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Absinthe

So… this is where your chase for the green fairy has landed you. Fortunately for you, I, Lee “Self-Proclaimed Absinthe Connoisseur” Lockman solemnly pledge to edutain you on everything you need to know about the voluptuous tasting emerald pixie. After I’m done sprinkling all the absinthe fairy facts you’ve ever needed… (actually, probably more than you ever needed…) into your heads, you’ll be permitted on my behalf to claim to be a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur yourself (what an honor…).

If you want to know the history, the mythology, how to drink absinthe, and of course the effects, you’ve actually clicked yourself into a subtle victory. Brav-fucking-o. 

What is absinthe?

In order to know what the green fairy is we have to strip it down and see what we’re working with (I’m sure we’re all a tad bit curious about how hot a tiny green fairy would be, and especially how one would go about making out with her… like… would she fully need to be in my mouth? Would I have to work her around like she’s a Werther’s original? These are the questions we need answers to… Right? … Nope? Just me? Ok then… well either way you pictured yourself swishing around a green fay in your mouth like she was Listerine, so ha).

Anyways, at its most rudimentary level, absinthe is a high proof spirit, which means it has a very high alcohol content, which really means that you shouldn’t be surprised if you spontaneously need to run outside (to cool off) in the middle of a classic PacWest torrential downpour because your cheeks begin to feel like they’ve been marinating in a hot tub for three hours. Nevertheless, the official stat sheet on absinthe is that the proof level is between 90-148, and the alcohol by volume ranges from 45-74%. 

Verte v. Blanche

The spirit comes in two distinct forms: verte absinthe (it’s the green one, which you’re probably most familiar with. It resembles the color of Hulk’s diarrhea after a night of St. Patrick’s Day drinking with a side order of 500 suicide wings. In other words, a beautiful esoteric color) and blanche absinthe or la Bleue as the good people of “Svitz-erland” call it (oh, and by the way, it’s actually not white, it’s rather a little more on the colorless and opaque side of things. So, don’t expect it to look like your homemade unpasteurized almond milk).

Absinthe is produced in a way that resembles the distillation process of a top-shelf gin. Artisanally speaking, absinthe is prepped from the redistillation of a neutral alcohol, typically that of a white grape spirit, while some non-traditionalists tend to use alcohol made from grain, beets, or potatoes.

Sacred Herbs

There is also a variety of herbs and botanicals used during the distillation process. But the quintessential “holy trinity” (yeah, that’s what they actually call it) of botanicals of any absinthe must include grande wormwood, green anise, and Florence fennel. If the holy trinity of botanicals is not present then you more or less are drinking isopropyl (which isn’t in the most ideal way to get drunk, but hey a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to dull this existence just a bit, no?).

The wormwood in particular is the source of a lot of the mysticism around absinthe. Wormwood contains the compound known as thujone, which has been purported to have hallucinogenic or psychotropic effects. But more on that later.

There are also a handful of herbs that are commonly used in the distillation process, which include hyssop, Melissa, star anise, Angelica, peppermint, coriander, and Veronica (probably the closest any of you will ever come to having four women in your mouths simultaneously is drinking absinthe… don’t worry its the same for me). Once the distillation is complete then you have fully finished blanche absinthe.

Now with the verte absinthe, the chlorophyll from each of these herbs are extracted during the distillation process, and reintroduced during maceration giving it that eloquent emerald color (aka sweet-tasting leprechaun tears). One last thing on the color; you want to avoid at all costs producers that use alternative methods (artificial bullshit) to color their “absinthe.”

Herb Talk

Basically, the only distinction between the verte and blanche absinthe is the reintroduction of the extracted chlorophyll. And, basically, that’s why I prefer la bleue absinthe over verte… Because let’s be real here, all men should refuse to add more vegetables or “herbs” (which are basically dried-up vegetables disguised as “spices”) to their alcohol… and we should be ashamed that this ever happened… and continues to happen to alcohol around the world…

Absinth(e)

One little note on another variation of “absinthe.” So, our Czech friends created their own version of absinth and it is commonly known as “Bohemian-style” absinth. To be frank, it really isn’t absinthe per se, and it’s not only because there isn’t an “e” at the end.

Bohemian-style absinth is more of a “wormwood vodka” so to speak, mostly due to the wormwood being the sole commonality between the two variations of absinth(e)’s. If you’re going to be a legitimate absinthe connoisseur then you’ll need to know this distinction and tout your absinthe intellect to absolutely nobody. If you’re going the self-proclaimed route feel free to forget this until you drink yourself into remembering it… I know I just did. 

History of Absinthe

The history of absinthe is a fabled tale filled with controversy and even has a splash murder. But let’s start from the very start.

Absinthe was first created in the 1790s by the French Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. He did so while living in a country that created cheese with holes in it (yes, I’m talking about Switzerland again). The good doctor’s initial intent for his concoction was to be used as an alcohol-based medicine for menstrual cramps and fevers (I mean I don’t know how an alcohol-based elixir wouldn’t be “successful” in one form or another, but anyways).

Back, back in the day wormwood was used by both the Egyptians and the Greeks for medicinal purposes. So, that’s kind of how our boy Pierre developed the idea. He also had discovered through his studies that the Greeks used the wormwood leaves and soaked them in wine, which was called absinthites oinos. The Greeks used it to remedy laborious pains and inflammation, and it’s pretty evident why… (nothing cures those aches and pains more than a shot of liquid relief… oh and drink responsibly and whatever…)

Pierre’s delicious jade elixir recipe was passed to the Henriod sisters, who commercially produced and sold the medicine to pharmacies around the area of Couvet, Switzerland. By 1797 the sisters sold their recipe for a nice chunk of cash to a Frenchman by the name of Major Dubied (this was my nickname in college by the way, oh and smoke responsibly and again, whatever). Later that year Majors daughter married Henri-Louis Pernod, which ultimately culminated in the first commercial distillery to produce absinthe.

Popularity of Absinthe

 

It wasn’t too much longer after the second Pernod production distillery was up and running in the tiny commune of Pontarlier, France. The small town effectively bordered Switzerland. In the early 1800s production of absinthe was very minimal. On a good day, they would often produce around 16 litres a day (about the amount of IPA I consume in a week). But, by the mid-1850s absinthe was so popular the distillery was pumping out around 30,000 liters a day (my IPA consumption yearly, give or take a few liters).

The reason why there was this exponential growth in consumption was mostly due to the military-industrial complex. Just kidding, well maybe just kind of kidding. Absinthe’s popularity was on a steady rise after French troops were given the emerald elixir as a malaria preventive in the Franco-Algerian War (And, yes the French lost that war as well…). Absinthe was also used as a digestive aid, and an antiseptic for open wounds.

After the war had ended the boys needed their absinthe thirst quenched, which ultimately triggered a collective desire for the green medicine around the country. The demand became so heightened distilleries began popping up all over France. And remember that tiny town of Pontarlier it alone stood up 14 distilleries.

The boom of Absinthe can also be contributed to a vine-eating insect known as the grape phylloxera. This little fucker devoured nearly 66% of the vineyards in Europe, and caused “The Great French Wine Blight” in the latter half of the 1800’s. It single-handled almost brought down the entire wine industry. It would feed of the grape roots, which culminated in the vine’s growth becoming stunt or just killed them. This had a huge effect on the wine industry due to the lack of production.

This kind of created this perfect storm for absinthe to catapult into popularity, especially in France. The French couldn’t get enough of absinthe and were imbibing it more than all other countries combined. By the end of the 1800s, absinthe was to the French that IPAs are to men in flannel… absinthe was so popular that five o’clock in the evening was known as “L’Heure Verte” or the “Green Hour” (even though I swear five in the morning is actually when you see the green fairy, more on that later…).

Absinthe & Feminism?

Here’s a hot fact for all you feminists out there: absinthe was huge in permitting women to drink with men. In other words, you ladies were allowed to actually come to hang out and sling back some booze with us MEN. This was mostly due to how absinthe alleviated menstrual cramps, and you know how awkward us guys are with that kind of umm stuff… Anyways, seems to me alcohol builds bridges… and I guess is a great pyrotechnic in burning them down, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Absinthe “Science”

This popularity of absinthe obviously also escalated some “no-good” behavior by some people having some good old fashion fun. This in turn caused a gradual shift in the ire of society and placed it on the “degenerative” behavior that alcohol produces (mhmm riiiight… because it’s the alcohol that makes the person shitty, rather than a shitty person drinking alcohol…. Mhmmm okay then). Due to the bellowing societal outrage towards what some people would call belligerent behavior (and what I call a normal Tuesday night), it prompted the French psychiatrist “Doctor” Valentin Magnan to investigate absinthe.

And, like any good scientist, he went into it objectively and restricted his biases, and performed an ethical scientific discovery. In the words of Borat, “NAT!” This little weasel came to the “objective” conclusion that absinthe was to blame for the collapse of French culture.

Magnan conducted experiments (*Here’s a hot tip incoming PETA*) on animals using thujone – remember that “hallucinogenic” compound – and wormwood oil. This guy force fed some rats high concentrations of thujone, which ultimately led to their little rat lives ending due to convulsions (Hand-up. I’ll admit I did “consider” distilling a thujone concentrate and putting it in my boss’s coffee, but… I found out the hard way that the thujone taste was umm how do I put it… uh too obvious to hide… unless I added Bailey’s, but I’m sure you understand my conundrum). Moreover, that rat-dick (Magnan) threw a vial of wormwood oil down the hatch of a dog, and made observations on the dog while it went “crazy”. It barked at a brick wall for half an hour (the dog not Magnan). In conclusion, Magnan was too much of a bitch to test his own product (unlike me, a true scientist), but even more unfortunately his findings were supported by other “scientists”. At the time it became one of thee precipitating factors in the myth of absinthe being a hallucinogenic. The collective conscious was subsequently struck by fear, and the narrative around absinthe began to take a sinister turn…

And Then the Murder Happened

Murder is usually an ugly act no matter the circumstances, but it gets even uglier when people try to capitalize on the death of another in order to push their agenda through society (oops sorry for being so serious). Of course, now this happens in our society virtually on a daily basis, but on August 28th 1905 it effectively dismantled the absinthe industry.

The sun had not opened its eye on the small village of Commugny, Switzerland. The rough and tumbled peasant Jean Lanfray had begun stirring around 4:30 am, and by stirring, I mean stirring a shot of absinthe with three parts water and stirring it down his throat (some people would say this is impressive, but I’d say still drinking at 4:30 am is even more impressive. But that’s just my opinion…). The former member of the French army clearly needed to keep up with his “malaria prevention” regimen.

Anyways, he lived on the second floor of a two-story farmhouse, where him, his wife and their two children lived (Rose four and a half; Blanche one and a half) resided. The farmhouse was shared with his parents and his brother who lived on the bottom floor.

While Lanfray was getting dressed he punished another absinthe and water (number 2). He wiped his rosy chapped lips and snorted the running snot back into his drunken red bulbous snout. He informed his wife to wax his boots while he went about his day. His wife sighed and said something under her breath. There were reports that they had been in a perpetual state of quarrel for about a year at that point (and it doesn’t sound like that cute bickering that’s in every rom-com).

On Jean’s way out he repeated that she ought to do a good job on shining his boots (kind of ironic that the “military man” needed his wife to polish his boots, but whatever). He trudged to the family barn and let the cows out to the pasture. Afterwards Lanfray returned to soak up that absinthe with some coffee and bread. After his belly had absorbed that nutrient filled breakfast, he headed downstairs to link up with his faja and brother.

It was 5:30 in the morning and the three Lanfrays began their commute to the vineyard that they were all employed at. While strolling to work Jean thought he had earned a reward for all the work he had done already and popped into the local inn/pub (they’re known as auberge’s). Jean slung back a crème de menthe with water (who needs Listerine), and cognac and soda (FYI: his liquor intake was meticulously documented by Swiss law enforcement). After getting the buzz he needed to make it through the first half of his day he arrived at work.

At noon, the lunchtime whistle sounded, and the “I need a drink alarm” in Jean’s noggin simultaneously went off. It was time to booze again for ol’ Jean-ey boy. It was known around town that Jean had concocted the strongest Piquette – a type of homemade wine – in the neighborhood. He threw two to three glasses worth of his infamous wine back. Down the hatch, it goes. Oh, and he did of course accompany his wine o’clock with some bread, cheese and sausage (talk about a balanced meal).

At 1500 he imbibed two more glasses of his homemade Jesus juice to get through the last bit of his shift. Yet, at 4:15 he graciously accepted another glass from a neighbor to get him through the last 15 minutes of his shift. The three Lanfrays were heading home from their day of digging and drinking at the vineyard, but before making it home they stopped into a café where Jean pressed his lips and sipped on a black coffee laced with brandy.

It was five in the evening and Jean and his father headed home where they each drank a litre of the infamous Lanfray Piquette (this what we call sport drinking ladies and gentlemen). Jean’s wife was obviously a tad bit irritated that her husband was such a sloppopotamus and did nothing around the house (classic women, am I right…?).

She asked Jean if he would be so inclined to go milk the cows because he neglected to do so in the morning (they sold their milk to a local creamery). He essentially told his wife to kick rocks and milk the cows herself. He then demanded she makes a cup of piping hot coffee for himself. She obliged on all fronts.

While Jean’s wife was milking the cows, Jean needed just a little more oomph to his coffee. So, he decided to splash in a heavy hand of his homemade brandy (basically moonshine brandy). His wife eventually came back in sometime later and told Jean that she was going to take the milk to the creamery. Jean responded by telling her that his coffee was cold (he was probably too drunk at this point to understand that adding his homebrew brandy more than likely cooled off his coffee).

She gave him one of those “meh” shrugs… and that’s when Jean had noticed his boots under the sink, and it wasn’t because they were shiny or highly polished. His unwaxed boots pushed Jean one step closer into a drunken rage, and he began cursing at his soon to be dead wife.

Old man Lanfray who was witnessing his son steaming like a cup of coffee (before homemade brandy is dumped in it) thought this might be a good time to exit. He said bon voyage to his daughter-in-law who responded with another audacious shrug. Jean told her to respect his old man, which prompted his wife to shrug for the last time.

This set Jean off and throttled him into a state of vein-popping rage. They began enmeshed in abusive language with one another, which culminated in Jean telling her to “Shut up!” (clearly at this point, she dismantled whatever was left of his psych because we know the person who says “shut up” is the one who has nothing more to say) and she responded with “Make me!”

Jean’s rebuttable was to grab his long-barrelled rifle and shoot his wife in the head. She died almost instantly. His father ran out of the house, while his oldest granddaughter ran into the room where her mom had expired and she was met with a bullet to her chest. Jean still emanating rage went to his youngest daughters’ room and killed her as well. He took aim at his face to end the misery he created, but he wasn’t going to get away with life that easily.

The drunk missed his brain and the bullet lodged in his lower jaw. He was found by the police in his barn bleeding profusely with his youngest in his arms and Jean was taken into custody. Lanfray claimed that he didn’t remember killing his family (I’ve had my fair share of blackouts, but damn I’m pretty sure he would flash-in into some of it… maybe when he tried blowing off his face?). He eventually Jeffery Epstien’d himself (but like actually hung himself…) three days into the trial of his murder.

The citizens of Commugny held an emergency town meeting to deal with the murder that shaken their tiny little town. They needed to find an answer. An answer to the horrible drunken bloodshed that had occurred. And… they decided on absinthe… Every citizen at that meeting claimed absinthe was the root cause of the murder committed by Jean (I guess they’re all scientists and doctors in this village, similar to our friend ol’ doctor rat dick…?).

A petition was signed, and along with the rising “scientific” evidence it led to absinthe being banned in Switzerland in 1908, and many countries followed suit with the Netherlands in 1909, the good ol’ US of A in 1912, and France in 1914.  

Now, you just read what I would say was a very detailed account of the events that occurred on August 28th. Shit, I bet you maybe even forgot this entire article was about absinthe, but somehow, someway absinthe was the main culprit of Jean’s murder spree that day.

During the time of the ban, many distilleries changed their recipe of absinthe and created anise-flavored boozes (patise and ouzo) to try and replicate the flavor profile of absinthe. While some distilleries went underground and sold it clandestinely. Interestingly, many European countries never bothered with banning absinthe.

Modern Resurrection

 

Like a phoenix from the ashes, absinthe rose back into popularity. 1988 was when absinthe indirectly became “legal” again in Europe through some new provisions regarding food additives in the EU. Thujone was one of the additives that were involved and okay’d by the regulations (I guess this where we’re supposed to thank the government for giving something back that they took away…?).

In the 1990’s, the British importer BBH Spirits began importing absinth from the Czech Republic. The UK was one of those countries that never got around to banning absinthe (I guess they had more important things to consider over the course of the 20th century…). This sparked more European countries who didn’t ban absinthe to import more of that knock-off Bohemian shit.

However, the real connoisseurs claimed Czech absinth wasn’t actually absinthe (understandably so), because it was missing two of the main ingredients to even be considered absinthe. This prompted many distilleries around Europe to try and replicate an authentic version of absinthe.

Absinthe picked up a lot of steam legislatively from 2000-2006 throughout Europe. The French in effect revoked the absinthe ban in the year of Y2K, while both the Dutch and Swiss all followed suit in pulling back their bans on absinthe.

And, here in the US, 2007 was the year that we lifted the illegality of the emerald elixir. It was also the same year the first absinthe distillery popped open in the diaper of the west coast, or in other words California. This propelled a bunch of micro-distilleries around the country to open up and produce the green fairy to try and capitalize on the hipster’s thirst for the spirit.

Myths – AKA Will I actually Trip Balls & Murder my Family?!

So, we kind of touched on this throughout, and I hope at this point you’ve been able to use your deductive assertions to dispel such a myth (I really do hope but I doubt it…). As alluded to, wormwood contains thujone, a supposed psychoactive. However, since science kind of progressed over the last century, it was discovered that unfortunately… there is not enough thujone in the wormwood to make you bear witness to inter-dimensional elves when drinking absinthe.

However, there has been some research that does show that highly concentrated levels of thujone can block GABA receptors. But again, it doesn’t make you hallucinate, rather you’d end up like one of Magnan’s rats, which really means you’d convulse and die (but Hello afterlife, am I right?).

So, the boring truth is that no absinthe won’t make you hallucinate, and you’re far more likely of getting your stomach pumped than hallucinating when drinking ladles of absinthe. Even back in the “emerald age” of absinthe, it was very unlikely that it would cause hallucinations. But hey, if you have an extra €3,500 lying around, get this bottle and I’ll make the pilgrimage to your lovely abode.

This myth of absinthe being a hallucinogenic has such an allure around it that people often believe that absinthe was banned because it did make you see trees talking to each other (trip-balls). Rather, absinthe was banned because of this thing called the temperance movement, which was essentially a socio-political movement in the 19th and 20th century that tried to claim alcohol on the whole was the root of all evil (these people are cut from the same linen of people who claim kids playing video games makes them want to shoot-up a school).

So, yeah, drink as much absinthe as you want (it is virtually legal worldwide), but for the love of fuck don’t do it to try and hallucinate (you’ll read why later). Oh, and pssst, just to let you know there is a wide spectrum of drugs that will feed that desire of helping you catch a green fairy to perform your sexual acts upon (just me again…?). So, just do that (PS for legal purposes I’m not condoning or telling you to buy drugs from me, yet).

How to Drink Absinthe

Alright, enough of the history and myths and the blah blah blahs about absinthe. Let’s get into how you actually become a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur and the best way to do that is by knowing how to properly drink it the way you like best.

As your uncle Lee, I will try and provide you with all the ways I’ve drunk absinthe in order for you to find your way to self-proclamation.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Ok, so for starters you’re going to want to find a nice bottle of absinthe. You’re looking for something that actually contains the holy trinity of natural wormwood, green-anise and fennel (try not to get anything with artificial flavors, absinthe isn’t a four loko). It doesn’t really matter if it’s of the blanche or verte variety (pick whatever you want). But you do want an absinthe with high alcohol content.
  2. A Pontarlier glass if you want to be a snob, but any lowball glass will work fine
  3. An absinthe spoon for reasons you’ll understand in a minute, depending on how fast you read.
  4. Absinthe fountain if you are an individual of the bourgeoisie…
  5. Ice cold water.
  6. Sugar cubes.
  7. Fire. Yes. Fire. So, matches or a lighter.

