I just got back recently from a trip to the Oregon coast, a journey I've made every year since I've been married. The coast of Oregon is where my family is from, at least that's where they immigrated to from Norway. It's why I love rain and listen to rain to fall asleep. The natural beauty is wonderful, sure, but so is the local culture.
Astoria feels like a big city, even though it only has a few thousand people. Of the Oregon coast towns on this list, Astoria may be the most famous. Most people will recognize it as the filming location for movies such as Free Willy and The Goonies. My grandmother was born in Astoria and attended the elementary school used for Kindergarten Cop. Astoria has a rich history, steeped in Scandanavian lore. Among Astoria's many landmarks (including an underground city) is the iconic Astoria–Megler Bridge.
Seaside is one of the friendliest places you can visit in the United States. The locals go out of their way to make tourists feel at home if they don't already feel welcomed by the lush beach and downtown shopping area. Seaside is home to several annual events, such as Seaside Beach Volleyball. If you're not participating in one of these big events, make sure you plan around them as traffic can get hectic.
I have terrific memories from my childhood visiting Newport. When I was a child living in Lincoln City, my mom would take me to the brand-new Oregon Coast Aquarium, which was built in 1992. What made these visits extra special was being able to see Keiko, a killer whale best known as Willy in Free Willy. Numerous publications have named the aquarium one of the best in the world.
This is where my mother was born and where I lived until I moved to American Samoa. Lincoln City is a beautiful town with million-dollar views everywhere. Aside from the beach, there's the nearby Chinook Winds Casino with their killer salmon dinner. One thing to note for my "medicating" readers is the plethora of "medicine" stores.
Cannon Beach may be small, like 1,500 people small; but it always has something going on. When National Geographic puts this painting-esque town on its list of most beautiful places in the world, can you argue?
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