Head down Highway 20 in Oregon, the Corvallis-Newport Highway and you’ll eventually pass right through the small town of Philomath. This is an interesting name for a community and there has to be a story behind it.
Philomath is actually the combination of two Greek words and means a love of learning. It got this name because in 1867, the brick building that is still the main focal point of the community was built. This building was founded as the United Brethren School for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and California. This small college persevered through these early days and educated local students for 62 years, before closing in 1929. The town that grew up around it took its name from the college and has thrived.
There is a nice historical marker out front and the building is today the home of the Benton County Historical Society & Museum. It’s toally worth a stop, whether just to take the opportunity read the marker or to venture inside and explore the museum.
It’s a beautiful building and has a very unique story. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
You can also visit the Benton County Historical Society & Museum online too:
Located southeast of Portland, just south of the small community of Carver, is a very cool Oregon historical site that goes by the name of Baker Cabin. This site is maintained by the Baker Cabin Historical Society and includes a small historic cabin built there long ago as well as a church that was relocated to the area over 40 years ago.
Baker Cabin was constructed in 1856 for the Bakers by their neighbors. Horace Baker was a stone mason and had picked this location due to some local deposits of basalt. His rock quarry business took off but it kept him so busy he neglected to build himself a cabin. The cabin is of the cantilevered style and is said to be the only cantilevered cabin in all of Oregon.
Tours of the cabin are available if you contact the historical society ahead of time. Both the cabin and the church, as well as some of the historical items on display, are very interesting pieces of local history. The cabin was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The Baker Cabin site sits just a half hour drive from Portland and is a great way to get out in the country and enjoy the rural side of Oregon even though you’re still so close to the big city. It’s also a great stop if you’re heading from Portland off into the mountains to the east too.
Rockaway Beach has so much going for it that you don’t have to spend too much time there before you find that it could be your favorite ocean destination. The beach is the top draw there and with good reason. When you visit Rockaway Beach, there are other things to do too like make the most of your lodging choice and adventuring around town and discovering the best of this quaint little beach getaway. It really is quite the memorable destination.
When you travel to Rockaway Beach, there are other options for entertainment too. For those not afraid to hit the road, here are five great things to see within an easy drive of there.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Cheese lovers, and ice cream lovers too, will love a stop off at one of the more interesting factory tours you’ll ever experience. See how the popular Tillamook Cheese is made and packaged. Even taste a sample or two! A truly memorable attraction.
Cape Meares Lighthouse
Located to the south of Rockaway Beach and nearby Tillamook, the Cape Meares Lighthouse has been a popular attraction for years. When you visit, you not only get to enjoy the history and beauty of the lighthouse and the amazing views seen there. You also get to check out a number of hiking trails too. This is a great day trip destination for everyone.
Haystack Rock is just a short drive north from Rockaway Beach. This is one of the iconic natural features of the state of Oregon. Located just offshore of Cannon Beach, you can’t visit the northern Oregon Coast without taking a photo, or getting your photo taken in front of, Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach can also be a great getaway for a lunch out or shopping trip too.
Tillamook Air Museum
The Tillamook Air Museum will appeal to you if you’re a fan of aircraft, military history, or just history in general. Walking around and seeing these amazing aircraft in one easy to explore location is something that can really add to any trip to the Oregon Coast. As a cool benefit, the entire museum is housed inside a World War II era blimp hangar.
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad
The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad has an office and departure point right in Rockaway Beach. You can also drive south from there and catch the train in Garibaldi. There you can take a train trip back to Rockaway Beach or make it a round trip excursion too. Spending time on this historic railway with its views of the ocean can easily end up being the most favorite thing you did during your visit to this part of the Pacific Northwest.
Lincoln City is a popular destination for vacationers of all sorts, including road trippers. There’s some really good reasons for this too.
This is a very beautiful location on the Oregon Coast. There are so many great places to go and access the beach in Lincoln City that you could stay there for a week and not go to the same place twice. The weather in Lincoln City is also a factor in its popularity. When the weather is nice in Lincoln City, this is a top notch vacation spot. Lincoln City is also very friendly. This small vacation destination has been welcoming travelers for decades.
I love going to Lincoln City, but on my last trip I wanted to try something that was not on the beach. My curiosity led me to Blue Heron Landing and Devils Lake Boat Rentals. Devils Lake sits barely inland from Lincoln City and is a fun destination itself. This is a little fresh water getaway from a destination that is very much centered around the Pacific Ocean.
I went to Blue Heron Landing and immediately arranged to rent a kayak for a half day. This was a fairly affordable price and the kayak was in top condition. I was then able to explore the lake completely. Kayaking is a good workout too and it was nice to “feel the burn”. If I hadn’t gotten a kayay, I could’ve instead rented a canoe, motorboat, waverunner, searay, pontoon boat, runabout, or even a pedal boat.
Pretty much any way you could imagine to enjoy the water of Devils Lake was available. I get back to Lincoln City about every year and as much fun as I had in the kayak, next time I’ll have the whole family with me and I’m going to try either the runabout or maybe even the pontoon boat.