French Method

Ok, so this pretty much is the most widely accepted method in imbibing the jade liquid in France… I’ve had my fair share of experiences using this method, and needless to say, it’s a very classy/ritualistic way to get schwammerd.

  1. Pour one ounce of absinthe into a glass. The glass really doesn’t matter, but the Pontarlier glass is made specifically for drinking absinthe, so duh, it would be best, but at the end of the day, you just need something other than your mouth to pour it into first.
  2. Lay one of those intricately designed absinthe spoons across the rim of your glass, and place a sugar cube on top. If you’re in a real bind just use a fork, it works as well just not as well.
  3. Drip/delicately pour about three to four ounces of ice-cold water from a pitcher over top of the sugar cube. This process creates the louche of absinthe, which really means diluting the absinthe with water. Now, this is when it is nice to know someone who has disposable income and owns an absinthe fountain because it slowly pours ice-cold water over the sugar cube in a way that you could never do with a pitcher. And, trust me pouring water slowly and precisely over a sugar on a fork persistently gets more difficult after each louche of absinthe.
  4. Drop the spoon with any residual sugar on it and stir it up, and santé there you have it.

Czech/Bohemian Method

This became very popular during the age of grunge music and beanie babies. The 1990’s saw that explosion of Czech absinth, which rendered its own method to drink the anise-flavored spirit.

  1. Pour an ounce of absinthe into your glass, and place the spoon with the sugar cube on the rim of the glass.
  2. Soak the sugar cube with some more absinthe. Don’t overkill it, just get it wet enough.
  3. Light the absinthe-soaked sugar on fire for approximately a minute. You’ll see the sugar cube begin to caramelize. Please don’t burn the sugar or you will have wasted the absinthe you soaked your cube with, and we don’t want to waste…
  4. Slowly pour some ice-cold water (the same amount as above is fine) over top the unburned sugar cube creating that louche effect.
  5. Drop the spoon and stir, and Na zdraví.

Louche Waterfall

This method is also known as the glass in a glass method. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a good way to get a nice louche out of your absinthe.

  1. Place a shot glass into a lowball glass. Or any small glass into a larger glass depending on how much absinthe you want running through your system. Fill the smaller/shot glass up with absinthe.
  2. Slowly pour that chilled water into the small glass, causing it to waterfall into the larger glass. Again, you wanted to aim for about 3-4 ounces of water. Eventually, the large glass will contain your desired louche and the shot glass will only have water left in it.
  3. Take the shot glass out and toss it into your sink, and start drinking your waterfall absinthe.

Backdraft

This is by far the most dangerous way to drink absinthe and is a way to kind of freebase your absinthe (basically get the most bang for your buck). Obviously, this is the manner in which I choose to drink my absinthe since there isn’t any dilution… but mostly because involves fire. However, there is a lot of trial and error with this method, and it did come at the cost of burning down my kitchen and singeing my beard on multiple occasions, but at the end of the day if I don’t care what I do with my property (my body, my choice or my kitchen my choice…) then you shouldn’t either…

  1. Grab a shot glass and fill ¾ full with absinthe. This is important, trust me when I say this, bad things will happen if you fill your glass to the top. Oh, and make sure you have hands in order to be able to palm the top of the glass.
  2. With a match or lighter set the ¾ shot on fire. The flame should take right away due to the alcohol content. You also want to make sure that you don’t have enough time to grab marshmallows and roast them over your absinthe. The flame should be short-lived or you may be shortening your life.
  3. After about 5 seconds you will want to place your palm (this is where having hands becomes essential) over top the shot glass. Your hands will feel like they are beginning to suction the shot glass. Please don’t worry about your hand burning, it’s impossible for a flame to keep flaming without oxygen. But again, remember to not burn the absinthe that long, it will lose its potency and that’s the last thing we want to do.
  4. Bring the shot glass to your nose and slowly break the suction (it is best you only break the seal by removing part of your hand from the top of the glass). Then here comes the freebasing part! After breaking the seal you’ll want to inhale that alcohol vapor the flame produced. Sip or actually just shoot the shot and enjoy.

Neat

Yes, you can drink absinthe neat, but it doesn’t really make sense to. Part of the point of drinking absinthe is creating that louche effect that gives it that vibrancy. It would be like drinking tea and honey without any water. So, yes, you can drink it neat, but why not light it on fire while doing it.

Absinthe Cocktails

I’ll leave this one for you to figure out, you can easily add the word cocktails from your previous “absinthe” search. There’s everything from absinthe lemonades, the Sazerac, and even absinthe martinis.

However, one of the most famous absinthe cocktails is known as “Death in the Afternoon.” The prolific author Ernest Hemmingway who created the cocktail provides us with the how-to:

“Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

Good luck stopping at drinking three to five of these “slowly”.

Once you’ve found your method of absinthe drinking you automatically take one step closer to being certified as a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur. But, hey before you start spitting up fireballs of absinthe let me give you some insights on how absinthe really makes you feel.  

Effects

The famous writer Oscar Wilde was also quite the absinthe drinker himself. He had a sardonic outlook on the effects of drinking absinthe:

After the first glass of absinthe, you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.

The above unfortunately rings true for me for reasons much different than Oscar had intended…

But before I get into that… I would also like to add two phases when drinking that smooth black licorice-tasting liquid. The first being a pleasant intoxication, it’s weird.  Absinthe initially seems to just take you gently by the hand and walk with you pleasantly by the ocean, where you and absinthe are just skipping rocks with one another. And then the second phase hits, and this where absinthe grabs you by the wrist and turns you around from skipping your perfectly smooth rocks to reveal… that you are in the middle of spring break. Shit is popping off, and you’re fucking wasted out of nowhere, and what else is there to do but embrace the drunk.

Now, my college days are far behind me, and I would claim I have become a much more professional and “mature” drunk so to speak. But, back in the day me and two of my buddies wanted to head up near the woodlands of Bellingham for a little cabin bro-down.

Jeff had those “cool parents” who made booze runs across the border. They asked us if we had any requests for our trip, and we of course said absinthe. They smuggled the emerald elixir across the border for us. When they placed the bottle into our hands it was like we were Frodo holding the ring, little did we know we would end up like Gollum. Jeff’s dad asked us to let him know if we see the green fairy… I was determined.

Anyways, we pull up to the cabin and placed the bottle of absinthe in the middle of the table. We had this little dice game known as the “Die of Life”. You either guessed odd or even and you roll the die if you guessed correctly then you’re safe, if you guessed wrong you take a shot.

There were three of us. Our goal… to see the green fairy.

We played about 10 rounds and let’s just say we had merely a momentary glimpse of the “pleasant” intoxication phase until the ripcord of excessive drunkenness took over. Now, I think if you’re gonna be an asshole when you’re drinking you might as well do it in the middle of nowhere… it’s called respect.

Anyways, we all had a pact that we wouldn’t leave the place, and we actually locked the door so none of us could get out (logical thinking at its finest). We all had passed out, and I had awoken in that drunken stupor of where time doesn’t exist (I didn’t know if it was dawn or dusk). I looked out the window and saw two deer just staring through my soul. They looked like they were trying to tell me something, and I believed they had the answer to where the green fairy was. I knew this was my moment to finally capture that green fay.

I opened the window and was going to escape. I needed to. But I realized I couldn’t fit out the window. So, I problem-solved. I knew my other buddy Dustin always had a container of Vaseline (everyone knows someone like this…). I had found him passed out and didn’t want to bother him, plus his Vaseline was just sitting there perfectly on his backpack. I snagged it.

I tip-toed to the window. The two deer were still there staring at me, waiting for me to get out and to be led to the green fairy (I even thought about how difficult it would be to ride one of them). I took off all my clothes and began coating my arms, upper body and my face (for some reason) in the lubricant. It was showtime, baby.

I moved like a stealthy Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and began my escape. One of the things I regret was not checking how high the window was off the ground, and… I guess it was just one of the many fatal errors I made. I stuck my arms and head out first, and then used the wall to push the rest of me out. I flew out of that window like a bar of soap, and came crashing down on both my wrists breaking them both, and my consciousness came to a halt when my face hit the floor (instead of alcohol it was a concussion this time around). Needless to say, our cabin bro-down came to a crashing halt, and luckily Jeff’s parents came to our rescue. I apparently apologized to Jeff’s dad for not be able to see the green fairy…

So, when you do drink absinthe be careful, it goes down as easy as lubed up grown-ass man out of a window… But remember, absinthe will affect everyone differently… 

Summary

Wow. That brings us to the end of this tale on absinthe, which means I officially can now grant you the certificate of becoming a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur. Congrats, you now know more about absinthe than anyone in your (presumably small) friend group! We’ve covered the rise and fall and re-rise of absinthe, and in the process were able to bust a couple of myths about the emerald muse. I also provided you with some of the methods I’ve ingested absinthe, and hopefully this will propel you in finding your method to imbibe the jadeite medicine. Oh, and lastly, I gave you a rundown on what to expect when drinking absinthe (but you’re gonna have to figure out the effects on your own).

This is also the part of the article where I hope to collect your voluntary tuition for that certificate. Don’t worry you don’t have to pay anything, rather if you subscribed to our newsletter your tuition would be paid in full (wow, what a deal). Anyways, I gotta get out of here because Death in the Afternoon is on the horizon… Cheers.

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DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO PACIFIC NORTHWEST COASTAL BEACHES – Northern California

Think about it, when someone mentions California beaches, you immediately think of Southern California with all it’s sun, sand volleyball and sunbathing. And, yes, you can find this at some NorCal beaches during hot seasons, but have you ever thought about just feasting your eyes on some of the most majestic beaches in the PNW? 

I know, I know I keep saying that beaches you can’t swim in are the best, and you’re kind of sick of it. But, still, if I am unable to convince you to take a trip up to Northern California, then you can genuinely enjoy your SoCal beaches and I’ll kindly stop trying to convince you.  

For now, here’s some of my favorite beaches up north. 

Santa Cruz Main Beach

OK, so if you’re a Pro Surfer, a beginner, or you just want to watch surfers, Santa Cruz Main Beach is your jam. It’s one of the top surfing spots in the world. Located inside the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, it’s the best spot in NorCal to feast your eyes on some amazing waves along with sea life and maybe even soak up some rays.

But, once you’re tired of that, head over to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and drop some cash at the amusement parks. They have carnival rides, games, and fun for the whole family. It’s an iconic spot that it sort of a must-see when your here. 

Since Santa Cruz Main Beach is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, it’s home to loads of sea life. You might spot otters, sea lions, and even gray whales if you time it right. 

When you’re tired from all the carnival excitement and want to take it easy, Main Beach is great to just lay down your brand new beach blanket and feel all that nice golden sand under your toes. It does get hot in the spring and summer, so you might actually be able to work on your tan. It’s big enough to get a spot on a busy weekend, but it is California and there will be crowds, so head there early.  

It’s located in Santa Cruz, California, on Monterey Bay, just south of San Francisco.

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? No
  • Can I camp at the main beach? No
  • Distance from San Francisco – 73 miles
  • Distance from San Jose – 33 miles

Glass Beach

Whoever coined the term, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ was talking about Glass Beach. Since it’s not a sandy beach, but instead literally covered (or used to) in colorful sea glass. Yes, sea glass lovers have collected a lot of the sea glass that used to litter the beach, but there’s still enough here to get some good Instagram photos.  

Located near Fort Bragg, this beach can be a little hard to access. There used to be a staircase down to the beach, which has now gone the way of the Dodo Bird (extinct!), so you have to walk down a steep pathway to get your toes on the sand.

But once you’re there, you’ll find sea cliffs, rock formations, and sea anemones that live harmoniously with the sea glass. Try to catch the sunset . As the sun goes down you can see see all the different colors bouncing off the sea glass, making this a truly unique sunset spot.  

It’s located in Northwest California, north of San Francisco.

  • Can I bring my dog to Glass Beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Glass Beach? Yes
  • Distance from San Francisco – 172 miles
  • Distance from San Jose – 217 miles

Schooner Gulch State Beach

Schooner Gulch State Beach is unique, as far as State Beach’s go, because it has some really weird geological formation. It has something to do with how the waves hit the shore, hard and soft strata, and tilted outcrops. I don’t know, but one of the most famous examples of all the Earthly weirdness is Bowling Ball Beach. 

Bowling Ball Beach 

The name gives away the main attraction, namely, bowling ball shaped rocks. They’re actually pretty cool. You can’t see them unless it’s low tide, so be sure to check the Tide Report. 

Making your way down to this beach is a bit harder than just a leisurely stroll down the sand. If you follow Google Maps here, you’ll park one turn past the beach and have to walk back. The terrain is tall grass and makeshift stairs, so it’s not for the completely unfit. 

Once you get there, you’ll do a sharp downward walk to the sand and feast your eyes on the rocks shaped like bowling balls. The bowling balls are actually super slick, like slick enough to make flip-flops a big no-no, so wear rubber-soled shoes if you’re going to climb on them. 

It’s located in Northwest California, in Mendocino County north of San Francisco and west of Sacramento.  

  • Can I bring my dog? Yes
  • Can I camp? Yes
  • Distance from San Francisco – 126 miles
  • Distance from Sacramento – 168 miles

The Great Beach 

Picture miles and miles (11 miles to be exact) of undeveloped deserted beaches with foamy blue waves crashing gently on the shore. Sound like a great beach? Well, it just so happens to be the great beach. 

Part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, you can choose from a bunch of things to do. Popular ideas are taking a hike through the hills then watching the sea gulls, sandpipers, and red wing blackbirds do their thing.   

If you want to swim, it’s at your own risk because the surf isn’t the kindest to swimmers and you might find a rip tide. Most people just want to sit on the sand and listen to the crashing waves followed by total silence, then another crash. It speaks to the soul. 

Located in Northwestern California, just north of San Francisco. 

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Great Beach? Yes
  • Distance from San Francisco – 37.4 miles
  • Distance from Sacramento – 96.8 miles

Point Reyes Lighthouse

If you head about 17 miles south down the coast, you’ll find Point Reyes Lighthouse. If you can’t see it, you’ll appreciate that it’s in one of the foggiest spots in the country. Most of the year it’s covered with fog! 

Once you take the scenic windy road to get there, you’ll park and go down 318 stairs. There’s a guide and you’ll get a boatload of history. For instance, the lens in the lighthouse is the original lens which makes it the only lighthouse in the country to still have it’s original lens installed and fully operational. 

If you’re there during whale migration months (December through February and March through May), you’ll catch a herd (pod? gaggle?) of whales heading through. It’s a sharp contrast to the elk and deer you’ll see roaming around the hills behind you. 

There’s an elephant seal lookout point where you can see them all lounging around on the shore. Sometimes they’re lazy, but sometimes they like to duke it out!

Located in Northwestern California, north of San Francisco. 

  • Can I bring my dog? No
  • Can I camp? No
  • Distance from San Francisco – 58.4 miles
  • Distance from Sacramento – 115 miles

Drakes Beach

Just a few miles south of The Great Beach, you’ll run into Drakes Beach. If you’re super lucky, you might see herds of elk heading across Point Reyes and male elephant seals duking it out on the shore. And if you love sand dollars, then this beach is your jam.

This 4 mile long beach is the premier geological attraction in Point Reyes and a mecca for wildlife. You can have a nice quiet stroll picking up sand dollars and listening to the crashing waves. Or you can pop into the cafeteria and grab a cup of coffee. Yes, there are amenities here, including a cafeteria and restrooms. 

Located in Northwestern California, north of San Francisco. 

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? No
  • Can I camp at Drakes Beach? Yes
  • Distance from San Francisco – 54.7 miles
  • Distance from Sacramento – 111 miles

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is an easily accessible, fun-filled, slightly enchanting, place to spend the day, or a couple days. You can do anything from lounge on one of the many beaches, take a romantic horseback ride on the beach, walk around the art galleries and historic shops, have an amazing meal at one of the many outstanding restaurants, or even stay the night at a cozy bed and breakfast or upscale resort. At Half Moon Bay, you can do it all. 

Half Moon Bay State Beach

When you want to feel close to nature and dip your toes in icey cold water then you have to make a trip to Half Moon Bay State Beach. You can take a nice, easy hike or better yet, do a horseback ride. It’s well loved by locals for it’s gorgeous sunsets. 

There is an easily accessible parking lot with lots of spots and it takes credit cards. Just be sure not to leave valuables in the car, it is California, afterall. There are also restrooms onsite. 

Pescadero State Beach

Pescadero State Beach is part of the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve. It’s about 1 mile long and connects San Gregorio and Pomponio State Beaches. Along this 1 mile, you’ll find Mother Nature at her roughest.

You can look in tide pools, take a somewhat strenuous hike along the rocky cliffs, take in the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, go fishing, or just take in the volatile ocean. It’s a place where the water roars and the waves crash. It has King Tides and, when you’re close to the water, it’s a near-constant barrage of salty sea spray in your face. The sea gulls are aggressive and the picnic tables are wet, windy, and not a great place to sit down. It’s truly the rough side of Mother Nature. 

You are allowed to surf, if you’re up for it, but swimming is frowned upon. 

Mavericks

If you’re a surfer, you want to be a surfer, or you just like to watch surfers, then head to Mavericks. It boasts the biggest paddle-in waves in the world and, once a year, big-wave surfers from all over the globe are given 24 hours notice to show up and compete. It’s not unheard of to see 50 foot waves, loads of Great White sharks, and icey cold water, making surfing here not for the faint of heart.

For non-surfers, you’ll find tide pools, sea creatures, and plenty of sand for the kids to play in. You can walk your dog on the beach and you’ll be able to grab a bite at one of the many restaurants nearby. 

Just don’t expect to park anywhere near Mavericks. Even on a slow weekday, without a bunch of surfers,  you’ll have a hard time finding a spot. Be prepared to park and walk. 

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach is a nice, relaxing place to pop up a beach chair and watch the waves. If you watch the ocean long enough, you might spot dolphins and sea lions. You’ll definitely see a wide array of sea birds, including pelicans diving into the water, sea gulls (you’ll always  find those!), and saw terns.   

It’s a nice place to surf, those less wild than Mavericks, and you’ll find some great restaurants and shops nearby. Parking can be tricky, so expect to park and walk, this is California, afterall. 

Sam’s Chowder House

Once you’ve seen all the sealife you can stand, head to Sam’s Chowder House to eat some of it. It’s a local favorite located right in Half Moon Bay by Pillar Point Harbor. 

Sit outside and get a fantastic view of Half Moon Bay. The most popular dishes are the lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fish and chips. You might have to make a reservation or just be prepared to wait a little bit before getting a table. The awesome view and mouth watering food will make it worth it. 

It’s located in Northwestern California, just South of San Francisco and west of San Jose. 

  • Can I bring my dog? Yes and No. They are only permitted on the campground and certain beaches with a leash. 
  • Can I camp ? Yes, most of the beaches at Half Moon Bay allow camping
  • Distance from San Francisco – 31.8 miles
  • Distance from San Jose – 43.8 miles

  Baker Beach 

Baker Beach is not your typical Northern California beach. First, it’s clothing optional, but most people are cold, so they wear clothes. Second, you’ll not only get surf and sand, butone of the most spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge NorCal has to offer. You can see it’s glorious red steel shining proudly directly from your beach blanket. Oh, and sunrise the the absolute best time to be here. 

Swimming isn’t a great idea, due to the huge waves, undertow and riptide, so instead, fire up one of the many BBQ’s, claim a picnic table, lay down a beach blanket, and take in the amazing view. You can go fishing, climb rocks, and try to be there for sunrise (not sunset) where the sun comes up behind the Golden Gate. 

There’s ample free parking, restrooms on site, and it’s known for being super clean. 

