Ten Mind-Blowing Spring Break Stretches of Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – You may want something a little more from this next spring vacation jaunt to the Oregon coast. You may want something wowing. (Above: Cape Foulweather).
Enter these ten awesome and awe-inspiring beauties. Here's a gathering of incredible sights you may not have had considered before or heard about. Don't be surprised that you'll be surprised. See the virtual tour links in each for more details and maps.
Manzanita Overlooks. Quite possibly the most incredible of all the viewpoints along the entire Oregon coast, it's easy to sit here for a long time and just get lost in this nearly endless ocean vista. On a clear day, you can see 40 miles south to Oceanside. From here, you're looking down on tiny fishing boats cruising the Pacific. Even better: hit the area at dusk and keep watching those vessel lights on the water as the world darkens. They start to look like small, glittering cities on the distant horizon.
Top of Cape Foulweather. Between Depoe Bay and Newport, this soaring mini-mountain has you some 500 feet above it all. Whales are not an uncommon sight here, either. It's breathtaking from north to south: giving you unhindered glimpses of Newport's lighthouse blinking or the distant, forested and bulbous curves of Otter Crest Loop in the other direction. Insider's Tip: grab some good optics and look into the massive sea caves just to the north (such as above).
Oceanside's Star Trek Beach. Oceanside is itself a magical little village, tucked away near the northern end of the Three Capes Loop. But there's a secret within the secret: the tunnel going through Maxwell Point. On the other side is a trippy beach full of wacky rock shapes, small to medium caves, and lots of starfish colonies. It's sometimes called Star Trek Beach because parts of it resemble two different episodes from the first series. You'll have pause to sit and wonder: “What would Spock do?” And then you'd realize he too would be rolled over by its surreal beauty.
Hidden North of Face of Yaquina Head, Newport. One of the Oregon coast's more insane hidden spots, it's a bit of a walk from the last beach access at Moolack Beach. But it's worth it. Below the north side of Yaquina Head sit bundles of geologic oddities, a rocky arch or two, stunning starfish colonies and a host of other objects all crammed into a fairly tiny area. You won't soon forget it.
Yachats 804 Trail. About a mile of unbelievable beauty is a paved and easy walk just above the gorgeous chaos. It starts at Smelt Sands State Park and keeps going until the raging, rocky shore of Yachats abruptly turns to soft sands. Along the way it's one remarkable find after another, between the endless tidepools, crazed blow holes of ocean water and rollicking tides making all sorts of pyrotechnics. There's enough here to explore for a full day.
Strawberry Hill, between Florence and Yachats. About halfway between Yachats and Florence (less than ten miles from Yachats), you'll find more than one thrill at this central Oregon coast wonder. Descend the bluff on a sandy stairway and find yourself looking down on three different kinds of beaches. In front is a series of basalt blobs with crazed, crashing waves. To your left is a small beach made of large stones. To the right is a sizable semi-circle of a beach that's a labyrinth of rock structures on soft sands. Some striking, surreal sights lurk down here.
Depoe Bay Seawall. The simple pleasures of walking can be full of the unexpected. If you're lucky, the Spouting Horn will be in a raucous and rowdy mood, firing water off into the air. And yes, you will get soaked. Keep walking towards the bridge and gaze out at waves crashing dramatically on the rocks. Or keep an eye out for whales: they are often in abundance here. The trade-off is you need calmer conditions to see them, which means the Spouting Horn won't be spouting.
Piers at Garibaldi.These are prime for fishing and crabbing – especially that gigantic, long one that stretches way out into Tillamook Bay. But just as much fun is simple quietude; just chillin' on the dock of the bay. Several benches sit along the bayside here: some are positioned to look over the multitude of boats anchored just below, or vast, pretty views can be had from the concrete walls gazing out over the water as well. For a bit more adventure and adrenaline, explore the ancient trains sitting on the tracks, or better yet take an antique train ride aboard the Oregon Coast Explorer line.
Neskowin. When is a beach more than a beach? In this case, the tiny village of Neskowin boasts not just an engaging blob of basalt to crawl around on in the form of Proposal Rock, but there are 2000-year-old ghost forest stumps lurking at its southern end. Neskowin is probably the only Oregon coast spot that's part romper room and part living geologic museum. For even more fun, head to the hidden accesses at the very north end for some unparalleled peace and quiet.
Deserted Middle of Seaside.For something different in Seaside, try Avenue S, or Avenue L – all off Downing Street, south of downtown. This area, sort of the middle of Seaside's beaches, tends to be a bit more secluded, certainly unpopulated, than the busier parts close to downtown, or even the Cove.
It's also here, at Lewis & Clark Way, where you'll find the Lewis and Clark Saltworks – a replica of the salt-making pile of stones the explorers used to boil ocean water. As their journal put it: "Sergt. Ordway returned with the party from the Salt Camp which we have now evacuted. they brought with them the salt and uetensils. our Stock of salt is now about 20 gallons."
That spot is likely the exact location of the original – or very close to - culled from local native tribe reports about 100 years ago.
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