Day 2: Astoria to Arch Cape
The Oregon Coast Highway (U.S. 26) crosses Youngs Bay and snakes southward almost to Arch Cape, set in the lush green terrain of Oswald West State Park. It’s a 30-mile trip that passes through the monied enclave of Gearhart, as well as Seaside, one of the first beach resorts in Oregon. Be sure to explore the Cannon Beach art colony, comprising 19 galleries and crafts studios; then hit the sand to behold Haystack Rock, a 235-foot-tall basalt formation that’s the third-largest such ocean monolith in the world. You might also want to scope out a spot for dinner in Cannon Beach—locals love the French-Italian dishes such as pesto-and-prawn pasta at Newmans at 988 (dinner for two $110)—or stock up on Oregon wine and Tillamook cheese before heading to Arch Cape, a tiny residential community with no restaurants. It is here that Bruce Bessey transformed an old beach house into the Ocean Point Inn & Spa (doubles from $275). The three handsome suites, with mod furnishings, are perfect for curling up in when the rain lashes the wild surf. In fair weather, guests mingle on the oceanfront deck to watch gray whales or gaze at the stars. In the morning, a hearty breakfast with fresh pastries provides fortification for beachcombing. Nestled between two state parks, the inn offers direct access to a nearly deserted Pacific stretch with sand dollar–filled tide pools.