day trip; about 1.5 hours each direction. Or, maybe head to Tillamook and take the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
Your comments about food reminded me of a conversation I had with a wine shop owner in Seattle last summer. I'd asked her for restaurant recommendations, and when she learned I was from Portland, she replied that she didn't think Seattle had anything to compare with the best of Portland's. I don't know if I agree with her, but regardless, you should be fine in the food and wine departments here.
Just chiming in with agreement that the FL coast is vastly different than ours. We were stationed in FL years ago and that was my first time being on a beach where it was warm and you could actually lay out and get a tan, lol!
If you are looking for a quilt shop to purchase fabrics, supplies, etc. then go to McMinnville for Boersma's. Great shop! It is on the corner of Baker (HWY 99w) and 3rd.
My suggestion for the coast would be to head over to the coast for the night when you do the Willamette Valley wineries.
It looks like a 2-hour drive from Dundee to Cannon Beach. Would you head west to catch up with Hwy 101? Any comments on Stephanie Inn at Cannon Beach?
It's probably quicker to get to hwy 47, then north to hwy 26 and west. If you're adventurous and have the time, you could head west out of Carlton, which would put you on the coast just south of Three Capes Scenic Loop road.
We've stayed at Stephanie Inn a couple times, though not in the last 3-4 years. I've read some recent reviews where guests felt it's become a little pretentious, but I still think of it as the best lodging on Oregon's coast, excepting maybe Tu Tu Tun in Gold Beach (but that's not really on the coast anyway).
FL Quiltcat -- You've touched on a couple of my favorite subjects, so I'm chiming in here:
Quilt Shops -- There's a really nice one in Cannon Beach, called "Center Diamond". They have a website, which should be easy for you to find. It's within walking distance of the Stephanie Inn, as well as other highly-rated hotels in Cannon, and near Haystack Rock. Someone mentioned McMinnville, which has Boersma's and another shop called Sew Much More (although I'm not positive that it's still in business), both on 3rd Street. Carlton has a cute shop called "Late Bloomers".
Coffee -- The best capuccino I ever had was across the street from Center Diamond in Cannon Beach, at a little cafe. You won't have any trouble finding lattes anywhere in Oregon!
Since you have a whole week in Oregon, I'd suggest at least one overnight at the beach; say maybe drive west on Highway 26 to Cannon Beach, then south through Tillamook and down to Lincoln City, then head back east through Yamhill Country's wine country (McMinnville, Dundee) and back to Portland.
It sounds like you've done a lot of research already, and have some fun activities planned, and places to go. I'll endorse Paley's for dinner in Portland -- it's wonderful!
Meg in Oregon - Thanks for the recommendations. I found nice quilt shops in Victoria & Vancouver last summer, let me know if you need any tips there.