Rockaway Beach (pop. 1,380) was established as a summer resort in the 1920s by Portlanders who wanted a coastal getaway. And so it remains today—a quiet spot without much going on besides walks on the seven miles of sandy beach, a Kite Festival in mid-May, and an Arts and Crafts Fair in mid-August.
Shallow Lake Lytle, on the east side of the highway, offers spring and early summer fishing for trout, bass, and crappie.
While the town of Rockaway is singularly unattractive from Highway 101—a lengthy stretch of tacky shops, modest motels, and big new condos—the beach is quite nice, anchored at the south by the impressive Twin Rocks formation.
The Visitor Information Center (503/355-8108, www.rockawaybeach.net ), lodged in a bright red caboose in the center of town, can fill you in on other goings-on.
Rockaway’s motels are basic and family-oriented; if you are planning in advance, take a moment to check out the beach houses available for rent on the chamber of commerce website (www.rockawaybeach.net ).
The following motels are on the ocean side of busy Highway 101, which dominates this long string bean of a town. Surfside Resort Motel (101 NW 11th St., 503/355-2312 or 800/243-7786, www.surfsideocean.com , $70 and up with no ocean view, $109 and up ocean view) is a large beachfront complex with an indoor pool. Some guest rooms with kitchens are available.
Silver Sands Oceanfront Resort (215 S. Pacific Ave., 503/355-2206 or 800/457-8972, www.oregonsilversands.com , $116 and up) is also right on the beach, with fairly basic rooms (some kitchenettes), an indoor pool and hot tub, and a sauna.
About a mile south of town, Twin Rocks Motel (7925 Minehaha St., 503/355-2391 or 877/355-2391, www.twinrocksmotel.net , $159) is a small cluster of dog-friendly two-bedroom oceanfront cottages. If you’re looking for a simple, quiet getaway with family or a couple of friends, this might be your place.
Cow Belle Cafe (194 U.S. 101 S., 503/355-2441, breakfast Thurs.–Sun., dinner daily) is a locals’ favorite for breakfast. The biscuits and gravy here are renowned, as is the bovine-rich decor.
The Beach Bite (162 U.S. 101 S., 503/355-2073, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri., 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., $6–20) is one of the classier dining places in town (don’t worry, flip-flops and a sweatshirt will get you by), featuring burgers and pasta.