Willamette Valley, Oregon

If you haven’t yet, read our post about seeing the total solar eclipse in Oregon, and also Part 1 and Part 2 of our Portland Series.

TJ: After our morning seeing the total solar eclipse, we had a half a day to explore the beautiful Willamette Valley and Oregon’s central coastline before heading back to Portland.

Dara: Willamette Valley is essentially the Napa of Oregon. With over 500 different wineries and some of Oregon’s best restaurants, the picturesque valley is the perfect place to spend a relaxed weekend.


TJ: But if you’re looking for a more lively weekend there’s also the Willamette River that you can raft up and down all the way to Portland and a bunch of activities in Salem – the capital of Oregon. There’s also the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum nearby, which houses the plane with the largest wingspan ever built. 

Dara: However, we just wanted to spend a few hours killing time while traffic died down so our coastline adventures were more just impromptu sightseeing.

And it was beautiful sightseeing; I wish we had had more time to explore.

First we ended up heading towards the coastline near the Three Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, without much of a plan. Though it looked like one large state park – the park is actually only the rocks, and most of the coastline is unfortunately private property, as we found out the hard way!

Despite that, we made our way to the very end of the road anyway, near the mouth of the Salmon River. There we found a pebbly beach, where TJ continued trying to teach me how to skip rocks.


There were also hikes nearby that looked gorgeous, but alas we did not have time nor the clothing to hike, so after chilling on the water for a while we kept heading South from there.


We ended up stopping in Lincoln City, OR – a cute coastal town with a long, lovely waterfront. Unfortunately for us the beach was very cold and windy on the day we chose to come down, so we didn’t stay too long.



But luckily for us (read: me) there’s a Dinosaur Shop in Lincoln City that we got to visit! There’s a large animatronic T Rex outside and multiple billboards in the area so it’s hard to miss. It made my day – I really wish we could afford some of the larger fossils they have for sale. If you’re looking for the tooth of a Carcharodontosaurus, this little shop, “Prehistoric“, is the place to find it.

After that, we headed inland in search of a quiet spot to read and relax, which we found at Devils Lake at the beautiful Regatta Park. After our long journey, we were in need of an hour or so to nap, read, and take in the scenery, and this was the perfect spot.


Then, we finally started to make our way back home stopping for the most amazing dinner ever at Dundee Bistro, in the small town of Dundee. Like we said before, the Valley is known for its food and wine and it definitely did not disappoint. I had the most incredible roasted chicken and potatoes I’ve ever had, with crispy Brussel Sprouts and a Riesling to die for. Dara had a delectable bolognese (with a side of french fries of course!), then we shared the house-made raspberry buttermilk ice cream. It really blew our minds – everything was so fresh.

That same night we also wanted to go to the nearby 99W Drive in Movie Theater, but unfortunately it was closed that night. If you’re in town during the weekend though, you should definitely check it out! Last year it was named the best drive-in in the USA by USA Today.

Overall, Oregon is one of the best vacations we’ve ever had – with a relaxing atmosphere, delicious food, and absolutely incredible drinks, Portland, the Willamette Valley, the coastline and beyond are worth checking out!




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