Devils Lake Boat Rentals at Blue Heron Landing is something more road trippers going through Lincoln City need to know about.
With a name like the Portland Brew Bus, let’s just say I was intrigued at what lay ahead for my afternoon excursion one day in Portland, Oregon.
Portland is known as the microbrewery capital of the United States, with more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else in the country. I found myself in the city and wanting to go check one of these microbreweries out. Then the Portland Brew Bus was recommended to me and that sounded like a whole lot of fun.
I boarded the bus and we immediately set out on our excursion. The driver was extremely knowledgeable, and in addition to giving some great background information on craft brewing and the city’s microbrewery culture, he provided some nice general Portland knowledge as well.
Stop after stop, I kept finding great tasting beers that I wanted to remember later so I could purchase some. Lucky for me, the Portland Brew Bus provided a beer scorecard so I could keep track. Afterwards, it was very easy to find outlets that sold these fine beers. I also found my way back to one that was my favorite the next night.
If you are a beer drinker and will be finding yourself going through the Portland area at anytime, I highly recommend this fun and unique way to get out and about in the city and sample the high quality beers of several microbreweries.
If you’re like me, one of the hits of going on a road trip is driving across, or seeing, interesting bridges.
I’ve always thought bridges were cool for a couple of reasons. First, I like the idea of the people who built these bridges making a manmade object that spans across a river or chasm. This is sometimes a pretty impressive feat of engineering. Second, I like the feeling of driving across the bridge, high above what lies below, knowing that if the bridge were not there, my travels would be a lot different. Third, I appreciate many bridges for their architecural values. I like the lines of some bridges, the way the incorporate interesting angle, and the way they vanish to a horizon point off in the distance. Bridges, to me, are one of the best subjects for taking pictures while out enjoying a road trip.
One of the coolest bridges we get to drive across here in the Pacific Northwest is the Astoria-Megler Bridge that connects Oregon to Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River. The city of Astoria sits at the south end of the bridge and is a great host to your Northern Oregon Coast activities. The trip across the bridge though is the highlight for me.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge is about 28 feet wide and runs for a distance of 4.1 miles. At its highest point, it is 196 miles above the water of the Columbia River. Much of the bridge though rides much lower and provides a very nice view of either state, depending on your direction of travel, and of course of the river and the ocean it is meeting as well.
I’ll be honest here, I cannot remember the last time I came to the Astoria-Megler Bridge and drove across it one time. I usually drive across it once, turn and retreat back to where I came from, driving across it a second time in the process, and then drive across it a third time as I go on my way. This is especially true if I’m spending the night in Astoria.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge was completed in 1966 and all these years later it is still a very special treat for anyone road tripping in the Northwest.
There are a few things every vacationer going to the ocean wants to do. Some want to lay on the beach and soad up the sun. Some want to get out in the water and go swimming, snorkeling, or surfing. Plus, there are a lot of other things to do in the better ocean centered vacation destinations.
One of the things I love to do, especially if I have the kids along, is to go out and go whale watching. Whale watching is a great activity, it’s thrilling and educational at the same time. Plus, you get a good amount of time out on the open ocean and that is a lot of fun too.
Depoe Bay sits just south of Lincoln City and just north of Newport on the central Oregon Coast. One of the best whale watching excursions I ever had was when I went out with the folks of Whale Research EcoExcursions. I’d been out on the standard whale watching boats a number of times, but what attracted my attention here was that they offered a more intimate tour that takes place on a Zodiac boat. A Zodiac boat is the same type of boat that the Coast Guard uses for search and rescue type maneuvers.
We were lucky to see several whales surface and give the classic tail flip. Going out on the ocean in the Zodiac was nice because we could get so much closer to the whales than I’d ever been before. I could have literally reached out and touched two different ones that surfaced right next to the boat. The Zodiac also made it a fun ride on the ocean too as we skipped across the surface at high speed.
My time out on the ocean with Whale Research EcoExcursions was something I’ll never forget.
Once back on shore, these same great people, most of them actual marine biologists I learned later, operate the Whale Museum which was also very nice to spend some time in.
I love a good zoo and one of the better parts about roadtripping is getting the opportunity to stop at a zoo or wildlife attraction whenever one pops up along your route. Whenever I find myself going through the Portland area, I count myself lucky that I have the option to stop off at The Oregon Zoo.
I can spend hours at The Oregon Zoo. This very cool zoo features wonderful walking trails that guide you past displays that very much make you feel like you are looking at wild animals out in their own habitat. With over 200 different species of animals, including 22 endangered, it is easy to stay entertained just knowing that there is something else very cool just around the next corner. In addition to the enclosures, I also like watching the different public feedings and animal exhibitions that are put on there.
If you are roadtripping with kids, your experience there will be even better. There is nothing quite like seeing animals like these for the first time through the eyes of a child.
The Oregon Zoo is nationally known for presenting a great exhibition of wild animals in a way that the public can appreciate them, learn from them, and go away knowing they have seen animals they had never seen before. You are a very lucky person when you get to go and check out The Oregon Zoo.