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Unusual Oregon Coast Fun for the Family

 

Covering 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.

05/15/08

Secrets of the Season

Unusual Oregon Coast Fun for the Family

Hidden spots, like this one just south of Yachats, are part of the joys of discovery on the coast

(Oregon Coast) - With summer-like weather here, and summer itself not far around the corner, it means more frequent trips to the Oregon Coast for you and your family. It may mean the usual, regular beach, camping spot or routine, however. So, if that's your family and you're curious about finding something a little out of the ordinary on the coast, there are numerous surprises waiting.

The coast hides some wild 'n' wacky secrets that add a whole new dimension to your getaway. These are rare - but they're amazing.

Weird and Wild on the Coast
Note the green blob near the upper left corner: this is a very unusual incarnation of the green flash (photo by Bob Trusty, Newport)

Like the green flash at sunset. This scientific oddity was for years a means of ridicule for people claiming to see it, but by the 70's it was actually documented on film. Under the right conditions, you may see a brief green flash directly above the sun, just before the last sliver dips below the horizon. This can only happen on a day of no clouds, and is the result of a variety of conditions that block out certain color bands for a split second. A little more frequent - but harder to discern - is a slightly longer, green blob that lingers just above the sunset.

Then there are glowing and singing sands.

The singing sands is also very rare and actually happens only on two spots on the coast: in some areas of the National Dunes Recreation Area south of Florence and just south of Cannon Beach. Sometimes, it sounds like distant voices singing. Others, it's a bit like a violin or an odd, elongated squeaking noise. This, too, only happens under certain conditions, when two different kinds of sands grind together under the right degree of humidity.

It's a tiny bit more frequent in the Dunes area than near Cannon Beach. Even so, park rangers who've worked at the Dunes for 20 years haven't heard it.

The southern end of Cannon Beach is where you can - on extremely rare occasions - hear the "singing sands" phenomenon

During spring and summer, you'll have a better chance of catching the "glowing sands," although it's still much more common in tropical climates. Here, if you find yourself at the tide line on a really dark beach, you may see a strange, green/bluish spark coming from the sand kicked up by your feet. This is caused by tiny, bioluminescent phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, which glow in a manner not too dissimilar from fireflies. Conditions to look for: a sunny day at the end of a few days of rain and rough seas. This increases the chances of bringing the little fellas to shore.

For something rather unusual but guaranteed, wait until August and the yearly meteor showers that hit the Earth. While these are easily spotted anywhere on a clear night, cloudless coastal nights allow especially crystal clear views of this. It's unforgettable.

And if you're just plain looking for some different, maybe unusual coastal spots - here's a few:

Crusty, freaky ghost forest of Neskowin, with Proposal Rock in the background

Neskowin

It's an increasingly popular resort spot, with a cozy, hidden quality and a slight air of the upscale in some ways. An interesting mixture of coarse and fine sands line the area, and Neskowin's miles of beach has a calm and introspective feel all along its length.

But there's a twist: beyond the looming presence of Proposal Rock, towards Cascade Head, lay the remnants of a 2,000-year-old forest. These semi-petrified stumps at first glance look like the leftovers of a manmade pier. They are in fact the remains of a forest that was rather quickly immersed in water. They are so well preserved because of their sudden demise into ocean water, which didn't allow them to decay naturally.

They are often called “ghost forests.” This stand of eerie trees is visible year-round in Neskowin, but when winter storms scour the sand levels you can find them in and around Seal Rock, Newport, Cape Lookout, the north side of Cape Kiwanda and Arch Cape.

On top of Proposal Rock, more surprises lurk. At lower tides, you can hop up onto the top of the big blob at the tide line and do some exploring. There's a small path up top which wanders through the brush. Don't be surprised to see a bald eagle now and then on the treetops as well. Watch the tide carefully here, however. You don't want to get stuck.

