Pacific City, Oregon is different. When you want constant tourist-type activity, you hit Seaside. Or Lincoln City. Or Newport. There are things happening there all the time. From tourist must-dos to annual events that draw the crowds from far and wide, those other cities have it all. Then, there's this nice, little city.
This wonderful coastal community is off the beaten path, quiet, and peaceful. If you're roaring down Hwy 101 at dizzying speeds, you'll miss it. The residents and the outsiders who have discovered this treasure don't mind. Not that the town folk aren't welcoming. On the contrary. The 900 townies welcome tourists with open arms and are some of the friendliest you will find. Think Mayberry. They'd just like you to tiptoe in and close the door behind you.
This is a city of history. Although many old-timers insist that their city has changed a lot in 40 years, compared to busier stops along the Oregon Coast, it remains a cozy little town that seems stuck in a time tunnel. The wheels of progress turn sloooooowly there. That is a good thing for you if you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle.
It's said that 60% of homes here are "second homes." or vacation homes. That being the case and depending on the time of year, the actual population can dwindle down to around 400 people.
Once in town, you'll discover a single blinking stop light, no big franchise restaurants, no movie theater, no shopping malls. Just a wonderful little town that is stock full of character. The residents like it that way and have made all attempts to thwart big business from rearing it's ugly head and spoiling what they presently enjoy.
Originally known as Ocean Park until they got their first post office in 1908 and the name was changed, the city remains unincorporated to this very day, with no mayor and no city council. It makes me think of an old west town that relied on Marshall Law to operate. That's certainly not the case, of course. It's just the best analogy that pops into my mind.
So, what is there about Pacific City that makes it a must-visit on your itinerary? A little geography will help me paint the picture. It's a rarity to see a large river (The Big Nestucca) coming so close to the ocean and then joining up with a another large river (The Little Nestucca). This interesting combination has created an estuary and habitat for many of it's animal residents. It lends to the amazing fishing there.
The local lake, Town Lake, is stuffed to the gills (ahem...sorry) with trout. It's not unheard of to catch a 40-lb and up fish right in town. They boast a spectacular cape called Cape Kiwanda, a perfect beach that you can drive on and the amazing Haystack Rock in the distance. The city has it's own small airstrip, 8 parks and campgrounds, and some very nice motels, hotels and restaurants. It all sets quite a mood, doesn't it?
If you're a physically active person, boy, are you ever in for a treat. With the ocean, beach, lake and rivers all living together in harmony, the outdoor sports are numerous. Kayaking, boating, hang gliding, surfing, tide pooling, hiking, horseback riding, salmon fishing, crabbing, clamming (they say it is very easy to collect your daily limit here), sand boarding and driving your off-road vehicles over the pristine dunes are all regular goings-on here (I need to sit down. I'm out of breath).
Now that you've gotten yourself all tired out, it's time to relax. Grab your lover's hand and go for a leisurely walk along Three Capes Scenic Loop, which winds 45 miles past Cape Kiwanda, Cape Meares and Cape Lookout. Take in the gorgeous scenery.
If you bring your camera and binoculars along with you, you'll surely spot some of the beautiful birds that make this area their home. While you're around the area, make sure to stop in on the Cape Meares Lighthouse. Enjoy the sunset together.
Once you're back in town, wander through the gift shops and art galleries that display the works of the local artists and finish off with a wonderful steak and seafood meal. When all is said and done, you're really going to be glad you visited.
To get to Pacific City, from Tillimook, turn south and follow 101 for about 22 miles until you see the Pacific City turnoff (about 2 hrs). From Portland, take 26W and then get onto 6 outside of Hillsboro. This will put you into Tillimook. If you're coming from the south on 101, the Pacific City turnoff will be about 20 miles noth of Lincoln City.
Once you discover Pacific City (especially during off-season), you're going to start thinking twice about ever going back to the big city life.