Like various other cities along the Oregon Coast, Tillamook (a Native American word meaning “land of many waters”) has a long and colorful history. Captain Robert Gray “discovered” Tillamook in 1788. Gradually settlers moved into the area and started farms. Historically the people who came here worked in timber, dairy, or the fishing industries. Today tourism is helping rejuvenate the city. With its beautiful beaches, parks, and other tourist attractions, Tillamook is well worth exploring.
The Three Capes Scenic Loop takes you to three different parks, each with its own special features. Cape Meares is home to Big Spruce, Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce tree. It has a circumference of 58 feet, 11 inches, diameter of 18 feet, 9 inches and 191 feet in height. Cape Meares lighthouse was commissioned on January 1, 1890, and remained in use until 1963. The lighthouse is now open daily for touring and the site is wheel chair accessible. Also living in the park is the Octopus Tree, a Sitka Spruce that was carefully trained by Native Americans to form a multi-armed bowl. Over 250 years old the tree, called the Council Tree by Native Americans, was a sacred site where elders once made decisions and where shamans performed ceremonies.
The smallest of the three parks is Cape Kiwanda. It is the home of the Pacific Dory Fleet. The beach is a favorite for picnicking, kite flying, and watching the unbelievable action on the waves that crash against the rocks.
Cape Lookout is well-liked for its camping and hiking trails. From the lookout you have a wonderful view of the beach below. The walk to the beach is very easy. The rumor is this is one of the best beaches along the Oregon Coast for finding a glass float. The park also contains more than eight miles of hiking trails.
In addition to the natural beauty that surrounds Tillamook, there are many fun things to see and do inside the city. Tillamook County Pioneer Museum tells the story of Tillamook from prehistoric times to modern day. The museum has over 35,000 items plus roughly 10,000 photographs. The collection includes items such as Native American baskets, census records beginning in 1854, early cars, and numerous other interesting items.
Tillamook Air Museum, located inside a restored World War II Blimp Hangar, claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world! The museum houses more than 30 magnificent airplanes including a P-38 Lightning, F4U-Corsair, P51-Mustang, PBY Catalina and SBD Dauntless dive bomber. The museum gives rides in the planes on an ever changing schedule. If you are interested in a particular plane, you should call the museum before you come. The planes fly to airshows and are not always in residence. On Saturday, August 4, 2012, the museum will host Northwest Classics. There will be antique cars, motorcycles, and, of course, airplanes on display. The event will kick off with a pancake breakfast at 7 am. There show will also include live music and a beer and wine garden.
For natural beauty, history, and fun, there is no better place to visit than Tillamook! You’ll need lots of time if you want to become acquainted with Tillamook.
Article written by Mary Boyer
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Additional information about the city of Tillamook.