Is a trip to the Oregon Coast complete without a visit to the Tillamook Creamery? From the looks of the number of cars in the parking lot and the number of people inside the building, the answer is, “No!” The creamery attracts an average of about 10,000 visitors a day.
Tillamook has been the home of Tillamook Creamery for well over 100 years, and it’s been on the tourist map since families have been cruising down Oregon’s Highway 101. Some things haven’t changed at the creamery, like the quality of the cheese and the ice cream. Some things have changed, like the sheer number of ice cream flavors and the spacious new visitor center, complete with a self-guided tour and a food hall, all designed to handle the volume of visitors.
On the self-guided tour from a glass-windowed catwalk above the production floor, guests learn about and watch the cheese-making and packaging process and amble through the line to sample the creamery’s variety of cheeses in the form of curds.
At the downstairs food hall, visitors who want the complete experience order a grilled cheese sandwich and then head to the ice cream line, which may look discouragingly long, but it moves quickly. The biggest problem is which flavors to choose.
Finally, the creamery’s store sells lots of Tillamook souvenirs as well as artisanal food products, many of which go well with cheese for a road snack later.
Here’s a visitor tip: To beat the crowds, visit first thing in the morning (think cheese curds and ice cream for breakfast), during weekdays or during off-season months.