Port Orford Oregon is a small fishing town on the south Oregon coast. This small, historic town is a popular stopping point for traveler’s cruising the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway on highway 101.
I typically don’t play favorites but Port Orford is my favorite west coast town.
I’ve been in the Port Orford area since mid-June and I’ve enjoyed the true, small town atmosphere – including the Fourth of July Jubilee celebration and enlightening conversations with Local’s, Tourist’s and fellow Nomad’s. There are no strip-malls here nor are they any chain stores or franchised businesses (other than the Chevron station).
My time on the Oregon coast is winding down and I’ll soon be saying good-bye to Port Orford, for now.
In a few days I get the oil changed and tires rotated on the van and then I’ll be headin’ on down the road.
Ultimately, I’ll be heading to the Homeland to spend the month of September visiting family and friends.
Northern Illinois should be cooling down soon and be more tolerable to someone (like me) who follows the weather and has no climate control in their cozy little home on wheels.
The weather in the Homeland has been known to throw in a few surprisingly hot, humid days during September. Hopefully, that’s not the case this year.
Bummed By The Pacific Ocean!?
When I first got to the west coast (in mid-June) I was a bit bummed.
I love the ocean but the Pacific ocean didn’t seem to draw me in as much as the south Atlantic does and it was a bit of a downer.
You find what you seek so I decided to focus on what the west coast has to offer rather than comparing it to the east coast.
By simply changing my focus I saw that the Pacific ocean (especially along the Oregon coast) has its own unique qualities with its misty ocean mornings, majestic Sea Stacks and driftwood lined beaches.
Camping For Free (or Cheap)
I spent most of my summer on the Pacific ocean shoreline. Listening to the ocean sounds as I fell asleep each night, as I rose each morning and as I worked (or played) throughout the day instills a sense of peace that’s free for the taking.
Oregon allows parking (not camping) in turnouts and rest areas up to 12 hours in a 24 hour period (unless there are signs stating otherwise).
Without that rule I would not be able to live by the Pacific ocean all summer long – for free!
Overnight Parking At The Upper Docks In Port Orford Oregon
Granted, I did spend a few nights dry camping at the Port Orford Upper Docks for $10 a night but sleeping at the turnouts is free.
Regardless of where I spent my nights the views were amazing.
The sea is prone to high gale winds which also affects the shoreline areas.
Many of the turnouts are in the open with no shelter from the wind. With high gale winds the van was a rockin’ but I sure wasn’t having any fun on the inside.
During high gale winds (when it got to 35-45 knots) I spent my nights at the Upper Docks where there was a bit more shelter from the wind.
I’m told there are $3 hot showers somewhere down on the lower docks (possibly at Griff’s restaurant) but I haven’t gone down to check it out. I wash/shower in the van (although it’s usually not hot because I don’t take the time to warm up the water!).
My Parking and Overnight Camping Costs
Since I left the Homeland in late May I’ve spent $160 to camp or overnight park.
Much of it was dry camping (no electric, water, etc) and the $160 includes camping during the trip out here.
Port Orford Oregon – History
When I began my Nomadic Lifestyle (almost 2 years ago) I never expected to fall in love with history. Historical events have always interested me but I’ve found myself deeply engrossed in learning more about the history of this country I call Home.
Often times those historical facts are brutal and bloody. I can’t imagine experiencing these events first-hand but, whether I like how it played out or not, it’s part of how this country developed and progressed.
Port Orford Oregon – The Oldest Townsite On The Oregon Coast
The townsite of Port Orford was established in 1851. As you enter the town from the north you are greeted by a sign describing Port Orford as the oldest townsite on the Oregon coast.
Driving down highway 101 (through the small town of Port Orford) you won’t see any strip malls, chain stores or franchised businesses (other than the gas station).
What you see in this town of 1,190 resident’s is small town charm and character.
I found it interesting that much of the city is managed by volunteer’s.
I’ve been here long enough that people recognize me and call me by name.
Battle Rock Park
Battle Rock Park is the Visitor’s center in Port Orford Oregon and is also a state Wayfinders Point.
The park is named after the historic battle that took place between the Qua-to-mah Native Americans and nine of Captain William Tichenor’s men in 1851.
Today, visitors can walk up Battle Rock from the beach below.
From past experience, I know better than to try and climb the rock (parts of it look too steep for me). I haven’t made the climb but I’m told a spectacular view awaits anyone who reaches the top.
Grey Whales are said to hang out in the cove and, while at the top of Battle Rock, it’s possible to catch a glimpse of them.
The only people I’ve seen climbing Battle Rock are kids and teenagers. I suppose there’s a reason for that!
Oregon Coast Sea Stacks
Just south of town there are more spectacular views. Namely, the monoliths – also known as Sea Stacks.
A sea stack is a large boulder (often in the shape of a haystack) that sits in the sea. Every sea stack is molded and formed by the ocean waves.
After hanging around them long enough each sea stack seemed to develop a character all it’s own.
The Sea Stack’s even had a daily routine…
Each morning, sea stack’s emerged from blankets of mystical ocean mist.
During the day, sea stack’s soak in the sun while ocean waves lapped and crashed around them.
As evening falls, sea stack’s sit calmly and quietly – preparing for another peaceful night of slumber.
What Else Did I Do This Summer?
I had several encounters with silly (borderline annoying) seagull’s.
I named him Tom because he liked to sit on the hood of people’s vehicles and look in at them. He gave me a special treat, though, because he liked to pull my wiper blades and thump them against the window.
After several thumps I had enough and honking the horn didn’t make him leave.
I had to go outside and physically make him get off of my van.
Once I established who the real boss was we came to an understanding.
He never got on my van again but he did walk around it and, as we made eye contact, he scooted away.
My primary goal this summer wasn’t sightseeing but I made sure to have a few adventures.
This summer, my goal was to complete some online projects and find additional ways to earn income.
I completed a couple of projects.
As for additional ways to earn income…
It’s one of those things where I know I’ve worked hard but I don’t feel like I’m any further ahead than when I started.
On the other hand, I have more experience and knowledge than I had several months ago.
I also have some seeds planted (things in the works) and all I can do is water them and keep moving forward!
For a small town, Port Orford Oregon is a pretty happening place!
I typically don’t eat out (due to food allergies). There’s plenty of seafood here (which I’m not allergic to) but I just don’t like seafood!
The restaurants were busy, though, and I hear the food and service is good.
It’s a good thing I don’t stay at hotels because the signs often said No Vacancy.
Thankfully, with my home on wheels, motels and hotels aren’t necessary. They’re usually too toxic for me anyway.
It’s also a good thing I don’t need to stay at campgrounds with hookups because, for miles up and down the coast, the signs usually indicated Campground Full.
I’m perfectly happy being off-the-grid with no hookups and didn’t have a need to be at a campground or plugged-in.
More Info About Port Orford Oregon
The Port Orford Website has more info.