Oregon Coast Tourism Tips: Best of Its Sandy Spots
(Oregon Coast) – Sure it's cliche. But sometimes, all you want is a long walk on a beach with a sunset while holding hands. You don't want to bounce around the rocky, craggy sections or cliffs the Oregon coast is known for. (Above: Ponsler beach near Florence).
But just what is the best sandy beach along the Oregon coast? That all depends, of course, on you. What your preferences are, and where you are. Here is a guide to 180 miles of what could be the best sandy beaches of the Oregon coast, and the links will take you to much more detailed information about each area.
Florence features nothing but big, broad sandy beaches, from its southern points that border the National Dunes Recreation Area (another 40 miles of dunes) to spots like Baker Beach a few miles north. Most of the beaches here are so broad that ocean storms almost never get to the tide line. Just north of town, you can even rent horses to trek along these massive strands.
Some of the best fun can happen at beaches that aren't just sand, but interspersed with rocky blobs and labyrinth-like structures. Numerous spots in that 20-mile stretch between here and Yachats are filled with that, such as Strawberry Hill or even the longer tracts of Muriel Ponsler, Neptune or Ocean Beach Picnic Ground. See the Upper Lane County Virtual Tour for these.
Some awesome sandy secrets lurk just north of Yachats, starting about where the rocky structures end (about a mile north of Smelt Sands State Park). Close to MP 162 – just kitty-corner from Brubacker St. - there’s a patch of gravel on the west side of 101 and a small wooded trail wandering off to the beach. This is one awesome hidden spot, and others lay just south of there at the end of little roads bearing the names of states like Oregon or Idaho.
Several miles of often untouched beach wander on from here, crossing through state parks like Tillicum or Driftwood, until you bump into Waldport's Alsea Bay.
A tad of south of Newport's South Beach area, you'll find more awe-inspiring clandestine sandy chunks, found at a couple of unmarked gravel patches by the side of the road. Nearby Ona Beach provides not just pristine sands to wander but some funky agate action and a few tide pools.
Newport is about five or six miles of non-stop beachy fun, interrupted by the massive headland of Yaquina Head. Another few miles stretch from there to Otter Rock and include sections where the cliffs yield tons of fossils and other curiosities.
From Cape Foulweather to Depoe Bay it's several miles of dramatic cliffs, but some more wondrous granule-filled areas lurk at Gleneden Beach. Shortly after that, you run into Lincoln City's famed seven miles of beaches (above), with all its numerous attractions and distractions.
About ten or so miles north of town you'll bump into the mysterious Neskowin, with its ancient ghost forests at the tide line and rather unusual, large and coarse grains of sand.
From the tip of Nestucca Spit to Pacific City, and just a bit north of that town, you have a good ten miles miles of beaches. Some are extremely secretive and unpopulated, like at Tierra Del Mar or on the north face of Cape Kiwanda.
Small to medium cells of strand (cell is a geologic term for the areas between headlands) exist along what now becomes the Three Capes Loop – if you're heading north of towards Cape Lookout, Netarts and Oceanside. At Netarts and near Tillamook you have some massive, lengthy spits if you're up for miles of hiking.
Just north of there, Rockaway Beach is another seven miles of unfettered and unblocked sand, while north of there sits Manzanita with its dramatic Neahkahnie Mountain looming overhead and access to mile and miles of the Nehalem Spit. Seals and other fascinating wildlife abound there.
The two better known icons of the north Oregon coast – Cannon Beach and Seaside – are a ways up the road. The fun of Cannon Beach actually starts all the way at Arch Cape, a few miles south of town, which lets you walk through amazing little hotspots like Hug Point and the very secretive Silver Point.
From Seaside to Warrenton – some 20 miles – there's nothing but big beaches. All this is interrupted briefly by the Necanicum River at the Seaside/Gearhart border, but from there you even have such large beaches you can drive on parts of them. Look for the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale along here too.
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