Intricate Oregon Coast Oddities: Surreal Slabs of Ona Beach
(Waldport, Oregon) – At first it appears to be a rather plain stretch of beach. Fairly unremarkable, but satisfactorily pretty and good for wading in the surf. But in many ways, Ona Beach is among the strangest beaches on the Oregon coast, smothered in a long line of angular oddities made of basalt, sticking out of the sand in a variety of puzzling shapes. It turns out, this lovely little bit of beachy land is a bit somewhere between a Roger Dean album cover for the band Yes and a sci-fi film with a truly innovative designer.
Somewhat close to the central Oregon coast hamlet of Waldport – but closer even to the big attractions of Newport - Ona Beach State Park begins with many of the features typical of the area: lots of loose sand and a comely creek cutting through the beach. There's a fairly thick coastal forest enveloping the parking lot and trails to the beach, but once you cross the main bridge and wander around the cliff, you're in a striking patchwork of basalt blobs and sandy pleasures.
The first stretch of this goes on for 100 feet or more, and then another starts again a ways down the beach. This is undoubtedly part of the bedrock of Ona Beach, which likely gets uncovered almost completely during extremely low sand level events that can happen along the Oregon coast in its wet and wild winters. Agate hunters go nuts here at times.
There are times it definitely resembles Seal Rock, just a couple miles to the south, where loads of mysterious objects jut out of the sand. But here, the oddities are even odder. One stretch looks like a row of pods from space – or maybe ancient graves.
At another spot, a strangely curved rock sticks out, like some gigantic handle – or perhaps a chunk of a ship buried beneath.
Another stretch of slabs resembles oddly shaped keys, but enormous ones, as if dropped by giants.
All the while, it's obvious the tide still lingers here with frequency. A variety of sea goo covers just about everything, so it's also a clear sign to be cautious here and keep your eye on the tide. Next to the rocky labyrinths, and even between them, lay dozens of small tide pool colonies as well.
You'll find Ona Beach eight miles south of Newport, and another 15 to 20-minute drive to the rocky havens of Yachats. Also of interest here is Beaver Creek, which offers kayak tours into some stunning wilderness areas, and the state park provides some camping spaces.
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