By Greg Johnson, ActiveLifestylesNW.com travel writer
Manzanita is a beautiful, peaceful Oregon coastal town located 15 miles south of Cannon Beach. It is also the town ravaged by a 130-mph tornado in October 2016. The tornado damaged homes, businesses and ripped off a store roof. Yet the town has recovered beautifully.
Driving north into the town on Hwy. 101 offers majestic views of the seven-mile beach along Manzanita. Once settled into your hotel, you may want to start out your visit with a walk along the beach. It stretches from Neahkahnie Mountain on the north south to Nehalem Spit. You can also rent a cycle or beach cruiser to explore the beach at the bike and surf shop, Bahama Mamas
In addition to beach walking and biking, outdoor activities include birding and fishing. Birders will be happy to learn that the area teems with many species of migratory birds,
After your brisk walk, take time to peruse the many shops along Laneda Avenue. One of our favorite Manzanita destinations is the Manzanita Grocery & Deli. The friendly store stocks everything you need, from an ample selection of wines, meats and deli items to seafood and dairy items from local farmers, fishermen and ranchers.
Other unique shops are the Cloud and Leaf book store, Manzanita Sweets, Moxie Fair Trade store and for dog owners, Four Paws on the Beach. You’ll find loads of unique gifts at Moxie and wide assortment of old-fashioned candy, chocolates and of course, salt water taffy at Manzanita Sweets.
You won’t go hungry in Manzanita. One of our favorite eateries is the San Dune Pub, a friendly place with a large stone fireplace, a full-service bar, domestic and imported beers and an extensive menu. There’s also a great Mexican restaurant (Left Coast Siesta) and Marzano’s is the place for take-out pizza made fresh daily with savory tomato sauce, fresh herbs and Italian spices.
For breakfast, take a short drive south to the quaint town of Nehalem for Wanda’s Café & Bakery. Enjoy the many souvenirs from different states on the café walls while partaking in your breakfast fare. Wanda’s extensive menu includes such specialties as Benedict eggs and grilled ham, Huevos Rancheros and a host of omelets including smoked salmon, green chili and veggie.
Our favorite lodging choice is the Ocean Inn at Manzanita, a cozy oceanfront collection of beautifully appointed units, some with ocean views and full kitchens. Pets are also welcome in most units. A few of the many other options includes the Sunset Surf Motel and Inn at the Manzanita.
Manzanita is ideally located to take advantage of local attractions such as the picturesque, touristy town of Cannon Beach and Oswald West State Park, a secluded, sandy beach with miles of trails and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s also a popular surfing and recreational destination.
Be sure to drive south on Hwy 101 through the quaint riverside town of Nehalem to pick up fresh crab at Kelly’s Brighton Marina. Located just north of Rockaway Beach, the friendly marina offers RV parking, tent camping, boating, fishing and excellent crabbing.