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Five Oregon Coast Beaches You Don't Know About

Published 01/22/2015

(Oregon Coast) – If you're looking for something a bit different on your next Oregon coast visit – or especially some place that's not so crowded – there are answers for you. And some surprises. (Above: Short Beach, near Oceanside).

This list below of such hidden spots only covers five beaches you likely have not heard about, but there are more such secrets to be found (see the virtual tours at right).

You'll also want to to very cautious on all these beaches, as most are not very broad and become quite dangerous at higher tide situations. So be sure to scope them out first before entering and note what the tides are doing.

However, you're in for a treat with wild and woolly wonders. They are worth going a bit out of your way to find.

Short Beach, Near Oceanside

About a mile or so south of Cape Meares, along the Three Capes Tour, if you're driving that either to or from Oceanside, you'll catch a fleeting glimpse of a giant blob at some mysterious beach below. Indeed, you can reach this wild little wonder, but if you blink you may miss the access.

It's called Short Beach (not to be confused with the surfing hotspot of Short Sands by Manzanita), and it's immediately next to a tiny street called Radar Road – so named because at one time a radar station was there.

Parking is minimal; perhaps for about five cars. The entrance is shrouded by a sizable clump of trees, and even then there is what is called the “stairway of 1,000 steps” leading down (and of course, back up). It's a leg cramp-inducer, but it's worth it.

You end up on this tiny crescent of a gravelly beach with oodles of scenic wonders, and best of all you usually have the place to yourself. The giant blob resembles the sea stack at Neskowin, and the gargantuan contraption in the cliff is water runoff from some creek up in the hills, creating a glorious and sometimes roaring manmade waterfall.

Silver Point, Near Cannon Beach

Those famed scenic pullouts just south of Cannon Beach are some of the most coveted views on the Oregon coast. But did you know there's a fascinating beach just below?

To access this unique hidden spot, you have to find one of the last streets of southern Cannon Beach, often named after other Oregon areas, like Coos Street. It's about a half mile of a walk – perhaps shorter if you can find the final beach access - and then you come to the cliffs and rocky blobs just below Silver Point.

Witness the intriguing hole in one sea stack that makes a mesmerizing sea cave. See the odd little stones sticking out of the sand, often with chunks of seaweed stuck to them, making them look like long-haired critters moping around. Check out those interesting scratch-like marks in the sandstone cliffs and wonder about their geologic origin (or see this article about Silver Point here).

Most of all, revel in the conspicuous solitude and take in the sights and sounds of the waves as almost throngs above you jealously look down and wonder how you got so lucky to see this placid place up close.

McPhillips Beach, near Pacific City

This used to be one serious hidden spot, sitting just a mile north of Pacific City, but it's managed to become extremely popular with the regulars to this area. However, it's still unknown to most.

Look for the unmarked, tiny road on the seaward side of the Three Capes Tour here, and you'll find one of the few Oregon beaches you can drive on. It's almost a mile down to the mysterious northern end of Cape Kiwanda (which includes interesting angles of that wild, surreal oceanic canyon at the tip of the cape). Or simply stick close to the access and climb the curious basalt structures there, which sometimes look like the ancient remnants of Roman columns.

More on McPhillips Beach and Pacific City here.

Depoe Bay's North Point

Not so much a beach as it is an untamed and wildly dramatic basalt cliff, this secret gem sits at the end of Vista Street, at the north end of Depoe Bay.

At the northern tip of this stretch sits a spot with a strange, railroad-like shape, with incredible views of nearby coves. Other areas of North Point seem to form natural seats, perfect for sitting and viewing the crazed tide. There's a spot that's sunken and slightly flat, like the remnants of a basement, along with a stairway-like structure formed naturally - rather ironic and miraculous.

There is so much to see and do here, it's easy to spend an hour or more just exploring. Even more intense is during heavier seas, you can feel the rock rumble a bit beneath your feet when big waves crash into these blackened cliffs. There is such a dreamlike feel to the area it's not impossible to imagine yourself on that supernatural island in the LOST TV series.

Oregon Street, at Yachats

At the very northern edges of Yachats, where the forest still blocks your view, you may notice a host of streets named after states. Turn west on Oregon St. (about Milepost 161) and you'll discover a handful of fun and fascinating beach accesses that are complete secrets. They're tucked away in the middle of a small neighborhood of homes, so be courteous and careful when parking.

The Oregon St. access is a bit of a tube-like structure and awfully slippery much of the time, even with the minute stairway grooves carved into it. Another access a block away is much easier, and another one nearby even hosts a unique walkway.

What's remarkable here is instead of the wild and black basalt that Yachats' beaches are generally known for, you have nothing but soft sands. The big attraction is the complete lack of others, and some interesting indentations in the cliffs that include some mini cove-like structures.

See more on these hidden spots and others at the various Oregon coast virtual tours at right, including maps and detailed milepost information. See hidden beaches in the Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart area. Hidden beaches at Seaside. HIdden beaches at Rockaway Beach and Manzanita. Hidden beaches near Tillamook, Garibaldi. Hidden beaches at Lincoln City. HIdden beaches at Depoe Bay. Hidden beaches near Newport. Hidden beaches at Waldport, Seal Rock. Hidden beaches between Florence and Yachats in Upper Lane County. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat


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