Gearhart, Oregon, usually takes a backseat to its slightly larger neighbor to the south, Seaside. But this laid-back town, largely a retirement community, is one of Oregon’s hidden gems. Gearhart Beach stretches the length of the town, and driving on the sand is allowed, a rarity on a public beach in Oregon. Gearhart Golf Links has been welcoming the public to play its 18-hole course since 1892, and art galleries, antique shops and quirky restaurants are all part of life in this quiet beach town. While most of the hotels, motels and condos are in Seaside, there are a few in Gearhart.
Gearhart Ocean Inn
Sporting a Cape Cod architectural style and welcoming guests since 1941, the Gearhart Ocean Inn offers an assortment of studio and one- and two-bedroom suites. Guest rooms are a combination of the old and the new, with wood-burning Franklin stoves sharing kitchen space with microwaves, coffeemakers and, in the larger units, dishwashers. Bathrooms feature old-style pedestal sinks right alongside shower stalls of Carrara marble with rain shower heads. Play croquet or badminton on the expanse of lawn in the back, or host a barbecue on the flagstone patio, complete with gas grill and outdoor fireplace. Check with the front desk to see the tide schedule and pick up clamming gear to go hunting for razor clams. Two pets are allowed per unit at a fee -- call ahead and a goody bag with a food bowl, treats and towels will be waiting. The Pacific Way Bakery and Cafe is across the street and the Gearhart Grocery store is a half-block away. Walk a block and a half west and you are on the sands of Gearhart Ocean State Park.
Spend your vacation at one of the Gearhart Cottages, less than two blocks from the town center. The two red-bricked, New England-style, two-bedroom cottages are attached. Each offers a master suite with a queen-size four-poster bed, living room with gas fireplace and full kitchen. Fire up the propane grill in the property’s private yard and dine alfresco, or pull the Adirondack chairs around a campfire in the backyard’s stone fire pit. Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe, the Gearhart Grocery and the beach are all two blocks away. The Gearhart Cottages allows two pets per cottage for a fee.
Inn of the Four Winds in Seaside
Less than two miles south of the Gearhart border, the Victorian-style Inn of the Four Winds welcomes guests with fresh-baked cookies before handing them the keys to their ocean view room. This boutique property offers 14 rooms ranging from queen and king rooms to one-bedroom suites with wet bars and a balcony or patio. The Oceanfront King Deluxe room offers a bay window with a panoramic view of the Pacific. The northern end of the Seaside Promenade is at your doorstep, following along the beach to the Seaside Aquarium. Nearby restaurants include the Shilo Restaurants and Lounge and Norma’s Ocean Diner. It’s a quick ride north on Highway 101 to the Gearhart Golf Club and Gearhart Beach.
Best Western in Seaside
Boldly beautiful, beachfront and thoroughly modern, the Best Western Ocean View Resort offers a water view from every room on its five floors. The top-of-the-line Ocean Front King Jetted Tub Rooms offer a private hot tub for two tucked in a glassed-in alcove overlooking the ocean. Adding to the romance is a gas fireplace and a furnished balcony. Book the romance package and add chocolates, flowers, dinner for two at Sal’s and a bottle of champagne to your special occasion. A pet package also is offered, including treats, a cleanup kit and an activity guide that lists the off-leash beaches in the area. A nightly pet fee is charged. Salvatore’s Café & Pub, or Sal’s for short, offers an eclectic menu featuring everything from fresh seafood to pizzas, burgers and Italian comfort foods. Best Western Ocean View Resort is two miles from Gearhart via Highway 101.
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