Three Oregon Coast Hotspots Crammed with Intricate Fun
Published 07/26/2016 at 6:01 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – Beaches are deceptively simple sometimes. There's often much more than meets the eye. On the Oregon coast, this is true just about anywhere, but some areas really pack the layers beneath the surface. (Above: Seal Rock, on the central coast).
Occasionally, a beach itself hosts a varied of roster of discoveries. Other times, it's a town and its surrounding finds. Here are three such examples of stunning sights and sites that will fill a whole day or more by themselves.
Manzanita. This tiny town on the north Oregon coast is an especially engaging one, with loads of surprises lurking in its various corners. Ancient legends of crashed sailing ships and rumors of hidden treasure mix with murky fir trees and a rugged kind of hipness. Manzanita's architecture is almost urban in moments yet definitely backwoodsy and beachy overall. In the end, it's simply really laid back but full of nooks and crannies to explore, both geographically and culturally.
It's generally the beach that matters, where you find yourself beneath the awe-inspiring gaze of Neahkahnie Mountain, exploring miles and miles of pristine sand that end up at the extraordinary wildlife watching opportunities of the Nehalem Bay Spit.
That looming mountain is host to a bevy of finds. The Neahkahnie overlooks alone provide some of the best viewpoints along the state's entire shoreline.
Want to go higher? Take that hike up ol' Neahkahnie and wander some 1600 feet up the trail from 101 to the top of Neahkahnie to catch unforgettable views. Along the way, little viewpoints and benches let you ogle the increasingly aerial angles on the Pacific.
Between Yachats and Florence. Dive into some of the Oregon coast's most amazing stretches of sand, almost always devoid of crowds and often sparsely populated at best. 20 miles or so of wild, untamed beach accesses await and Upper Lane County, moving from soaring viewpoint to intricate beach hideaways in seconds flat. (Above: Ocean Beach Picnic Area).
Check out Ocean Beach Picnic Area and the beach just the other side of the headland, Rock Creek Campground and Roosevelt Beach - where there's an almost mirror image of the rock structure and cave on both sides.
For a real spectacular beach romp full of wonders, hop around the unmarked beach access and parking lot just north of Neptune State Park (just immediately south of the Lane and Lincoln County line). There, hit the small beach for some relaxing in the sand, or wander up on the rocky area jutting into the ocean to watch the tide slam logs around at high tide, check out tide pools, or gawk at the tidal action in the giant crevices here. There's a small footpath on the bluffs above where you can spot the remnants of Native American shell middens.
More popular destinations like Cape Perpetua (soaring some 800 feet high) and the ruckus Devil's Churn below it are jaw-dropping and much busier, but it's well worth the exploration even if you're looking for a beach less traveled.
Seal Rock State Wayside. Between Waldport and Newport sits the tiny town of Seal Rock, the sprawling recreational site called Seal Rock State Wayside – and its array of structures sometimes referred to as Seal Rocks.
Seal Rock is still Seal Rock by any other name, Shakespeare would've said, and all that really matters are the stunning sights. And they are copious.
Not even a quarter mile of town exists here, but it boasts this massive treasure. Seal Rock began its days as a budding resort town back in the last century, but various failed business deals resulted in this diminutive dot on Highway 101 being surrounded by wondrous, unspoiled natural attractions. Seal Rock is one large chunk, with a variety of rock structures, rock-dotted sandy beaches and weird grooves made of basalt (actually geologic oddities and hints of fault lines) to climb around on.
There's one section near the tide line where the basalt rocks form a small channel that creates some fun climbing opportunities at lower tides.
If you're looking for a hidden spot around here: a tad north of the entrance to Seal Rock State Wayside sits a small path down to the beach. Look for Grebe St. and it's nearby.
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