Reactive Road Trip: Day 6 Update – The Oregon Coast

Today we left Astoria and started our journey south back towards home. Our journey along the coast started at Del Rey Beach. Nothing exciting here. It was a secluded beach, nothing too spectacular. We played a little Frisbee and after about 6 throws we saw a dog coming down the beach so we left.

View from Ecola Point Day Use Area

We were off to Ecola State Park which is located off of highway 101. We started our exploration of the park at the Ecola Point Day Use Area. There were two dogs in a car when we pulled into the lot, however we got lucky as the dogs remained in the car.  I hooked Odin up to his leash and we were off the explore the Day Use Area. The Area had overlooks of Crescent Beach, Bird Rock, and Chapan point. The Area was small (about 1 mile of trail total) and easy to walk with a lot of open space, which was great for Odin. If we needed to dart away from upcoming dogs to manage his reactivity, this area had plenty of space to do that.

View from the Indian Beach Parking Lot

Our next stop in Ecola State Park was Indian Beach. This was a great place to stop and play. Since we had gotten there early, it was only us and the surfers. The parking lot was a great viewing point for the beach below and Submarine Rock.

Making our way down to the beach was fun. At the bottom of the path was a pile of driftwood logs which made a great parkour obstacle course for both myself and Odin. We spent about an hour walking up and down the beach. I had Odin, while my husband, Derek, drove his RC car alongside us. Odin usually does not like the RC car, however, I think he was enjoying the sights and sounds of the beach so much, he did not pay too much attention to the RC car. This was with the exception of when I tried to drive it. If it was me driving, it became the devil incarnate and Odin needed to kill it and banish is back to the depths of hell. But as soon as the controller was back in Derek’s hands, the RC car was no longer a threat. I think he may have been making a comment about my driving skills…

Odin was very curious about the surfers. He has never seen a surfboard let alone a person wearing a wetsuit that covered them from head to toe. He would tilt his head with curiosity whenever we passed them on the beach or he saw them out in the shallow waters.

When we headed back to leave, Derek went ahead of us to check the trail and the parking lot for other dogs before we brought Odin up. The trail was single lane and the parking lot was up above the beach which made visibility difficult. Derek made it to the top, checked for other dogs and gave us the all clear. We were really lucky on our timing at Indian Beach, as we were leaving (Odin was already in the car), 5 other dogs entered the parking lot and were headed to the beach. Overall, we had a great experience at Ecola, however, I think we were lucky in how empty the park was. During peak visitor hours and seasons, this park is probably packed with people and dogs. The park has a lot of parking space and overflow parking, so I assume they expect to get a lot of visitors. I would be skeptical about bringing your reactive dog during peak season or times. If you do want to bring your dog, I suggest getting to the park early.

Cannon Beach was just short drive from Ecola, and as it is an iconic beach we wanted to stop there. It was very packed and there were a lot of dogs. Within a handful of minutes of getting onto the beach. Odin started showing signs of reactivity. He barked at one dog and one lady with hiking sticks so we fled the beach to avoid a larger reaction. This is a very popular beach. I do NOT recommend this beach for reactive or nervous dogs. On a Tuesday morning, it was packed. I cannot imagine what that beach is like during the summer on a weekend.

Next on our itinerary was Oswald State Park, however, we decided to pass on the park because of the large number of cars and dogs in the main parking lot. Staying at the park would not have been a good choice for Odin.

A “hot” spot I wanted to hit up was Four Paws on the Beach, a pet boutique store, in Manzanita. I had read about the store in an article about dog friendly things to do on the Oregon Coast. I love going to pet boutiques to find unique pet products. We picked up a new West Paw toy for Odin, a border collie magnet for our fridge, and a dog themed sweatshirt for me. The store was really cute and had a wide variety of products. Odin got spoiled with treats and love from the cashier.

The boutique was next to a Mexican restaurant so we decided to stop and order some lunch to go. Manzanita is a very dog friendly town and there were many dogs on the main drag of the downtown. Ordering our food to go and eating somewhere else made it easier to avoid other dogs while we were eating (Hey look! I’m following my own advice! Strategy #3 Avoid the hassle and order in). We had wanted to eat lunch at a bench near the beach however, we were unable to find a spot to sit at so we ate in the car.

The spot we parked at had a great view of the beach and we were able to gauge whether or not we wanted to take Odin to play there. We had only seen a few dogs (about 3) go by while we were eating so we decided to take Odin down there to play. I hooked him into his GoPro Harness and grabbed his Frisbee and we were ready to rock-and-roll. Once we were on the beach, I unleashed him and pressed record on the GoPro. Odin took off ready to play some fetch. We threw the Frisbee around for a couple of minutes and once we had a handful of minutes of footage, I removed the harness and resumed throwing the Frisbee for him.

GoPro Image

Another dog down the beach saw Odin running and playing fetch and wanted to join. He, a black labradoodle, came running towards Odin with his owners trailing behind him. Odin saw him approaching and immediately wanted to play. He came back to me and dropped the Frisbee and went to greet his new friend. They happily ran circles around us, playing what looked like the doggy version of tag. Both dogs started to get a little far from us, and I saw that Odin had noticed a tennis ball being thrown, as soon as I called his name he turned and did a beautiful recall back to me. He gave me a perfect front and sit while we waited for the labradoodle’s parents to leash him up. Once the labradoodle was far enough away, we resumed playing Frisbee for a couple more minutes, then it was time for us to head out. He did great at the beach and we all left feeling confident and successful.


From Manzanita, we had an hour drive to our next stop, Cape Meares State Park. We were on the fence about visiting this park as we had already done a lot and Odin seemed tired. But we thought “What the heck! When is the next time we are going to be here?” and we decided to take the extra 40 minutes to go to the park. This ended up being a great decision. The park was very secluded and empty, once again we had it almost to ourselves.

We spent a lot of time venturing around the viewpoints, the Octopus Tree, and the lighthouse. Since there was no one around, Odin got a little rebellious and broke the no rock climbing rule.


The park had magnificent views of the coast line. While we were heading back on one of the trails, a small off leash dog came prancing up. The owner made her way around the corner and Derek asked her if they could meet. She said yes, and we gave Odin the cue to “go say Hi”. Once again, this worked. He happily pulled towards the other dog, tail wagging. They said their hello’s and Odin pranced alongside me as we left the other dogs, extremely happy with his interaction.

Now we had a 1.5-hour drive to Newport. We had wanted to make one last stop for the day at the Devil’s Punchbowl, however is was dark by the time we drove past the park. Oh well, it had mediocre reviews. We are staying the night at the Hallmark Resort in Newport. We were very excited to find a doggy goody bag in the room. It had a doggy water bottle, a Frisbee, and a bag of treats. This was a really thoughtful touch. The hotel overlooks the ocean and has beach access which we will utilize in the morning. For dinner, we are ordering in again. It’s just easier than trying to find somewhere that allows dogs and we are hungry and it’s almost 7 pm. Looks like I am following my own advice again about eating in (Strategy #3: Avoid the hassle and order in). That’s twice in one day. It must be good advice!

Today was a great day with Odin. 99% of the interactions with other dogs were great and he had an amazing day. Here’s to many more days like this one!




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