One of the best places on the Oregon Coast is the town of Manzanita. It’s only about two hours from Portland and Neahkahnie Beach, which fronts this beach town, is one of the best beaches in the state. The beach is 7 miles long and very flat, making it ideal for walking, throwing a Frisbee, or finding a nice piece of driftwood on which to sit and watch the gorgeous and powerful Pacific Ocean. It never feels crowded here, yet there’s always someone walking a dog or playing with their kids, or even riding horses! The town of Manzanita has an amazing grocery store with a fantastic deli for a picnic lunch as well as a marvelous bakery where you can get hot cinnamon rolls and a great cup of coffee along with hand-made bread. On top of all this there’s the Cloud and Leaf book store, so if you are there on a rainy weekend, you can pop in and find a good read. With its Bed and Breakfasts and lovely little restaurants, for a weekend getaway at the ocean, Manzanita is hard to top. I was very excited when I received this assignment because I have spent many weekends and day trips here, so I know the place well. However, being able to frame my adventure with a photo assignment gave the trip an added dimension. Since the story wasn’t simply about Manzanita but part of a larger story about Great American Beach Towns, it was a way for me to demonstrate my Oregon pride. I moved here from the Midwest in 1988 and never looked back, largely because of the natural beauty Oregon has to offer, from its grand beaches like Neahkahnie, to the Cascade Mountains, the wine country, the high desert, the Painted Hills, Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge. Manzanita is a perfect example of what makes living in Oregon so wonderful. I hope that this story inspires you to visit Oregon. You can see the online gallery of pictures from National Geographic Traveler’s American Beach Towns here.