A Coastal Cruise Down to Manzanita

If there’s one thing that I love most about living in the pacific northwest, it’s that there is never a shortage of new places to explore and adventures to be had. Some time passed since I last made my way south on the 101 to cruise along the Oregon coast. Too long. Strapping on my “weekend warrior” cap, I hit the road for a little exploring around Manzanita, a town I had previously passed by plenty but had yet to make an ultimate trip destination.

The biggest challenge about making your way into Manzanita…is actually making it into Manzanita. Coming from the north, a series of viewpoint turnoffs positioned above the town deliver a quick slap to the face chalk full of rolling waves, an endless sandy beach and some of the most beautiful coastline around. Fair warning. It’s at this point that you can quickly descend into a staring contest with the ocean for hours on end.

And that’s perfectly okay.
Lookout
After you eventually find your way into town, something strange will happen. Things will become quieter. People and time will move a bit slower. Color will become slightly more vibrant. Sound will soften as the consistency of a rolling ocean becomes your bass mixed with treble seagull caws and the intermittent midtone of small private planes buzzing overhead. Your heart rate will feel like it was cut in half.

And that’s perfectly okay.
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And then there’s the beach. The mighty, mighty Manzanita beach. From dogs running free to families playing games around beach bonfires to bikers on beach cruisers to kiteboarders ripping waves, options for fun are limitless.

And then there’s the beach sunset. All you can do is sit, stare and wonder. Wonder what’s beyond that horizon. What tomorrow brings. What on earth made you lucky enough to be absorbing a scene that so relative few will ever get to witness. Your brain works and thinks to a point until your heart takes over and you suddenly pause, sit and just feel without a care in the world.

And that’s perfectly okay.
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You will not want to leave this place. The sights, the sounds, the views…you’ll be scouring for a repeat button the second you hang a left back onto 101 north to head home. That is, until you are ten minutes along and pull over in Cannon Beach to encounter yet another picturesque scene featuring Haystack Rock as the centerpiece. Suddenly your anxiety will be curbed by the realization that the 101 isn’t merely a road home, but rather a passport to a lifetime of Oregon coastal adventures ahead.

And that’s perfectly okay.

See you again soon Oregon.
Haystack

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