180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Interesting Beach Finds for Popular Holiday
Week on Oregon Coast
|Ancient stumps at Hug Point popped up last year, which may be as
much as 80,000 years old
(Oregon Coast) – The week between Christmas and New
Year’s Eve is a big one for the Oregon coast, as thousands are expected
to hit the 362 miles between Brookings and the southern Washington coast.
Renting a large vacation home for the family is extremely popular, as
many spend much of the winter break there, all the way through the new
year. Others will take advantage of the vacation days to line coastal
bluffs and look for whales.
It’s a time full of interesting sights on the beaches,
as recent storms have brought a bevy of stuff onto the sand or changed
the landscape in some way. There are also numerous other delights that
many aren’t aware of, like the strange ghost forests of some beach
spots, exceptional beachcombing and aspects to crabbing and shellfish.
Of course, the most popular is the Whale Watching Spoken
Here week, with begins December 26 and runs until January 1.
|Whale Watch spot above Manzanita
During this week, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., volunteers will
be stationed at overlooks and parks all over the Oregon coast, helping
the public learn about gray whales, and spot them in the ocean. Volunteers
will be at the Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This time around could be an especially engaging one, as officials say
whale sightings have been running at record levels all year. Morris Grover,
with the Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay, said the rush is already on,
with whales well on their way during their southbound migration.
In a press release, Grover said sightings of whales have
been smokin’ all year long, and it could mean a bonanza of whales
and their tails for tourists to the Oregon coastline.
“Weather always plays a part in determining how many
whales are seen,” Grover said. "Otherwise, I see no reason
why our counts shouldn’t follow this year’s trend. The number
of sightings recorded last spring was the highest it has been in more
than 10 years. We also had a very good summer for whale watching on the
|Morris Grover, head of the Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay, searches
for whales at Newport's Nye Beach area
Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch
Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces,
decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials
that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com
Weather can interfere with whale watching - not because
they are annoyed or frightened by heavy surf, but because tall waves make
it hard to see them.
"Rough weather presents a visual whale watching problem,” Grover
said. “A whale’s back or tail usually would only be visible
about three to six feet above the water line. A four- to eight-foot wave
would make them ‘invisible’ to watchers looking across the
waves. Even the whale’s spout that could be as tall as 12 feet is
usually blown sideways by the wind, making it only three to four feet
tall. We have seen whales during storms, but that is usually when a swell
pushes the whale up to where we can see it.”
|Harvesting of shellfish is now allowed north of Lincoln City, such
as Pacific City (pictured here)
For those who want a little more hands-on experience mussels
and crabbing will be just the thing – and good timing, too.
Snagging your own shellfish from north Oregon coast beaches
is allowed again, after toxins caused the Oregon Department of Agriculture
and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to ban harvesting
from beaches of Lincoln City up to the Columbia River. Paralytic Shellfish
Poisoning toxins levels were tested recently and found to be within safe
limits in that more than 100 miles of coastline.
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That section had been closed to mussel-taking since October
15. This now means the entire coast is open to recreational harvesting
by the public as well as commercially,
Call the state’s Shellfish Hotline at (800) 448-2474.
|Newport's scenic bay
For crabbers, in spite of the often harsh weather this
part of December can bring, this is an excellent time to snag crab. For
those who want to purchase crab that’s already been caught, the
famed Oregon Dungeness crab is plentiful and fairly inexpensive now.
According to the ODFW, it is a delicious time to catch
your own crab as well.
“Right now is the prime time for crabbing,”
said Brandon Ford, an ODFW spokesman in Newport. “It’s the
best conditions throughout winter and into the spring. The pre-season
testing of ocean crab for the commercial fishery showed that crabs had
hard shells and were full of meat. And crabbing in the bays and estuaries
has improved in the last couple of weeks.”
|Newport's Yaquina Bay is one of the best
places on the coast for crabbing
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family
vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with
over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection
of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses
– from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln
City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds
of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces,
beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers.
Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.
Ford said that crabmeat is typically at its best this time
of year, as they are plump and full of meat after filling their new shells
with body mass since the molting season that happened earlier this year.
Commercial crab season opened December 1, and this means
that the ocean is open for crabbing to private citizens as well. There
are, of course, a limited number of nice, calm days for this endeavor,
but Ford said those hardy souls interested in this adventurous form of
crabbing are growing in numbers – and they are often rewarded.
“When ocean conditions permit, anglers can combine
crabbing and bottom fishing in one trip,” Ford said. “I believe
there are more people looking for those opportunities. The crabs are generally
bigger in the deep ocean, although it is often a matter of luck, like
any sport fishing.”
You must have an annual shellfish license to go crabbing
– the cost of which is $6.50 per person. See www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/crab/,
or call ODFW’s Newport office at 541-867-4741.
|Big tides have cut into sand levels on the beaches
Recent storms are making for some spectacular beach finds.
Some true oddities are beginning to manifest themselves on the sands,
in terms of beachcombing and how the beach spots are changing their looks.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a
double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck.
Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person
romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate
oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family
reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect
to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly.
523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938.
“The beaches have been stripped of so much sand it
has uncovered fossil rock and trees,” said Judy Joubert, owner of
Stonecrest B&B just south of Newport. Her area is chock full of freaky
stuff starting to show up. “Great time for agate and rock hunting
as well as viewing unusual beach and bluff erosion. The wild ocean, beach
and bluffs are providing great opportunities for any amateur or professional
Newport beach expert Guy DiTorrice agreed.
|Beach erosion will make rocky objects like these - next to Cape
Perpetua - be more visible
“There’s been great sand movement along the
central Oregon coast the last week,” DiTorrice said. “The
beaches are opening up with good gravel-cobble showing for agate, jasper,
driftwood and fossils. South of Newport beaches are showing good rock,
a wide color selection of agates and jaspers - and nice sizes - as well
as some fossils.”
DiTorrice said to look for this at the following beaches:
South of Lost Creek State Park
North of Seal Rock (the city)
North and South of Theil Creek (south of Newport Municipal
Coal Creek (north of Newport and north of Carmell Knoll)
North of Moolack Creek (north of Newport and south of Carmell
He added there are dangers to look out for, beyond just
the potential power of the ocean.
“Dirt path accesses can be very eroded and extremely
slick, even when sunny,” DiTorrice said. “Be very wary of
tides and unexpected ocean swells coming onto the beaches. Be safe. Have
fun. Enjoy winter break.”
|Ghost forest at Neskowin
In Cape Lookout State Park, the 1000-year-old remnants
of what many call a “ghost forest” is practically a yearly
occurrence, and these interesting nuggets of ancient nature just recently
popped up again, said state geomorphologist Jonathon Allan. They are unearthed
by storms, which erode the beaches and its sand.
“It’s something that regularly re-exposes these,”
In Neskowin, the stumps are about 4,000 years old, according
to Roger Hart, who works with Allan at the Newport office of the Oregon
Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. These have been showing
themselves all year, making for spectacular and surreal photographs. They
look like the remnants of old man-made piers, but they are, in fact, leftovers
of an ancient forest that was swallowed up by quickly rising sand and
sea levels, killing them and yet preserving them in the prehistoric salt
|"Red Towers" made of sand cemented by iron
are also found beneath the sand. These were uncovered briefly last
year at Hug Point State Park
Last winter, sand levels were scoured to about six to ten
feet below normal on the north coast, revealing ancient stumps at Hug
Point that Seaside geologist Tom Horning said could be as old as 80,000
years old – although it’s likely they’re around 4,000
years old as well.
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood
burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive
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breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies.
888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Tiffany Boothe, with the aquarium, said erosion has really
cut into some of the dunes on the side facing the sea. “You can
see the blades of grass beneath the top layer of sand,” she said.
It was Boothe and aquarium manager Keith Chandler who earlier
this month made the most startling and dramatic discovery that came from
the big storm, with a ten-mile stretch of sand covered in ocean debris
both living and not. The beaches between Gearhart and Warrenton are literally
littered with various types of marine life.
|Your beachcombing may uncover incidents like this: called "ocean
burps." Storms churn up large amounts of sundry objects and dump
them onto the beaches - like this mixture of debris and crabs
Boothe said this open tract of sandy beach is usually barren,
with the exception of logs, seaweed, and small shells. But for a while
it was crawling with life.
Members of the Seaside Aquarium found a stranded giant
turtle just before Christmas, likely tossed up by high surf and stormy
conditions. It was still alive.
The high tides of the last few days and more such stormy
conditions are expected to accelerate the process of erosion on Oregon
beaches and toss more interesting goo and creatures.
“Just keep looking at what you find lying around
the sand,” Chandler said. “You’ll find some real cool
stuff – some of it may be alive.”
Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked
cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and
up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River.
Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and
balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players;
movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa,
and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four
to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial
occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com.
171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside
Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites,
1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people.
Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families.
All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted
tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens
and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and
fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to
the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces,
multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs,
cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another
sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes
– ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have
seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230
per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by
the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach
strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering
gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms.
Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly.
Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine
and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At
Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.
here for video of storm aftermath
Places to Spend Cold Holiday Nights on Oregon Coast The
Oregon coast is a big tradition for countless families, who check in
for a night to often the whole week, enjoying the storms, whale watch
week and even those sunny days
Sightings on Oregon Coast At Record Levels This Year Sightings
of whales have been smokin’ all year long, and it could mean a
bonanza of whales and their tails for tourists to the Oregon coastline
Winds, Surf Ready to Wow Oregon Coast A wind warning
is back, but residents are urging visitors to come and see the madness
Coast New Year's Eve Celebrations: from Classy to Quirky Whatever
you’re looking for: kooky and off-kilter fun or a cozy, warm send-off
to 2007 via a classy dinner, the Oregon coast provides it somewhere
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
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& an art mecca
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bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
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and miles of fluffy dunes