Located in Northwest California, near downtown San Francisco.

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Baker Beach? Yes
  • Distance from San Francisco – 6 miles
  • Distance from Sacramento – 55 miles 

Big Sur

Big Sur is known for its jagged pummeling cliffs, foggy canyons, sea rocks, and elephant seals. You can spend days hiking the many, many hiking trails, checking out local galleries, stuffing yourself full of fancy food, or just sleeping on the sand listening to the waves. 

Pfeiffer Beach

Getting here is half the fun. Follow Google Maps to the Big Sur Station and take the unnamed (meaning, there’s no sign!) Sycamore Canyon Road. It’s a narrow, one-lane, windy, 2.5 mile paved road that leads you right down to Pfeiffer Beach. There will be a ranger station where you’ll need to pay the admission fee or have a day pass.  

But, once you’re there, feast your eyes on Keyhole Rock, which is literally a giant rock shaped like a keyhole, and a lot of other super cool sea rock formations. You can go fishing, surf, explore sea caves, and look for seashells, but the water isn’t great for swimming. Not a great place to relax, but definitely a great place to wear out the kids. 

Oh, and did I mention, the sand looks purple. Yes, Pfeiffer Beach has purple sand. 

Located in Northwest California, just north of San Luis Obispo.

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Big Sur? Yes
  • Distance from San Francisco – 146 miles
  • Distance from Monterey – 29 miles 

Final Thoughts

The kind of experience you have at any Northern California beach depends solely on what you’re looking for. You can spend a long weekend at touristy Half Moon Bay, relaxing, eating, surfing, and shopping or you can gaze upon the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge at Baker Beach. You can stay in town or drive a couple hours and find a beach not well traveled. Northern California beaches have a little something for everyone. Even your dog. 

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DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO PACIFIC NORTHWEST COASTAL BEACHES – Oregon

So, here we are. It’s the weekend. You don’t have any plans and you’ve started wondering to yourself, what it’s like to take a road trip down THE PERFECT coast!

Where do you start? 

Lucky, I can help you find that amazing beach weekend you’ve been needing, wanting, and dreaming of! Because, and you probably know this, PNW beaches are not like other beaches around the country. 

We don’t go there to show off our hot bods in a bikini and bask in the sunlight. Most of us are so pasty we don’t even want to wear shorts and we’re lucky if we even catch a sunny day. 

We go there to breathe in that fresh salty air, hear the waves crash, put our toes in the sand, eat some crab, try the local brew, and lick an ice cream cone. Most of us just want a change of scenery. 

Pacific Northwest Beaches

We got rocks, we got wind, we got fog, and if you are really lucky we might even have a bit of sun! 

Ok maybe on paper it doesn’t sound like a Sandals vacation, but if you’ve ever been to a Florida or So Cal beach and hated being whacked by a frisbee because – for some Goddamn reason- they have to play so close to you, then you will appreciate everything the “real” Pacific Northwest coast has to offer.

Yes, you can argue our coast is not as warm, or even sunny, but just like my IPAs, I like it cold. 

From clamming to whale watching, the possibilities are endless, so ditch the bathing suit for a raincoat and let’s go coastal!

Beaches in Oregon

If I said I had a hard time narrowing this list down of my favorite beaches in Oregon, you’d probably call me out on my BS because it sounds like my mom when asked who her favorite kid is, and she gets flustered. (Easy! It’s Jessica. Not Riley, Jessica. In case you were wondering.)

Like my mom, I realize that every beach has something different to offer. Yes, I know that your ability to go sunbathing is iffy and not everyone can make a raincoat / flipflops combo look sexy. But this will be better than baking yourself in a giant oven till you are all brown. 

So, this list is more about things to do at these Pacific Northwest coastal beaches. 

Whale watching, kayaking, hiking, surfing, boogie boarding, fishing, horseback riding, camping, bonfires, and loads of other things to do. Just don’t, whatever you do, go swimming. There are super dangerous ‘sneaker waves’ that run all along the coast and might swallow you up. 

Cannon Beach

If you asked me how I wanted to spend my days, chances are it would probably be me, a growler of local microbrew, Charlie (my dog) and a sunset overlooking Haystack Rock.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is a 235 foot hunk of rock that was formed millions of years ago by lava. Today it’s a protected seabird nesting colony that’s home to different species of protected wildlife. Sea stars, crabs, and anemones sticking to the base of haystack rock are kind of cool.

Downtown Cannon Beach

When you’re done staring at the lovely old Rock and your toes are satisfied that you’ve been kicking around enough sand, head a few miles north to downtown Cannon Beach for some yummy lunch at Castaways, coffee (shout out Sleepy Monk!), ice cream, shops, and art galleries.  

Icefire Glassworks is a well known spot in downtown. They are a working hot shop and specialize in finely crafted blown glass. They also house pieces by James Kingwell, Suzanne Kindland, Michelle Kaptur and Mark Gordon (for you art buffs out there!).

Tolovana Beach State Park 

If you’re not up for a busy downtown scene, go south from Haystack Rock a few miles to Tolovana Beach State Park and eat outside at Mo’s. The clam chowder, crab legs, and fish and chips are super yummy. You get a great view of Haystack Rock and the coast as you sip your drinks. 

Tolovana is also my favorite place to park and get on the beach. There’s 1 flight of stairs to the sand, public bathrooms and a place to change. The parking lot isn’t huge, so in season (sunny summer months, like July and August) you might have trouble parking. I have seen RV’s parked there. 

Ecola State Park

If you’re more into hiking, check out Ecola State Park. It’s got mountain hiking trails with views of the Oregon coast. You’ll see Haystack Rock to the south, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse to the north, and Indian Beach. There’s loads of parking and it has an entrance fee.  

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

From the coastline on Cannon, you’ll be able to see Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It’s different from a lot of lighthouses because it’s just sitting in the ocean on a rock. Yes, just like it sounds. It’s cool to see the waves crashing on the rock, but you can’t get close unless you brought binoculars or a helicopter. 

Oswald West State Park

You can also get to Oswald West State Park from Cannon Beach. It’s 2,500 acres of surfing, kayaking, bird watching, hiking and camping. Devil’s Cauldron Overlook and Elk Flats Trails are popular, but they don’t allow camping. 

If you’re looking to take some amazing photos, then this is your jam. There are old wooden bridges that start and end in the lush forest, huge cliffs dropping into the ocean, white foamy pools of bubbling water, views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean behind Evergreens, and postcard-worthy scenes of the Oregon coastline. 

Hug Point State Park

If you go north of Cannon a few miles you’ll run into Hug Point State Park. This place deserves a mention for it’s hidden sea caves and tide pools. There’s great places to set out a beach picnic then take a long walk on the sand for a solid adventure. If you are up for a journey during low tide, try to walk the 6 miles to Haystack Rock, or even better, make it your morning jog.  

If you visit Cannon Beach in the winter, you might spot some 50,000 whales migrating from Ecola State Park. Beat that Florida!

  • Its located in the northwestern part of Oregon, south of Seaside and north of Manzanita 
  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? – Yes, provided they are well behaved and under voice control. Carrying a leash is encouraged. Oh, and pick up the poopies, please. 
  • Can I camp at Cannon Beach? – Yes, there are several campsites.
  • Distance from Portland – 80 miles or 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 206 miles or 3 hours and 45 minutes

Manzanita Beach

Manzanita Beach is turquoise surf, striking cliffs, and loads of one-on-one time with nature. Pop into town for a nice massage and a hidden gem dive bar with the best fish in around.   

Tucked in between the Pacific Ocean, Manzanita Beach is a 7 mile stretch with the Neahkahnie Mountains on it’s side and ends in the mouth of the Nehalem River. 

It’s best for walking and finding sand dollars, having a nice jog, and existing with nature. It’s the best dog beach in the PNW and your furry friend can run off leash, as nature intended. It’s less crowded than Cannon Beach, even during Season, so during the day you might not notice another Soul stroll on by for hours. 

Downtown Manzanita

There’s about a dozen restaurants and some shops in the downtown area. I love hitting up the Spa Mananita for a CBD and aromatherapy massage. It’s so relaxing and I end up feeling so zen and relaxed. Bonus points if you get a facial, too. Your face along everyone that has to look at you will be glad you did. 

For some yummy fish tacos, salmon chowder, and fish salad, the only place to go is San Dune Pub (or is it Sand Dune Pub, I’m never really sure). It’s a local dive but once you get over the “atmosphere,” the food and bar are excellent.  

Oswald West State Park

Yes, it’s the same Oswald West State Park we mentioned in Cannon Beach. But, it’s so big, at 2,500 acres, that it’s here too. 

It’s a beautiful mix of forest and ocean with hiking, camping, kayaks, and surfing. There’s trails and campsites. Plus, an entrance fee. Did we mention the entrance fee?? You can get some great photos and let your dog run. 

Short Sand Beach 

If I had to choose a place to live out a unicorn fantasy, Short Sand Beach, aka “Shortys” or “Short Sands,” would be the place. It’s got a waterfall, lush green forest, and the occasional sparkly rainbow. Oh, and did we mention you get to take a nice easy hike to it?? 

The trail to Shorty’s is through Oswald West State Park and it’s as amazing as the beach itself. It’s a ½ mile of super easy hiking with massive trees on one side and sandstone cliffs overlooking the ocean on the other. You instantly feel a sense of calm come over you. 

As an added bonus, locals call it “surfers paradise,” this sheltered cove has something for everyone, so break out that wetsuit and jump in.

One of the things I like about Shorty’s is that; it’s one of the few places in Oregon dedicated for surfers to catch the perfect wave, and you also get some out of this world views. 

You can go for a hike in the morning, go clamming in the afternoon, and finish off your glorious day with surfing and a bonfire. 

So, remember how I said how gloomy the weather could be down here? Well, the fantastic thing with Manzanita Beach is you can do water sports, which is a luxury down here, and as always, a wet suit is still in order. You can rent those too. 

  • Located in northern Oregon, north of Rockaway Beach and south of Cannon Beach
  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at manzanita beach? – Yes, there are several campsites and rental units. 
  • Distance from Portland – 85 miles or about 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 220 miles or 4 hours 

Rockaway Beach

On Rockaway Beach you can do a bunch of stuff or nothing at all. It’s great if you want to rent a kayak or if you just want to sit on the sand and eat the fresh blackberries you picked off the wild bushes nearby or at the U-Pick farm on the way in.  

Rockaway Beach is popular for crabbing, clamming, kayaking, fishing, bonfires, camping, taking a train ride, and even going to a Pirate Festival. Just don’t try to go swimming! Remember our recurring warning about ‘sneaker waves’! They’re really real. I’m so not kidding, even though the name makes them sound fake. 

Rockaway Beach Wayside

Unleash your dog and let the two of you be free. You can walk the long stretch of Rockaway Beach Wayside while you stare at Twin Rocks which just so happens to be right next to a shipwreck. You can spot pieces of the Emily G Reed shipwreck during low tide and when sand levels are low. 

The sand feels soft on your feet and the waves are fairly tame. Go kayaking or take out a SUP. 

The parking is pretty limited, especially during Season, but the picturesque views and huge amount of places to spread out a beach blanket make it worth the frustration. 

Downtown Rockaway

If you’re ready to head into town for food (but be sure to read about Kelly’s Marina before deciding where to go!), be sure to pop into Flamingo Jim’s for the ultimate in touristy crap selection. Everything from T-shirts to recycled beach trash bracelets and a bunch of other stuff you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. 

For a quick but memorable meal, try the historic Pronto Pup. No, it isn’t a puppy dog that hurries up, it’s a corn dog. And it’s in Rockaway. They’re known for pancake battered hotdogs instead of cornmeal and they’re Heaven on a stick.  

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

From Garibaldi, just south of Rockaway, take a 1 hour ride on the historic Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. You can sit on top of the train for open-air seating and take in the sites tucked away from the highway. Tickets are around $20. 

Kelly’s Brighton Marina  

If you want to rent a boat and go crabbing, then you have to go to Kelly’s. You have to order at the Crab Pots Counter then they cook up a pile of seafood  and serve it in a big metal tin, family style. They’ll give you hot sauce, plate and utensils but you buy drinks, butter, and whatever else in the store. There’s picnic tables outside and cats, lots and lots of friendly cats, to hang with. You can sit and suck down a huge mimosa and watch the Big Game, if that’s how you want to spend the day. You can see the train zooming past on it’s way to the next town. 

Rockaway Beach Pirate and Costume Festival

In June, there’s an annual Rockaway Beach Pirate and Costume Festival in downtown Rockaway. Here you can live out your pirate fantasies in a healthy way.  

Get down with pirate music, see people dressed as pirates, watch pirates walking around acting like pirates, go on festival rides, eat loads of yummy food, and buy exotic stuff from vendors selling piratesque wares. Catch local bands, go on a scavenger hunt, and play games. It’s great for kids and grown ups without kids.  

  • It is located in the North of Oregon, north of Garibaldi and south of Manzanita Beach
  • Can I bring my dog to Rockaway Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Rockaway Beach? – Yes, there are campgrounds and RV grounds to park on
  • Distance from Portland – 89 miles or  1 hr 40 mins
  • Distance from Seattle – 224 miles or 4 hrs 16 mins 

Cobble Beach

Cobble Beach is on the north end of Newport, OR at Yaquina Head. It’s right next to Yaquina Bay and it’s best known for the sweet musical sounds of the water running through the cobblestones. You can also catch gray whales migrating down to Mexico in late-fall to early-winter or when they cruise back up to Alaska from late-winter to early-spring. 

Yes, it’s a beach made up of cobblestones, and yes, the sound of the ocean over the stones is as beautiful as you imagine it is. It kind of sounds like applause. It might be me, but hearing the cobblestones makes up for the 115 stairs down to the beach. Not only is the beach peaceful, but during low tide, the tide pools are rich with sea stars, anemones, and sea urchins. 

Did we mention there’s 115 stairs? Just making sure you got that. Not great for your elderly grandma or your friends with a stroller. 

At Cobble Beach, the tide pools are fun to look for critters and the super cool lighthouse.  

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

This 19th Century lighthouse is still operating to this day. It’s pretty cool, and the fact that you can get a tour (when COVID isn’t a thing) makes it a much better visit down the coast to Cobble Beach.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

A really nice aquarium you can hit up when you’re tired of beach and sand. It has a great learning program and they love a crowd when feeding the animals. They have otters, sharks, seals, and other trapped wildlife you can see. Tons of fun for the whole family! 

  • It’s located in western Oregon, north of Newport and south of Beverly Beach
  • Can I bring my dog to Cobble Beach? – Yes. But they must be on a leash.
  • Can I camp at Cobble Beach – Not sure. 
  • Distance from Portland – 112 miles or 2 hour 31 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle –  285 miles or 5 hours 25 minutes

Pacific City Beach

So, if you’re bored of the same old PNW beach that you’ve been going to for years, then this beach might be a good way to shake things up.

Pacific City Beach has a big surf (for surfing and boogie boarding), kayaking, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Even though it’s become a central tourist hub and there’s loads to do, it’s the calm and relaxed atmosphere that makes it unique. 

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area

The fact that you can go hiking in Cape Kiwanda in the morning and go for an afternoon run on the beach, then finish your day bird watching at your choice of sea stacks, makes for a great time at this quiet beach.You have great views of Haystack Rock, too. It’s a gorgeous beach.

There are tide pools that fill up with wonderful sea creatures, sand dunes for hiking, and hang gliding. 

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

This 2.2 mile loop of trails is great when you want an easy hike and lots of choices of terrain. Coastal prairie, alder forest, and wildflower meadow trails all take you through a scenic view of the Nestucca and Little Nestucca Rivers. You can get in some bird watching and snap some amazing photos. And, when that wears off, it’ll be time to head over to the pub for some IPAs. 

Pelican Brewing Company 

An iconic brew pub right on the coast that’s great when you need a little pick me up from all that relaxing. They specialize in beer-inspired cuisines and award-winning beer. Grab your IPA and stuff yourself with some food that’s so-so but all is forgiven once you see the view. Who needs food, anyway?!?

  •  It’s located in northern Oregon, north of Lincoln City and south of Cape Kiwanda
  • Can I bring my dog to Pacific City Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Pacific City Beach? – Not directly on the beach, but yes, there are authorized camping areas.
  • Distance from Seattle – 268 miles or 4 hr 52 minutes
  • Distance from Portland – 96 miles or 1hr 51 minutes

Meyers Creek Beach

Meyers Creek Beach, south of Gold Beach, might feel like a forgotten gem, but every single viewpoint of this beach draws you in; from the broad sandy shore, dramatic haystack rocks, big seashells to the little creeks, this beach has something for everyone. 

Have you ever had a staredown contest with a seagull? Mine! This beach makes it the perfect place for it; plus, I love feeling tiny next to the giant boulders. It’s known for having strong high winds that can feel a bit obnoxious in your face, but for windsurfers, it’s perfect. 

Meyers Creek Beach is a tiny 2 mile long stretch of beach where Meyers Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s just a couple miles north of the mouth of Pistol River and 14 miles south of Gold Beach. During low tide, if you kayak out you can actually go right through a haystack rock and look up where there’s a hole that opens up to the sky. 

Being from the Pacific northwest, I am used to pretty beaches, but holy shit, does this one take the cake from tidal pools to the large haystack rocks? One trip here and you will find yourself skipping town for this serenity. There are no restaurants or shops here. Basically if you’re up for windsurfing, kayaking, or just having a gorgeous beach that’s away from it all, then this is your jam.  

  • It’s located in southern Oregon, 14 miles south of Gold Beach. Take one of the 6 turnouts off of Highway 101 and follow signs for an easy walk down to the beach. 
  • Can I bring my dog to Meyers Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Meyers Beach? – Yes
  • Distance from Seattle – 481 miles or 8 hr 14 mins
  • Distance from Portland – 309 miles or 5 hr 31 mins

Roads End State Recreation Site

Ultimate beach…Those are the only two words that sum up Roads End. I know that I crap on Florida beaches a lot, and with good reason, but if a pleasant evening stroll on a smooth sandy beach doesn’t involve tennis shoes, I’m in.

It’s a small beach that is not right on Highway 101 (the PCH). Located in Lincoln City, OR, if you’re coming from the north on Highway 101, turn right at Safeway and go about a mile. My favorite thing about this beach is the one-mile distance between the parking space and the water, which is decorated with cute little beach cottages. 

During low tide, you can go tide pooling and scramble over lava rocks, or if you’re brave enough, you can explore hidden coves. It’s still a bit of a locals-only spot so it’s less crowded than beaches right off the PCH. If you love sailboarding and kiteboarding, break out that board and do it up!

Cascade Head

Walk north on the beach and you’ll run into Cascade Head. It’s a hot spot for Bald Eagles and you’ll find loads of sea stars. I can’t even describe how beautiful this spot is. Haystack rocks in the water, big rocks in the soft sand, wild sea creatures running free while birds try to eat them; it’s nature at its finest. Once you’re brain is saturated with beauty, head into town for some glass blowing and an amazing dinner. 

Lincoln City Glass Center

Learn how to blow your own glass creations. Lincoln City Glass Center gives 30 minute lessons to teach you the right (and wrong!) ways to create your own glass. If you can’t quite figure it out, no worries, they’ll make something great for you to take home.  

The Bay House at Salishan

If you don’t mend spending a little extra on an excellent dinner, then check out The Bay House, just south of the main beach entrance and north of Cutler City. It’s a nice place, don’t be strollin’ in there with sandy feet and flip flops, but you don’t need a monkey suit either. Just take a shower and wear something your grandmother would approve of. The view is spectacular, it’s oceanfront and feels cozy inside. You should order the clams, halibut, chocolate torte, and a nice bottle of wine. 

  • It’s located in northern Oregon in Lincoln City
  • Can I bring my dog to Roads End Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Roads End State Recreation Site? – Yes. There are campsites.
  • Distance from Portland – 87 miles or 1 hour 54 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 260 miles or 4 hours 43 minutes

Beverly Beach State Park 

You know how bossy 8 year olds get?? Well, this is yet another victory for them. In 1930 a couple bought this chunk of land, and when they needed a name, they turned to their youngest daughter, and she named the beach Beverly after her doll. Yaay!

