The Independence Hotel is a jumping off point for adventures near and far. Take easy day trips from The Independence and experience ecosystems and activities so vastly different you will marvel at the diversity of the landscapes. We love boasting about the beauty of Oregon, so we have decided to share with you three day-trips you can include in your next itinerary to the Willamette Valley, adding on new experiences while (of course) still giving yourself plenty of time to stay local and visit your favorite staple spots. Check out the first of three below, and keep an eye on our blog for the other two!
Make sure your camera is charged to capture the varied and dramatic rock formation on the beaches at Pacific City.
Who doesn’t love a trip to the beach? However, if you’re new to the area, Oregonian beaches are not like those you’ll find in Hawaii, California, or Florida. Make sure to bring layers, as the weather can change in an instant. You may spend the day soaking up the sunrays in shorts, or you may listen to the gentle thrum of rain bouncing off of your umbrella. Regardless, make sure your phones are fully charged because you’ll want to photograph every angle of these stunning Oregonian vistas. In Pacific City, one of the closest spots to Dundee, you’ll find dramatic rock formations, countless hiking trails, spectacularly fresh seafood, and award winning local microbreweries, amongst other adventures. Below, we have outlined one potential itinerary, but the options are endless so feel free to make the day your own!
*Note: this itinerary was made with summer in mind (when the sun stays out longer than in winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a trip to Pacific City year round!)
With dramatic rock formations and a 250 ft sand dune, Pacific City provides ample opportunity for exploration and discovery!
Pacific City Day-trip Itinerary:
7AM: Wake up at the hotel, and enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast at Territory in the hotel’s lobby.
8AM: Take a beautiful drive to Pacific City, specifically Cape Kiwanda.
(Drive Duration: about 1 hour and 15min)
9:30AM: Climb up the sand dune (it’s 250 feet and part of what makes Cape Kiwanda famous.)
- Note: This is more challenging than it sounds, as climbing on sand can be tricky. So if that’s not for you, you can always stay at the base and still enjoy the view of the dune and the breathtaking shoreline.
- If you do make the climb, give yourself plenty of time up there to relax and soak in the incredible views.
- If you’re visiting in the summer, keep an eye out for gray whales (that is true whether or not you climb.)
- If you have binoculars, we recommend bringing them with you.
- Make sure to drink lots of water!
Pacific City serves up incredible beauty with its varied rock formations and welcoming beaches!
12PM: Time for lunch at Pelican Brewery
- Located directly on the beach.
- Nothing beats a cold beer on tap (perhaps a nice change of pace, after several days wine tasting in the Willamette Valley) while looking at the ocean.
- If the wait time is long, you can always enjoy a beer and some snacks at the to-go window.
- Keep your eyes peeled for Dory Boats!
- If you’ve never heard of the Dory boats of Pacific City, check out this video.
The Pelican Brewing company has quite the location! Good food, good brews, views included!
2PM: From here, you have two options! Choose the red pill, and you have an adrenaline adventure ahead. Choose the blue pill, and a nice relaxing afternoon on the coast awaits you.
Red Pill – For the Adventure Seeker:
It’s time to partake in an adrenaline adventure! There are so many fun things to try in Pacific City. Below we have written a few suggestions, but make sure to book your spot in advance and spaces can fill up quickly!
- Rent an ATV and ride where the sea meets the shoreline.
- If you surf, this is a great place to grab your wetsuit and board and catch some waves (you can also rent them in Pacific City at Seven Surfboards.
- Grab your bike (or rent one at Safari Town Surf) explore one of the countless beautiful trails in the area. Find suggestions at All Trails.
- Take a guided tour of the beach on horseback with Green Acre Beach and Trail Rides. They offer several different packages from beginner rides to those catered for the more advanced equestrian.
- Hang glide: Ever wondered what a beach looks like from the perspective of a soaring bird? Now you can! The sand dunes help create the perfect air stream for those looking to get their pulse racing, more info here.
- Last but not least, more hiking! An Oregonian favorite activity, hiking requires zero equipment and can be made as difficult or leisurely an activity as you desire. Pacific City has countless trails, and requires no advanced reservation. You’ll find a few suggested options at All Trails.
Pacific City is a hot spot for surfing. Give it a try (wet suit needed), or watch the surfers ride those waves from the stability of the beach.
Blue Pill – For the Wanderer:
There’s nothing that says you have you get your heart rate up in order to enjoy the day. After all, you’re on vacation! So let’s take things nice and easy.
- After lunch, take a gentle stroll through one of Pacific City’s State Parks or Natural Areas.
- Note: If you’re by the water, make sure to look out for the Dory Boats that beach themselves in Pacific City!
So much to explore! In addition to the Cape Kiwanda beaches and recreation area, you can visit the Nestucca Wildlife Preserve and the Bob Straub Natural area for endless trails, beach access, and wildlife viewing.
- 4PM: It’s time to explore Pacific City on your own and see what you can find! Investigate local shops, look for hidden caves along the beach (although we never recommend going inside one as the ocean is very unpredictable), spread a blanket out on the sand and look out for gray whales, or follow wherever the day takes you and see what surprises could await. Point is, let this part of the day remain unplanned and see what happens!
Explore local shops, including Stimulus Coffee for excellent coffee and baked goods, and of course every beach town needs a candy shoppe, Pacific City has Pacific Coast Candy with Salt Water Taffy for days……among other treats!
- 6PM: Time for a seafood dinner on the coast: The Riverhouse Nestucca is one recommendation, but feel free to explore and see what places call your name. There are plenty of spots with ranging menu items, prices, views of the beach, and dietary options, so there’s something for everyone!
- 8PM: It’s time to head back to The Independence, your cozy bed awaits you, as do all of the activities you have planned here with us!
The Riverhouse Nestucca dishes up delicious and fresh seafood, with local, in season ingredients, in a beautiful setting!
Additional Recommendations and Resources:
- Drive an extra 35 minutes to the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon. One of the area’s most famous creameries!
- Fishing in Pacific City is legendary, go with a fishing guide to get the full experience, we recommend Connect Outfitters.
- Wine History Tours by Ken and Tamara Wystma, includes transportation from The Dundee to either Cannon Beach or Depot Bay for an 8.5 hours excursion with options for special culinary experiences. Their tours start at $95 per person.
- Looking for further inspiration? Check out Visit the Oregon Coast.
A pilgramage for any respectal cheese enthusiast…Tillamook is a “one-of-a-kind” experience. While the cheese is the star of the show, the company’s rich history (Farmer owned) and craftsmanship is on full display. The cafe serves Tilamook ice cream, which is “not-to-miss” along with special edition cheeses and a great cafe.