Creative Retreats in Gearhart

Creative Retreats in Gearhart: A Haven for Artists and Writers on the Oregon Coast

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland

Gearhart isn’t just a charming town on the Oregon coast; it’s a mecca for creatives seeking a muse with a seaside view. If you’re a creative who is craving some inspiration and in need of a serene escape, Gearhart is calling. Whether you’re looking to channel your inner Van Gogh with open-air painting, craft your next bestseller in a cozy writing nook, or capture the perfect shot of Oregon’s nature, Gearhart is your artistic playground. So pack your brushes, notebooks, and cameras, and get ready to embrace art and culture in a place where creativity flows as freely as the ocean waves.

Brushstrokes and Seascapes: Top Open-Air Painting Spots

Gearhart has a few gorgeous outdoor spots ideal for painters to set up their easel and canvas to capture this charming town’s natural beauty. Here are a few spots we recommend for open-air painting, weather-dependent of course.

Serene scene at Gearhart Beach which would be perfect open air painting spot for artists visiting Gearhart
Photo by Paul Buffington on Unsplash

Gearhart Beach

Gearhart Beach is a prime spot for painters seeking to capture the dramatic interplay of waves and sky. Here, you can see expansive sandy shores, rolling dunes, and stunning sunsets that paint the horizon in vivid hues. The ever-changing light and weather patterns provide endless inspiration for seascapes and beach scenes.

Neacoxie Creek

Just a short drive from central Gearhart, Neacoxie Creek offers a serene setting surrounded by lush greenery and gentle water flows. This tranquil spot is ideal for capturing the reflective qualities of water and the rich colors of the surrounding flora. It’s a perfect place for painters looking to explore more intimate, natural scenes.

Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site

Located north of Gearhart, Del Rey Beach is another fantastic location for plein air painting. Here, the vast stretches of sand meet the powerful Pacific Ocean, creating dramatic scenes of natural beauty. The wide-open space and the majestic views of the ocean waves crashing against the shore offer endless possibilities for capturing the raw power and beauty of nature.

Aerial view of Gearhart Golf Links with sun setting over the ocean in the background
Photo Credit: Gearhart Golf Links on Facebook

For a unique twist, try painting at the Gearhart Golf Links. This historic golf course, one of the oldest west of the Mississippi, provides picturesque views of manicured greens, old-growth trees, and glimpses of the ocean in the distance. The juxtaposition of the natural and cultivated landscapes can make for interesting and dynamic compositions.

Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe

While not an open-air spot, the view from the outdoor seating area of Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe offers a charming scene perfect for capturing the quaint essence of Gearhart’s main street and a sense of Americana from yesteryear. This location provides a different perspective, focusing on the cozy, small-town feel with a backdrop of unique local architecture and small town street life.

Famous Paintings

One of the notable works painted in Gearhart is the “Oregon Coast” series by local artist Amanda Houston. Her pieces beautifully capture the ethereal light and natural beauty of the coastal landscapes, showcasing Gearhart’s serene and inspiring environment.

Words by the Waves: Top Writing Spots in Gearhart

If you’re a writer who has found themselves in a rut lately and needs inspiration, what better place to find it again than in a charming coastal town like Geahart? Here are a few peaceful spots where you can sit, relax, and get some writing done during your creative retreat in Gearhart. 

Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe

The Pacific Way is the quintessential cozy coastal cafe for writers seeking a quiet writing spot and a good cup of coffee. With its indoor seating and peaceful outdoor patio, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and let your creativity flow. The delicious pastries are definitely a bonus!

​​Gearhart Beach

If you prefer to write outdoors, Gearhart Beach offers miles of sandy shorelines and quiet spots where you can set up a beach chair and enjoy the rhythmic sound of the waves. The beach’s expansive views and fresh sea air can be incredibly inspiring. Be sure to bring a sweater or a jacket, it can get pretty chilly at the beach.

Neacoxie Creek

This tranquil spot is perfect for those who enjoy writing in nature. With its gentle creek and lush surroundings, Neacoxie Creek provides a calming environment away from the hustle and bustle of town.

McMenamins Sand Trap Pub

McMenamins Sand Trap Pub at the Gearhart Hotel offers a cozy atmosphere with comfortable seating and a relaxed vibe. It’s a great place to enjoy a drink and some pub fare while working on your latest writing project. In the warmer weather, they have an outdoor firepit to chill next to with a glass of wine. 

Seaside Public Library

Less than a 10-minute drive south of Gearhart there is the bustling town of Seaside, and here you’ll find their cozy and efficient library. If you’re writing requires research, the Seaside Public Library has a wide range of resources from books, newspapers, ebooks, multiple computers and free WiFi. 

Capturing Coastal Charm: Photography Hotspots

The Oregon coast is a playground for photographers, especially in and around Gearhart. For photographers who love to capture the great outdoors and specialize in nature pictures, this is the place for you. Although these photography hotspots in and around Gearhart are mainly centered around nature, there are also some iconic landmarks and historic sites to be photographed. Here are our recommendations;

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

View of haystack rock at cannon beach where many photographers come to capture shots of this iconic landmark
Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

This iconic sea stack rises dramatically from the ocean and is one of the most photographed landmarks on the Oregon coast. Located less than a 20-minute drive south of Gearhart, photographers can capture stunning images of the rock at sunrise or sunset when the light bathes it in golden hues. The surrounding tide pools, teeming with marine life, and the picturesque beach add to the photographic opportunities.

