When you rent a house on the Oregon coast, think about inviting another family to join you. The kids will play and the parents can take turns monitoring the ruckus, giving everyone else a chance to chat and chill. There’s not much to do in Pacific City. There are no stores hawking Oregon coast sweatshirts or tchotchkes made from seashells and only a few restaurants. There’s not much to do in Pacific City unless you want to walk down a glorious Pacific Northwest beach, surf at Cape Kiwanda, hike at Cape Lookout State Park or hang with friends while drinking great locally made beers. Pacific City is a classic Oregon coast town with the emphasis on coast. Bring some friends and make it a Pacific City party.
Because there are only a few restaurants in Pacific City, a great accommodation option is to rent a vacation house where you can cook some of your meals. One agency that serves the Tillamook Coast region well is www.vacasa.com. There are many Pacific City rentals listed and the prices vary depending on the season. Alternatively, there are both budget and luxury accommodations available in Pacific City. The Inn at Cape Kiwanda is a family friendly hotel cross the street from the ocean. Headlands Lodge and Spa is a high end spot that focuses on pampering their guests with services, ocean views and superb service.
If you don’t feel like cooking breakfast, head across the Nestucca River Bridge from the coast to the Grateful Bread Bakery. The tie dyed shirts and the Grateful Dead lyrics painted on the bathroom walls give a nod to the owner’s favorite band but the large portions and excellent baked goodies will help assuage even the most stubborn case of the munchies.
Pacific City is one of my favorite surf spots on the Oregon Coast. The wide reef break accommodates shredders (expert surfers) and groms (newbie surfers) alike. The inner break that is often just a mess of white wash can be super fun if you are new to surfing to get the feel of the powerful Oregon surf. More experienced surfers will find plenty to love about this mostly consistent right hand break that is large enough to have dozens of riders out playing and never feel too crowded. Do watch out for the fast moving dory boats when they race to shore after catching their fish limit. This break can get messy and inconsistent in the winter so the best times to surf at PC are in the spring and summer.
One of the first things you will notice when you walk down to the beach at Cape Kiwanda is the enormous sand dune (more like a mountain) that cuts off the beach on the north side. A PC right of passage is to trudge up the dune and take in the amazing view in all directions. Once you have caught your breath, you can’t help but run down the face of the sand dune. The downhill trip feels just a tiny bit like flying.
Whether you drive out to Pacific City just for the afternoon or you are there for a weeklong holiday, at least some of you will spend some time at the Pelican Brewing Company. The Pacific City born beer was founded in 1996 when there really wasn’t much happening in PC at all. The beers are delicious award winners, many of which you can only sample at the brewpub itself. The very typical brewpub fare is more expensive than it should be and often not worth the long wait. But the view of Cape Kiwanda is fantastic and nothing beats drinking a beer out on the back porch while watching the surfers shred the reef break right in front of the Pelican.
Pacific City hosts a Sunday farmer’s market from June until late September. It’s a great place to pick up locally grown vegetables, fruits and dory caught fish for the Oregon coast feast you will cook up at your rental house. The Cape Kiwanda Seafood Market and Store offers a great selection of fresh caught fish and house smoked halibut and salmon.
A short eight mile drive from Pacific City is the Three Capes scenic area and there are hikes a plenty to satisfy all. Cape Lookout State Park features three great hikes including the 2.4-mile long Cape Trail that meanders through Sitka spruce and hemlocks to a view at the tip of the cape. This hike isn’t always passable in winter, as the trail can become more of a mud bath the closer you get to the cape. There are also two sections of the Oregon Coast Trail accessible from Cape Lookout State Park for your hiking pleasure.