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.
Lessons Learned On the Oregon Coast
By Andre' Hagestedt
(Oregon Coast) - Sometimes, exploring the beach is a little
more adventure than you bargain for. I've learned much from my years of
bouncing around the beach, often the hard way. Apparently, I'm still learning.
In the old days, in the 90’s and 80’s, the
Oregon coast seemed a totally wild and untamed place. In retrospect, it
certainly seems much more so now. It was a bit like the wild, wild west,
in some sort of coastal way, where not all the rules of civilization yet
applied – at least not all the time. Some of the big landmarks we
now gauge our travels by didn’t exist. Mullets and missing teeth
were de rigueur among many of the locals. And it was raw and vibrant in
a way that can’t be described now.
It was a place of learning too. You screwed up, dumped
yourself in a stream or big ocean wave, without a change of clothes, you
were doomed to freeze for a while, or sit in the car on the return ride
to the valley in some sort of shameful state. You said the wrong thing
at a bar, you were in trouble. You went to the wrong beach at the wrong
time, and you got washed away by a wave or slipped on something green
and gooey on the rocks and disappeared from the world. You swam out to
save your friends from the undertow: you disappeared as well.
This was a raw and rugged time, before the political correctness
of tsunami warning signs and plentiful eyes of the authorties on the beaches.
You were on your own, kiddo.
The following are the lessons I learned about the Oregon
coast – the hard way, and the thoroughly amusing way.
Number One: Don't leave your keys on the beach. One autumn day,
in 1993 at Cape Kiwanda State Park, I should have been a little more on
the obsessive-compulsive side than I usually am about checking for my
keys. Somewhere along this sunset walk, my rather old, torn shorts let
my keys loose.
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And the sun was going down fast.
An hour after calling a locksmith, he arrived, and it turned
out he had vision problems and couldn't create a replacement key. After
two hours of shivering in the cold, aching from hunger and too much coffee
earlier, I was left with a steering column that was ripped open so I could
at least start the car. This cost me 75 bucks.
I distinctly remember driving down the road, to a weird
little two-story roadhouse café where the Pelican Pub now stands,
and so grateful to grab a crummy sandwich at 11:30 p.m. It was some dark,
dank little hole-in-the-wall, where some tired out piano player tinkled
away in the upstairs lounge.
This was Pacific City before it got noticed. I don’t
think even the Inn at Cape Kiwanda was built then. You could tell, however,
something was brewing in this town. It was ready to bust out and become
part of the upper echelon of tourism hotspots.
|Just south of Lincoln City
Lesson Number Two: Buy enough gas to
head out to the coast. One night in November 1994, my friend Ruth
and I abruptly decided we should drive from our hometown of Salem to Lincoln
City. It was 1 a.m., and about halfway there I noticed we were low on
gas. I assured her there was an all-night gas station there. After all,
I'd agreed to drive back, so she could sleep, because she had college
classes in the morning.
When we got there, it turned out, no, there was no gas
to be had.
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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. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.
At this time, stations in Lincoln City weren't open all
night during the dead season - although they are now. We were a bit panicked,
but luckily I remembered a little secret about some businesses that may
have gas stored for such a situation. Whew.
I won’t give away our savior for the evening, but
suffice it to say it took a pretty penny to solve our gas problem. But
it was solved – in a ten-gallon can.
However, like a total ass, I wind up passing out in the
passenger seat, forcing Ruth to drive back home anyway. She did forgive
me after a while.
|Discovery Tours in dock
Lesson Number Three: Watch out for karma.
About 1997, my girlfriend at the time and I went out on one of those Discovery
whale watch tours in Newport. We overheard one lady tell the crew she
was a journalist doing a story on the tour. Within 15 minutes, she, of
all the 20 people onboard, was the only one to get really seasick.
Kathy and I snickered about this a bit, and relished in
the fact we felt fine. I even stood at the front of the ship and made
goofy impressions of that scene in "Titanic" with my arms outstretched.
By the last half hour of the trip, Kathy and I felt increasingly
queasy and awful. It felt like punishment for making fun of the sick journalist.
|Kiwanda State Park and its mysterious basalt pillars
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. 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.
Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.
Lesson Number Four: Follow your intuition.
In the fall of 2004, I decided to take my little Toyota Camry onto that
same beach at Cape Kiwanda where I lost my keys eleven years earlier.
Yet something nagged me inside about this being a bad idea, partially
because I nearly got stuck in the sand last time, a few months ago.
Sure enough, I get totally stuck. If it weren’t for
a family from Coos Bay who were used to pulling others out of the sand
at home, I would've spent the night on this beach. How dopey I felt admitting
to them that my job was editor of this publication.
Other times, I'm just a plain maniac, and I’ve brought
my own disasters on myself in interesting ways. Like the times I hung
out on the coast in the mid-90's with the young nutcases in a band called
The Stanleys. They would play gigs at an all-ages club in Newport, then
we'd all hit the bars later and get ripped. The next day, hangovers be
damned, we'd go bonkers on the beaches. There was one game in particular,
on the rocky slabs next to the Devil's Churn near Yachats, where we'd
take turns tossing large rocks into pools of water near another, trying
to drench each other.
Another time, we were starting to run amok on the beaches
of Driftwood State Park, just south of Waldport. One of The Stanleys fell
into the creek and got himself completely soaked. He had no change of
pants, so I distinctly remember thinking how miserable he must’ve
been sitting in soaking wet clothing the entire drive back home to Salem.
Ever since then, I’ve taken at least two pairs of beach pants on
any trip to the coast, even day trips.
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
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
One unforgettably kooky, surreal incident happened in Seaside
in the summer of '99, where the girl I was dating and I were wandering
the beaches after the bars had closed. We noticed this goofy trio of guys
at a nearby bonfire, taking turns smacking their heads into wooden boards,
trying to break them. They ran into them like rams trying to test their
adulthood on inanimate objects, rather than other members of their own
species. It was fascinating to watch, in this Jerry Springer-kind-of-way.
curiosity, we joined them. We discovered one was a transient, another
was a teen from Montana and the other a local - all of them drunk. Like
a scene from a David Lynch flick, the transient kept accidentally setting
his foot on fire by lying down and putting his feet to close to the flames.
It was hilarious and puzzling altogether, to say the least.
The evening ended rather badly, with me getting the cops
sniffing around them, after I shot off a series of Washington-based fireworks.
That got them out to our area of the beach, and brought them to the oddball
The two minors were cited for possession. The girl and
I happily strolled along the shore with our bottle of wine.
I still feel rather bad about getting them busted, to this
Then there are those crazed moments at local bars
- oh, but those are another set of stories. Suffice it to say the adventures
and lessons continue.
Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. 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. www.dsandsmotel.com.
171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside
Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites,
1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people.
Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families.
All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted
tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens
and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
City Vacation Homes
There’s something for everyone
among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller homes with a view
to a large house that sleeps 15. All the homes are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away from the sand – 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,
depending on the home: 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 are allowed in some homes – ask ahead. Each comes with
complete kitchens so you’ll have a home away from home.
Most have the seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85
to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones with data ports. Oceanfronts all have a queen
bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a
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 are pet friendly.523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach.
(503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com
At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. 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 the penthouse restaurant and bar - for a casual meal or a candlelight
dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other
Northwest favorites, including a decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range
from bedrooms to studios to one-bedroom suites with microwaves and
refrigerators to full kitchens. Hotel include wi-fi, spa, saunas,
exercise room and a 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, gorgeous wedding
possibilities. 4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127
or 541-996-2161. www.spanishhead.com
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.
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.
Than 20 Reasons for a Late Spring Oregon Coast Jaunt From
lonely beaches, live music pleasures, weird storms sights to lodging
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Wines and Wine Bars on the Oregon Coast Wine shops
and wine bars are a growing part of coastal tourism
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConection.net's 1,000 pages
Coast Real Estate
TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
Where the Columbia
meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of
atmosphere & history
Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
of the rugged & upscale
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes