Indian Beach, Ecola State Park

Escape From Packing

Packing, selling, sweating… time for a break from the heat!

It’s been a whirlwind year, marrying and combining our households… then deciding to relocate back to Southern California. All the cleaning, packing, and selling most of what we own is starting to wear us to a frazzle. We’re still both working, but our house is just about to go on the market.

Time to bundle up and escape and this hot midsummer day to the Coast. Oregonians call it the Coast, Californians call it the Beach. So we are taking one last chance to call it the Coast.

Close, But a World Away

We are escaping the heat — and responsibility — by heading to Ecola State Park, just south of Cannon Beach. Winding narrow roads lead you to the entrance of this scenic nine-mile stretch of the Oregon coastline.

There is plenty to do in this area, and a day-use parking pass is required. But once you’re parked, hiking, surfing, tide pools, and wild life (including elk) are big attractions. Plus, of course, our favorite sport: picnicking!

Explore the Shore

A lovely June day on the Oregon Coast!

From the upper parking lot we enjoy views of the rugged coast line including the long abandoned Tillamook lighthouse, “Terrible Tilly,” and take a short hike around the grassy park. We also get a chance to spot another one of those weasel-like creatures that our daughter later informs us is a “fisher.” Maybe.

Next, we drive deeper into the park and wind our way down to Indian Beach. Though I have been here several times with my mom and kids, and it’s one of our favorite spots, this will be Andy’s first time.

Take a 2-minute break and enjoy the crashing waves! That’s the Tillamook Lighthouse when we zoom in.

This secluded beach is peaceful and filled with tide pools and plenty of places to explore. We have the beach almost totally to ourselves on this grey, chilly day. I notice right away that after the winter storms, the beach looks very different than it did the summer before. Landslides have taken out quite a few trees.

Picking a Picnic Plot

Darcy waves from our picnic spot.

Before going exploring, we need to snuggle-up and dig into our picnic basket. We start with some light charcuterie: a white cheddar cheese, crackers, salami, and nuts.

Our basket brings cuisine to the scene!

Leftover pasta salad always tastes better the next day, plus the stars of our meal… Indian Beach Shrimp Salad and a bottle of Hahn Pinot Gris, a wedding gift from our fabulous Realtor, Gloria Hahn (no relation).

This is a much-needed escape from reality! We spend the day lounging and exploring the rocks.

We even make a short video talking about the coast vs the beach.

Does it look chilly? It is, a little. But we’re used to that in the PNW, where there’s a fine line between “That could be sunburn,” and “That could be frostbite!” And remember, we’re escaping the heat in the city. All kinds of heat!

And it’s just two months until we are baking on the beach in the SoCal sun!

Indian Beach Shrimp Salad

Great as a side dish, or this recipe serves two as a main dish.
Serve with a chilled white wine such as Hahn Pinot Gris.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Servings 4


Food takeout containers make a fun presentation for a picnic!


  • 1 tbsp sea salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • splash of white wine optional
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 cup minced red onion
  • 2 celery stalks minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach or Romaine lettuce
  • 3 lemons cut into quarters


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil
  • Add one of the lemons and the sea salt
  • Add shrimp and bring back up to a boil for 3 minutes
  • Remove shrimp and place in a bowl of ice water
  • When shrimp are cool, peel and devein
  • In a separate bowl whisk together mayo, mustard, vinegar, wine, and tarragon
  • Toss in shrimp, onions, and celery
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Chill for 2 hours
  • Toss in baby spinach, and arrange lemons on top
  • Serve, or pack in air tight containers and head to the beach!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!