And, like an 8 year old, this northwestern beach is both sweet and sour. Sweet for it’s beautiful scenery and beaches, sour if you’re not there to camp. There’s loads of camping here and the campground has mixed reviews. Most everyone loves it for its proximity to the beach but it can be a little crowded and noisy. 

It’s about 5 miles north of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse (no, not the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse which is further south) and 2 miles south of Otter Rock. 

On the Southern end, it offers prime kite-flying surroundings coupled with otherworldly beachcombing territory. You can build a sandcastle, surf, or just kick back and chill. 

For my daredevils, take a 1.5-mile walk, and you find yourself at the ooh so famous devil’s punchbowl (sounds like something my dad would order!)

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

Just south of Beverly Beach, you’ll find Oregon’s tallest standing lighthouse: the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. How tall, you ask?? Well, it’s 93 feet, sir, 93 feet.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is really an amazing specimen.  

It extends 1 mile into the ocean, so it’s filled with tidepools, the Lighthouse which was first lit in 1873, seal refuge, and spot to see migrating gray whales (late fall-early winter and late winter-early spring). It has Cobble Beach which makes music every time the tide rolls over it’s cobblestones. You can spot sea stars, urchins, and sea anemones on the ocean floor. 

Otter Crest Marine Gardens

If you like tide pools, you’ll love Otter Crest. It’s riddled with them; tide pools as far as the eye can see. There’s also hidden tunnels and sea caves to be explored. It’s really a cool place, especially for kids. 

Flying Dutchman Winery

When you’re near the Devil’s Punchbowl, swing by Flying Dutchman Winery for some yummy, salt fermented wines. It’s known for its small batches of wine aged in oak barrels and hand bottled from grapes grown in the salty sea air. It’s the westernmost winery in the Continental US, so you know it’s good. 

  • Where is it located – Central Oregon north of Newport, in Otter Rock, near the Yaquina head lighthouse
  • Can I bring my dog to Beverly Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Beverly Beach? – Yes, OK for big RV’s, too
  • Distance from Portland – 107 miles or 2 hours 26 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 43 miles or 1 hour 25 minutes

Harris Beach State Park

I know I keep saying that there is nothing better than the coast, but can you blame me? It makes it a bit harder when you have a beach that not only has impressive hay stack formations but is home to Bird Island, a national wildlife sanctuary.

Harris Beach is located 8 miles north of the Oregon/California border. They don’t charge for a day pass and there’s tons of parking. 

Not only can you see some Bald Eagles flying around, but you can go hiking, camping, . I loved that the campgrounds are right by the beach for those coastal winter storms that are sure to get you in the right mood. 

Lone Ranch Beach 

Not trying to steal the thunder from Harris Beach, but it just so happens that there’s another beach worth mentioning right next door. About 3 ½ miles north of Harris is Lone Ranch Beach. It’s got easy beach access, tide pools, picnic tables, climbing rocks, and is super dog friendly. You can spend at least an hour on this small beach without sitting down and be super happy. A quiet picnic or romantic sunset might be the cherry on top of a great trip to Brookings. 

Mattie’s Pancake House

Head south from Harris beach about 8 miles and you’ll run into the small town of Brookings. One of their not-so-hidden gems is a breakfast place called Mattie’s…yes, it’s a-mazing and a local hotspot. They’re good at making biscuits and gravy, eggs, french toast, hash browns, and pretty much everything on the menu. The only complaint, sometimes there’s a bit of a wait because people can’t get enough of Mattie’s.    

  • Located in southern Oregon in Brookings
  • Can I bring my dog to Harris beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Harris beach? – Yes, but there is a 24 hours lumber yard near the campground which can be loud at night
  • Distance from Portland – 328 miles or 5 hours 48 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 501 miles or 8 hours 37 minutes

Horsfall Beach

Imagine 47-miles of dunes and striking panoramic wetlands! You can go off-roading over the dunes, or pick a trail and head over the dunes to the beach. Don’t worry, actually getting to the beach sounds harder than it is. 

Located within the Oregon National Recreational Area, this beach is one of the most active beaches in Oregon and well-loved by visitors from all around the world. Once they decide what to do!

Hiking, beach, dune buggies, ATVs, sand surfing, lakes, forests, and even ghastly shipwrecks make it hard to figure out what to do first. You can rent dune buggies and ATVs nearby or in Florence at Full Throttle. When you get tired or sand and sun, there are unique museums, decent restaurants, and some shopping nearby. 

Umpqua Discovery Center

A unique museum for kids and not-kids. There’s interactive murals and activities and, yes, a gift shop. You’ll come away knowing something you didn’t know already about the area. Plus, you can visit a weather station and bear den. You can definitely kill an afternoon here and not regret it.  

Harbor Light Family Restaurant

Super close to the beach Rec Area is Harbor Light Restaurant. If you’ve got a hankerin’ for some pot pie, fish and chips, or the ever-popular PNW specialty – salmon chowder- you’ll be happy with this place.  

  • It is located in central Oregon, in Reedsport, north of Coos Bay and south of Florence
  • Can I bring my dog to Horsfall Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Horsfall Beach? – Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 219 miles or 3 1/2 hours
  • Distance from Seattle – 392 miles or 5 1/2 hours

Moolack Beach

I never used to believe in the healing powers of crystals or stones. Seems too, “hippy.”

You’re probably asking yourself what do they have in common. Well, nothing, but if you are a lover of agate stones, then be sure to head down to Moolack Beach for some expansive collecting. What’s an agate stone, you ask? Well, let me tell you.  

Agates are gemstones made up of chalcedony and microcrystalline quartz. They’re banded, translucent, and form in volcanoes. Oh, did I mention they’re used in jewelry and are absolutely stunning?? Plus, at Moolack Beach, you can find them just hanging out, waiting for you to find them. You can’t get much cooler than that.   

It’s a small beach without a ton of people. You can hear the big waves crash and take in the beautiful scenery without a lot of interruptions. This makes it perfect for bird watching, searching for sea glass, fossils, oh, and did we mention agates?? Ya, they’re there. 

And just in case you were wondering, yes, I have been to Moolack Beach, and the surfing is what stole my heart. 

Moolack Beach is south of Beverly Beach and north of Newport. The trail down to the beach is a tad windy and steep, but not super hard. If you’re bringing little kids, you might want to stick to Beverly Beach where they have bathrooms, showers, and easier paths.  

Otter Crest Loop

This is a harrowing road that takes you south, off the PCH, through windy, narrow, sometimes one-way roads. But why do I even mention this scary 15 minute jaunt?? Because the scenery is so worth the increased heart rate of driving on such a road. You can even spot migrating gray whales if the season is right (much better than fighting the crowds at Depoe Bay!). 

The signage to hop onto the Loop is not great, so be on the lookout. It’s 5 miles north of Moolack Beach on the 101, but get on on the 101 South and take it south to see everything. 

Georgie’s Beachside Grill

Georgie’s is inside the Hallmark Hotel Resort and is a great place to sit and have a drink. It has wall-to-wall ocean views, a great wine list, full bar, and a good selection of IPAs. Once you’re sitting and looking and drinking, you’ll smell the amazing food they’re known for. Do yourself a favor and try the crab cakes, crab salad, clam chowder, and Yaquina Bay oysters.  They do breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

  • It is located in north Oregon, 5 miles north of Newport
  • Can I bring my dog to Moolack Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Moolack Beach – Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 109 miles or 2 hour 26 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 282 miles or  5 hour 20 minutes

Sunset Bay State Park

Sunset Bay State Park is a treasure trove along the pacific coast. That is what my family calls it. Probably because of the public golf course. Just like the name suggests, the bay has some of the most beautiful sunsets on the coast, plus the trails will kick your butt, in the right way.

From the trails connecting sunset bay with shores acres to the hidden coves and the pristine beaches, there’s plenty to take in, even for non-golfers. 

You can fish off the rocks on the north and south sides of the Bay

It’s just 10 miles southwest of Coos Bay and has showers, bathrooms, changing stalls, and free parking. 

Sunset Bay Golf Course

A lush and beautiful course with 3,000 yards of par 36 with two par 5’s, five par 4’s and two par 3’s. It’s not going to totally wipe you out but it won’t leave you wanting more, either. It’s a nice Goldilocks course.  

Miller’s at the Cove

From the outside, Miller’s doesn’t look like much. But once you taste the food you’ll understand why it’s made it into our Guide. Holy smoke balls. The marion berry pie was the best in the PNW. You probably know that marionberries are a thing here,  they’re pretty much a peppy blackberry, but this pie was absolutely to die for.

OK, so you’re steering clear of pie. Gotta watch the old waistline, I get it. Well replace those pie calories with beer calories because Miller’s has a great Happy Hour with a bunch of local craft beers. Eat some fries (they’re superb) and grab a fish taco. 

  • It is located in southern Oregon, 10 miles southwest of Coos Bay
  • Can I bring my dog to sunset bay beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at sunset beach? – Yes, there are several campgrounds available but there’s a lot of complaints about them being mismanaged. 
  • Distance from Portland – 231 miles or  4 hours
  • Distance from Seattle –  400 miles  or 7 hours

Bullards Beach State Park

A hit among history bluffs, located north of Bandon, this 4-mile-long beach is perfect for my beachcombing babies.  My favorite thing about this beach are the picnic areas with barbeque pits and horseshoe pelts. But watch your food, there are a lot of birds here!

If you are scared of coastal birds, then be sure to stay in the car or maybe fight that seagull for your burrito (he sure as hell doesn’t deserve it) and take in the sights of the beach as kids run after the cormorants and pelicans who frequent the shore.

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

This popular viewpoint is aptly named for its huge rocks with face-shaped features. You’ll see haystacks in the water and find sea caves that you’ll want to explore during low tide. Loads of sea stars, urchins, and all sorts of crazy creatures are just waiting to be found. You can spend the day walking on the sand and exploring. 

Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant

In the PNW, especially on the coast, it’s not often you’ll find really, really good (I mean, homemade pasta good!) italian food. Well, Alloro’s got you. You’ve got seafood, steaks, and italian all in one place. Everything is fresh and housemade as much as possible. Get the crab bisque, scallops, and lemon panna cotta. Really, everything is probably amazing, but these were my favorite. It, quite literally, could be the best restaurant on the PNW.    

Coastal Mist Fine Chocolates and Desserts

Hot chocolate (or ‘sipping chocolate’ for you chocolate buffs out there) on a cool day, chocolate candies, and desserts are made in-house and melt in your mouth. Once you come here, you’ll be hooked. 

  • It is located in southern Oregon, 4 miles north of Bandon
  • Can I bring my dog to Bullards Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Bullards Beach? – Yes, there are even hot free showers
  • Distance from Portland – 245 miles or 4 hour 13 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 418 miles or 7 hour 14 minutes

Final Thoughts

If you want to just hang on the beach with an ice cold IPA and eat an open-fire cooked crab you just stole from the ocean, Oregon beaches got you covered. If you want to gebusy windsurfing, kite surfing, normal surfing, hiking, sea cave exploring, kayaking, camping, SUP-ing, fishing, or really any other kind activity, except swimming, Oregon beaches have got you covered. We got food, drinks, fun, and- sometimes – sun. We have beach treasure and shipwrecks, tide pools, gray whales, sea stars, and dune buggies. Whatever you want, Oregon beaches got it. Just don’t forget your sweatshirt, even in summer.

So, quit reading and get going! Life’s too short! Oh ya, but don’t forget to leave us your email so we can send you other super fun and exciting things you never knew straight to your inbox. 

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DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO PACIFIC NORTHWEST COASTAL BEACHES – Washington

Pacific Northwest Beaches are not known for their hot sunny days and bronzed beach bodies. These are NOT the sand volleyball, bikini-clad beaches of Southern California. Most of the time, on PNW beaches, you’re lucky to have nice enough weather to even take off your hoodie. 

Our beaches are loved for their natural beauty, tide pools, driftwood, sea caves, and the occasional boardwalk. Picture a nice stroll down an uninhabited beach on a cloudy, or, better yet, a misty day.  So grab a coffee, throw on a pair of shorts and a hoodie, and pack a cooler of IPAs, because we’re heading out to explore Washington beaches. 

Alki Beach

I don’t know about you, but it makes me giggle knowing that Alki beach was made famous for that old Tom Hanks movie Sleepless in Seattle. It’s the scene where he flies a kite on the beach with his son. Awww! How sweet. But really, it’s a beautiful beach. 

This beach is a fan favorite because there’s so much to do. Everything from sunbathing to the amusement park (which houses a 2.5-ton anchor) to the Alki point lighthouse gives out tours in the summer months. It has something for everyone.

Alki Beach offers 2.5 miles of sandy beach great for people watching, volleyball tournaments, and skateboarding. It’s not for swimming though, thanks to the Puget Sound waters; however, it makes up for it with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle.

Alki Avenue SW

You’re probably getting a bit hungry after all that fun in the sun, if there’s sun, well at least there’s going to be fun on the sand. Take a nice stroll down Alki Avenue SW and pop into one of the many amazing restaurants there. 

Cactus Restaurant is well-loved for its outstanding mexican food, especially if you’re craving some fajitas and house-made guacamole. Dive into the chile relleno and a nice margarita (on the rocks, never frozen!) and you’ll not be disappointed. 

Alki Point Lighthouse

This is a cute little active lighthouse used to navigate boats around the Puget Sound. It’s not very big, compared to other lighthouses, but they offer summertime tours and you might learn a thing or two. 

It’s located in West Seattle and is really easy to get to right from downtown.  

  • Can I bring my dog to Alki Beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Alki Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 175.1miles 
  • Distance from Seattle -11.1 miles 

Second Beach Trail

The tide pools, sea stacks, and Quillayute Needles of La Push Second Beach are out of a twilight movie scene. Second Beach is located in the Olympic National Park and is known for its tide pools, crazy-looking trees, and ample parking. 

This is one of the 3 beaches in the La Push area and is a vast expanse of fine sand, towering sea stacks, mesmerizing tide pools, and impressive sea caves. Low tide allows access across a long sandpit, connecting the mainland to the archipelagos.

The hike down Second Beach Trail is a little steep and there’s some stairs at the end, so don’t wear flip flops. It is covered in a dense forest with crazy-looking twisted trees that make it a little spooky and super fun for kids.

If you can’t make it all the way to either La Push or Kalaloch’s Ruby Beach, then Second Beach Trail is where you want to go. You’ll still get that iconic Washington Coastline view and get to see the tide pools. 

It’s located in Northwest Washington, just south of Rialto Beach and Forks, WA.  

  • Can I bring my dog to Second Beach? No
  • Can I camp at Second Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 260.3 miles
  • Distance from Seattle -149.9 miles 

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach gives you an ethereal feeling. Maybe it is because of the fog or the forest behind this beach, but it is one of the coolest beaches in Olympic National Park. If you’re a Twilight fan, there were a bunch of scenes shot here because of this unique semi-creepy landscape. 

There is nothing more beautiful than miles and miles of long sandy shores and a ton of driftwood, which you might have to climb, if you’re feeling spry. It has ruby stones on the beach (hence the name) making it great for beachcombers, but not great for bare feet, so be sure to wear shoes. You’ll find tide pools, loads of sea anemones, and loads of other little sea creatures.  

Ruby Beach offers a good sized parking lot, but fills up on the weekends. There’s a few bathrooms in the parking lot, but they’re just portables and don’t have running water.It’s close to the Quinault and Hoh rainforest areas of Olympic National Park and makes for a nice stop along the 101. 

One of the things that I love about Ruby Beach is the sandbar, which divides the shore from the ocean water and can get a bit warmer for kids to enjoy and frolic. Plus, driftwood always makes fun time writing messages pretending to be from the past and messing with people.

It’s located in Northwest Washington, south of La Push Second Beach and just north of the Quinault Reservation. 

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Ruby Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 219.1 miles
  • Distance from Seattle – 184.6 miles 

Rialto Beach

This public beach is nothing short of magnificence. Adjacent to Mora campground and on the mouth of the Quillayute River, some would argue it’s the perfect backdrop for a proposal. 

Rialto Beach is unique for its moody nature, misty blackrock beaches, substantial driftwood, and one-of-a-kind scenery. This allows for stunning photos, and during low tide, you can walk out and see sea stacks, wildlife and driftwood. You’ll see Cake Rock (basically a square-shaped sea stack) and Dahdayla Island off shore. 

If you go at high tide (in the morning), you’ll see roaring ocean waves and tons of pebbles and driftwood. If you go at low tide the kids (or you!) can climb the driftwood and peek into the many tide pools looking for starfish, sea anemones, and other little sea creatures. 

It’s wheelchair accessible close enough to get a really nice scenic view. There are no restrooms onsite but it’s close to the Mora campground which does have them. 

Hole-In-The-Wall

The hole-in-the-wall is a locally famous hiking trail about 3 miles north of Rialto Beach. It’s open year-round and loved for walking and nature-watching. The geography of this trail tends to change with the weather and storm surges. It could either be a nice smooth walk all the way down to the beach or you’ll have to find your way through 40 feet of driftwood. So, if you have mobility issues, maybe stick with Ruby Beach or La Push Second Beach. 

It’s part of the Olympic National Park, so you have to pay admission, $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, on foot or bike is $15 per person, and an annual pass for $55.

It’s located in Northwest Washington, just north of La Push Second Beach, right at the mouth of the Quillayute River.

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Rialto Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 260.1 miles
  • Distance from Seattle – 149.7 miles 

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi (pronounced Shy Shy) Beach is a rewarding, but muddy, 2-mile hike through an old-growth forest. It’s one of those beaches the locals love and the tourists aren’t so sure about. But once you do it once, you’ll want to do it again and again. 

Off the beaten path in Olympic National Park, you’ll hike 4.5 miles total. It’s 2 miles there and 2.5 miles back. The first 2 miles are on a dirt path, which can get a little muddy, mixed in with some wooden planks. Wear leather hiking boots or even your Wellies! But once you get down to the beach you can rinse your dirty hooves in that gorgeous (slightly chilly) ocean as you’re met with a cluster of sea stacks, large tide pools, and whales, yes whales, at the right time of year. Whale watching is best in April, May, October, and November. Bald eagles are known to be cruising around, too.  

The last 2.5 miles are a lovely walk down a nice sandy beach. At the end, you’ll see the Point of Arches, which is exactly what it sounds like, a sea stack with a bunch of arches, yes, it’s cooler than it sounds. This is a place where you can disconnect from the outside world while getting some good cardio. 

It’s located in Northwest Washington in Clallam Bay, just south of Victoria, Canada.

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? No
  • Can I camp at Shi Shi Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 299.6 miles
  • Distance from Seattle -157.5 miles

Long Beach  

Long Beach is known for being the longest drivable beach in the US, and second longest in the whole world. And by “driveable” I literally mean you can drive a car on the beach. Yes. Your car, on the beach. OK, so there are parts of the beach where you can’t drive, but on the 28 miles of golden sand, you have lots of room to do it. 

This is definitely not a swimming beach, but if you’re a surfer, the Long Beach Peninsula Beaches might give you a run for your money. Look out for jellyfish on the sand and in the water, they tend to love Long Beach! If you find you can’t live without a nice swim through freezing cold Washington waters, then head over to Cape Disappointment State Park’s Waikiki Beach, near the North Jetty, on Long Beach. You’ll love your 3 minutes of cold, salty fun. 

Aside from driving, you can horseback ride, walk, run, bike on the bike path, fly a kite, or head to the Boardwalk to play miniature golf, go to the arcade, or to the iconic Marsh’s Free Museum. 

Marsh’s Free Museum

This isn’t your typical stuffy old museum full of useful history and stuff for smart people. Marsh’s Free Museum is like a beachy thrift store mixed with a splash of history. It’s more of a unique gift shop than a museum, but it’s still a fun little jaunt. They have a half-man half-mermaid mummy on display, old coin-op machines, and all the usual touristy crap you can find in other places. But, the best thing to see is, of course, the world-renowned, Jake the Alligator Man. 

