Stuck for the Holiday Weekend? Where to Day Trip on Oregon Coast
Published 09/06/2015 at 7:04 PM PDT - Updated: 09/06/2015 at 7:24 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – Stuck in town for the holiday weekend? Or perhaps you're reading this at some other time of year and you only have one day off to spare for some rugged relaxation and repose. (Above: amazing at Oceanside, along the Three Capes).
With the Oregon coast on your mind, you can have your holiday cake and eat it too. At least for the day. If all you've got is Labor Day (Monday) to go and monkey around, here are presented a few basic ideas for jetting over to the beach from the valley, all with a single day in mind – all doable within just a few hours, if need be. Check the links for further details about each area, including maps.
Take a road slightly less traveled and hit the beaches between Cannon Beach and Manzanita. Head south on 101 and you'll encounter gems like Silver Point, immediately south of town, a favorite photo viewpoint along the whole of the coast. You'll also bump into stellar beach accesses like Hug Point and its natural surprises, such as a trippy little waterfall, a few tempting caves, and that mysterious road carved out of the headland (which once allowed cars around the point, back in the 1910's).
Take in the rugged beauty of Short Sands Beach (a huge surfer spot) and the jaw-dropping grandeur of the hiking trails above it, where you'll see a host of rock structures that are guaranteed to bend your mind. Immediately south of that are the Neahkahnie Viewpoints – some of the grandest ocean vistas you'll ever lay eyes upon.
Rockaway Beach and its soft sands are another 20-minute drive south.
From Portland on Highway 6: this bendy, twisty road takes a bit over an hour and dumps you off in Tillamook, where either the Tillamook Bay or the Three Capes Loop are the big attractions. Indulge in one sleepy beachside spot or surprising site after another. A glorious (but stumpy) lighthouse, a freaky tree with a weird shape, the tiny village of Oceanside, and Netarts and its bay are 15 minutes from Tillamook. That's just in the first few miles of the Loop, and there's enough there to keep you busy for a whole day. (Above: Cape Lookout)
Continue on farther south, another 20 minutes or so, and you have the wonders of Cape Lookout, sprawling, surreal Cape Kiwanda and the many manmade pleasures of Pacific City.
Highway 22 from Salem; Highway 18 from Portland: Lincoln City is the hub destination here, almost two hours from Portland but a tad over an hour from Salem. The bottom half of the Three Capes Loop (Pacific City) is a mere extra 15 minutes. The dreamy burgh of Neskowin and its two-thousand-year-old tree stumps are less than that.
Stay in Lincoln City for the day and hit a variety of beaches, along with the town's many means of distractions (like the Jennifer Sears Glass Studio where you can blow your own glass float). Or, add another 30 minutes to your round trip and check out the unique, large-grained sands of Gleneden Beach and the wild tides that come crashing in fast but dissipate suddenly – and safely. Dramatic rocky bluffs and lots of whale watching lay in Depoe Bay, just a few more miles south.
Highway 20 from Corvallis: it takes just a tad over an hour through here as well, bringing you to the bustling central Oregon coast resort of Newport. Depoe Bay is another 20 minutes northward, and along the way are insane ocean views and some deliriously delightful hidden spots.
Or head south a quick 20 minutes to Waldport and Seal Rock, where there's a nice mix of soft sands and jagged, rocky shapes to keep you mesmerized with the ocean's antics.
Dare to stretch your day jaunt another 40 minutes round trip and discover the wild world of Yachats, where big basalt blobs cause the ocean to constantly dance and flail about. It's where towering cliffs with endless vistas intermingle with pocket beaches containing all manner of rocky labyrinths and tidal startlers. The whole 25-mile stretch between Yachats and Florence is easily a full day's exploration – and worth doing so.
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