Oregon Coast on the Cheap

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With the recent plunge in oil prices, road trips have been much more affordable.  However, with the high US dollar, road trips are a bit less affordable.  I suppose it balances out in the end.

Oregon coast (along Highway 101) is probably one of the most scenic drives in North America.  I have been down the Oregon coast twice before.  This time though, unfortunately there were some wild fires in the area so the view wasn't as  spectacular as it usually is due to the haze.  Also, because we went at the end of August, the beaches were very cold and windy.  This time I didn't go very far, the furthest we went is Lincoln City, which is still nice.

The key to having a cheap trip is to not speed!  We set cruise control, set it and forget it and you won't get a $200-300 speeding ticket.

Sleep

Staying along some of the National Parks is wonderful, however, it would be hard pressed to get a campsite if you didn't make reservations ahead of time.  Because our trip was a little last minute, and looking at Airbnb and motels along the coast, everything cost at least $100, we found some great camping spots with my favourite camping chain/ franchise, KOA.  To camp on a KOA campsite (mind you, they are very small and nothing like national park camping) it only set us back $29 USD including the reservation.  We stayed at the Mount St Helen's KOA (in Washington, cheaper than staying in Seattle for the first night) and the Lincoln City KOA.  The washroom facilities are the greatest and the hot shower was better than some motels and hotels that I have stayed at!  Also, the Lincoln City KOA had a delicious huge breakfast for $5.99, which is a great price in my breakfast books.  The coffee was not very good but that's okay it was only $1.  Some of the KOA's even have a communal kitchen with fridge that you can cook in.  Had I known this I would have brought food down in a cooler.  Most people don't use the communal kitchen because people are traveling with RV's which benefits us car-campers.

Oregon Coast on the CheapEat

Our first Oregon Coast stop was Astoria, or Mile 0.  It was quaint, however we couldn't find any restaurants that jumped out at us.  A quick search on the Roam mobility data (which, by the way was terrible on the Oregon Coast with spotty reception) showed a few brunch places.  We ate at Pig N' Pancake which is a restaurant chain that mainly serves breakfast (breakfast all day) along the Oregon Coast.  It is reminiscent of a Denny's, but a little different.  It was packed.  The food sizes were generous but being a huge fan of eggs benedict (my favourite thing to order at breakfast) Pig N' Pancake eggs benedict wasn't very good.  The hollaindaise sauce looked like it was made from a package (yes, I am an eggs benny snob).   However, prices were reasonable.

See and Do

Lots to see and do for free in Oregon Coast.

Astoria is the beginning of the Oregon Coast and was founded 200 years ago.  It has a quaint yet simultaneously hipster feel.  The Sunday market was really nice to walk around in.

Cannon Beach is definitely a must-stop.  I had never walked up close to the Haystack rock until this trip, but it is a a National Wildlife refuge for tuffed puffins.  The beach itself is immaculate.

Tillamook- there is lots to see and do in Tillamook.  If you're feeling peckish, head to the Tillamook cheese factory where there is a free self-guided tour of their cheese factory with free samples of cheese and you can watch their factory in action!  The line ups are long but they go by quickly.  There is also a Tillamook Naval Air Museum that you can't miss from the main road- this museum is not free.

Lincoln City has a carnival/ South California feel for me whenever I go through there.  It's a nice place with wide streets.  There's a factory outlet called Lincoln City Outlets that is decently sized (no sales tax in Oregon!) as well.

For more information on what to do or see in the Oregon Coast, check out this handy official website.  From Astoria to Brookings-Harbour, it has got you covered.

For more tips on how to save money when you travel to the United States and Canada, check out this old post.

Readers, have you been down the Oregon Coast?  What other scenic drives are you a big fan of?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

1 Comment

  1. Derek on November 9, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    In Astoria I enjoyed the Astoria Column (great views) and a tour of Fort Stevens. Don’t have access to my photos to look back, but there were several lighthouses along the coast I stopped at as well. Unfortunately it was pouring rain by the time I got to Bandon, so didn’t see as much of the southern coast.



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