Jake the Alligator Man

In the Marsh’s Free Museum, you’ll find this kitschy alligator man, aptly named Jake the Alligator Man. Is it a real live man walking around in an alligator suit? No. Is it a half-man, half-alligator? Getting warmer. Give up? It’s a mummified half-man, half-alligator. Yes. An alligator/man mummy. Believe it or not, it’s worth a look. 

If you are up for some actual history, you can walk the Discovery Trail where Lewis and Clark made their expedition of exploring lands, 

Discovery Trail

The discovery trail is a 8.5 mile trail that starts at Port of Ilwaco. You can hike, bike, or walk down this beautiful stretch of beachy trail where Louis and Clark started their journey. You’ll see interpretive art and commemorative sculptures explaining their journey down the trail. As you walk, you’ll see Baker’s Bay and can head up to Cape Disappointment State Park which has the North Head Lighthouse and Beard’s Hollow. Do some whale watching at Sid Snyder Beach Approach and take a short walk down the Long Beach Boardwalk. You’ll finish at Breakers on the north side of Long Beach. If you’re not up for this super long hike, check out all the other access points you can jump in at. This is a great hike for the not-so-fit and mobile!

It’s located in Southwest Washington, just north of the Oregon border. 

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Long Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 111.5 miles
  • Distance from Seattle – 171.0 miles 

Cape Disappointment State Park

Holy moly, storm watching on this beach is freaking crazy. I don’t use the word lightly. With the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and sea coves as a backdrop, it will take your breath away. 

A trip here will not be disappointing, even though this State Park has the worst possible name. Located where the Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River, it’s a storm watchers dream. Cape Disappointment has 8 miles of hiking trails, so whip out those boots and let’s have some fun.

Although this area is known as the foggiest area in the USA, if you time it right, you can see a lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean below.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is a little black and white one perched on top of a high rock just south of Waikiki Beach. You can actually stay inside the lighthouse and be pampered with all the comforts of home. It’s a short hike, like 0.25 miles, from the Lighthouse parking lot. If you like lighthouses, then this one might knock your socks off. 

Waikiki Beach

Yes, it’s the same name as the one in Hawaii, no it isn’t confusing…again, this isn’t the type of beach where you can lay out and get a lovely tan. If you’ve ever wanted to experience those  wild untamable Pacific Northwest winters where the sea becomes a roaring white-capped monster, then this is the place to be. 

Waikiki Beach is a tiny cove inside Cape Disappointment State Park and it’s where Lewis and Clark camped on their journey discovering the PNW. This is something you can learn all about when you visit Cape Disappointment’s Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and to let the kids climb and explore the massive amounts of driftwood lying around. When the ocean is calm, you can surf and swim inside this enclosed cove.  You’ll be able to see the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse on a clear day.  

Located in Southwestern Washington just north of the Oregon border.  

  • Can I bring my dog? Yes 
  • Can I camp? Yes
  • Distance from Portland -111.8miles
  • Distance from Seattle-172.5 miles

DAMON POINT

Okay, maybe I got to this beach through Instagram, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I found the most extensive sea agates collection on this beach. From beachcombing to spotting whales in the distance to numerous hikes and driftwood collections, no wonder it’s a hippie encampment.

As part of the Washington department of natural resources, you will find the streaked horned lark, snow owls, and numerous shorebirds. Don’t forget to keep a respectable distance or you might get in trouble!

It’s super easy to find parking and just walk on down to the sand at Damon Point. It’s a tranquil, calm spot well-loved by locals for its massive amounts of wildlife. At low tide you’ll find sea agates, sea anemones, gooseneck barnacles, and even walk onto a tiny island that is covered up during high tide. 

When you’re done basking in the glorious natural beauty Damon Point, you can fish, kitesurf, check out the tide pools, let your dog and the kids run wild (no cars allowed), or just take the 5 mile hike around the entire beach. 

It is located in southwest Washington in Ocean Shores, north of Westport. 

  • Can I bring my dog to Damon point? Yes
  • Can I camp at Damon point? Yes
  • Distance from Portland -170.9miles
  • Distance from Seattle-136.4miles

Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park is a hiking destination for people all over the world. It has over 30 miles of hiking trails all with amazing scenery. Hike the very do-able 40 minutes round trip from Bowman’s Bay to Rosario Beach and take in the spectacular views of Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island, and Puget Sound. You’ll see the impressive Deception Pass Bridge, ocean, sand, and curious wildlife. 

You can find ample parking inside the State Park and start with an easy walk down to one of the trails. There’s tons of campgrounds, swimming at Cranberry Lake, kayaking, SUPing, and hiking, did we mention hiking?!?

Rosario Beach 

Rosario Beach is on the north side of Deception State Park on the Fidalgo Islands. Most of the shoreline is small pebbly rocks that rattle when the waves come in. Here you will find tide pools, sea agate, an expansive beach with loads of driftwood, a picnic area, wildflower meadows, and it’s perfect for rock hunting. There are rocks painted by Whidbey Island Rock Painters, and, if you’re lucky, you might find one. 

West Beach 

Found in Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, this little sandy beach is more accessible than its counterparts. If the cold water scares you, then having a picnic at one of the many picnic tables will soothe your soul. When the weather is right, this beach is great for tide pooling. The only drawback is that the naval air base is close by, and you will get acquainted with an R6 engine by the time you leave the West Beach. You can see the Olympic Mountains on one side, and the deception pass bridge on the other makes it a must-see.

Seabolts Smokehouse

Once you have worked up an appetite, head the 13 miles into Oak Harbor to Seabolts Smokehouse. They are known for clam chowder, Penn Cove Mussels, halibut, fried oysters, and of course, locally caught salmon.  

Located in Northwest Washington, north of Oak Harbor, on Whidbey Island. 

  • Can I bring my dog to Deception State Park? Yes
  • Can I camp at Deception State Park? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 257 miles
  • Distance from Seattle – 83.4 miles

Marina Beach Park 

This beach is a bit rockier but way more family-friendly than a lot of Washington beaches. Marina Beach Park has a playground with off-leash dog park next to it, picnic tables, BBQ’s, plenty of driftwood, sea lions, river otters, harbor seals, and the occasional orca in the winter.

If you don’t want to pack a picnic, or, more likely, the weather isn’t picnic-friendly, then walk over to one of the many super yummy restaurants Edmonds has to offer. 

Anthony’s HomePort Edmonds

Anthony’s is well-loved by locals and visitors who want a fantastic seafood meal with a great view. Try the clam chowder in a bread bowl, crab fettuccine, fish and chips, and garlic prawns. It’s right on the harbor so you can watch the sailboats coming in and out. It’s beautiful views mixed with delicious dishes make this a great place to eat a meal. 

It’s located in Northwest Washington in Edmonds. 

  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? Yes
  • Can I camp at Marina Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 191.7 miles
  • Distance from Seattle -17.9 miles

Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park is a 700+ acres of sprawling forest, wildflowers, woodland trails, gardens, and a giant duck pond. You can literally spend the entire day walking on the path, or just plop on a blanket and do some people-watching. You’ll see gorgeous flowers and buzzing bees. When you do get bored of just sitting there though, take a stroll down to Owen Beach. 

Owen Beach

Located in Point Defiance Park, Owen Beach has gorgeous views of Mt Rainier and Vashon Islands’ stunning views. You can rent a kayak, have lunch on one of the many picnic tables, use the BBQ, or hike out to the Point. The beach is not sand, it’s tiny pebbles, so wear shoes.  There’s a nice concrete ocean walking path where you’ll stroll through lush forests and get to see all the shades of green Washington is famous for. If you want to get a little closer to the sealife, walk over to the Aquarium. 

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

This is a 29-acre zoo with a Kids Zone, camel rides, and a tons of super cool animals. It’s only about 90 minutes around the zoo and you’ll love the walruses! Parking is free and easy. 

It’s located in Northwest Washington, north of Lakewood.

  • Can I bring my dog to Owen Beach? Yes 
  • Can I camp at Owen Beach? Yes
  • Distance from Portland -148.9 miles
  • Distance from Seattle – 39.9 miles

Final Thoughts

While Washington beaches will leave you looking pale and pasty, the scenery more than makes up for its lack of hot beach weather. The roaring waves and expansive hiking trails bring you to tide pools, sea anemones, wildlife, and picnic spots. You can’t get much better than spending the day taking in lighthouses, sea caves, and getting sea mist in your eyes. So, pack a cooler backpack with IPA’s, grab your hoodie, and don’t forget your camera, because we’re heading out to explore Washington beaches!

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Nude Hiking – Yeah, It’s A Thing

There are countless benefits of hiking in the great Pacific Northwest. I have offered a plethora of highly valuable insight into the art of hiking in my Ultimate Hiking Guide, including what to wear, where to hike, and how to thrive on the trail and off.

The freedom that comes from hiking a great trail is thrilling and invigorating. But there is a way to take the sensation one step further, and that is nude hiking. 

Nude Hiking?!

I know! I know. As women we are not exactly excited to unleash our assets in a public area. There are a lot of very reasonable concerns around public nudity and the implications that can come from such a thing. But we aren’t talking about strutting down 5th in our birthday suits, this is the great outdoors!

So much of society revolves around rigid structure and following the rules. It becomes claustrophobic and tense, and I can say from my vast experience as a master hiker, that there is no greater way to shirk the restraints of rigid society than to hike a long, dusty, sunny trail wearing nothing but the pack on my back.

The benefits of hiking are countless, and nude hiking allows for even greater positive impact on the body and mind. 

At One With Nature

Studies have shown that as little as two hours spent in nature can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, enhance immune system functions, improve mood, and raise self esteem! Clothing is one more barrier between your body and nature, and eliminating that obstruction allows the hiker the closest connection to nature as possible.

Positive Body Image

A woman’s body is more powerful than we ever give it credit for, and so much time is spent hiding it beneath layers of fabric for either fashion or modesty’s sake. But I say to hell with that! Accepting and appreciating the body we have is imperative to a healthy outlook on life. The sooner we accept that our bodies are perfectly imperfect, the better our mental outlook will become. Our bodies carry us up that trail, let the sun shine on them a bit! 

Speaking of Sunshine…

Being naked in the sun is incredibly intoxicating. It boosts mood, Vitamin D intake, and can even help detoxify the skin. Excess amounts of sweat can be released through the pores when hiking, and often that sweat sticks to clothing, so even when one is wearing sweat-wicking fabric, the body can react to inflammation due to inflamed hair follicles, leading to disgusting rashes. 

Think about how your lungs feel when you step outside and take a deep, fresh breath. Hiking nude allows your skin to take a deep intake of sunshine, allowing it to breathe in all of the positive benefits of sun. Trust me when I say this, getting drunk on the sun is almost as enjoyable as getting guttered on a robust, full-bodied sulfite-free red…almost… 

And Oh, the Thrill!

There is an unarguable thrill that comes from being naked in the wilderness. And it isn’t the idea of being caught, because as one hikes the trail in the buff it is easy to forget that other people even exist. The connection to self and nature is so prevalent, the most visceral sensation that stands out is the pure freedom of body and mind. 


That’s not to say there won’t be others on the trail, and that is a risk each nude hiker must face for themselves, but ultimately it is the bond between woman and earth that offers the freedom everyone should experience at least once.

Will I End Up in Jail… Naked?

Please… they’ll let you put your clothes on first. 

But in all seriousness, it is reasonable to worry about the legalities of hiking naked. Some people may assume that nude hikers are out for nefarious reasons. It is important to keep in mind that other hikers may be surprised and uncomfortable to see a naked person on the trail, and that hiking is about being aware of one’s surroundings and considerate of your fellow hiker’s feelings. 

With that in mind, the federally owned U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not expressly prohibit nudity. The separate states and counties, however, may have their own laws on the matter. There is the possibility that nude hiking may lead to a citation or warning from a park ranger, and in some municipalities there are direct anti-nudity ordinances that will increase the likelihood and severity of punishment. 

It is highly recommended that the nude hiker take the time to contact the public lands office responsible for the location of their chosen trail. This is an easy way to secure confidence in your nude hiking experience and is not a step that should be ignored. 

My interactions with authorities while nude hiking have been limited, but the possibility is always there. I wouldn’t call it a threat per se, but it is important to keep in mind that nature doesn’t completely belong to the hiker, and it is better to be safe than risk an expensive ticket or embarrassing naked interaction with a power tripping park ranger.

Be Prepared To Avoid Hairy Situations

As with any outdoor activity, a smart hiker will have a good deal of situational awareness. The fact that you, hiker, will have familiarized yourself with my Ultimate Hiking Guide, you should have a strong list of packing essentials for a successful hike. 

When nude hiking, there are a few additional things to consider. Even fully clothed, a hiker will face adversity, but when she has no barrier between the body and the elements, it is obvious that you should be prepared for the hairiest situation.

Sunburns

Of course this should be at the top of the list when planning for a nude hike. The same sun that beams Vitamin D into the skin also shoots deadly rays of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light (you pale-skinned folk know exactly what I’m talking about all to well). The green nude hiker may forget sunscreen, or may make the mistake of only applying sed sunscreen on the covered areas of the body. Grave mistake. It isn’t likely that you will be driving to your hiking trail in the buff, so remember to take the time to apply sunscreen in all cracks and crevices upon arrival. 

Pro-tip: Discretion is welcomed when applying sunscreen – find a place that others can’t look on as you rub the lotion on your skin. 

Rash Attack

Always be on the lookout for poison oak, poison ivy, and stinging nettles. When hiking fully clothed these nuisances can be avoided by careful placement of fabric. But I assume you are smart enough to know that the less clothing you wear, the greater the likelihood of interacting with these pesky plants. 

All it takes is a slight brush up against the urushiol – the compound found within poison oak and ivy that easily attaches to the skin and causes a painful and unsightly oily, pustulant rash for up to two weeks after exposure. I’ve had to explain some of my rashes on several occasions on first dates… Hmm, actually… maybe that’s why there wasn’t a second date…

Buggin’ Out

Mosquitos in the Pacific Northwest are no joke. The mosquito season starts mid-April and lasts through October. This is peak nude hiking time and any person with bare skin will be an object of painful affection for mosquitos seeking fresh blood. 

I hiked near Crater Lake in July and had to breathe through my nose due to the excess of mosquito clouds threatening my every gasp. Mosquitoes will attach themselves to any exposed skin, so assume that a nude hiker will be a buffet for the pests. It is recommended that every hiker carry a strong bottle of DEET. 

Sasquatch Sightings

Listen, maybe it wasn’t Sasquatch, but I did stumble upon some hairy beast touching himself under bush cover. Women must be aware of the implications of nude hiking where… these “Sasquatch’s”…may be present. 

As women, we are never really able to let our guards down, and it is important to keep our eyes open and wits about us when hiking in the nude. Take it from this master hiker, pepper spray barely weighs a thing (I wore brass knuckles once, but god damn they’re surprisingly heavy), and it works against hairy beasts of all kinds. 

Don’t Forget the Essentials

Remember, nude hiking is still hiking. The longer the hike, the greater the need to pack essential gear. What our bodies lack in clothing, they make up for by carrying a backpack with the necessary items for a successful hike. 

Your body still needs about one liter of water for every two hours of hiking. While nude hiking may not be a great time for an overnight hike, it will still require an appropriate amount of hydration as well as any snacks that one may desire. 

Nude hiking adds greater risk of scrapes and bites, so be sure to pack ample first aid supplies:

  • Neosporin – for minor wounds 
  • Bug spray – apply frequently on the trail
  • Anti-Chafing cream – trust me, thighs rub together, backpack straps cut into armpits, it’s better to avoid chafing with a good cream or stick application.
  • High SPF sunscreen – remember that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially when sweating heavily, as is likely during those tough parts of the trail.
  • Footwear – Your body may be naked, but your feet and ankles should be fully protected (even though walking barefoot through the forest was way more comfortable than heels could ever be). Make sure your hiking boots are fully broken in and that the socks are the appropriate thickness to avoid blistering and bruising.
  • Clothes – Yes, you will need to cover up eventually! As liberating as nude hiking is, you should always keep clothes in your bag. If there is a run-in with authority or when you find yourself in an area with other hikers, it is important to have clothing at the ready to cover up respectfully. 
  • Optional – A hydro flask filled with a crisp vegan white wine poured over some ice, and a pack of American Spirits just in case you get tired of inhaling all that nature.

Strength in Numbers

Nude hiking allows one to embrace their body in the wild. There is no shame in the body or in the desire to go outside of societal norms to experience nature to its fullest.

That said, it is advisable to find a group of like-minded hikers who enjoy the same freedoms, as overall it is far more disarming to see a group of naked people as opposed to just one. This aids in both the normalization of seeing nudity on the trail, as well as providing a certain protective barrier against those who may not understand nude hiking. 

There are many groups in the Pacific Northwest who gather for nude hiking. These groups can be found on specific Meetup sites and include everything from Portland, Oregon Nude Sunbathers to High Desert Hikers in Bend, Oregon.

Basically, there is no shortage of hikers who dare to go bare in the Pacific Northwest. I think people are more likely to give a double glance at a Texan tourist wearing a tube top and kitten heels on the trail than a nude hiker. Both are sights to be seen.

National Nude Hiking Day

Perhaps you are ready to give nude hiking a try, but would like a little fanfare in doing so.

June 21st is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, but also is the lesser known (unofficial) National Nude Hiking Day! For those who are longtime converts of nude hiking, this is a day to celebrate the liberation from the binding pressures of society and embrace the ultimate freedom of being naked in the wild. 

Keep in mind that National Nude Hiking Day does not offer a free pass to go nude – all previously mentioned restrictions are still enforced in the areas they apply to, but you may just see another naked wanderer or two along the trail that day, ready to give a nod in solidarity. 

You’re Ready!

If you have always wanted to walk on the wild side, there’s no day like today. Nude hiking gives the courageous person a chance to fully embrace their body in nature, and the ability to transcend the limitations that are presented in day to day life. 

It is imperative to plan ahead and be prepared, but you are now knowledgeable on all of the important matters that are required of a master hiker. Ultimately nude hiking elevates the sport of hiking to a new level of risk and high reward. 

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for more pro-tips and fun facts, and always remember, nature is meant to be explored to the fullest!

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Oregon Beaches

So, here we are. It’s the weekend. You don’t have any plans and you’ve started wondering to yourself, what it’s like to take a road trip down THE PERFECT coast!

Where do you start? 

Lucky, I can help you find that amazing beach weekend you’ve been needing, wanting, and dreaming of! Because, and you probably know this, PNW beaches are not like other beaches around the country. 

We don’t go there to show off our hot bods in a bikini and bask in the sunlight. Most of us are so pasty we don’t even want to wear shorts and we’re lucky if we even catch a sunny day. 

We go there to breathe in that fresh salty air, hear the waves crash, put our toes in the sand, eat some crab, try the local brew, and lick an ice cream cone. Most of us just want a change of scenery. 

Pacific Northwest Beaches

We got rocks, we got wind, we got fog, and if you are really lucky we might even have a bit of sun! 

Ok maybe on paper it doesn’t sound like a Sandals vacation, but if you’ve ever been to a Florida or So Cal beach and hated being whacked by a frisbee because – for some Goddamn reason- they have to play so close to you, then you will appreciate everything the “real” Pacific Northwest coast has to offer.

Yes, you can argue our coast is not as warm, or even sunny, but just like my IPAs, I like it cold. 

From clamming to whale watching, the possibilities are endless, so ditch the bathing suit for a raincoat and let’s go coastal!

Beaches in Oregon

If I said I had a hard time narrowing this list down of my favorite beaches in Oregon, you’d probably call me out on my BS because it sounds like my mom when asked who her favorite kid is, and she gets flustered. (Easy! It’s Jessica. Not Riley, Jessica. In case you were wondering.)

Like my mom, I realize that every beach has something different to offer. Yes, I know that your ability to go sunbathing is iffy and not everyone can make a raincoat / flipflops combo look sexy. But this will be better than baking yourself in a giant oven till you are all brown. 