Gearhart Beach

Gearhart Beach offers expansive sandy shores, rolling dunes, and breathtaking ocean views. Photographers can capture the beauty of the coastline, stunning sunsets, and the diverse birdlife. The beach’s vastness and changing weather conditions provide a dynamic and ever-changing landscape to photograph.

Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site

Located around 2-miles north of Gearhart, this recreation site offers photographers the chance to capture wide-open sandy beaches, dramatic ocean waves, and the occasional glimpse of wildlife such as seals and seabirds. The natural beauty and serene atmosphere make it a fantastic spot for coastal photography.

Neacoxie Creek

Neacoxie Creek is a tranquil spot surrounded by lush greenery and reflective waters. Photographers can capture the peaceful creek, the rich flora, and the play of light on the water. It’s an ideal location for those looking to photograph nature and more intimate landscapes.

View of haystack rock through the green trees at Ecola State Park
Photo by Brian W on Unsplash

Ecola State Park

Near Cannon Beach, approximately 18 miles south of Gearhart, Ecola State Park offers stunning vistas of the rugged coastline, dense forests, and sweeping ocean views. Photographers can capture dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and the iconic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in the distance. The park’s diverse landscapes provide photographers with a truly magical opportunity for some breathtaking shots.

Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens State Park is located just under a 25-minute drive north of Gearhart. This historic park features the remnants of a military fort, the wreck of the Peter Iredale ship, and expansive beaches. Photographers can explore and capture images of the rusting shipwreck, historical structures, and scenic coastal views. The park’s varied landscapes offer a wealth of photographic subjects.

Seaside Promenade

The Seaside Promenade offers a charming coastal walkway with picturesque views of the ocean, sandy beaches, and a bustling boardwalk. Photographers can capture the vibrant atmosphere, stunning sunsets, and the unique character of this popular seaside town.

Browse Local Galleries in Gearhart

Gearhart has a few art galleries that showcase local and regional artists, providing a cultural haven for art enthusiasts. Here are some notable art galleries in Gearhart;

Address: 576 Pacific Way, Gearhart, OR 97138

Established in the Spring of 2013, A Great Gallery is a charming coastal gallery that’s perfect for visiting art lovers. Owner and artist Susan Thomas creates beautiful soft pastel works in the front window, welcoming visitors to chat as she paints. The gallery features a vibrant collection of art, yarn, cards, and gifts, making it a must-see spot in Gearhart.

Studio Art Direct

Address: 3427 US-101, Gearhart, OR 97138

Studio Art Direct in Gearhart offers a unique blend of contemporary art and design services. This gallery showcases an impressive collection of local and regional artworks, perfect for art enthusiasts and collectors. It’s a vibrant spot to explore innovative and captivating pieces in the heart of Gearhart.

Pictures hanging on the wall and sitting in wooden racks at the Trail's End Art Association Gallery in Gearhart
Photo Credit: Trail’s End Art Association on Facebook

Address: 656 A St, Gearhart, OR 97138

Trail’s End Art Association Gallery is a local nonprofit gallery and community of artists. The gallery features a diverse range of artworks including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and photography. Regular exhibitions, workshops, and classes are held, making it a vibrant hub for the local art scene.

Come and Be Inspired by Gearhart

Whether you’re sketching seascapes, penning poetry, or capturing the perfect photo, this charming coastal town has it all. Elevate your creative retreat in Gearhart with a stay in one of Gearhart’s vacation rentals, many of which are located next to the inspiring Gearhart Beach. Whether you’re sketching seascapes, penning poetry, or capturing the perfect photo, Gearhart offers the perfect backdrop for your artistic endeavors. So pack your paintbrushes and sketchpads and unleash your creativity here in the charming coastal town of Gearhart. 

Commonly Asked Questions About Creative Retreats in Gearhart

1. What should I pack for a creative retreat in Gearhart?

When preparing for a creative retreat in Gearhart, pack comfortable clothing suitable for outdoor activities, art supplies (easels, canvases, notebooks, cameras), and personal items like sunscreen and a reusable water bottle. Don’t forget creative tools and any specific gear for your art form like paints, writing materials, or photography equipment.

2. Are there any local art stores in Gearhart where I can purchase supplies during my creative retreat?

Yes, Gearhart has a few local shops where you can find art supplies. The Trail’s End Art Association Gallery offers various art materials, and nearby Seaside has additional stores with a broader range of supplies. It’s always a good idea to bring your essential items, but you can find most basics locally if needed.

3. What are some quiet places to write during my creative retreat in Gearhart?

Gearhart offers several serene spots perfect for writing. Cozy cafes like Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe and Sweet Shop Gearhart provide a relaxing atmosphere. For a more peaceful outdoor setting, try Gearhart Beach or Neacoxie Creek, where you can be inspired by nature’s tranquility.

4. Are there any organized art events or workshops during a creative retreat in Gearhart?

Yes, Gearhart and the surrounding areas host various art events and workshops throughout the year. The Gearhart Art Walk on the first Saturday of every month is a great opportunity to engage with the local art scene. Nearby Cannon Beach also offers events like the Spring Unveiling Arts Festival and the Stormy Weather Arts Festival, featuring workshops and artist demonstrations.