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N. Oregon Coast Explorations: Welcome to the Other Cape Meares
(Oceanside, Oregon) – About an hour south of Cannon Beach or ten minutes west of Tillamook, you'll find Cape Meares. But wait: which Cape Meares? If you're thinking of the one with the lighthouse, the one that sits a few hundred feet over a raging ocean and the one with the wacky Octopus Tree – you'd only be half right. There is a village called Cape Meares, tucked away beneath the north face of the famed headland with the same name, and at the southern end of the great sand spit that covers Tillamook Bay.
The village of Cape Meares is a favorite among many – or rather a few. It's not well known and that's why it's a favorite with those in the know.
One of them is local Jeff Hunter, who runs Harborview Inn and RV Park just up 101 at Garibaldi.
“My favorite spot is the Cape Meares Beach, mainly because not many people know it's there,” Hunter said. “A four-and-a-half mile stretch from the Cape all the way to the South Jetty, lots of driftwood and beach rocks. Great places for beach fires.”
Largely comprised of big, worn-down rocks that make ambling along the tideline difficult, Cape Meares only has two beach accesses. Both lead down to this rather difficult beach, which can be virtually non-existent at times, depending on the tide. If it's raging in a winter-esque way, there will really be no beach at all. But most of the time there's at least a small slice of sand to walk along. Then, you'll usually be quite alone here.
If you're not alone, it's because the weather on this part of the Oregon coast and other conditions are quite welcoming. Then this tiny walkway of sand can seem overcrowded, even though there's only six to ten other souls within sight. All you need do is walk a bit and the others will disappear out of view.
The man access sits behind a wall of rocks that seems to surround the parking lot – and a straight shot from the main road going into Cape Meares.
It's here where you'll find this esoteric delight: a local resident and artist has turned a log into a beast keeping watch over the beach.
The other beach access sits a bit to the south, and is closer to the cliffs of the cape. At certain low tide events, there's a secret cove in this area. Other times, the view is simply one remarkable, breath-taking moment after another.
No matter the weather conditions here, Cape Meares and its hidden stretch of beach are a constant stunner.
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