So, this list is more about things to do at these Pacific Northwest coastal beaches. 

Whale watching, kayaking, hiking, surfing, boogie boarding, fishing, horseback riding, camping, bonfires, and loads of other things to do. Just don’t, whatever you do, go swimming. There are super dangerous ‘sneaker waves’ that run all along the coast and might swallow you up. 

Cannon Beach

If you asked me how I wanted to spend my days, chances are it would probably be me, a growler of local microbrew, Charlie (my dog) and a sunset overlooking Haystack Rock.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is a 235 foot hunk of rock that was formed millions of years ago by lava. Today it’s a protected seabird nesting colony that’s home to different species of protected wildlife. Sea stars, crabs, and anemones sticking to the base of haystack rock are kind of cool.

Downtown Cannon Beach

When you’re done staring at the lovely old Rock and your toes are satisfied that you’ve been kicking around enough sand, head a few miles north to downtown Cannon Beach for some yummy lunch at Castaways, coffee (shout out Sleepy Monk!), ice cream, shops, and art galleries.  

Icefire Glassworks is a well known spot in downtown. They are a working hot shop and specialize in finely crafted blown glass. They also house pieces by James Kingwell, Suzanne Kindland, Michelle Kaptur and Mark Gordon (for you art buffs out there!).

Tolovana Beach State Park 

If you’re not up for a busy downtown scene, go south from Haystack Rock a few miles to Tolovana Beach State Park and eat outside at Mo’s. The clam chowder, crab legs, and fish and chips are super yummy. You get a great view of Haystack Rock and the coast as you sip your drinks. 

Tolovana is also my favorite place to park and get on the beach. There’s 1 flight of stairs to the sand, public bathrooms and a place to change. The parking lot isn’t huge, so in season (sunny summer months, like July and August) you might have trouble parking. I have seen RV’s parked there. 

Ecola State Park

If you’re more into hiking, check out Ecola State Park. It’s got mountain hiking trails with views of the Oregon coast. You’ll see Haystack Rock to the south, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse to the north, and Indian Beach. There’s loads of parking and it has an entrance fee.  

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

From the coastline on Cannon, you’ll be able to see Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It’s different from a lot of lighthouses because it’s just sitting in the ocean on a rock. Yes, just like it sounds. It’s cool to see the waves crashing on the rock, but you can’t get close unless you brought binoculars or a helicopter. 

Oswald West State Park

You can also get to Oswald West State Park from Cannon Beach. It’s 2,500 acres of surfing, kayaking, bird watching, hiking and camping. Devil’s Cauldron Overlook and Elk Flats Trails are popular, but they don’t allow camping. 

If you’re looking to take some amazing photos, then this is your jam. There are old wooden bridges that start and end in the lush forest, huge cliffs dropping into the ocean, white foamy pools of bubbling water, views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean behind Evergreens, and postcard-worthy scenes of the Oregon coastline. 

Hug Point State Park

If you go north of Cannon a few miles you’ll run into Hug Point State Park. This place deserves a mention for it’s hidden sea caves and tide pools. There’s great places to set out a beach picnic then take a long walk on the sand for a solid adventure. If you are up for a journey during low tide, try to walk the 6 miles to Haystack Rock, or even better, make it your morning jog.  

If you visit Cannon Beach in the winter, you might spot some 50,000 whales migrating from Ecola State Park. Beat that Florida!

  • Its located in the northwestern part of Oregon, south of Seaside and north of Manzanita 
  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? – Yes, provided they are well behaved and under voice control. Carrying a leash is encouraged. Oh, and pick up the poopies, please. 
  • Can I camp at Cannon Beach? – Yes, there are several campsites.
  • Distance from Portland – 80 miles or 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 206 miles or 3 hours and 45 minutes

Manzanita Beach

Manzanita Beach is turquoise surf, striking cliffs, and loads of one-on-one time with nature. Pop into town for a nice massage and a hidden gem dive bar with the best fish in around.   

Tucked in between the Pacific Ocean, Manzanita Beach is a 7 mile stretch with the Neahkahnie Mountains on it’s side and ends in the mouth of the Nehalem River. 

It’s best for walking and finding sand dollars, having a nice jog, and existing with nature. It’s the best dog beach in the PNW and your furry friend can run off leash, as nature intended. It’s less crowded than Cannon Beach, even during Season, so during the day you might not notice another Soul stroll on by for hours. 

Downtown Manzanita

There’s about a dozen restaurants and some shops in the downtown area. I love hitting up the Spa Mananita for a CBD and aromatherapy massage. It’s so relaxing and I end up feeling so zen and relaxed. Bonus points if you get a facial, too. Your face along everyone that has to look at you will be glad you did. 

For some yummy fish tacos, salmon chowder, and fish salad, the only place to go is San Dune Pub (or is it Sand Dune Pub, I’m never really sure). It’s a local dive but once you get over the “atmosphere,” the food and bar are excellent.  

Oswald West State Park

Yes, it’s the same Oswald West State Park we mentioned in Cannon Beach. But, it’s so big, at 2,500 acres, that it’s here too. 

It’s a beautiful mix of forest and ocean with hiking, camping, kayaks, and surfing. There’s trails and campsites. Plus, an entrance fee. Did we mention the entrance fee?? You can get some great photos and let your dog run. 

Short Sand Beach 

If I had to choose a place to live out a unicorn fantasy, Short Sand Beach, aka “Shortys” or “Short Sands,” would be the place. It’s got a waterfall, lush green forest, and the occasional sparkly rainbow. Oh, and did we mention you get to take a nice easy hike to it?? 

The trail to Shorty’s is through Oswald West State Park and it’s as amazing as the beach itself. It’s a ½ mile of super easy hiking with massive trees on one side and sandstone cliffs overlooking the ocean on the other. You instantly feel a sense of calm come over you. 

As an added bonus, locals call it “surfers paradise,” this sheltered cove has something for everyone, so break out that wetsuit and jump in.

One of the things I like about Shorty’s is that; it’s one of the few places in Oregon dedicated for surfers to catch the perfect wave, and you also get some out of this world views. 

You can go for a hike in the morning, go clamming in the afternoon, and finish off your glorious day with surfing and a bonfire. 

So, remember how I said how gloomy the weather could be down here? Well, the fantastic thing with Manzanita Beach is you can do water sports, which is a luxury down here, and as always, a wet suit is still in order. You can rent those too. 

  • Located in northern Oregon, north of Rockaway Beach and south of Cannon Beach
  • Can I bring my dog to the beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at manzanita beach? – Yes, there are several campsites and rental units. 
  • Distance from Portland – 85 miles or about 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 220 miles or 4 hours 

Rockaway Beach

On Rockaway Beach you can do a bunch of stuff or nothing at all. It’s great if you want to rent a kayak or if you just want to sit on the sand and eat the fresh blackberries you picked off the wild bushes nearby or at the U-Pick farm on the way in.  

Rockaway Beach is popular for crabbing, clamming, kayaking, fishing, bonfires, camping, taking a train ride, and even going to a Pirate Festival. Just don’t try to go swimming! Remember our recurring warning about ‘sneaker waves’! They’re really real. I’m so not kidding, even though the name makes them sound fake. 

Rockaway Beach Wayside

Unleash your dog and let the two of you be free. You can walk the long stretch of Rockaway Beach Wayside while you stare at Twin Rocks which just so happens to be right next to a shipwreck. You can spot pieces of the Emily G Reed shipwreck during low tide and when sand levels are low. 

The sand feels soft on your feet and the waves are fairly tame. Go kayaking or take out a SUP. 

The parking is pretty limited, especially during Season, but the picturesque views and huge amount of places to spread out a beach blanket make it worth the frustration. 

Downtown Rockaway

If you’re ready to head into town for food (but be sure to read about Kelly’s Marina before deciding where to go!), be sure to pop into Flamingo Jim’s for the ultimate in touristy crap selection. Everything from T-shirts to recycled beach trash bracelets and a bunch of other stuff you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. 

For a quick but memorable meal, try the historic Pronto Pup. No, it isn’t a puppy dog that hurries up, it’s a corn dog. And it’s in Rockaway. They’re known for pancake battered hotdogs instead of cornmeal and they’re Heaven on a stick.  

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

From Garibaldi, just south of Rockaway, take a 1 hour ride on the historic Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. You can sit on top of the train for open-air seating and take in the sites tucked away from the highway. Tickets are around $20. 

Kelly’s Brighton Marina  

If you want to rent a boat and go crabbing, then you have to go to Kelly’s. You have to order at the Crab Pots Counter then they cook up a pile of seafood  and serve it in a big metal tin, family style. They’ll give you hot sauce, plate and utensils but you buy drinks, butter, and whatever else in the store. There’s picnic tables outside and cats, lots and lots of friendly cats, to hang with. You can sit and suck down a huge mimosa and watch the Big Game, if that’s how you want to spend the day. You can see the train zooming past on it’s way to the next town. 

Rockaway Beach Pirate and Costume Festival

In June, there’s an annual Rockaway Beach Pirate and Costume Festival in downtown Rockaway. Here you can live out your pirate fantasies in a healthy way.  

Get down with pirate music, see people dressed as pirates, watch pirates walking around acting like pirates, go on festival rides, eat loads of yummy food, and buy exotic stuff from vendors selling piratesque wares. Catch local bands, go on a scavenger hunt, and play games. It’s great for kids and grown ups without kids.  

  • It is located in the North of Oregon, north of Garibaldi and south of Manzanita Beach
  • Can I bring my dog to Rockaway Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Rockaway Beach? – Yes, there are campgrounds and RV grounds to park on
  • Distance from Portland – 89 miles or  1 hr 40 mins
  • Distance from Seattle – 224 miles or 4 hrs 16 mins 

Cobble Beach

Cobble Beach is on the north end of Newport, OR at Yaquina Head. It’s right next to Yaquina Bay and it’s best known for the sweet musical sounds of the water running through the cobblestones. You can also catch gray whales migrating down to Mexico in late-fall to early-winter or when they cruise back up to Alaska from late-winter to early-spring. 

Yes, it’s a beach made up of cobblestones, and yes, the sound of the ocean over the stones is as beautiful as you imagine it is. It kind of sounds like applause. It might be me, but hearing the cobblestones makes up for the 115 stairs down to the beach. Not only is the beach peaceful, but during low tide, the tide pools are rich with sea stars, anemones, and sea urchins. 

Did we mention there’s 115 stairs? Just making sure you got that. Not great for your elderly grandma or your friends with a stroller. 

At Cobble Beach, the tide pools are fun to look for critters and the super cool lighthouse.  

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

This 19th Century lighthouse is still operating to this day. It’s pretty cool, and the fact that you can get a tour (when COVID isn’t a thing) makes it a much better visit down the coast to Cobble Beach.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

A really nice aquarium you can hit up when you’re tired of beach and sand. It has a great learning program and they love a crowd when feeding the animals. They have otters, sharks, seals, and other trapped wildlife you can see. Tons of fun for the whole family! 

  • It’s located in western Oregon, north of Newport and south of Beverly Beach
  • Can I bring my dog to Cobble Beach? – Yes. But they must be on a leash.
  • Can I camp at Cobble Beach – Not sure. 
  • Distance from Portland – 112 miles or 2 hour 31 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle –  285 miles or 5 hours 25 minutes

Pacific City Beach

So, if you’re bored of the same old PNW beach that you’ve been going to for years, then this beach might be a good way to shake things up.

Pacific City Beach has a big surf (for surfing and boogie boarding), kayaking, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Even though it’s become a central tourist hub and there’s loads to do, it’s the calm and relaxed atmosphere that makes it unique. 

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area

The fact that you can go hiking in Cape Kiwanda in the morning and go for an afternoon run on the beach, then finish your day bird watching at your choice of sea stacks, makes for a great time at this quiet beach.You have great views of Haystack Rock, too. It’s a gorgeous beach.

There are tide pools that fill up with wonderful sea creatures, sand dunes for hiking, and hang gliding. 

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

This 2.2 mile loop of trails is great when you want an easy hike and lots of choices of terrain. Coastal prairie, alder forest, and wildflower meadow trails all take you through a scenic view of the Nestucca and Little Nestucca Rivers. You can get in some bird watching and snap some amazing photos. And, when that wears off, it’ll be time to head over to the pub for some IPAs. 

Pelican Brewing Company 

An iconic brew pub right on the coast that’s great when you need a little pick me up from all that relaxing. They specialize in beer-inspired cuisines and award-winning beer. Grab your IPA and stuff yourself with some food that’s so-so but all is forgiven once you see the view. Who needs food, anyway?!?

  •  It’s located in northern Oregon, north of Lincoln City and south of Cape Kiwanda
  • Can I bring my dog to Pacific City Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Pacific City Beach? – Not directly on the beach, but yes, there are authorized camping areas.
  • Distance from Seattle – 268 miles or 4 hr 52 minutes
  • Distance from Portland – 96 miles or 1hr 51 minutes

Meyers Creek Beach

Meyers Creek Beach, south of Gold Beach, might feel like a forgotten gem, but every single viewpoint of this beach draws you in; from the broad sandy shore, dramatic haystack rocks, big seashells to the little creeks, this beach has something for everyone. 

Have you ever had a staredown contest with a seagull? Mine! This beach makes it the perfect place for it; plus, I love feeling tiny next to the giant boulders. It’s known for having strong high winds that can feel a bit obnoxious in your face, but for windsurfers, it’s perfect. 

Meyers Creek Beach is a tiny 2 mile long stretch of beach where Meyers Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s just a couple miles north of the mouth of Pistol River and 14 miles south of Gold Beach. During low tide, if you kayak out you can actually go right through a haystack rock and look up where there’s a hole that opens up to the sky. 

Being from the Pacific northwest, I am used to pretty beaches, but holy shit, does this one take the cake from tidal pools to the large haystack rocks? One trip here and you will find yourself skipping town for this serenity. There are no restaurants or shops here. Basically if you’re up for windsurfing, kayaking, or just having a gorgeous beach that’s away from it all, then this is your jam.  

  • It’s located in southern Oregon, 14 miles south of Gold Beach. Take one of the 6 turnouts off of Highway 101 and follow signs for an easy walk down to the beach. 
  • Can I bring my dog to Meyers Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Meyers Beach? – Yes
  • Distance from Seattle – 481 miles or 8 hr 14 mins
  • Distance from Portland – 309 miles or 5 hr 31 mins

Roads End State Recreation Site

Ultimate beach…Those are the only two words that sum up Roads End. I know that I crap on Florida beaches a lot, and with good reason, but if a pleasant evening stroll on a smooth sandy beach doesn’t involve tennis shoes, I’m in.

It’s a small beach that is not right on Highway 101 (the PCH). Located in Lincoln City, OR, if you’re coming from the north on Highway 101, turn right at Safeway and go about a mile. My favorite thing about this beach is the one-mile distance between the parking space and the water, which is decorated with cute little beach cottages. 

During low tide, you can go tide pooling and scramble over lava rocks, or if you’re brave enough, you can explore hidden coves. It’s still a bit of a locals-only spot so it’s less crowded than beaches right off the PCH. If you love sailboarding and kiteboarding, break out that board and do it up!

Cascade Head

Walk north on the beach and you’ll run into Cascade Head. It’s a hot spot for Bald Eagles and you’ll find loads of sea stars. I can’t even describe how beautiful this spot is. Haystack rocks in the water, big rocks in the soft sand, wild sea creatures running free while birds try to eat them; it’s nature at its finest. Once you’re brain is saturated with beauty, head into town for some glass blowing and an amazing dinner. 

Lincoln City Glass Center

Learn how to blow your own glass creations. Lincoln City Glass Center gives 30 minute lessons to teach you the right (and wrong!) ways to create your own glass. If you can’t quite figure it out, no worries, they’ll make something great for you to take home.  

The Bay House at Salishan

If you don’t mend spending a little extra on an excellent dinner, then check out The Bay House, just south of the main beach entrance and north of Cutler City. It’s a nice place, don’t be strollin’ in there with sandy feet and flip flops, but you don’t need a monkey suit either. Just take a shower and wear something your grandmother would approve of. The view is spectacular, it’s oceanfront and feels cozy inside. You should order the clams, halibut, chocolate torte, and a nice bottle of wine. 

  • It’s located in northern Oregon in Lincoln City
  • Can I bring my dog to Roads End Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Roads End State Recreation Site? – Yes. There are campsites.
  • Distance from Portland – 87 miles or 1 hour 54 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 260 miles or 4 hours 43 minutes

Beverly Beach State Park 

You know how bossy 8 year olds get?? Well, this is yet another victory for them. In 1930 a couple bought this chunk of land, and when they needed a name, they turned to their youngest daughter, and she named the beach Beverly after her doll. Yaay!

And, like an 8 year old, this northwestern beach is both sweet and sour. Sweet for it’s beautiful scenery and beaches, sour if you’re not there to camp. There’s loads of camping here and the campground has mixed reviews. Most everyone loves it for its proximity to the beach but it can be a little crowded and noisy. 

It’s about 5 miles north of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse (no, not the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse which is further south) and 2 miles south of Otter Rock. 

On the Southern end, it offers prime kite-flying surroundings coupled with otherworldly beachcombing territory. You can build a sandcastle, surf, or just kick back and chill. 

For my daredevils, take a 1.5-mile walk, and you find yourself at the ooh so famous devil’s punchbowl (sounds like something my dad would order!)

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

Just south of Beverly Beach, you’ll find Oregon’s tallest standing lighthouse: the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. How tall, you ask?? Well, it’s 93 feet, sir, 93 feet.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is really an amazing specimen.  

It extends 1 mile into the ocean, so it’s filled with tidepools, the Lighthouse which was first lit in 1873, seal refuge, and spot to see migrating gray whales (late fall-early winter and late winter-early spring). It has Cobble Beach which makes music every time the tide rolls over it’s cobblestones. You can spot sea stars, urchins, and sea anemones on the ocean floor. 

Otter Crest Marine Gardens

If you like tide pools, you’ll love Otter Crest. It’s riddled with them; tide pools as far as the eye can see. There’s also hidden tunnels and sea caves to be explored. It’s really a cool place, especially for kids. 

Flying Dutchman Winery

When you’re near the Devil’s Punchbowl, swing by Flying Dutchman Winery for some yummy, salt fermented wines. It’s known for its small batches of wine aged in oak barrels and hand bottled from grapes grown in the salty sea air. It’s the westernmost winery in the Continental US, so you know it’s good. 

  • Where is it located – Central Oregon north of Newport, in Otter Rock, near the Yaquina head lighthouse
  • Can I bring my dog to Beverly Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Beverly Beach? – Yes, OK for big RV’s, too
  • Distance from Portland – 107 miles or 2 hours 26 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 43 miles or 1 hour 25 minutes

Harris Beach State Park

I know I keep saying that there is nothing better than the coast, but can you blame me? It makes it a bit harder when you have a beach that not only has impressive hay stack formations but is home to Bird Island, a national wildlife sanctuary.

Harris Beach is located 8 miles north of the Oregon/California border. They don’t charge for a day pass and there’s tons of parking. 

Not only can you see some Bald Eagles flying around, but you can go hiking, camping, . I loved that the campgrounds are right by the beach for those coastal winter storms that are sure to get you in the right mood. 

Lone Ranch Beach 

Not trying to steal the thunder from Harris Beach, but it just so happens that there’s another beach worth mentioning right next door. About 3 ½ miles north of Harris is Lone Ranch Beach. It’s got easy beach access, tide pools, picnic tables, climbing rocks, and is super dog friendly. You can spend at least an hour on this small beach without sitting down and be super happy. A quiet picnic or romantic sunset might be the cherry on top of a great trip to Brookings. 

Mattie’s Pancake House

Head south from Harris beach about 8 miles and you’ll run into the small town of Brookings. One of their not-so-hidden gems is a breakfast place called Mattie’s…yes, it’s a-mazing and a local hotspot. They’re good at making biscuits and gravy, eggs, french toast, hash browns, and pretty much everything on the menu. The only complaint, sometimes there’s a bit of a wait because people can’t get enough of Mattie’s.    

