Almost Aerial on the Coast: Wowing Visions from Viewpoints
(Oregon Coast) – They are often the highlights of anyone's trips to the Oregon coast, and certainly the first really striking sight that visitors come across after entering the word of wonders that is Highway 101. Those high vantage points and viewpoints along the coastline: the pull-outs that often cause your jaw to drop almost immediately.
These are fantastic for checking out the sights while huddled in the warmth of your car during a storm, but they're also invaluable for looking for whales, be they gray whales or even the very coveted Orca sighting.
And they're everywhere.
Among the most remarkable is the Neahkahnie Viewpoint above Manzanita, on the north Oregon coast. Several hundred feet up in the area, the knockout sights just don't seem to stop here. You can see down into the Nehalem Bay, get an aerial glimpse of Rockaway Beach in the deep distance, and on good days you can see as far south as Oceanside, some 40 miles away.
Most fascinating and often overlooked here are the interesting colors that can get lit up here. As in the photo at the top, the ocean can turn some wondrous shades of blue beneath you. Then there are those are mysterious little colors mixed in, like shades of pinks that could well be reflections from the sky – or rocky shelves illuminated below.
The sea and sky here above Manzanita have the most intense relationships, however. In this example, sun rays burst out of the clouds in engaging formations while a blob of dusky color fires up along the horizon.
Just up the road, towards Cannon Beach, there are a set of pull-outs just south of town which allow some astounding views of Haystack Rock, the town itself, and other wonders like Silver Point. This is often the first stop of many for hordes as they come south from the junction of Highway 26, and as they drive past Cannon Beach towards Nehalem Bay and other points south.
If you've got the right kind of binoculars or zoom lens, you can see the very mysterious Tillamook Rock lighthouse, which lurks about a mile offshore, between Cannon Beach and Seaside. Here, it's seen from a very different viewpoint, zoomed in on from one of the pull-outs south of town, with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel patrolling the area.
Down around Oceanside, along the Three Capes Loop, the wowing viewpoints are aplenty. Among them are Cape Meares, which hosts a lighthouse, a natural oddity called the Octopus Tree and extensive bird viewing possibilities. But it's the high spots that are the highlights, letting you see the famed Three Arch Rocks from a very different perspective and even glimpses of the extremely secret Lost Boy Beach.
More such stunning viewpoints are found just south of the cape, including Anderson's Viewpoint, Netarts, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda.
At Lincoln City, the views can be incredible as well – though it's a bit of a secret hiding in plain sight. While Lincoln City is primarily known for its long stretches of flat sand, easily accessible by low bank vegetation lines and beach boundaries, there are plenty of cliffs that rise and soar here too. Some of the best views come from the oceanfront lodgings along here, such as the Coho, Sea Horse Motel and Inn at Spanish Head.
Down south, in Lane County, between Yachats and Florence, the lofty spots abound with remarkable regularity. 25 miles of more-often-than-not deserted beaches sit in quiet repose around here, punctuated by vantage points like Cape Perpetua, Brays Point and numerous other unnamed spots – all providing a constant eye-full, and plenty of opportunity to burn through your camera's memory card.
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