Wander Stories: Guests Share “Secret” Spots near Wander Orford Cliffs
If your favorite part of traveling to new places is seeking out the hidden gems in an area, then Wanderers Ali and Ryan Novak have you covered with some first-hand pointers for Port Orford, OR.
The small coastal community of Port Orford, OR, may not even be on your radar. As the westernmost settlement in the contiguous United States, this tiny fishing town could be easily missed. But if you look further, and go off-the-beaten path, you'll find that Port Orford is quite spectacular and far from your run-of-the-mill weekend getaway. You just can't be afraid to “get lost," as one of our friends Lost LeBlanc puts it.
It’s this very idea that propelled seasoned travelers Ali and Ryan Novak to stay at Wander Orford Cliffs.
“We found Wander through the West Coast Wander tour Lost LeBlanc did with you. We really liked the look of the stays, the amenities offered, and of course, the Tesla,” they said.
Seeing the world through a lens
Like many modern travelers, the Novaks scour social media and blogs to plan the best itinerary possible ahead of their trips. This is what inspired them to create their own YouTube and Instagram channels, With the Novaks. After all, it’s no secret that travel and vlogging go hand in hand...
“Making videos during our trips is simply an outlet for us to connect with others and share our experiences on a more personal level,” they revealed. “We're still warming up to the camera but we feel once we get the hang of this, we have a raw, honest and real perspective to bring to the table that our viewers will eventually appreciate.”
Parents to a 12 year-old daughter, a 9 year-old wiener dog and a 1 year-old cat, they also hope that their channel demonstrates how growing your family doesn't need to stop you from a life of exploration. While they hope to travel and make videos full-time eventually, they’re grateful for how remote work has given them the flexibility to explore new places, see the world and make friends along the way.
The road less Wandered
Small towns often mean that their best features can be found in nature - and Port Orford, where the forests and mountains meet the sea, is no different. “We really enjoyed the small town feel of Port Orford. Very quiet and peaceful area with a ton of natural beauty,” they described.
For this reason, the quaint town comes highly recommended for outdoor enthusiasts or for those who simply want to decompress. Wander Orford Cliff’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which give visitors a front-row seat to the mystical Oregon Coast, is what sold the Novaks to stay for a few nights.
“We loved the openness and clean feel the stay had, all of the daylight. The large statement artwork really stood out to us in a great way, along with the bold statement details like the wood and hardware,” they added.
At Wander Orford Cliffs. Photo by With the Novaks.
During their trip, they took full advantage of local favorites including parks such as Battle Rock and Port Orford Heads State Park, with the latter being just a few minutes away from the house. This park is situated at the northwestern tip of Port Orford, boasting stunning sea views of the coast throughout the hike. “The view at the end of the hike is breathtaking, definitely recommended.”
Port Orford Heads State Park. Screen grabbed from With the Novaks.
Trekking the Headland Trail, which begins at the museum, culminates with gorgeous views of Cape Blanco—Oregon’s westernmost tip. The Novaks agree that the lighthouse there is also a great spot to catch sea stack views, and it’s only a 20-minute drive from the house.
But perhaps the highlight of their trip was an unexpected stop in Gold Beach en route to Myers Creek Beach, a small town located south of Port Orford.
“When checking out a local shop, we let the shop owner know we were headed back to Myers Creek Beach but were open to suggestions if he would recommend any. He said Secret Beach is a must-see and wasn't too far out, so we changed our plans!” they shared.
Secret Beach lives up to its name. The beach is tucked away in a secluded spot in Brookings, Oregon, and is a short hike down from highway 101. When you get there, you’ll realize that the hike is well worth it. Secret Beach is so secret that you’ll likely get the whole beach to yourself when you visit—it’s the best place to enjoy some solitude.
Secret Beach. Screen grabbed from With the Novaks.
A trip to Secret Beach is so beautiful, you may want to spend the entire day - so the Novaks recommend bringing some food for a picnic. On your way back, be sure to stop by The Crazy Norwegian for crazy good seafood fare and dessert.
“Ryan got the fish and chips and I got the fish sandwich with clam chowder as a side. For dessert we ordered a lemon creme pie and a coconut cream pie. We wished we had purchased two each afterwards - they were SO good,” Ali recommended.
It’s clear that there’s no shortage of natural gems in and around Port Orford. If you’re still on the fence about driving up there for a quick vacay, then let the Novaks convince you otherwise.
“Our stay at Wander Orford Cliffs was everything we had hoped for and more. There were so many thoughtful touches throughout the home that we really appreciated and enjoyed. The accommodations were fantastic and the great customer service answered our many questions.”
So what's next for the Novaks? As far as upcoming travel plans, Mexico, San Diego and Bryson City, NC are on the list. They also hope to make it out to Arizona early next year and stay at Wander Cave Creek.
Wander Stories is a collection of real community stories by Wanderers and for Wanderers. If you stayed at a Wander home before and would like to share your story with us, reach out to [email protected]