Mention Tillamook and the image that pops into the minds of many Northwesterners is a block of perfectly orange cheese. This coastal town is known for the cheese and ice cream factory that bears its name, but also for its virtually empty beaches, rolling sand dunes, historic lighthouses, salty sea towns and even a WWII blimp hangar turned museum. Families with dogs needn’t leave the pups behind, as there’s plenty for furry ones, too . . . except the cheese factory. But you can take cone to the car.
Tillamook is a fairly large Oceanside city, so there’s a decent array of restaurants and supermarkets for stocking a perfect picnic. For those who like to splurge, there are more elegant eateries such as Roseanna’s Café, Kendra’s Kitchen, and Pacific Restaurant. For something off the beaten path, try La Tea Da for a quaint lunch or tea. Mid-priced fare is also plentiful, with the Divine Burger Bistro (boasting gluten-free buns and Portobello mushroom burgers), Fat Dog Pizza, Rodeo Steakhouse & Grill (yes there’s sawdust on the floor), and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company offering wine tasting, deli sandwiches . . . and cheese.
In addition to the joys of simple beach play, this area boasts excellent hiking trails. Munson Creek Falls, one of Oregon’s largest waterfalls at 266-feet, is just a half-mile stroll from the trailhead. A longer 7-mile upper trail hike is just as magnificent, and gives even the four-legged a good jaunt. The Kings Mountain Trail is a bit more challenging, but very worthwhile. The nearly 2800-foot climb over three miles takes one to the spectacular view from the summit. Another favorite activity here is kayaking, which is no surprise given the Tillamook County Water Trail has over 200 miles of estuaries, rivers and sloughs to explore. In fact, the Kayak Tillamook rental company may allow your pup to sail along with you during private tours on some of the calmer lakes and sloughs.
Like most large cities along the Oregon coast, Tillamook has a sprawling feel; its shops and retail centers stretch along Highway 101. Downtown Tillamook recently welcomed the newly renovated 2nd Street Public Market, an historic 1918 warehouse that was once home to the Tillamook County Creamery Association. The Market offers clothing, crafts and handmade goods stores as well as a few restaurants.
For home-away-from-home comfort where well-behaved dogs are always welcome, the Idyllic Beach Houses offer two cozy rentals (see Idyllic Home Away from Home). Dog-friendly hotels and motels are abundant in this area, including the Inn at Pacific City, Edgewater Ocean Front Cabins, Sea Haven Motel and Guest House, and the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. For a B & B atmosphere try Cape Lookout or the Powder Creek Ranch, both of which welcome dogs.
Salmon disease is a potentially fatal condition that has affected some dogs who ingested raw fish from Northwest inlets, streams, rivers and coastal waters. Not just limited to salmon, the organism Neorickettsia helmonthoeca has been found in trout, sturgeon, sculpin, lamprey, and others. The best prevention is to keep your dog leashed so she can’t get into something out of view. If you suspect your pup has gotten into something potentially dangerous, contact your vet immediately – the disease is treatable if caught in time. Symptoms may not appear for even a week, but can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal or eye discharge and depression.