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.
Unusual Oregon Coast Fun for the Family
(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
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.
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:
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.
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
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."