Jul 11, 2013

beach-hoppin' adventures

I love the beach
I love spending time with family.

Put these two together and you have a recipe for a spectacular Father's Day weekend!

We celebrated our awesome dad with a trip to the Oregon Coast! There are nine kids in my family and roughly half were able to make it. We started off in the cute beach town, Seaside, which has been a go-to spot for years and years. I absolutely love this beach. It has everything: little shops, cafes, arcades, elephant ears (yum!), bike rentals, volleyball nets, kite-flyers, and a quiet residential area on the boardwalk.

We started the morning by unloading the two bikes we brought from home and then headed over to a shop to rent a 6-seater for the rest of us. We had to work for those elephant ears!

My sweet parents who still act like they're newlyweds

Can you tell we like bikes?

We ended up having a snack (we shared elephant ears and pizza) and after some walking, headed to the beach where we laid out for a few hours and listened to the waves rolling nearby.

Soon enough, we were hungry, so we headed about 10 miles away to my second favorite beach town, Cannon Beach, and entered Tolovana State Park to get our grub on at Mo's Restaurant. If you're on the Oregon Coast, you must try Mo's! Their clam chowder is heavenly and they have lots of other delicious plates to chose from if seafood is not your cup o' tea. I was going to take a photo of our food but got too excited to eat.

But here is my adorable mum and sis while they were waiting for their dishes

The other great thing about Mo's is the view from your table. After dinner we walked ten feet away from the parking lot and caught this amazing viewpoint.
Daddy with his three daughters
The lovebirds again
 After dinner, my parents and one of my sisters had to go home because they had work the next day. The rest of us spent the night at our favorite hotel at Seaside, Rivertide Suites. But before we headed there, we walked (and laughed) off some serious calories.

Cannon Beach is well known for Haystack Rock, a 235 foot sea stack, and the adjacent "Needles" that my siblings are passing in the photo below.

After our walk we stopped at Les Shirley Park, which is a stones throw from downtown Cannon Beach to rest for a few minutes before beach hopping again.

We then headed less than a mile away to John Yeon State Park, which neighbors the larger Ecola State Park. It is a small, private beach that my little brother discovered while longboarding on a previous visit to Cannon. It's hidden in a residential area full of mansions on the cliffside and was so quiet and peaceful on this cloudy evening.
And my favorite shot (caught on my iPhone and edited a bit)
The next morning, I woke up early and went for a 4.5 mile jog around Seaside. It was amazing. The usually-busy beach town was still waking up.  Aside from cute elderly couples walking down the boardwalk, I was alone. Perfect conditions for an introvert!

I started off running a few miles on the beach . . . until I reached the farthest I could go.
So then I turned around, jogged onto the boardwalk and followed it several miles until I reached the end of the boardwalk on the other side of the beach. 
It was fun to explore the areas of Seaside that I had never seen before. It was also a great time to just jog and pray. It may sound funny, but I do a lot of praying while I jog. It helps me focus and pray for things I otherwise might forget in a busy day. 

By mid-morning, we checked out of our suite and headed to Ecola State Park. One of the rustic, more undisturbed beaches that happens to be part of Ecola is the beautiful Indian Beach. We played frisbee and watched surfers tackle the morning waves after the short, pretty hike.
And then we drove to the more popular part of Ecola State Park, the viewpoint. And boy, what a view!

We finished off the day by driving back to Cannon Beach, relaxing on the beach, then doing some shopping along the main road, which is filled with adorable shops. Cannon Beach is a bit more quiet and petite compared to the busy Seaside, so I loved visiting both and getting a great balance.

Lastly, I want to finish off with the song that was on my heart the whole weekend as I was surrounded by the ocean. What a truth-filled song of God's love and faithfulness when we are in oceans deep.

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Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

(Hillsong United)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

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Elle Alice