First day of fall, West Coast weekend

Morro Rock, CA. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Morro Bay is one of the most popular fishing villages on California’s central coast. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Best feature of the West Coast, from California to Canada?  Public beaches.

Whether it’s the “Canadian Riviera” on Vancouver Island, or the golden beaches of San Diego, this coast is a magnet for travelers from all over the world.

Today, on the first day of fall, we’re celebrating this coast by launching a new blog, West Coast Weekends.

We want to share the best of this Pacific coast, because we’ve lived here for 15 years — from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco, then Portland, and now Puget Sound, Washington.

We celebrate this coast every day, because of its beauty, accessibility, and laid-back culture.

Our cameras can’t get enough of the Pacific, whether it’s the snow-crested mountains in Washington, or the rainbow-colored creatures in California tide pools.

Autumn is one of the best seasons to explore the West Coast, because the weather is so mild, and everyone from surfers to kite-flying families is still at the beach.

Parksville, B.C. is the "Canadian Riviera." (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Playing in Parksville, B.C., “Canada’s Riviera.” (Hadi Dadashian photo)

One of its best-kept secrets?  Oregon.

It’s one of only two states in the entire United States that boasts all-public beaches.  Hawaii is the other.

The People’s Coast

We love Oregon’s 363 miles of open coastline.

Beaches and ocean depths are protected by law, so there are dozens of state parks, cliffside viewpoints, marine preserves and National Recreation Areas scattered along this coast.

Nine lighthouses stand watch where seafaring explorers once ventured. One of our favorites, Heceta Head, is an historic bed-and-breakfast with spectacular views.

Arch rock, near Brookings, OR. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Lookout, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, near Brookings, OR. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

There are wide, sandy beaches here, with famous sea stacks (Cannon Beach), rocky cliffs (Brookings), and private coves, sometimes filled with rare, brown pelicans (Whale Cove).

Migrating whales are so common and so close to Oregon’s shores, that we count on seeing at least a few — sometimes up close and personal —  every time we’re at Depoe Bay.

And there’s always a local who offers binoculars and where-to-see-wildlife tips.  That’s how we met a professional whale spotter, while watching a humpback feed in turquoise waters near Cape Foulweather, close to the charmingly named Devil’s Punchbowl.

That friendly welcome is another reason Oregon is called “The People’s Coast.”

Famous murals, Newport, OR. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Fishing village charm, Newport, Oregon. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Some coastal towns here are still laid-back (Seaside); others retain their old-fashioned, fishing village charm (Newport).

Almost all boast independent bookstores that have been in business for decades, glassblowers and other artists capturing the colors of the Pacific, and cosy hotels with million-dollar views and reasonable prices.

Another bonus?  No sales tax in Oregon.

 

This is the first of a weekly series on West Coast weekends, from Canada to California.

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