Unique Visions of a Unique Oregon Lighthouse: Cape Meares
(Oceanside, Oregon) – About a 45-minute drive from the Oregon coast hotspot of Cannon Beach, and maybe a tad less from Lincoln City to the south, sits Cape Meares and the Cape Meares Lighthouse. Part of the Three Capes Loop – or Three Capes Tour - it caps the northern end of the drive that includes the hamlets of Oceanside, Netarts, Tierra Del Mar and Pacific City, as well as Cape Kiwanda and Cape Lookout. Much of this “tour” is one big hidden spot after another, great for getting away from the masses on all but the most packed of Oregon coast weekends.
Atop the basalt cliff of Cape Meares sits the magnificent lighthouse. At only 38 feet tall, it's the most diminutive of the lights along these shores, but it stands atop a cliff 217 feet high.
Currently, it's still being refurbished after vandals did some horrendous damage to it in 2010, so you can't go inside all of it. But at one time you could – and likely will again, someday. There's a lot to see in this rather magical and majestic place besides the lighthouse, including some incredible views.
Here is just a sampling of the stunning sights:
This incredible vantage point shows off plenty of surprises, like being able to see those small seastacks that so define Oceanside from the other side – the backsides of those landmarks, so to speak.
Next to this is a legendary and very secret beach called Lost Boy Beach, which is no longer accessible, except maybe at extreme low tide events. It's called Lost Boy for a reason: plenty have died trying to get there. But you can see a bit of it from afar – from on top of Cape Meares.
Immediately next to that subtle landmark – and directly below the Cape – is Short Beach, It's also quite an unknown, hidden spot, but at least it's become quite accessible in the last decade after locals built a sprawling stairway going down to it.
Just offshore of the Cape sit a handful of sizable seastacks, although none as large as the two named Haystack Rock off of Cannon Beach and at Pacific City.
For more visual surprises, grab a high-powered optics device of some sort and check out the little basalt islands extremely close – or the cliffs of the Cape. Both are known for hosting interesting bird life.
There is a small community called Cape Meares on the northern face of the cliff of the same name.
Long before that vandalism incident two years ago, in the early 2000's, the lighthouse underwent some major plastic surgery. Enough so that this surreal sight was possible: the lighthouse in a bubble. For a few months, the famed landmark was under wraps and hidden from the elements while it was worked on.
More striking sights are below, for those of you who had not been inside the lighthouse.
To find lodging in Oceanside, Pacific City and Cape Meares area see below.
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Three Capes, Oceanside Virtual Tour Highlights