Tillamook Bay, Oregon

Ask an Oregonian to name the quintessential Oregon beach town and most likely Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita or Bandon will be mentioned. Tillamook? Not so much!

Tillamook, 75 miles from Portland, is a northern Oregon coastal town situated on Tillamook Bay. It doesn’t have any beachside resorts. It is famously known for the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

We usually just pass through!

Recently we had an occasion to actually stay a few nights in Tillamook.

What did we find in Tillamook?

We were pleasantly surprised by the number of food trucks up and down Highway 101. The majority were Mexican cuisine, but there were a few espresso stands as well, and they appeared to be very popular.

We had an excellent ceviche tostada at one called Crazy Torta.

The Rendevous Bar and Grill was a great find! They claim to make everything from scratch and I thought their clam chowder was delicious and better than Mo’s!

Around the corner from Rendevous, the Saturday morning Farmers Market in front of City Hall featured local arts and crafts, samples of smoked nuts, cheeses, vinegars and fresh produce.

Every time we drove past the Tillamook County Creamery Association Cheese Factory we saw huge crowds of people waiting to get in! It is one of the top tourist attractions on the Oregon Coast drawing approximately a million visitors each year and features self-guided tours for visitors to see how cheese is made and packaged, free cheese samples, a great gift shop, ice cream and fudge counters, and a family-friendly restaurant. We have visited it in the past and didn’t want to do it again.

Today I share two very enjoyable alternate options.

1. North of Tillamook is Rockaway Big Tree Boardwalk, a 1.2 mile wooden boardwalk trail over a bog and into a beautiful old-growth cedar grove. The well-maintained boardwalk is accessible in all weather and is accessible for wheelchairs/mobility equipment or strollers. There is a dirt trail offshoot off the left fork that connects with another longer trail.

The trailhead and the parking lot is on the corner of Highway 101 and Washington Street at the south end of Rockaway Beach. There wasn’t any signage on the highway, we found it using Google Maps.

Thanks to my friend Gayla for recommending this place!

The town of Rockaway looked like a cute place to check out.


The massive western red cedar is surrounded by many spruce trees.
Steve thinks the tree looks like a friendly Ent.

2. Bayocean Peninsula County Park: the original townsite of Bayocean, a beach resort town, founded in 1906 on Tillamook Spit. Bayocean is sometimes known as “the town that fell into the sea” and virtually all traces of the town are gone. All that remains of Bayocean is a commemorative sign at the south end of the park.

We enjoyed hiking out here.

The rise and fall of Bayocean is an outstanding story in Oregon history: https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/bayocean/#.YTRUhcoiehB

Info on the hike and parking: https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Bayocean_Spit_Loop_Hike

To get to Bayocean follow the highway towards Cape Meares and drive out the well marked Bayocean Dike Road. If you have more time, Cape Meares is another great place with its lighthouse and “octopus tree.”

Meet You in the Morning for a big announcement!

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