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, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Weekly Oregon Coast Tourism and Fun Picks for May 1
(Oregon Coast) – The beginning of May means the beginning of wondrous weather on the coast, as the area starts to steer towards summer, while spring conditions still mean plenty of wild sights and that crazed, schizo kind of consistent change between sun and showers that puzzles tourists to the coast. Along with the lack of crowds and cheaper lodgings, it’s still a mishmash of enormous amounts of fun for anyone looking for something very different.
This week, there are some interesting events that will surprise you, and one big festival in Newport that is full of family frivolity. Live music is especially hot this weekend in Yachats. Then, there are the remarkable beaches, views and some lodging ideas you’ve probably never considered before. BeachConnection.net has some recommendations that will wow you.
Newport’s Loyalty Days and Seafair Festival
Visitors and coastal residents alike will celebrate Newport's 51st Annual Loyalty Days and Seafair Festival May 3, 4, 5 and 6. The festival will include a traditional hometown patriotic parade, a carnival, rides, arcade games, scholarship awards and the crowning of a Loyalty Day queen.
This year’s Loyalty Day Festival celebrates Newport’s 125 years in existence along with the usual declaration of patriotism and honors for the military. The theme this May is “Reflections on 125 Years,” looking back on the town and its history, having been incorporated in 1882.
The carnival begins on Thursday, May 3, and runs all four days of the festival. Hours and costs of the carnival vary, with wristbands going for $8 to $20, depending on day. It is held at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds on Harney Street between NE 3rd and NE 7th streets. Lorrie Crook, treasurer of the Newport Loyalty Day and Seafair Festival Association, said the carnival is a large affair, with the arcade containing “just about any game you can imagine,” along with plenty of big rides and food stuffs.
Parade on Saturday at noon. Other activities include classic car show at Flashback’s Restaurant in South Beach. 800-262-7844.
It’s a long stretch of town that has a rustic, rugged and slightly Victorian vibe in many spots. Many of the homes here look like they were built back in the late 1900’s when the town was a resort bustling with wealthy and middle class Portlanders. But these have often been gussied up in interesting colors or decorated with wacky sea flotsam.
Rockaway tries to be commercial and touristy, but it doesn’t always succeed – thankfully. It still retains a sleepy, rugged quality in spite of the copious lodging and a few oddball, curio shops. The main attraction is still the beach, with about seven miles of it in either direction.
The most recognizable landmark on 101 is the main park and access, with the big red caboose catching the eye This now houses the town’s visitor center. The parking lot also features restrooms and a viewing area. During the summer, this beach has a giant volleyball net set up. There are also a myriad of stores nearby.
The other big landmark isn’t on land at all. Rockaway is famous for the Twin Rocks - the double rock arches laying just a ways offshore. You can check these out with pay binoculars from this main wayside.
To view them a bit closer, head to the southern edge of town and turn at Minnehaha St. Immediately you’ll see Twin Rocks looming much larger than ever before right in front of you – almost in a frightening way. This is the spot closest to the two arches.
In fact, at low tides you can walk so far out towards the giant rocks that they really do become a little scary. There’s an indentation in the tide level directly in front of them too, adding to this awe-inspiring vibe. It’s obvious they’re somehow changing the water or sand levels in front of them because of their enormous size.
The Passion and the Reggae at Landmark in Yachats
For a hefty dose of live music delirium, Yachats’ The Landmark gets an A plus this weekend.
Friday, it’s I-Chele and the Circle of Light, with some passionate reggae from Eugene. Saturday features The T-Club, with more reggae from Eugene, but this time mixed with hip hop and dub. Next Friday, May 11, look for John Shipe, the fiery and bold progressive pop folkster from Eugene who takes Americana to new, emotional and intellectual levels.
All shows start at 9 p.m. and are free. 111 Hwy 101 in Yachats. 541-547-5459. www.landmark-yachats.com
Pacific Retreats in Lincoln City
Over 40 delightful vacation rentals to choose from in various areas around Lincoln City. Ocean view, oceanfront and panoramic ocean views: you could say they have it all (while some have partial ocean views). Homes sleep anywhere from four to 16, with most in the 10 – 14 people range. If they’re not right on the ocean, they’re within a short walk. Many are in the gorgeous, upscale Road’s End neighborhood, some are close to the casino, while there are plenty in SW Lincoln City, close to the shopping center, as well as a few in pristine, private Gleneden Beach. Duplexes, cozy cottages and even condo units are available, along with the homes. Depending on the house, you may find such interesting attractions as rock fireplaces, extensive game rooms, large decks, skylights, hot tubs overlooking the beach, wood fireplaces and big kitchens, among other surprises. Some homes pet friendly. Perfect for honeymooners or large groups or families. 3126 NE Highway 101. Lincoln City, Oregon 541-994-4833 / 1-800-473-4833. www.pacificretreats.com.
