Nehalem offers a couple of interesting lodging choices. If you’d like to overnight close to the river—on the river—try the Ripple Run Resort and Marina (35165 Hwy. 101 N., 503/368-3865 or 877/655-0623, www.ripplerunresort.com, $100 and up). Choose among four one-of-a-kind floating lodgings, including a 35-foot barge that sleeps 4–6 for $135 nightly, or a 47-foot converted tug that sleeps two. If a night on the water doesn’t entice, opt for a room in a riverside cottage. All units include linens, towels, kitchenettes with dishes, gas barbecues, cable TV, and videos. Reservations are recommended.
An easily overlooked hideaway a short drive off U.S. 101 southeast of Nehalem is The Nehalem River Inn Lodge (34910 Hwy. 53, 503/355-2301 or 800/368-6499, www.nehalemriverinn.com, $105–185). Perched right on the South Fork of the Nehalem, this onetime roadhouse dating back to the 1930s has been converted into a five-unit riverside retreat with a surprise trump card—an outstanding restaurant serving gourmet Northwest cuisine made from local ingredients.
Each of the sunny comfortable units has a private bath, cable TV, and a deck affording views of the river, the surrounding pasturelands, and the mountains. The inn also rents kayaks, which you can launch from the private dock to paddle up and down the river on a wildlife safari; you may spot otters, elk, bald eagles, and even seals that venture upriver from the bay.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel