Three Central Oregon Coast Beaches Near Yachats Full of Finds, Surprises

Published 10/05/2015 at 6:02 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Yachats, Oregon) – Along one 20-mile stretch of central Oregon coast, don't be surprised if you're surprised – a lot. At the northern tip of Lane County, not far from where Lincoln County starts, things begin to sizzle. (Above: the main access at Neptune State Park).

For a start, these can be exceptionally uncrowded little hotspots hiding in plain sight. While even the most hidden of beaches will be more packed than usual on any high-density part of the year, the area between Florence and Yachats still yields many isolated wonders.

There are dozens of pleasant jolts awaiting here, where the highway twists and turns between dramatic viewpoints and low-lying beaches. Here are three to look out for:

Keep your eyes open for an unmarked beach access immediately south of the line between Lincoln and Lane counties, and you'll find a parking lot that gives way to two routes to a varied and rather amazing beach. This is part one of two accesses to Neptune State Park, but it's not clearly marked. And it's essentially a different beach access than the main area.

Walk the winding, twisting path over the bluff to hop onto large basalt structures filled with cracks and crevices that give glimpses of churning waves beneath you. They'll sometimes squirt water up at you.

Or walk down a sizable but smooth and paved trail from the parking lot to the sandy part of this beach, which makes for a cozy little cove, bordered by the cliffs of Neptune State Park to its south.

You can usually hop up and down the basalt structures from here as well, and part of the rock forms an intriguing arch in the sand. At its northernmost, there's a small cove and tiny patch of beach which ends in a large wall.

The main access at Neptune State Park is clearly marked, just a tad south of the unmarked parking lot. It’s a pretty place, lodged in the middle of forestland and rather easy to drive past if you’re not looking carefully. There’s picnic tables, restrooms, a small patch of forest to wander in and access to a small, cobblestone beach.

At lower tides, you can continue walking south, stoop in wonder over tide pools or check out the sea cave on the northern face of the cliffs. This one is full of funky colors, which geologists say is created by a mish-mash of rock types all squished together (known as a conglomeration).

Less than a mile down the road along this engaging chunk of central Oregon coast is Strawberry Hill, which is actually so crammed full of finds and discoveries it needs its own article. Less than a mile south of that (only a mile and half south of Neptune), you'll discover Bob Creek Wayside and its numerous jaw-dropping aspects.

It's almost a mystical spot, in some ways. More tide pools populate this obscure but fascinating place than humans. They really emerge at lower tides, clinging to odd, mushroom-shaped rocky blobs at the southern end. At this segment, there's also a small sea cave and a huge boulder that together create a sort of arch by leaning up against the cliffs here.

At the north end, you'll find plenty of mussels - but you'll have to cross the creek to do so. During the winter that's difficult, if not impossible and certainly unwise. During the summer months, it's much easier.

An interesting factoid about Bob Creek: those little white rock-looking objects that cover the beach entrance are actually a thick layer of Indian shell middens – left here by local tribes that lived in the area perhaps hundreds of years ago. More on this area at the Upper Lane County Virtual Tour, Map.

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