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.
Locals Tout Second Summer Season on Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – You can depend on it like clockwork every year along Oregon’s coastal region. The weather warms up to a more delightful temperature, the winds are calmer, the seas more still, and the skies are bluer. September and early October also mean a lot less in the way of crowds, and the lodging prices start to nosedive.
It’s not been quite as warm this season so far, but the blue skies and sunny days have still been plentiful, and it’s still the most attractive time of year on the Oregon coast. Enough so that some locals don’t want to get the word out, and some are just a bit hesitant.
“This time of year is why many of us live here,” said Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium. “The crowds have gone and we’ve got these warm beaches mostly to ourselves. It kind of makes me want to ask you to not say anything about it.”
But much of the Oregon coast would still love to see the word getting out more of what is called “Second Summer,” although Seaside still gets enough of a post-summer swamp that lodging prices there don’t dip much, if at all, from their high season peaks.
“It’s always puzzled me why people don’t plan more vacations this time of year,” said Danielle Emerick, manager of Starfish Point in Newport. “The weather is great and you can find vacancies. During the months of June, July and August, most places are booked months in advance. But now we have some vacancies and the weather is fantastic. The attractions, restaurants and beaches are less crowded: big bonus.”
The weather will continue to cooperate until sometime in mid-October. But even then, late October often means some really stunning days, albeit sometimes getting quite a bit cooler. The days leading up to Halloween are usually quite dry and sunny on the coast. By then, interest in the region has dropped dramatically. While it’s true many know about the second summer phenomenon, and it’s becoming better known each year, by the time mid-October rolls around, even a momentary hint of cooler, wetter weather puts a major dampener on the enthusiasm of tourists.
Brian Hines, owner of Manzanita’s San Dune Inn, is firmly in love with this season’s many secret amenities.
“The second summer is normally a little less fast paced, which selfishly I personally enjoy after the goofy madness of summer,” Hines said. “People seem to be a bit more relaxed and out for a true vacation or few days break. And funnily enough, less use of laptops and cell phones is pretty obvious.”
The good stuff isn’t over – usually. Mid-October may mean some downturn in the weather, but the latter half usually produces just as many stunning, dry and sunny days, with hardly anyone around to notice it.
“The fall is a transformational season on the coast,” said Stewart Martin, owner of Spindrift Inn in Manzanita. “The basking warmth of summer is gradually turning cooler, the air is more alive with vitality and interest, the breeze picks up in the mornings. The luscious and long sunsets let us know that summer's warmth will end at some distant date. The plants take in their last bursts of energy before they enter dormancy.”
“Meanwhile, the weather is just right - crisp but comfortable. The noisy summer crowds are gone. Shopkeepers and innkeepers have time for casual conversation and immersing visitors in the ‘real coast’ that endures.
“It’s when the coast is at its warmest and most inviting, especially with the diminishing crowds under these warmer conditions.”
Martin has his favorite aspects of the season as well. “The unexpected lovely days, with unspoiled beach, uncrowded hiking trails. It’s the Nature I live here for.”
One the many hidden amenities about this season is the whale watching possibilities.
“It’s not that there are more whales out here,” said Chandler. “It’s just that the ocean is calmer so they’re easier to spot.”
This means a prime place for spotting whales – and getting assisted in doing so – is in the whale watch hotspot of Depoe Bay. There and in Newport, numerous tour boats take you out to see the leviathans. But often an even better vantage point is from the Whale Watch Center in the middle of town, where volunteers and state officials help you spot the creatures.
At Weiss’ Paradise Suites in Seaside, Donna Weiss was rather excited about the season when she talked to BeachConnection.net in early September.
“We are about half booked for this weekend and the weather usually is the deciding factor for people coming to the beach this time of year,” she said. “Many of our guests like to stay in September and October because the rates are lower and it isn’t crowded.”
Flowers are a big part of the appeal of Weiss’ lodging. The railings of her place are actually one gigantic garden.
“I love this time of year,” she said. “Especially if the weather is nice. Flowers are still out and the hectic summer crowds are gone. It really is a great time to come to the beach. We have some specials running through September and then rates reduce to low season in October.”
This year’s slightly cooler second summer has not tempered the fervor much, according to Mike Exinger, owner of Seaside’s gourmet ice cream shop Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream. Sales of his chilly delights
“Despite the relatively cool weather, we have not seen a ‘winter’ slowdown,” Exinger said. “Many of those we’ve waited on enjoy the coolness. A couple from Boise was very thankful for cool weather, as they’ve experienced quite the heat wave this summer.
“There’s also the anticipation that any day can be a ‘dreamy fall day’ with clear skies and decent, if not warm, temps. As long as the pavement is dry, the Seaside folks will enjoy their day.”
A certain age group tends to hit the coast more often this time of year, says Trollers Lodge owner Peggy Leoni, in Depoe Bay. “The empty nesters, with their pets, are out in force. This is the best time of year to be on the coast.”
Leoni noted that Depoe Bay has a massive pirate festival coming up on October 6, where town residents and shop employees dress in pirate garb and hold special fun events for those who haven’t come under the delusion that “if it’s not summer, it can’t be nice on the beach.”
Some economic conditions are probably even helping this year, even on an international level. So it looks to Leoni as if this second summer thing will continue to gain in legend and strength – even this year.
“Also, we are getting quite a few Canadians,” Leoni said. “The dollar parity isn't hurting us one bit.”
“Historically a lot of our regulars re-visit,” Hines said. “One particular couple spend a week here composing music on their computer and on their next visit always bring a CD of their new work. Sort’a neat.
“Jazz fans also seem to come out of their caves for the second summer and we have a great time having a glass or two listening to some sounds. It really is the ultimate time of year for relaxing: less crowds, generally nice weather and just all around pleasant vibes.”