  • Located in southern Oregon in Brookings
  • Can I bring my dog to Harris beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Harris beach? – Yes, but there is a 24 hours lumber yard near the campground which can be loud at night
  • Distance from Portland – 328 miles or 5 hours 48 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 501 miles or 8 hours 37 minutes

Horsfall Beach

Imagine 47-miles of dunes and striking panoramic wetlands! You can go off-roading over the dunes, or pick a trail and head over the dunes to the beach. Don’t worry, actually getting to the beach sounds harder than it is. 

Located within the Oregon National Recreational Area, this beach is one of the most active beaches in Oregon and well-loved by visitors from all around the world. Once they decide what to do!

Hiking, beach, dune buggies, ATVs, sand surfing, lakes, forests, and even ghastly shipwrecks make it hard to figure out what to do first. You can rent dune buggies and ATVs nearby or in Florence at Full Throttle. When you get tired or sand and sun, there are unique museums, decent restaurants, and some shopping nearby. 

Umpqua Discovery Center

A unique museum for kids and not-kids. There’s interactive murals and activities and, yes, a gift shop. You’ll come away knowing something you didn’t know already about the area. Plus, you can visit a weather station and bear den. You can definitely kill an afternoon here and not regret it.  

Harbor Light Family Restaurant

Super close to the beach Rec Area is Harbor Light Restaurant. If you’ve got a hankerin’ for some pot pie, fish and chips, or the ever-popular PNW specialty – salmon chowder- you’ll be happy with this place.  

  • It is located in central Oregon, in Reedsport, north of Coos Bay and south of Florence
  • Can I bring my dog to Horsfall Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Horsfall Beach? – Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 219 miles or 3 1/2 hours
  • Distance from Seattle – 392 miles or 5 1/2 hours

Moolack Beach

I never used to believe in the healing powers of crystals or stones. Seems too, “hippy.”

You’re probably asking yourself what do they have in common. Well, nothing, but if you are a lover of agate stones, then be sure to head down to Moolack Beach for some expansive collecting. What’s an agate stone, you ask? Well, let me tell you.  

Agates are gemstones made up of chalcedony and microcrystalline quartz. They’re banded, translucent, and form in volcanoes. Oh, did I mention they’re used in jewelry and are absolutely stunning?? Plus, at Moolack Beach, you can find them just hanging out, waiting for you to find them. You can’t get much cooler than that.   

It’s a small beach without a ton of people. You can hear the big waves crash and take in the beautiful scenery without a lot of interruptions. This makes it perfect for bird watching, searching for sea glass, fossils, oh, and did we mention agates?? Ya, they’re there. 

And just in case you were wondering, yes, I have been to Moolack Beach, and the surfing is what stole my heart. 

Moolack Beach is south of Beverly Beach and north of Newport. The trail down to the beach is a tad windy and steep, but not super hard. If you’re bringing little kids, you might want to stick to Beverly Beach where they have bathrooms, showers, and easier paths.  

Otter Crest Loop

This is a harrowing road that takes you south, off the PCH, through windy, narrow, sometimes one-way roads. But why do I even mention this scary 15 minute jaunt?? Because the scenery is so worth the increased heart rate of driving on such a road. You can even spot migrating gray whales if the season is right (much better than fighting the crowds at Depoe Bay!). 

The signage to hop onto the Loop is not great, so be on the lookout. It’s 5 miles north of Moolack Beach on the 101, but get on on the 101 South and take it south to see everything. 

Georgie’s Beachside Grill

Georgie’s is inside the Hallmark Hotel Resort and is a great place to sit and have a drink. It has wall-to-wall ocean views, a great wine list, full bar, and a good selection of IPAs. Once you’re sitting and looking and drinking, you’ll smell the amazing food they’re known for. Do yourself a favor and try the crab cakes, crab salad, clam chowder, and Yaquina Bay oysters.  They do breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

  • It is located in north Oregon, 5 miles north of Newport
  • Can I bring my dog to Moolack Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Moolack Beach – Yes
  • Distance from Portland – 109 miles or 2 hour 26 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 282 miles or  5 hour 20 minutes

Sunset Bay State Park

Sunset Bay State Park is a treasure trove along the pacific coast. That is what my family calls it. Probably because of the public golf course. Just like the name suggests, the bay has some of the most beautiful sunsets on the coast, plus the trails will kick your butt, in the right way.

From the trails connecting sunset bay with shores acres to the hidden coves and the pristine beaches, there’s plenty to take in, even for non-golfers. 

You can fish off the rocks on the north and south sides of the Bay

It’s just 10 miles southwest of Coos Bay and has showers, bathrooms, changing stalls, and free parking. 

Sunset Bay Golf Course

A lush and beautiful course with 3,000 yards of par 36 with two par 5’s, five par 4’s and two par 3’s. It’s not going to totally wipe you out but it won’t leave you wanting more, either. It’s a nice Goldilocks course.  

Miller’s at the Cove

From the outside, Miller’s doesn’t look like much. But once you taste the food you’ll understand why it’s made it into our Guide. Holy smoke balls. The marion berry pie was the best in the PNW. You probably know that marionberries are a thing here,  they’re pretty much a peppy blackberry, but this pie was absolutely to die for.

OK, so you’re steering clear of pie. Gotta watch the old waistline, I get it. Well replace those pie calories with beer calories because Miller’s has a great Happy Hour with a bunch of local craft beers. Eat some fries (they’re superb) and grab a fish taco. 

  • It is located in southern Oregon, 10 miles southwest of Coos Bay
  • Can I bring my dog to sunset bay beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at sunset beach? – Yes, there are several campgrounds available but there’s a lot of complaints about them being mismanaged. 
  • Distance from Portland – 231 miles or  4 hours
  • Distance from Seattle –  400 miles  or 7 hours

Bullards Beach State Park

A hit among history bluffs, located north of Bandon, this 4-mile-long beach is perfect for my beachcombing babies.  My favorite thing about this beach are the picnic areas with barbeque pits and horseshoe pelts. But watch your food, there are a lot of birds here!

If you are scared of coastal birds, then be sure to stay in the car or maybe fight that seagull for your burrito (he sure as hell doesn’t deserve it) and take in the sights of the beach as kids run after the cormorants and pelicans who frequent the shore.

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

This popular viewpoint is aptly named for its huge rocks with face-shaped features. You’ll see haystacks in the water and find sea caves that you’ll want to explore during low tide. Loads of sea stars, urchins, and all sorts of crazy creatures are just waiting to be found. You can spend the day walking on the sand and exploring. 

Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant

In the PNW, especially on the coast, it’s not often you’ll find really, really good (I mean, homemade pasta good!) italian food. Well, Alloro’s got you. You’ve got seafood, steaks, and italian all in one place. Everything is fresh and housemade as much as possible. Get the crab bisque, scallops, and lemon panna cotta. Really, everything is probably amazing, but these were my favorite. It, quite literally, could be the best restaurant on the PNW.    

Coastal Mist Fine Chocolates and Desserts

Hot chocolate (or ‘sipping chocolate’ for you chocolate buffs out there) on a cool day, chocolate candies, and desserts are made in-house and melt in your mouth. Once you come here, you’ll be hooked. 

  • It is located in southern Oregon, 4 miles north of Bandon
  • Can I bring my dog to Bullards Beach? – Yes
  • Can I camp at Bullards Beach? – Yes, there are even hot free showers
  • Distance from Portland – 245 miles or 4 hour 13 minutes
  • Distance from Seattle – 418 miles or 7 hour 14 minutes

Final Thoughts

If you want to just hang on the beach with an ice cold IPA and eat an open-fire cooked crab you just stole from the ocean, Oregon beaches got you covered. If you want to gebusy windsurfing, kite surfing, normal surfing, hiking, sea cave exploring, kayaking, camping, SUP-ing, fishing, or really any other kind activity, except swimming, Oregon beaches have got you covered. We got food, drinks, fun, and- sometimes – sun. We have beach treasure and shipwrecks, tide pools, gray whales, sea stars, and dune buggies. Whatever you want, Oregon beaches got it. Just don’t forget your sweatshirt, even in summer.

So, quit reading and get going! Life’s too short! Oh ya, but don’t forget to leave us your email so we can send you other super fun and exciting things you never knew straight to your inbox. 

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Lockman’s Guide To The Quaking Aspen Leaf

Well, well, well, look at what we have here, somehow, some way, your arbitrary clicking has led you to your destination… perhaps, it was your fate to acquaint yourself with a luxurious Lee Lockman parable on the quaking aspen leaf… perhaps, it was your free will that guided you to accustom yourself with the trembling aspen leaf…

Who knows (God? Probably not), and who really cares (nobody? More than probably), you’re here for one thing and one thing only, to have a transcendent experience while reading about an aspen leaf, so let your holy uncle Lee guide you on this sermon. Oh, and FYI this is the quaking aspen tree bible I will be preaching from.

What is A Quaking Aspen Tree

Now, as any ‘sky pilot’ should, I’m here to set you up for success in this life and the many, many, many, more you may have… And, what better way to do that than to give you some divine truths about the quaking aspen tree itself (at least when you reincarnate as an aspen, you’ll know a little about yourself). 

The quaking aspen has supernatural distinctions in comparison to any other tree. This deciduous tree holds the title of the largest living organism, as well as being the most widely distributed tree in North America. It’s presence from sea to sky, growing in clones predominately through root sprouting. It amasses a longitudinal range through nine time zones, making it a peculiarly omnipresent organism. 

So, you probably noticed I used two different names for the tree, surprisingly I didn’t do this just to flex my ability to use a thesaurus. Populus tremuloides (its Latin); or more commonly known as the quaking aspen, has almost as many names as James McAvoy had in the movie “Split”. It can be identified as either the: trembling aspen, American aspen, golden aspen, mountain aspen, and in Español: álamo blanco, and álamo temblón (relax senoras I don’t speak Spanish, yet).

How did we arrive at all these cognomens for this one particular tree? Well it was as simple as using a thesaurus for the word nickname. See, when the breeze (or when the Gods exhalation) moves through the branches and shakes the leaves dangling on the aspen it evokes a trembling/quaking sound into your earholes. Yup, it’s that simple… (sigh).

The Quaking Aspen Leaf

Well, fate didn’t have you click this article for a cursory understanding of the quaking aspen, rather we’ve established you’re here to enhance your acuity about the leaf itself, and as the country rap-rock sensation Kid Rock would say through his autotuned voice, “Only God Knows Why”…

So, let’s start with the ABC’s. Aspen leaves are about as thin as my patience for my imbecilic co-workers, and as firm as my responses to their chowderheaded requests (for all you people who don’t understand tone, the leaves are thin and firm…). They are typically 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter.

What Shape is a Quaking Aspen Leaf?

The quaking aspen leaf has a round base and reaches a point at the apex, similar to my pear headed boss. Further, the leaf features sharp pointed teeth along the margins of the leaf, similar to the dolphin teeth that reside in my boss’s mouth (yes, it’s the same person, his gene pool evidently a series of unfortunate events).

Do Quaking Aspen Leafs Have Stems?

The leaves have a small stem known as the petiole which has a flattened spine that runs through the entire leaf. The flattened stem is the reason why the leaves quake and tremble in the wafting winds. Without it, there would be a void in nature; the shivering orchestra would no longer play its tune. 

Can Quaking Aspen Tree Leaves Act As a Windbreak?

Up on the higher elevations of the Gorge we have what a meteorologist would call ‘heavy winds’ (honestly, tell me what other job besides meteorologist you can be wrong most of the time and still collect a paycheck). To make you understand how windy it is atop the Gorge we’ve actually turned into a breeding ground for windmills. 

This wind is ostensibly a ‘no bueno’ for the farmers. I’m praying to Allah you would know why farmers and wind are like oil and water, but I’m not going to give you the benefit of the doubt… high winds cause crop loss, and make it difficult to harvest, and it dries the soil out like my crusty handed boss (yeah, add dry hands to the list to the poor guy, his hands honestly look like a cracked desiccated desert floor…). 

So, farmers being farmers found that quaking aspens make for aesthetically appealing windbreakers. They are able to block the wind and shield their houses from the penetration of the winds. But, that’s not all, no, they ironically reduce unwelcome sounds from highways and traffic. The problem here is that it’s hard to tell whether the leaves are blocking the sounds or if that trembling symphony of leaves is actually louder than traffic…

Now, before you go planting (click this if you want a Lee experience on the growing process, which you more than likely do…) a herd of soundproofing trees around your property for ‘acoustic value’, we should talk about everyone’s favourite topic these days… disease. Yes, this tree has a real hard-on for disease, they’re prone to injuries from deer and elk rubbing, aspen leaf blight, and pests.

What is Aspen Leaf Blight?

Aspen leaf blight is caused by the fungus Venturia, it’s a disease that affects the younger trees. The pathogen ceases growth and causes more deformities in the terminal shoots (no… I won’t compare my boss’s deformities to the trees, I actually have respect for the quaking aspen). The disease emerges in the spring with black spots on the leaves, eventually expanding and merging until the entire leaf is covered and wilts.

The best treatment is removing the infected leaves, twigs and branches in the fall in order to reduce the prominence of the disease in the spring. Fortunately, you can use a fungicide, unfortunately, this will only prevent new infections, and any leaves that are already infected will not be cured.

What Color Should Quaking Aspen Leafs Be?

One of the most distinguishing qualities of the smooth leaf is its color, which is a bright green to yellowish-green that dramatically transforms to yellow, gold, and orange in the autumn season. This is where uncle Lee has to take a moment and pause to let you put your mind’s eye to work and create a mental sketch. So, let’s sketch away.

Walk Through The Trees With Me

As I’ve implicitly alluded to, I’m a savant amongst savages, so Uncle Lee has to take the edge off somehow. And, what better way than to employ heading down to the local craft brewpub as a coping mechanism.

There was a 7-day stretch in the heart of September where I felt the pulse of autumn. It would beat on my walks home after I had administered some IPA-therapy into my bloodstream. I would cut through the park where I walked amid quaking aspens, in a state between heaven and hell. Their presence is gentle in their foreboding annual death.

The season had arrived. The leaves initiated their annual pigment metamorphosis from emerald green to lemon quartz and carnelian gemstone. The jewellike leaves shimmering in the cooling sun. Alfresco gusts jingling the yellow and orange crystals ornamenting the ashed-snow colored branches. Fall had finally wrapped me in its embrace. 

Now, let’s hope your mind’s eye was able to bring some of that to life, if it wasn’t at least you’ll be happy to know you are very much in the same company as my coworkers… Ok, ok, maybe I’m being too hard on you (not likely, but)… there are some other purposes for the aspen leaf beyond poetic prose or making an impregnable fortress to the wind.

 Quaking Aspen Leaf Tea

A common question in the PNW ( Pacific Northwest ) is whether or not we can steep a leaf of some plant or herb, and drink the remaining earth water it produces. The short answer, yes, according to Paul J. Van Horn and his “survival blog”. The leaves can be steeped in some boiling water to remedy pain-relief. Just ensure that leaves are not devoured with that fungal infection before you start drinking ladles full of the leaf water. 

Obviously, a man that self-appoints himself as being rugged (as I’m about to do), is often cringeworthy, gag inducing, and worth a couple eyerolls. However, if there was a Venn diagram where one side stated “making medicine from tree” and the opposing side stated “rugged” the intersecting middle would have “Lee Lockman” bolded and underlined. So, I hope we can agree that the pinnacle of being a man is being able to make medicine with your hands, or at least have some knowledge about it… 

Ok, ok, I’m done touting my superiority for a moment to inform you that the leaf in combination with bark contains salicin, which is an anti-inflammatory agent.

To make the tea boil down both the aspen’s leaf and it’s bark to create a concentrated liquid, this extraction process is known as decoction. This can relieve joint pain, fever, and create a dam for the brown waters that occur from diarrhea. Oh, and guess what, you can use your decoction as a topical remedy for acne and eczema as well.

The Quaking Aspen Leaf Inspired Power Generator

We’ve made it to that part of the article where I highlight scientists doing scientist things. At this point you’re obviously aware that aspen leaves quiver in low wind (if not then I’ll refund your time). The actual quaking of the leaves is what flickered the incandescent light on over the heads of a group of engineer researchers from the University of Warwick.

The research group posited that the underlying mechanisms (aka structure) of the leaf could generate electrical power in an efficient and effective manner. So, of course, they designed a device that was based on the structure of the leaf, which exploits the wind-generated movement. They did so by creating a cantilever beam similar to the flat stem of the leaf, and a curved blade tip that looks like my boss’s head… 

What makes this an attractive mechanism is it can provide a mechanical way of generating power in environments with extreme cold, heat, dust or sand. Oh, and where do we have extreme weather conditions? Yup, you guessed it, Mars.

The Mars rover named “Opportunity” used solar panels, but it eventually flat-lined due to the extra-terrestrial weather. However, the researchers suggest had the Mars rover been equipped with a cyborg quaking aspen leaf as a backup source for energy it could’ve potentially extended the exploration.

 Summary

Hallelujah! You’ve been baptised in all the quaking aspen leaf tea you can handle. And, now that you’ve been blessed with my words, it’s time to fill the donation box. However, instead of money (although…), all I ask if you enjoyed the article is support us by subscribing to our newsletter! 

Till next time, hugs and kisses.

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The Quaking Aspen Tree

Ola, Bonjour, Kon’nichiwa… welcome, welcome, welcome. Here you are, earnestly waiting, begging like Oliver Twist to have ladles full of quaking aspen info poured into your bowl.  Fear not,  a Lee Lockman trait is being upfront, so let me just do that; reading this article comes with a couple of rewards (lucky you): 1) you’ll become a bonafide expert on all things quaking aspen 2) you’ll be able to grow an entire forest of aspen in your backyard if your pretty little heart desires so.  Oh, and I almost forgot, if you’re a real glutton, and want to fill that tum-tum of yours with some more trembling aspen factoids, move that sexy pointer finger of yours over here and click to read Everything A Man Should Know About The Quaking Aspen.

What is a Quaking Aspen Tree?

You guessed it, it’s a tree, but more specifically it’s “a world record holding deciduous tree that resides in the cooler regions of North America. I read somewhere once that 65% of people are visual learners (that fact comes free of charge ladies and gentlemen), so let Lee paint you a picture. 

Plant yourself in the middle of autumn. The air has some bite to it again, your nostrils washed with the cleansing alfresco breeze. You’re in the thick of it. Consumed on all sides by porcelain white trunks and branches adorned with chick yellow leaves. That teeth-like wind pushes through the leaves evoking a sound of quivering. 

Alright, come back to me, that right there, that masterpiece I just created in your mind is what the quaking aspen tree is. Let’s get technical with it because you didn’t solely come here for art you came for facts. 

The quaking aspen tree in Latin is known as populus tremuloides, and it has more nicknames than you have with your partner (and if your single, more nicknames than you give your pet, and if you don’t have either of those maybe it’s time to reevaluate your life…). The quaking aspen goes by the trembling aspen, golden aspen, and for all you patriots out there the American aspen. 

As humans we often try and overcomplicate things, but not with the naming of this tree. The leaves “quake” and tremble when the breeze hits the leaves. So, we added an adjective in front of aspen and were done with it already.

How Do Quaking Aspen Reproduce

You probably haven’t thought about sex for a couple of minutes since you’ve been captivated by every word written here so far (please men just try and wait till your done reading this article before you go take care of business… or just at the very least keep this tab open). So, let’s talk about trees bumping and grinding on one another and making sexy little tree babies.  

Ok, even though it is quite a visual to see trees getting down and nasty with it (use your imagination I can’t paint all the pictures for you), quaking aspen trees actually have two methods of reproducing some offspring. They reproduce by seeds and by root sprouts, with root sprouting being the more common and successful form of reproduction. 

