(Oceanside, Oregon) – For such a tiny place, a mere village of Lilliputian dimensions, there's a lot crammed into Oceanside on the north Oregon coast. At first it may not even appear so, as you emerge from the five-minute drive from Tillamook and forested bluffs to open ocean vistas. But it does become apparent fairly quickly there are oodles of oddities and aspects to explore around here, starting with that engaging tunnel going through Maxwell Point.
However, some of the most striking things are either just above town or are a couple minutes' drive away.
One such mesmerizing feature of the vicinity is the visual delicacy known as Short Beach (not to be confused with Short Sand, between Manzanita and Cannon Beach). It sits off the section of the Three Capes Loop road that runs behind Oceanside and towards the Cape Meares Lighthouse. The access is next to a sign that reads Radar Road (because there was once a radar there).
Here, after descending a leg cramp-inducing stairway, a basalt blob that resembles the sea stack at Neskowin sits, as a cove-like beach encompasses it and a few other tasty secrets. There's a waterfall or two lurking around here, and the beach is almost always completely devoid of other human beings.
Above, this is what Short Beach looks like from a high vantage point on Cape Meares.
Between here and Oceanside sits a very secret beach called Lost Boy Beach, where a massive cave resides and violent tides make frequent visitations. Hence its name. It is occasionally – rarely – accessible via the side towards Oceanside (after you've gone through the tunnel to the already secret beach there). This is only possible during extreme low tide events – very extreme.
But from Cape Meares, with a nice zoom lens, you can hone in on what Lost Boy Beach looks like. There is a steep road traipsing down this hill, which is barely visible in the photo. You can no longer access it as some homes now cordon off the old entrance.
Another treasure hunt of sorts is trying to find the extremely secret high vantage point that hovers over Oceanside and allows aerial views of the village and the landmark Three Arch Rocks. You won't always find it, but the journey in doing so can be half the fun, as looking for this hush-hush place forces you to explore the comely, narrow streets and funky architecture of the homes clustered on the hills above town.
Nearby, the Cape Meares Lighthouse and the cliffs are an endlessly fascinating romp of nature and history, including the possibility of seeing birds nesting. The famed Octopus tree is a funky bit of fun that should not be missed here either. It used to have eight massive limbs in its strange candelabra shape, but now only seven.
Word of Advice: from now until November 2011, Oceanside is only accessible from the northern side of the Three Capes Loop, by taking Bayocean Road from Tillamook.
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