Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, OR

(Disclaimer: This is a rather wordy post, feel free to scroll right to the photos!)

The southern coast of Oregon is a place we’d never been. Our Life in a Tent trek took us from Crater Lake straight West through the Umpqua forest to Sunset Bay, then North from there - totally bypassing the magical place that this post is about! Since then, I’d come across articles and photos of Samuel Boardman State Park and thought, how the heck have we not been here!?!?

Not only did our aimless tent life meanderings leave the southern tip of the coast undiscovered, it’s also a 6 hour drive from Portland .. Eek. I’d been waiting for an opportunity, a 3 day weekend, something - and what do you know! Labor day weekend just happened to follow our 2 year wedding anniversary, perfectly presenting me with just what I’d been waiting for.

We spent Friday evening preparing – packing gear, charting our route, baking the lavender pound cake recipe from our wedding fresh with the lavender from the weekend before – and Saturday morning we rose with the sun, ready to go.

The roads were crystal clear as we cruised down I-5 south through Salem and Eugene. From there we booked it to the coast and saw little coastal towns we vaguely remembered from our tenting escapade. We kept finding ourselves in strangely familiar places, like “OMG we’ve been here!!” or “This is where we were!!”

The best moment was when we cruised through Coos Bay, not feeling too familiar with the area but knowing we celebrated Brad’s 25th birthday at some little coastal Oregon town… We drove through the downtown strip and BAM! – a serious flood of memories!! There was the German bar we day drank at – oh, and across the street, the restaurant with those amazing bentos!! We knew we had to be close to Sunset Bay, where we watched our first sunset on the Oregon coast. That was a very special day.

  From there on out it was all uncharted territory! Just when we started getting delirious, we emerged from the seemingly endless forest and were hit with the most spectacular view! I wish I had photos, we only stopped to take one, and have since made plans to go back. There is much to explore around Humbug Mountain - if you’re ever in the area, put it on your list.

Needlesss to say we were eager to reach our intended destination but were completely mesmerized by this coastline! Many moments felt like driving through some exotic foreign country, with rugged volcanic cliffs plunging to a deeply tropical ocean blue. The Pacific, my friends, never disappoints.

Alas we reached the Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor and finally caught a little glimpse of everything we would soon explore the following day.

We camped at Alfred A. Loeb campground on the Chetco River, hung some hammocks and just chilled. The long drive had us dreary so Brad and Buffy went for a swim and I took a nap in the tent under the trees. We spent the night playing Gin Rummy, cooking up grub, and could hardly fall asleep in anticipation of our adventures the next day.

My biggest take away is that I did not know that Oregon ocean could be this color BLUE!!! It felt like a volcanic tropical oasis - and as a matter of fact, that’s WHAT IT IS! - only with forests and moss and wildflowers abound. The rocks and boulders covered with trees and growth plunging in and out of the ocean is really something you have to experience in person to feel the full grandiose of the surroundings. I tried to capture it all in photos, but time and time again I just had to put the camera down and take it in – visually, mentally, emotionally.

Again, I profess, Oregon is SUCH A DREAM.



secret beach

buff was lit, per usual


natural bridges

magical wonderland of ocean, trees, and growth


my new favorite little spot in the world


offshore sea stacks and summer flowers


arch rock

happily lost in a beautiful land


The state park is really a scenic corridor that encompasses 11 miles of coastline with 12 stops boasting incredible viewpoints, offshore rock formations, secluded beaches, hikes, and picnic areas. It was hard to believe how few people were in and around this place, it really seemed undiscovered – that, or just really far away from, like, everywhere..! We enjoyed the lack of people and abundance of views, and really wished we had more than just one full day to explore. After spending the entire day packing in as much as we possibly could, we both agreed we would DEFINITELY be back.

We spent sun up to sun down exploring and ended the day with another Oregon coast sunset perched high on a hill, with grasses and trees and flowers blowing in the breeze, sharing a bottle of champagne we saved from our wedding, and enjoying this expansive view we had ALL to ourselves.

In the distance, we saw hundreds of blowspouts from whales – which at first I thought was just wind blowing across the tops of waves, but it kept happening so methodically, upward bursts of ocean and air, and the closer we looked the more we saw! Everywhere, so many - it was incredible!! Maybe the whales were migrating South for the winter? Maybe they hang there all the time because they have this whole area all to themselves too? I’ve since looked it up, was this real? - and yes, indeed, many accounts. It was hard to believe my eyes in the moment as it was truly something special to witness.


2 years down, forever to go

We retreated to our campsite late that evening and cooked dinner in the dark, playing more gin rummy, getting pretty lit on the combination of raspberry sour beer and lavender pound cake - complete with fresh raspberries, yum!

  And I have to say, it was SO HARD TO LEAVE the next day!!! I could have stayed down there forever. So quiet, sooo beautiful, and such a special place and way to celebrate our love.

  We spent our final day driving North back to Portland but this time we went almost the entire way up the Oregon coast. The air was crisp, the skies were blue, temperature topping out at about 70 degrees and a whole lot of daydreaming and reminiscing. The same thing that made me fall in love with the Oregon coast to begin with came rushing back to me, moment after moment, twist after turn.

 A successful celebration of life, love, and happiness – A perfect trip to Samuel Boardman State Park.


Life, TravelKarlene Baskind