Due to the aspens root sprouting ways, there are many trees that are genetically identical aka they’re cloning themselves. Basically, you can have an entire forest of trees from an aspen that has command + c’d and command + v’d (don’t worry PC people here you go – ctrl + c & ctrl + v) itself. All those copied and pasted aspens share one single root, hence the identical characteristics, hence why root sprouting is the most effective form of reproduction, and I hope at this point you hence get how these trees reproduce.

Where Do Quaking Aspen Trees Grow 

Now that your inner food basket has been satiated with some wholesome quaking aspen facts, you probably want to know where these trees reside so you can be in their embrace sooner than later. 

Quaking aspens have been able to spawn at such a rate that they are the most widely distributed tree in North America. They grow all the way up in Alaska, creep through Canada, move down through the good ol’ U.S. of A, and touch down in Mexico. 

They are able to grow so widely in part to their IDGAF attitude towards climatic conditions. The aspen grows at low altitudes in the north, high altitudes in the south, and in all types of soil. I’ll get a little more specific with the soil; the aspen lust for sandy gravelly slopes, and they quickly congregate in disturbed sites where there is an abundance of bare soil. Furthermore, yes furthermore, the deciduous cloning tree grows best where the soil is moist and where the rays of sun are bountiful. 

Now, we all know I’m going to say that the quaking aspen grows best in the PNW (I live here if that wasn’t implied enough), and we all know that I’m being biased, but we all know I’m also correct in my assertion. I mean if you were to do some digesting of the little nuggets of facts, I have force fed you so far (still at it… I know), you should be able to deduce why we; the PNW, are ideal for the quaking aspen to reside in our hood over any other region. We’ve got moist brown butter soil, we’ve got high altitudes, we’ve got low altitudes, and whenever that sun does decide to come out… it sprays its beams of warmth a plenty. So, I ask you, am I being biased, or am I being right?

How to Propagate Quaking Aspen Trees

At this point you’re probably so enthralled with the idea of quaking aspen you want to put your botanist regalia on, and get out there and make your own forest of clones. So, let Lee sow some seeds of instruction. 

How to breed these mutants:

Step 1: Root Collection

  • You want to start slicing and dicing between the months of February and May on days the frost is absent
  • Find a mature growth area, we don’t want to be hacking away at the little ones
  • Expose and detach the root and cut about a foot in length 
  • Place in a plastic bag and be sure to keep the roots moist, a way to do this using damp moss

Step 2: Treatment of Roots

  • Preventing the roots from drying out should be your primary concern
  • Plant in boxes that can hold about 10 of those foot-long root sections
  • Cover them with a compost peat mix – this helps keep the roots moist
  • If you have a polytunnel/greenhouse place those boxes in there with no heat, but make sure you keep the compost mixture wet
  • Suckers (these look like new baby branches shooting from the root) will come alive around 4-6 weeks after this, and if you harvest regularly, you’ll be in sucker heaven for about 12 weeks

Step 3: Prep of Cuttings

  • When the suckers get 1-3 inches in height, it’s time to bring your scalpel and cut them off individually where the sucker and mama root meet
  • Dip the cuttings like a beef dip into a rooting compound
  • Plant the cuttings using a dibber (it’s basically an ice pick for gardening) into a tray with compost and perlite
  • Label with date of cuttings

Step 4: Final Care

  • You want to be periodically misting the planted cuttings
  • Cuttings usually begin to produce roots in approximately 2-3 weeks
  • Once they are done being delicately misted, they need to be carefully introduced into the outdoor conditions by placing them in a cold frame where there is adequate shade
  • After another 14 to 21 days they are ready to be potted into their own pots with either peat or coir-based compost
  • Then it’s time to release them into the wild… rather your backyard

How Much Water Do Quaking Aspen Trees Need

Like any tree, the quaking aspen enjoys a thirst quenching watering schedule. This is even more true during the infancy of the trembling trees life. The best way to ensure your roots are going to be healthy is to give them a good soaking for the first six weeks (Relax BYU, I’m not talking about that type of soaking). 

Soak that soil until it is 20 inches deep, and avoid getting the foliage wet… insert that’s what she said joke here … Then add about 2-3 inches of mulch so it can stay nice and damp. A method to ensure that the roots will be able to slurp up the water they need is by laying a soaker hose under the mulch, and make doubly sure that you let the soil dry before you water again. 

A good indicator if you’re over or underwatering your tree is if the leaves begin to go limp, and droop like my grandmother Elanor’s eyelid. This is where you have to use your discretion and adjust your water habits as needed (I can’t do it for you, and even if I could I wouldn’t). 

When To Plant A Quaking Aspen

Now that I’ve germinated some paramount propagation and watering seeds of info into your mind, it would be ill conceived of me, and actually quite inadequate of me to not inform you on when to plant your quaking aspen. 

The primetime for planting is spring, once the film of frost has dissolved. Why spring? Not solely because I am telling you that spring is the best, but because spring actually gives the young aspen time to establish that integral root system. Without a proper root system your quaking aspen will desiccate and parish like my grandma (don’t worry Eleanor and her droopy eyelids are still alive. It’s the other grandma you know the one who you don’t really know, anyways enough about my family tree). 

The quaking aspen has a peculiar lifespan. It’s unique because an individual quaking aspen often lives for about 50-60 years, and in the west up 150 years (remember when I said it grows best in the PNW… how much more evidence do you need). However, the trembling aspen also has a perennial lifespan, meaning it can live forever. This is due to it’s root sprouting reproduction; one stem has a short life, but the clone can live for eons.

Where To Buy A Quaking Aspen

If propagation isn’t your thing, and if you yearn to have your backyard filled with cream cheese coloured trunks and shivering yolk leaves then purchasing a nursery tree may be your best option. Obviously, I can’t specifically tell you where to buy your quaking aspen, but if you are having trouble finding a specific location I created this interactive guide that might help some of you.

However, there are two common sources where you can begin your mutant forest of cloned trembling trees: a local tree farm/nursery or a big box retailer. Now, I’m not going to ramble about the differences between a tree farm and a retailer, I already did that here. Rather, I’ll just reiterate the importance of finding the perfect young tree. It’s important to be picky and really take the time in finding your quaking aspen (similar to picking that random craft-brewed beer you’ve chosen due to how “cool” the label looks), this tree will hopefully outlive you, so choose wisely my dear friend.

Summary

So, we’ve finished a seven-course meal on quaking aspen, and now you are pleasantly full with all that wholesome information. Now let that belch out you’ve clearly earned it!

Now, I’m not the Oliver Twist type to be begging for your support by subscribing to our newsletter, but if you genuinely enjoyed the content it would be beyond rad if you could! Uncle Lee will be coming at you with only the info you need! Cheers to you and yours my darlings! 

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How To Use A Pumice Stone for Cleaning

If you own a pumice stone, you’re one step ahead of most people.

But merely having a pumice stone is not enough! Chances are you’re not getting the full use out of it. But don’t be dismayed because I, Amber, solemnly do swear to take you on as my padawan one and teach you everything I know about pumice under the sun.

You might be using the pumice stone only during spa day, especially now with the lockdown and all, but did you know about its use in your day to day cleaning? Of course, you did; your Mom keeps sending you a shit ton of articles because she’s worried you will live in filth after moving out.

I’m not taking your Mom’s side, but Chinese takeout always has that distinct smell and you should probably clean out your sink while you’re at it.

WHAT IS A PUMICE STONE ANYWAY?

Unless you are a geology major, you probably don’t know that when a volcano erupts and hot magma; aka lava comes into contact with water or air, it cools rapidly and creates the tiny little bubbles found throughout a pumice stone—pretty cool, right.

 “The physical world has no two things alike.” that was either said by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi or maybe it was an Instagram poser I follow. Either way it applies perfectly to pumice. 

If you are a lover of all things Greek, they have a cooler rendition of how Pumice stone came into existence. They believed it was a gift straight from the gods Vulcan and Aphrodite during their unification. That might seem a bit of a stretch considering how tumultuous their marriage was. However, it could explain the infamous shower of pumice saturated ash in Pompeii for 24 hours straight….but, I diverge. 

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PUMICE STONE.

So, there are two pumice grades: rock pumice and pumicite; you’re probably wondering what’s the difference. One is dirt or sand, and the other is a chunky rock.

Under rock pumice, you have nature made and gathered stone or human-made manufactured imposters. As someone who’s grown up in the pacific northwest, I can identify between the two even after I’ve had more than my fair share of IPA. You have to remember real ones float, fake ones sink. Insert witch trial joke here. Anyway. I should note that it is true that some man-made rocks will also float. When in doubt look at the company listed ingredients on the back.

You Get Some Pumice. You Get Some Pumice. Pumice For Everyone!

Okay, my pumice nerdiness might be showing a little, but did you know that during the construction of Italy’s pantheon, they used concrete, with travertine together with, yes, you guessed it, pumice. It may have been a small percentage but the pantheon is still standing. Justy saying.

Pumice is an incredibly versatile rock. It can be used for everything from calluses removal to soundproofing. It’s naturally fire resistant. Some people use it in mulch.  Even the construction industry has found an eco-friendly use for pumice stone in building materials. 

In this article though we are going to focus specifically on small pore pumice manufactured for cleaning. This girl’s secret weapon!  No, I’m not talking about chucking it at someone who says pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza. I’m talking about using this rock for cleaning all those filthy household items that look a bit uhm mm musty.

USING A PUMICE STONE TO CLEAN YOUR PANS

So, I’m a barely functioning adult. Don’t get me wrong on a good day my apartment barely smells like fruity skittles and burnt food, but who the hell invented grease and why is it soooooo hard to clean?

Like I get it when I cook, some chemical reaction happens, and boom, one Bachelorette episode in, and basically, I have a grease fire.

Is it too much to ask to be born a Michelin star chef? Anyway; if you’re like me love to coat your kitchen in bacon grease, then you know what a bitch it is to get that goo off your pans.

Don’t worry though while living in Target (a rant for another day) I found a way to save your pans with a little pedicure magic!  But how you ask. It’s not as abrasive as steel wool you say. Well let me get this quick disclaimer out of the way and I’ll walk you through it.

Disclaimer: If you have Teflon or diamond coated pans you might not want to give this a try.

Step 1

Important! Soak your pans for the duration of at least two hazy IPA’s.

Step 2

Wet your pumice stone. Never use a dry pumice stone unless you really want to add that “I spent twelve-thousand-dollars vintage look” to your pans.

Step 3

It’s all in the motion. Go with whatever motion feels right. If you’re scared that you might ruin your pan, be sure to do an inconspicuous area test beforehand. Steer clear of the handles. Most handles are coated with something like Teflon or devil urine. For extra dirty pans you might want to add some dish soap to your water, but that’s it. Before you know it; viola! Your pans are spic and span.

USING PUMICE STONE TO CLEAN YOUR OVEN.

I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who jumps at the chance to clean an oven after thanksgiving dinner or after any meal for that matter. I’m usually way too full and battling feelings of guilt thinking about Charlie. Yes; I nicknamed the turkey, and no; I don’t have a problem other than the fact that my family just left me to clean up after them! 

I feel like “I cook, you clean” should be etched on a stone tablet somewhere. However, if you’re feeling extra generous because you’re basically mother Teresa at this point, you can grab your favorite pumice stone; make your way to the oven, and get busy. 

This method is easy, nontoxic, and loosens up the burnt gunk without ruining the enamel of your oven. Last year’s pie still stuck on the baking grill? No problem, your trusted pumice stone is on duty!

I usually start this type of job with a man-made pumice stone. Simply open the oven door and use a tiny circle motion to scrub away the grease. It might get a bit messy, so putting down a rag or your Ex’s clothes first might be a good idea. After a good oven cleaning its best to just dispose of your stone as it’s going to be pretty grimy.

USING YOUR PUMICE STONE TO CLEAN YOUR SINK

I don’t know if I’m the only one who enjoys watching cleaning videos on YouTube, but there is just something about someone else cleaning filthy things that retains my attention. I always feel like I can clean my whole apartment in under ten minutes! Well I can’t 🙁 And unless you are living the tiny house lifestyle you probably can’t either! But after you’ve powered through all those dishes Harry left you, you can remove those huge stains on the sink with your pumice stone!

Clean Stainless Steel Sink Without Chemicals

If you’re like me and trying to steer away from chemicals, you can simply go in with your wet pumice stone. Using minimal elbow grease you can scrub away even the toughest stain. Works with any type of stain, be it rust, limescale buildup, or grease, the other parts of the sink, a rag, and some water will suffice.

As always, test an inconspicuous area if you are scared that you might ruin the sink, and if you have a marble sink or a custom finish, using a pumice stone is not advised.

USING PUMICE STONE TO CLEAN YOUR BATHTUB

When you’ve been in the office answering emails all day, the only light at the end of the tunnel is the 30 minutes soak at night. Dream on! You and I both know that you haven’t given your tub some TLC, and it has started forming those gross looking water lines.

How can you clean it? Well you can either move or get yourself a pumice stone. Personally I usually move houses but occasionally I opt for the other option.

The Supplies

1 large glass of wine, we are destressing here.

A pumice stone

Some water in a bucket

A disgusting tub (but not fiberglass, never fiberglass)

The Process

With your instruments of justice in hand, wet your stone, and make sure the tub is lubricated. Scrub like your mother’s watching. Rinse. Then draw yourself a bath, lock the bathroom door, and just zone out; you deserve it.

This process also works great for restoring that beautiful 1920s clawfoot tub you picked up from your neighbor with the rusty bus in his front yard. However if you have a fiberglass tub, the pumice stone will probably do more harm than good so only try this out with porcelain or ceramic tubs. I promise it will give your tub a new lease on life!

Note For Rich A-holes: If you have a finished metal or a gold tub for those perfect Instagram selfies, like fiberglass you should avoid using a pumice stone as this might scratch the tub.

USING PUMICE STONE TO CLEAN YOUR TOILET 

Here’s a fun little fact, the average adult spends about 92 days of their life on the toilet. That will either get you a second date or a very awkward start to dinner. Maybe I should have kept that little nugget to myself, but now you can’t unknow it and it’s probably the reason your Mom sent you this particular article!

No one likes cleaning the toilet. Yours is disgusting. You know it. I know it. What are we going to do about it? 

Move again? 

No. Not This time.

This time you’re going to listen to crazy Amber and clean it. Because let’s face it, we’re getting older and cleaning makes us happy. So, let’s get down and dirty. 

Make sure you wet the stone before working it into the stains. Start with a strong pulling motion until the stone starts to disintegrate and forms a light abrasive paste. Then move to small circles to rid the poop palace of whatever stains it might have.

Again be sure that the toilet is porcelain not a fiberglass one like those found in an RV or on a boat. You don’t want to tell your Dad why you ruined his RV toilet the first time he let you borrow it for the Fourth of July. Trust me!

In Closing

You can clean your entire apartment with it, from the stovetops, oven, grill, your sink to your pans. It feels like we’ve been talking for ages so I don’t really touch on it, but it can even clean your carpet! I know what you’re thinking. This carpet cost me $3000 to install. Well if your furry little buddy coated it in hair, you can use your pumice stone on it before you vacuum, but that’s a tale for another day.

So if you are still on the fence about the powerful pumice, my advice for you is RUN!

Run to the nearest pharmacy store and grab yourself one. Not only will your tub thank you, but you will be thinking of me; your pumice stone ambassador, as you take your 30-minute bath. {yes, I know, freaky}

If you’re still reading you should probably subscribe to our newsletter. Just do it. It will be fun! Click Click Click.

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A Guide To Using A Pumice Stone For Feet

THE PUMICE STONE FOR FEET

“Alexa, what is the best pumice stone?” No response. Firstly, no one’s there because you don’t own one {you care about your privacy way too much}, and two, it can’t read out a full blog post.

So, here you are reading yet another article on pumice stone, but this isn’t your ordinary how-to guide. I will take you on a journey from the dark ages to the 21st century to give you an idea of what this wondrous and mystical stone can do for you.

WHY A PUMICE STONE ROCKS

For you to know the magical benefits of this stone, getting an origin story {thank you, stan lee} wouldn’t hurt.

If we look at Greek mythology, it will probably tell you how the gods gifted them with this wondrous stone during Vulcan and Venus’s gods’ unification.

A quick search on google will tell you that pumice is formed when super-heated, highly pressurized lava is violently ejected from a volcano into air/water. It cools so fast that these gases got trapped into little bubbles found all over the stone.

Sounds pretty cool, right? In Pompeii, it “rained “ash and pumice from the nearby active volcano for a straight 24 hours burying the town. The only survivor was a ten-year-old “Pliny the younger” talk about an extreme survivor. There is something to wow your friends with during dinner.

TYPES OF PUMICE STONE

Okay, I have to get this out of the way as soon as possible. The goddess Aphrodite did not create millions of perfectly shaped pumices for millions of people to use it as much as that would make me sleep better at night. It simply isn’t plausible.

There are two types; human-made pumice and gathered stones.

Chances are the perfectly shaped stone you got your mom for her birthday is human-made. There is nothing wrong with it, but I’m more of a purest.

Human-made/artificial pumice was made by mixing particles made up of glass with sand and basalt mixed in with calcium or magnesium carbonate. It seems like a lot, but basically, it’s many chemicals mixed to give you a pumice stone.

That might give you the heebie-jeebies. You might feel its best to go the natural route; however, please note that artificial pumice takes up less shipping and storage costs, thereby making it exceptionally eco-friendly.

I would say I am more of a natural girl, even though I still use deodorants even though they have aluminum in them. I believe that mother nature has given us everything we need.

Plus, my thrifted denim will always have that cool distressed look. My pumice stone  plays a huge part. Okay, Carol. Now you know

HOW DO YOU USE YOUR PUMICE STONE?

Pedicures

Is it true that feet are the new windows to the soul? Okay, I might have stretched that out a bit, but who doesn’t love pretty feet {yes even those creepy guys on craigslist know what’s up.}

You can do this either in your living room or bedroom. Take your footbath, your trustee pumice stone, oils, and get ready to have adorable tootsies. For your convenience, you can plug it in near you, be careful not to get zapped.

Start by soaking your feet; I usually use this time to overthink my life but the dealer’s choice. Right? When you’re ready to start sloughing off the yummy goodness, pat dry and start rubbing in a circular motion, be as light-handed as you possibly can.

Pay extra attention to heels and sides, as this is where most of the callouses are present. Pat dry and apply your favorite moisturizer.

When done, rinse your pumice stone in some apple cider and or with a toothbrush and let it dry. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the most common use for a pumice stone but not the only one as you will see down below.

At-home manicures.

Similar to the pedicure, you can quickly go in with your stone for this home manicure. You can do this either for yourself or your partner {extra bonus points for you}.

You want to fill up a small basin, lay down a towel on your thighs, get your little kit out and go to town.

If you have the time, you can file, cut, and give your nails a new polish afterward.

You are welcome.

I think it’s only fair I let you in on a secret, I barely use my pumice stone for the traditional use. I know I’m a bit of a bad girl. When I started on this journey, like everyone else, I walked the paved road, but I have to tell you it’s kind of nice to realize there are other ways of using a pumice stone.

One of the ways that I learned from a friend was using pumice to distress jeans. With all my stories, I have to set a mood.

Okay, so it’s Saturday night; you’ve gotten well-fitting jeans in the mail. They look kind of cool, but they are missing something.

No, it’s not the fact that women’s jeans lack pockets {thanks a lot Zara}. It’s that they don’t give you that oomph that the thrifted distressed mom jeans do. What you want to do is go in with your stone; be careful not to heavy-handed distress the shit out of it. Afterward, throw them in the wash; we don’t want stone cracking jokes where they shouldn’t.

Before I can leave you to your extensive knowledge on pumice stones, I have a fun little did you know.

Did you know that in ancient China, the doctors would use ground up mica, pumice fossilized bones, and tea and make a concoction used to treat stomach ulcers and other ailments?

It might sound bat shit crazy to drink tea but let’s not judge. It was in ancient times.

I can only hope that with this knowledge, you will go forth and spread the word on the mythical pumice stone as with great experience comes great responsibility,

Yes, I had to end with that cliché.