Summer Brings Wild, Rugged and Hybrid Sports to Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – The outdoors really takes center stage on the Oregon coast as late spring rolls around, and even more so as it all gives way to summer and the big vacation months. From hiking to hybrid sports of a rather unusual nature, to the usual surfing, right about now is when the big opportunities kick in.
Kayakers and boaters hit the lakes around the National Dunes Recreation Area in great numbers, where 40 miles of enormous dunes are interrupted by pristine, spectacular freshwater lakes. There's Devil's Lake in Lincoln City, where water skiing and other marine sports become de rigueur. Kayaks are especially useful at the waters of the Nehalem Bay and its hidden waterways and marshes. Beaver Creek near Newport is another favorite for this. There are also the opportunities for kayaking along the sea in some areas and checking out sea caves and monumental cliffs up close.
In the last ten years, a variety of unusual hybrid sports have emerged. There's surf kayaking, which is a combination of both those activities. It’s an oddball endeavor, but an interesting one, where a kayak is used a little bit like a surfboard, just hovering in the waves as it bobs in out of the breakers.
Although still in the infant stages, sand boarding is becoming increasingly popular on sand dune areas like the National Dunes Recreation Area near Florence. It's largely a homemade thing still, where snowboards are waxed a certain way and then ridden down the towering dunes for a thrilling ride. The sport has just arrived at the gigantic structure called Cape Kiwanda, in Pacific City, where the towering dune gets turned into a makeshift snowboarding area.
At Cape Kiwanda RV Resort and Marketplace, you can actually rent these boards – made by a firm in Florence.
In Florence, there is now an area entirely devoted to sand boarding. Sand Master Park is some 40 acres of dunes designed for this wacky, rugged sport. http://www.sandmasterpark.com/
Another oddball activity is about as old mankind itself. A favorite at Kiwanda is simply sliding down the dune on a sled or you own behind. Some manage to be fairly good at sliding on their bellies. Most use a small sled or some roundish construct with a smooth bottom, often perfect for riding the snow on big snow days in your home town.
Surfing remains the most visible activity at various spots, but it only increases in popularity as the kids get out of school. Seaside's cove area, on the south end of town, is hugely popular. Other hotspots include the crescent-shaped beaches at Oswald West State Park, Crescent Beach in Cannon Beach, the south side of the Devil's Punchbowl at Otter Crest, Oceanside and parts of northern Newport around Agate Beach.
Be prepared for some unpleasant amounts of localism, often in the form of being harassed in the water or having your car keyed. You can cut down on this or even eliminate it if you're courteous and safety-minded, as many local surfers complain visitors tend to be more reckless.
Time your runs better so others are not near you. This is the chief cause of safety issues and complaints Problems with this tend to be worst at Seaside's cove, no matter what you do, however.
Not quite up for surfing? Try skidding along the calmer tides of this time of year on a boogie board or wake board. These can be rented or bought all along the Oregon coast as well. You may be able to use to fire yourself down one of those big dunes, for an extra dose of wacky fun.
Hang gliding is a favorite on the coast, with its many winds zipping around and high places from which to launch. Even if you don't engage in this form of flight yourself, it can be jaw-dropping to watch. Oceanside, a spot just north of Cape Kiwanda called Tierra Del Mar, and some spots around northern Newport are common places to see these great, silent birds of beauty and grace. A big favorite is Anderson's Viewpoint just above Cape Lookout – awesome for those who want take flight or just watch others do so.
More on some of these spots below:
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