Local trips that give a taste of spring

For those who plan their vacations late, or simply don’t know where to go, there are still many options in Oregon and Washington. Oregon beaches are still chilly during the spring, and sometimes cloudy, but they are perfect places to away from busy suburban life. The Columbia River Gorge offers resorts that provide a sense of calm away from the city and suburbs. Mt. Hood’s ski resorts have spring ski passes for those who enjoy participating in winter sports. Central Oregon offers scenery that is not what most Oregonians think of as the northwest.  Washington is a close-by option for those who want to escape Oregon for a little while.

Manzanita, Ore.
A quiet beach town located just south of Cannon Beach and Arch Cape, Manzanita offers the feel of a real beach experience. There are no commercial buildings or tourist attractions, only small businesses, a golf course, Nehalem Bay State Park, and houses. There is a “must-eat place” in Manzanita called Left Coast Siesta, known for its excellent Mexican food. Nehalem Bay State Park features campsites for both tents and RVs, bicycle paths, horse corrals, and a boat ramp. The beach is an excellent place to walk, run, fly a kite, build a sandcastle or play with a dog. The small, locally owned shops provide a variety of things to buy: books, clothing, shoes, candy, art, handmade jewelry, boogie boards and spa treatments are all available.

Salishan, Ore.
Located farther down the coast (a little south of Lincoln City), Salishan offers a quiet place to relax. The lodge has rooms of varying sizes, and there are also rental houses available. Amenities provided include a private beach, pool, golf course, walking trails, restaurant, and spa. The beach is located on a peninsula, and is usually very quiet. Sometimes seals can be found at the tip of the peninsula. There is a small strip mall of small locally owned boutiques located just across Highway 101. The pool is nine feet at the deepest point, and there are water aerobics classes offered in the morning.

Skamania Lodge, Ore.
Skamania Lodge gives off a warm log cabin feeling, combined with a semblance of an artisan mountain lodge. Located on the Washington side of the Gorge, the lodge provides a quiet getaway where guests can curl up on a couch and read a good book while a roaring fire provides warmth and background noise. The lodge grounds are great to walk around, and there are trails that meander through the golf course and adjacent forest.

San Juan Island, Wash.
Located between Victoria B.C. and Anacortes, Wash., San Juan Island is a wonderful escape from any notion whatsoever of suburban life. The only means of access to the island is by flying in on a private plane, or taking the WSDOT (Washington Department of Transportation) Ferry. On the island, foxes are abundant. Porpoises and orcas can be found in the waters surrounding San Juan.  Friday Harbor is a wonderful place to walk around to look at shops, museums, and the harbor itself. It’s very easy to go on long bike rides because of the beautiful scenery. There are kayak companies that will provide tours or rent out kayaks so tourists can navigate around the island.  There are many locally owned tourist attractions, shops and restaurants. Roche Harbor is worth visiting  because of the beautiful sunsets that can be watched from the docks.