Darlingtonia Gardens, Florence

Darlingtonia Gardens

In the Florence area, you'll find one beautiful but deadly attraction - deadly if you're an insect, that is. The Darlingtonia Wayside features insect-chomping plants that mostly live between there and northern California. These rarities sit around, just waiting to catch bugs with their sticky parts, then slowly digest them. Bugs get lured by the colors and smells that attract them, and they soon find themselves confused by clear areas that look like exits, only to get sucked into sticky parts that eventually cause their demise.

Picnic tables abound here, and this rainforest-like park features a wooden walkway which keeps you elevated and away from the protein-hungry plants.
The wayside is free, and you'll find it just off 101, near Mercer Rd.

Depoe View Park, one of the wild, amazing secrets of the coast

Depoe View Park

It's a strange but beautiful spot that's tucked away behind the usual features of Depoe Bay, containing an amazing span of puffy, bubble-like basalt cliffs.

Look straight out to sea, and you'll notice you're high above the crushing, crashing waves and a captive audience member to some amazing oceanic power. At the park's northern end, you can spot weird coves and sea caves and walk along some very odd shapes and features. Walk to the south a ways, and you'll encounter more craggy structures (including a natural oddity that looks like a mini Stonehenge).

Along the way, there's a path along the vegetation line and a picnic bench for taking in the astounding view, or you can plop yourself on one of the bubble-like rock structures on the lower part of the cliffs that are interspersed with the craggy spots.

At the far southern end, a large formation juts out into the sea, sometimes allowing you to climb up and walk out even farther out over the ocean. However, much of the time its access point is so soaked by seawater it's not a good idea to go ambling up these rocks. A spectacular sight here is the ocean spraying this section with either small waves or a constant stream of thick, salt-water mist.

Often, you can feel the ocean rattle the cliffs here, adding to the awe-inspiring nature of this place.

Look for Vista St. along the northern part of Depoe Bay, and this will lead you down to a charming, weather-beaten neighborhood and a sign that reads "to the rocks."

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.
A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, sautéed scallops.
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.

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.
the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

Tradewinds Motel, 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. www.tradewinds-motel.com


Inn 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.

The 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 book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet 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. www.theoceanlodge.com


Arch 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 sea.
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 866-436-1607.

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ASTORIA
Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history


SEASIDE
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches

CANNON BEACH
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca


NEHALEM BAY
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway


TILLAMOOK BAY
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town


THREE CAPES LOOP
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City


LINCOLN CITY & THE CORRIDOR OF MYSTERY
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
DEPOE BAY
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
NEWPORT
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses

WALDPORT / SEAL ROCK
Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

YACHATS
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale

UPPER LANE COUNTY
25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders

FLORENCE
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes

 

 

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Condo-hotel that offers the amenities of a fine hotel, but also includes ownership of a vacation home on the north Oregon coast. It is a unique opportunity, as condo owners have an opportunity to share in the revenues of their unit. All have either spectacular, nearly aerial views of the ocean and city, or they gaze out at the lush forests of the coast range mountains. There are private balconies in all rooms, which come as studios or units with one bedroom or two - as large as 850 square feet. Each is fully furnished. $189,000 to $449,000, (with most in the $300,000 range.) When owners are not using their units, they may be rented out as hotel rooms, and owners may share in those revenues.

Sumptuous indoor pool heated year round. Lovely ocean views come with many rooms. All units big, extremely comfortable, w/ special touches. Each room contains a microwave, refrigerator, in-room coffee makers, cable TV, and larger kitchen units are available as well. Free parking, choice of smoking or non-smoking rooms. Within walking distance to all of Yachats’ various amenities; short walk to the beaches

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

For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside.

Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.

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Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

Generously appointed rooms or spacious two-room suites. Continental breakfast. Heated salt-water pool and spa, fitness room, high-speed Internet, some Jacuzzi spas and ADA accessibility. Some pet friendly. Business and meeting facilities. Catering services available.

Suites, duplex units, houses for 2-8 people. Close to everything. All units w/ kitchens; many have fireplaces, decks, jetted tubs. Robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities and more. Award-winning flowers. Featured on Travel Channel.

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.

 

 

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