A mellow beach with excellent access to camping, hiking trails, and some of the best sunset views on the coast
The Oregon Coast has no shortage of oceanside resorts with easy beach access, but anyone with an interest in visiting the state in the first place is probably the camping type, and Cape Lookout is definitely one of the most accessible points of entry. You don’t need to snag a campsite to enjoy the beach, however, and after a long trek along the Cape Lookout trail there’s no better place to unwind than on a log of driftwood while the sun sets over the Pacific.
What to know: The campsite is generally booked solid months in advance, but cancellations create openings pretty often, and your chance of booking a spot just a day or two in advance of a relatively last-minute trip is pretty good.
Where to eat/drink: All roads to Cape Lookout lead through Tillamook, which is the home of two of the finest food and beverage destinations on the coast, respectively: Tillamook Cheese Factory and De Garde Brewing. The former specializes in one of the better commercial-grade cheese operations in the country, and their newly remodeled showroom is a wonderland of dairy delights that now includes a coffee bar, an ice cream stand and a cafe that serves one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches you’ll ever eat. The latter is an award-winning brewery that specializes in barrel-aged wild fermentation beers, many of which are available for on-site consumption only. While it’s a bummer their to-go offerings are somewhat limited, their list of bottles you can share in their stately new taproom is quite impressive, with beers like krieks, saisons, and stouts aged in barrels that used to house gin, bourbon, and red wine (most of which are from no more than 50 miles away). If that all sounds too fancy for you, the Rodeo Steakhouse and Grill is a perfectly fine place to wash down a ribeye with a frosty glass of Coors Light while peanut shells crackle underfoot.