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Meteor Showers, Other Wonders Especially Vibrant on Oregon Coast


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.


Secrets of the Season

Meteor Showers, Other Wonders Especially Vibrant on Oregon Coast

Odd things emerge on the beaches at night, like meteor showers or this monster (actually, a rather striking chunk of driftwood that looks remarkably like a monster, photographed in Manzanita last year)

(Oregon Coast) – The coming weeks will be full of something more than a little interesting on the Oregon coast, especially this weekend’s wowing show of a meteor shower. Look for glowing sand, brown waves, sightings of all sorts of natural wonders in the bird world, and the possibility of porpoises, major whale visitations and oddities like “ocean burps” – they all are looming in the near future or they’ve already happened.

The Perseid Meteor shower that hits the Earth each August reaches its peak this weekend. Weather permitting – and that’s a bit sketchy on the coast – this region can host the most incredible front row seats for this astonishing astronomical display, with its crystalline skies and clear view of the spacey melee.

The forecast for the weekend calls for partly or mostly cloudy during the days, with the meteor shower hours in the middle of the night a little up for grabs.

Whatever the case, thanks to less atmospheric interference and far fewer lights from civilization, this display can absolutely rock your world if things work out right.

To get a good view of the showers, find a dark spot like this one just above Florence, and a few miles north of it

The showers come from the dust trails of comet Swift-Tuttle. These are from the comet passing through this area last year. Our planet experiences its dust trail a year later, resulting in the aerial fireworks that make for incredible viewing.

It’s possible our region of the world may see as many as 100 shooting stars an hour.

The phenomenon derives its name from the constellation Perseus, from where the meteors seem to originate.

The Oregon coast, with its notoriously clearer skies and big views, can be the perfect place to view these showers.

Arch 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 sea.
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 866-436-1607.

“My personal favorite is the lookouts above Manzanita,” said BeachConnection.net editor Andre’ Hagestedt. “I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve cruised into the area, pulled over to enjoy the view, and seen a vast array of shooting stars in just a few minutes of hanging out. The same goes for up a ways on Highway 53, in the country. The shooting stars there can be so cool it’s alarming.”

Other incredible spots for viewing this phenomenon are any dark area of the coast where no street lights or lighting from beachside homes interferes. This includes chunks of Manzanita’s beach, Oceanside, Netarts, some areas of Lincoln City, Gleneden Beach, southern Cannon Beach, between Warrenton and Gearhart, and some areas of Waldport, among tons of other places where no lights intrude. High vantage points that are remarkable include Agate Beach in Newport, Cape Perpetua, the overlooks just north of Florence and Cape Foulweather, between Depoe Bay and Newport.

This is one place that Newport beach expert Guy DiTorrice highly recommends.

Cape Foulweather: a 270-degree view of the sky.

“One of the Highway 101 waysides or the parking lot at the top of Cape Foulweather gives you a very clear view of nearly 270 degrees of the sky with next to no municipal light sprawl,” he said.

Dark places on the coast also mean other important findings, such as the “glowing sand” phenomenon that sometimes hits the beaches this time of year. It’s becoming more regular during the year, as Oregon’s coastline seems to be more full of the bioluminescent critters called dinoflagelettes – a form of phytoplankton that’s a lot like a firefly. They give off a faint greenish blue glow when stomped on or disturbed in the water.

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20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

They are seen by scuffing your feet along the sand on a very dark beach at night. Exactly where they are on each beach is different from one night to the next. But if you find them in standing water, the results can be especially spectacular. They explode like tiny galaxies beneath your feet.

Nehalem Bay, where the glowing phytokplankton can be especially interesting

If you run your hand through bay waters like in Nehalem Bay or Tillamook Bay, you’ll see odd, glowing trails behind your hand.

The so-called “dead zone” off the central Oregon coast may have something to do with all these kinds of phytoplankton making an interesting display. It is created by super strong upwellings of cold water that brings nutrients and phytoplankton so excessive these tiny creatures die at an incredible rate, then decay in such numbers they choke off the oxygen supply in the water.

Such a mechanism of upwellings seems to be tied to the wild abundance of “glowing sand” on the coast, said Tiffany Boothe, of the Seaside Aquarium.

It also resulted in a massive washing up of strange ocean debris earlier this week in Seaside, nicknamed an “ocean burp.”

Massive "ocean burp" covers a chunk of Seaside (photo: Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)

Inn 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.

“We weren’t completely surprised to see this,” Boothe said. “We were seeing high temperatures in the ocean of 66 or even 68. Then it dropped down to around 56, 57. The north winds started cooling things off, the upwellings started happening, so we expected to see something. I think it’s possible we’ll start seeing a lot of pelicans around, because the upwellings bring all the nutrients, which then bring the baitfish. The pelicans go for those.”

Colder water could also explain the sudden burst of nutrients and phytoplankton, which have resulted in spotting the glowing sand this summer and the presence of brown waves on the north coast – indicative of a large presence of another kind of phytoplankton called diatoms, which are the tiny creatures that create much of the sea foam you see. The brown foam isn’t being seen on the central coast, however.

“Last year, when the dead zone started, we started seeing a lot of nutrients in the ocean,” Boothe said. “I’ll bet we’ll start to see a pattern here every year.”

Killer whale surfacing near Florence (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)

oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

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 penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and 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 wedding possibilities.

This flood of nutrients is also likely to bring other wonders to Oregon’s beaches and waters, like the baitfish, pelicans and porpoises arriving in coves – creating more incredible sights to ogle at while you’re out and about.

Meanwhile, whale sightings up and down the coast should be up in many places, as they’re spending considerable time just grazing off the phytoplankton offshore. See more on that here.

Also, sand levels on the north coast are showing a small decrease in some places, which means more surprises to catch. Rock structures on the beaches will be showing more, with some interesting aspects popping up there, like a whole new side to them you’ve never seen before.

Geologic oddities emerging at Hug Point this past winter, when sand levels were exceptionally low (photo: Tom Horning)

If sand levels get low enough, you may see the remnants of an ancient forest that is either 4,000 years old or perhaps even 80,000 years old – depending on the theory. These have shown up at Hug Point, Arch Cape and even Rockaway Beach in recent years.

Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the PromenadeDown on the central coast, sand levels are higher, however, according to DiTorrice. Still, this has yielded some exciting moments of discovery.

“Sand appears a bit higher-than-usual on most Lincoln County beaches, with especially heavy sand build-up on the beaches at Lost Creek, Thiel Creek, Agate Beach, Moolack Creek, Coal Creek, Gleneden Beach, Siletz Bay, and D River,” DiTorrice said. “I’ve noted some fairly fresh headland erosions north of Yaquina Head, near Beverly Beach and at Otter Rock. Nothing critical. No homes endangered. But some fairly good-sized trees and other landscaping that used to be 20-50 feet above the beach are now communing with the sand.

A1 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.

D 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.

Weiss' 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 St.
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

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – 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: 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 allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and 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 pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

The 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. www.theoceanlodge.com

STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com


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Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.