Hey Portland! Where’s the beach?

Short Sands Beach at Oswald West State Park

Short Sands Beach at Oswald West State Park

The ocean and I are trying to figure out this whole long-distance relationship thing. We have always lived within a few minutes of each other. For the past 30+ years, it’s been easy. The biggest complication at times being traffic on PCH. But it was never out of reach – as long as I could get myself to the beach, the ocean and I could be together.

Unlike anything else, the ocean puts into context the wild, powerful and gorgeous world we live in. The beaches may look different, but the reminder from the ocean is the same: this world is grand, and you’re a part of it. 

Whether I’ve known it or not, I’ve relied on that readily available reminder my whole life. If circumstances were feeling overwhelming, the demands of motherhood feeling claustrophobic or my spirits down, a trip to the beach was sure to align my perspective.

As we considered the opportunity to move to Portland, one of our biggest hangups was the lack of ocean. There is no beach in Portland – no salt air, no waves crashing, no on-the-edge-of-the-earth vastness. Now, don’t get me wrong. Portland has plenty of earthly beauty (trees, rivers, gorges, mountains) to offer and I’m soaking it all in. But, there is still an ocean shaped hole in my heart. (Please indulge me for a few moments and excuse the drama.)


It’s only been a little over two weeks since we left Newport for Portland. But, Isaac and I have been craving the ocean all the same. Last weekend we lucked out on a spontaneously awesome weekend on the coast of Oregon. We stayed in Gearhart, a lovely little town, and split our time on Saturday and Sunday between Oswald West State Park, Seaside and Gearhart. The weather was nothing like you would expect for Oregon – we were spoiled with sunny skies and warm air. It was nothing short of amazing.

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Short Sands Beach at Oswald West State Park. Do you see that waterfall flowing into the ocean?! Magic!

The trail to Short Sands Beach in Oswald State Park.

The trail to Short Sands Beach in Oswald State Park.

The trail to Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park.

The trail to Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park.

The trail to Short Sands Beach in Oswald State Park.

The trail to Short Sands Beach in Oswald State Park.

Checking the surf at Seaside beach.

Checking the surf at Seaside beach.

The trail to Gearhart Beach.

The trail to Gearhart Beach.

Playing on Gearhart Beach.

Playing on Gearhart Beach.

While the drive time from Portland to Seaside (the nearest coastal point) is 90 minutes, the trip is beautiful. After a few miles of rolling hills, the highway weaves through thick forests and finally meets up with highway 101 at the wooded coast. (It sure as hell beats sitting on the 91 freeway.) And with each trip we take, I bet the drive begins to feel shorter and shorter.

I cannot wait for our next trip out! I’m eager to hike from Cannon Beach to Indian Springs, check out Haystack Rock, watch my favorite surfer ride the long left at Seaside, hike from the Tillamook Head Trail into Ecola State Park and run on Gearhart beach at low tide. There is so much to explore and see.

I’m grateful to get to know a different, less crowded, more rustic part of the Pacific. And although the trips may be infrequent, I will enjoy every moment of them.

Searching for the beach with my Bodenettes in Oswald West State Park.

Searching for the beach with my Bodenettes in Oswald West State Park.


Hey Oregonians and/or seasoned travelers, if you have any Oregon Coast tips, send them my way!

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    natjtan
    01/27/2015 at 2:59 pm

    It takes time to adjust to new surroundings, new ways of doing things. I’ve moved enough times and countries to know just to go with the flow. It takes time to make new friends, new routines, get used to new surroundings. The best advice I can offer, is just go with it, embrace the change. If you fight it, it’s harder. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it if you don’t want to, you just have to come to terms with it. I never really liked living France, but had to accept my situation. While I always held onto moving back to Spain, I did make some great friends, explore places I’d only dream of visiting, Italy was 30 minutes down the road. It made me realise just what I’m made off and that there’s so much more to see!

    On a different note, I’ve been lucky that I’ve lived within a 5-10 minute bike ride from the sea for the past 10 years. I can’t imagine never living far from it now. Even on cold winter days she’s beautiful!

  • Reply
    Amalia
    01/27/2015 at 3:04 pm

    I never lived by the ocean and now I do and absolutely CANNOT imagine leaving. I love Cannon Beach and the coast of Oregon, and it makes me so happy when I’m there. I’m glad you got a little spot of beach to enjoy. Those photos are really breathtaking.

  • Reply
    Kathy Lee
    01/27/2015 at 5:32 pm

    Hi. You need to contact my sister, Cheyl Ropp (cousin Cheryl). She and her family live in Corvallis and go to the coast a lot. She would love to hear from you guys. Message her on FB. Or I can get you her contact info if needed.

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      01/27/2015 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Kathy! I think Mark gave Cheryl’s contact info to Isaac. We need to make plans to meet up!

  • Reply
    Jana Thune
    01/27/2015 at 7:45 pm

    You always amaze me, yet not really …. Cause you’re so who God made you to be & that’s so wise, beautiful inside • out; & so lovely in numerous ways! Sounding like a proud mama, I know! Just love you & yours dearly & reflecting more this week on the thankfulness of your birth❤️ You touch many lives Natalie with your words of wisdom, humbleness, authenticity & sincerity!
    I just couldn’t contain myself in sharing my gratitude in reading your blogs, that warms my spirit in calming ways & keeps me connected to your heart, while missing you!
    You inspire me💓

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