14.5 miles S of Cannon Beach

As the crowds have descended on Cannon Beach, people seeking peace and quiet, less commerce and a slower pace have migrated south to the community of Manzanita. Located south of Neahkanie Mountain, Manzanita enjoys a setting similar to Cannon Beach, but without the many haystack rocks. There isn’t much to do except walk on the beach and relax, which is exactly why most people love Manzanita.

The beach at Manzanita stretches for 5 miles, from the base of Neahkanie Mountain to the mouth of the Nehalem River, and is a favorite of both full-body-wetsuit-clad surfers and windsurfers (who also windsurf in the quieter waters of Nehalem Bay just across Nehalem Spit).

Tillamook and Its Famous Cheese

About 27 miles south of Manzanita, U.S. 101 veers inland about 2 miles from the ocean and comes to the town of Tillamook. There’s really no reason to stop in Tillamook except to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory, 4175 U.S. 101 N. (www.tillamook.com; [tel] 800/542-7290 or 503/815-1300). It’s the most popular tourist attraction in a flat, lush, coastal valley long known as one of Oregon’s foremost dairy regions. Tillamook cheese is ubiquitous everywhere in the state—until the recent advent of artisan cheeses, it was the only real cheese to be had. At the factory, visitors can observe the cheese-making process (cheddars are the specialty), buy Tillamook ice cream, and browse through a large gift shop where all manner of cheeses and other edible gifts are available. The factory is open daily from 8am to 8pm in the summer, otherwise 8am to 6pm.

Located on the same side of U.S. 101 is the Blue Heron French Cheese Company, 2001 Blue Heron Dr. (www.blueheronoregon.com; [tel] 800/275-0639 or 503/842-8281). Created within an old dairy barn, Blue Heron stocks the same sort of comestibles as the Tillamook Cheese Factory, though the emphasis here is on brie (which, however, is not made locally). Blue Heron is open daily from 8am to 8pm in summer and 9am to 6pm in winter.