Four Diverse Oregon Coast Hangouts: from Gnarly to Nice, Mild to Wild
Published 06/25/2016 at 6:31 PM PDT - Updated 06/25/2016 at 6:37 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – Every now and then, you want the best of both worlds that the Oregon coast can offer. The rough and tumble of the beaches and maybe some wild waves, and then all the creature comforts of civilization not too far away. Or perhaps because even the nicest times of the year can be a bit moody on the Oregon coast: this can be cause to run and hide for a bit
These hangouts allow you a chance to stop and goof around the beach and then to dart away from the drizzle, if necessary. Here, you'll find plenty of sandy spots where the indoors is just a few steps away, if you need to dodge a sudden squall or even start hankering for something finer.
Newport's Nye Beach. This tiny section of Newport is more than a quaint place: it's mesmerizing with its beauty and its architecture of old town America mixed with old Europe in all sorts of different ways. A couple of decades ago, there was a large refurbishing of the district, complete with lanterns and brick streets, catapulting the historic vibe into high gear.
However, down on the beach, after parking at the charming turnaround, you'll find a long, sandy stretch in either direction that's highlighted by nooks and crannies in the cliffs, as well as the interesting remnant of Jump-Off Joe to the north. Above the structure sit the spooky remnants of a condo once naively built on this shaky sandstone foundation back in the early 80's. It faltered and began crumbling just weeks before its completion. These days, this chunk of labyrinth-like concrete evokes castle ruins just a little a bit.
To the south, there's the Vietnam Vet memorial, which features a walkway meandering up into the cliff. It's lit up at night by a host of lights embedded near the floor, with various benches along the way, perfect for that midnight smooch session as the huge, Yaquina Head Lighthouse blinks in the distance. See the Newport Virtual Tour, Map.
Fort Stevens State Park. Here, you can truly get lost in time – and in history.
Fort Stevens and its Battery Russell is where enormous gunneries once guarded the mouth of the Columbia River, lodged in huge turrets which rested in sprawling concrete fortresses. All are empty now of their armaments and abandoned, with gaping holes like sad, hollow eyes, where guns, officers' quarters and other war machinery once sat.
Around one bend, you'll find Battery Russell and its enormous concrete bunkers. Built around the turn of the last century, the gunnery eventually watched for invaders during World War II. There are other gunneries as well in the park as well, but not always accessible to the public. Battery Russell, however, is perfect for rainy days when you don't mind getting a little wet while darting in and out of these castle-like structures.
The park also features an incredible jetty stretching out into the mouth of the Columbia River and the wreck of the Peter Iredale, one of the world's most photographed shipwrecks. See the Astoria, Warrenton Virtual Tour, Map.
The Nehalem Bay – Nehalem and Wheeler. There's simply something different about this delightful little chunk of Americana, which extends a ways back inland between Rockaway and Manzanita. Part of the attraction is that the area provides an interesting way of hiding from the moody weather. It's not unusual to find the beaches immediately south and north of the bay overcast and even rainy, while the bay is basking in the sun.
Also, if the weather is acting up, explore the antique shops of Nehalem or Wheeler. At Wheeler Station, there's some 10,000 square feet of store to get lost in, crammed full of collectibles ranging from chuckle-inducing oddball to beautiful. Explore the adorable storefronts, which sometimes have an old west vibe or smack of the 1940's. Two other businesses provide copious amounts of antiques as well.
With the tiny town of Wheeler being just a few blocks long and hosting just a handful of businesses period, antiques is likely its biggest industry.
And of course, there's that stunning Nehalem Bay, with a huge variety of natural amenities and features. If you're counting eye candy as an industry, this would pounce on the antiques biz. See the Nehalem Bay, Manzanita Virtual Tour, Map.
Oceanside. Find this tiny village on the Three Capes Loop, about nine miles west of Tillamook, and you've happened across the coast's biggest of its teensy weensy wonders.
Wander the beach, slightly shielded from the north winds by Maxwell Point, and you'll find an intriguing tunnel going through the small headland. On the other side, you'll find a wondrous beach filled with strange rock slabs and agate-combing possibilities.
If the weather's been wet for a while, stay away from this tunnel, however. The cliffs above often drop rocks and such.
In such dreary weather, a walk or drive along the steep, hilly streets of this minuscule town will blow you away. The older homes are stunning enough, but some of the more recent additions may drive you mad with jealousy with their opulence and the amazing ocean view they sit in front of. A few of these have delightfully weird shapes which will delight you and maybe cause you to scratch your head. See the Three Cape Loop Virtual Tour, Map. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours
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