Dining Events in Tillamook
Sometimes the best food isn’t just about restaurants. Tillamook has some interesting surprises in the culinary world, and quite grassroots as well – resulting in some fine home cookin’.
On May 6, it’s the Oregon Hunter’s Banquet at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds. Contact Sheila DeLoe at (503) 842-3511. It happens in the auditorium.
On May 9, it’s the Annual Ham Dinner at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. This community event happens 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. 2102 Sixth Street. Tillamook. (503) 842-6192.
Indulgence at the Inn at Seaside
Formerly the Seaside Convention Center Inn, you’ll find the Inn at Seaside located in the center of the action and adjacent to the Seaside Convention Center. It’s perfect for beach lovers, families looking for a fun vacation and, of course, conventioneers. Spacious two bedroom suites, double queen-bedded rooms and hospitality suites are perfect for families, small groups or traveling couples. Each cheerful, well-appointed room provides guests with unexpected comfort and convenience. Amenities include: indoor heated swimming pool and spa, in room coffee service, weekday Oregonian newspaper, deluxe continental buffet breakfast and guest laundry facilities. This pet friendly gem is near all the action of Seaside: bumper boats, biking on the promenade, surfing, golf, fishing, crabbing, picnics, volleyball, factory outlet stores, aquatic center, a skate park and the requisite saltwater taffy tasting contest. 800-699-5070. 503-738-9581. 441 Second Ave. Seaside, Oregon. www.seasideccinn.com
If you’re coming from the north from Newport, you’ll soon spot Beaver Creek spilling into the sea and forming a small bay. There are some small parking spots and unmarked accesses on the north side of that bay.
Ona Beach and its park are a pleasant respite, with a small trail meandering next to the creek and a lovely little footbridge getting you onto fluffy dunes, and then leading you to this large beach.
At low tides – and if the sand levels aren’t too high – odd tracts of rock structures emerge, containing a myriad of sea life.
There are full restroom facilities and a boat ramp. And the park features a variety of picnic tables with little fire pits – so barbecuing just seems as if it should be de rigueur here.
On cold winter nights, the bridge going over the creek can get very icy – more so than other areas nearby.
A New Beachfront Hotel in Lincoln City
The Beachfront Manor Hotel will be opening in about two weeks, and it’s a “Must-See” on the oceanfront. A mere 30 upscale rooms grace the north end of Lincoln City, close to shopping, restaurants and the casino, making it cozy and hands-on in some unique ways. It’s decorated with a "spa-like" feeling, featuring pillow top mattress, luxury linens and robes, flat screen TV’s, microwaves/small refrigerators, custom art work, granite counters, upgraded soaps - all add to the pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units have a gas fireplace to enhance the relaxation. To really spoil yourself and that special someone, reserve one of the oceanfront Hot Tub units. Romance Packages available!
There is a “luxury room for every budget.” Direct beach access takes you to miles of sandy beach to enjoy. Meeting room available: this is the perfect place for your corporate retreat or small beach wedding. 2855 NW Inlet Ave., Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-877-953-7300. www.onthebeachfront.com online reservations currently available for any time beginning after 5/17/07.
Breathtaking Vistas North of Florence
As you drive along 101 just north of Florence, you soon find yourself high above the world on a set of basalt cliffs that are sprawling and magnificent. More of this road is winding and twisting after the Sea Lion Caves, sometimes dotted with various viewpoints and small waterfalls tumbling off the basalt rocks on the landward side of the highway.
These viewpoints are bordered by black rock walls which give them a slight Gothic castle vibe – especially if you stop by on a stormy night. Below them can be spotted various kinds of wildlife, from birds to sea lions. But mostly they provide opportunistic views of the Heceta Head lighthouse, which help make it among the most photographed lighthouses in the world.
At one spot, you can look down upon Baker Beach from several hundred feet above, and about a mile away. Another viewpoint is an unofficial one just a few steps south of the Sea Lion Caves, where the ocean and some headland structures make for amazing sights and shapes.
The area also hosts Devil’s Elbow State Park, the beach that is the gateway to the grand Heceta Head Lighthouse and a favorite with families.
There's a fair amount of sand here for lounging around. Although not the largest beach you've ever seen, one side is covered by Heceta Head and the other by another towering basalt structure about an eighth of a mile away. There's also picnic tables and the occasional wild bunny rabbit hopping around.
And of course, who can resist that lighthouse? It’s known as the world’s most photographed lighthouse, and for good reason. This stately beauty is visible some 21 months out to sea and has been around since the 1890’s.
During the summer months, you can get tours of the lighthouse. When it’s windy, you can feel the building creek and bend just a little as you tread that old, metallic circular staircase.