Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
20 Monster Reasons to See the Oregon Coast in Fall
(Oregon Coast) - Around here, autumn doesn’t mean falling leaves and colder temperatures - not yet, anyway. Really, summer is just getting started in many ways. The energy level on the Oregon coast may be winding down in terms of the number tourists, but the fun is really just beginning with the whole “second summer” aspect. Things don’t really slow until late October - later, if you count all the craziness of Halloween. And then there’s November, with its kick-off to the holidays.
Essentially, if you don’t keep visiting the coast from September through December as often as you did during summer, you will be missing out in a big way. The Second Summer and its all its warmer weather is just the beginning. There are events, weather surprises, storms and other aspects of the towns and nature that are simply riveting. Here are 20 reasons to keep coming out here.
#1: Second Summer
Fall is the warmest time of the year on the coast, thanks to an interaction between warmer waters, cooler temperatures inland and air flows from the east.
By the time September comes around, the ocean is at its warmest because of summer. Meanwhile, things get cooler in the valley, which evens out the temperature differences between the two. This allows warmer air flows from the east and from California to help warm things up even more, as well as causes the winds to die down in general and decrease fog.
During the summer, those temperature differences drive the sea breezes and fog. But by early fall, those differences are not as significant.
"June and July can be pretty chilly on the coast," said George Taylor, State Climatologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. "Throughout the summer, there is a steady increase in temperature until it peaks in September and then falls sometime in October."
#2: Fewer Crowds
On top of this beautiful Second Summer phenomenon, crowds are sizably less. In some areas, like Seaside, visitors still come out in droves and the town is still packed throughout September, although not quite as much. While many are catching on to this, the weekdays - and even weekends - are less crazy, largely because kids are back in school. So you’re apt to find the roads and beaches almost to yourself at times. But on really nice weather weekends, things can still be crowded and nutty. These busy days can stretch well into October.
#3: Warmer Waters
It’s part of the reason the whole Second Summer thing exists, helping weather conditions along. Thanks to two or three months of summer sun, the water is at its warmer in fall.
This makes it perfect for wading and splashing around, enjoying these incredible sunny days even more. But always keep your eye on the tide. It can smack you with a sneaker wave at any second, or worse yet, bring a log in that could crush you.
#4: Lodging Prices Going Down
Traditionally, lodging prices drop after Labor Day Weekend, and then continue dropping until they bottom out in winter. This means great deals in increasing numbers as the fall months roll on.
There is no rule of thumb how much prices drop. In fact, in Seaside, prices don’t drop at all until October because the town is still buzzing.
But most other coastal towns see a drop, sometimes a significant one. Lincoln City, for example, does see some lower prices in September, even if it’s not always immediately after Labor Day. Midweek savings packages start to pop up, and some inns start knocking off prices 20 to 40 percent.
One thing you can count on is that lower priced lodgings generally drop less in prices, while more upscale, higher priced places dip farther in cost.
#5: Jazz at Newport
It’s a tsunami of jazz talent showing up in Newport for this four-day festival that is now an annual monster of a festival, happening on September 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the Nye Beach area of town. Most of it takes place at the Newport Performing Arts Center, but there are numerous other businesses and restaurants around town that get turned into little jazz hotspots. Performers include Jeff Hamilton Trio, Ken Peplowski, John Clayton, Gordon Lee and the GLeeful Big Band, Chuck Redd, Benny Green, Mel Brown, Dan Balmer, Holly Hofmann, Music Director, Red Holloway, Mike Wofford, Marilyn Keller, Darrell Grant, Tall Jazz and Bobby Torres, among numerous others. Tickets can be purchased www.JazzAtNewport.org. (888) 701-7123.
September 15 brings this ancient-style salmon bake in the manner of the local Native Americans. There’s live music, and other entertainment includes native American dancers. There’s a cover charge - food extra. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Depoe Bay City Park. This has been going on for over fifty years, making it perhaps the oldest continuous running event on the Oregon coast. Tickets are now on sale: Tickets are $14 for adults and $8 for children 10 and younger until the day of the event. Tickets bought at the gate will be $15 and $9. Depoe Bay. (877) 485-8348.
#7: Great Oregon Fall Beach Clean Up
Gather all ye masses and beach lovers on every beach along Oregon’s 364 miles of coastline to clean the beaches of litter and the odd debris that often shows up, either left by the tide or dumped by humans. It happens in every town on the coast. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To volunteer or to learn more, 800-333-SOLV. www.solv.org.
#8: Chowder, Blues & Brews in Florence
It’s the 12th annual of this massive yearly event. Florence celebrates its Fall Festival in style on Sept. 21 - 23 with the Chowder, Blues, and Brews at the Florence Events Center and a carnival in Old Town over the weekend. Look for loads of live music in the blues vein, the famous chowder cook-off, various food booths and lots of microbrews - including a competition for best beer. There’s always a major roster of entertainment, which in the past has included Henry Cooper, JC Rico, Curtis Salgado, Ellen Whyte and Paul DeLay, among others. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Florence, Oregon. 800-524-4864.
#9: North Coast Seafood Festival
October 6 & 7. This one is a new one on the coast, having just started in recent years. But it has grown exponentially in size and popularity, now boasting live music, entertainment as well as one heck of a lot of food. There’s music and dance from around the world, an international food court featuring seafood, Oregon wineries and microbreweries, and a marketplace of Oregon coast artists. It happens in Tillamook, indoors at the Tillamook Fairgrounds. One highlight is the sizable presence of Pacific Seafood. Admission: Adults, $6 Sat. - $5. Sun. Seniors, $4. Kids 6-12, $4. 503-398-5223. www.northcoastseafoodfestival.com
#10: 8th Annual Yachats Village Mushroom Fest
October 19 - 21: The tiny town of Yachats gets all mushy for the mushroom, with a host of dinners and events honoring the delicious organism. Local restaurants pay homage, and there are cooking demonstrations, guided mushroom walks, exhibits, music, entertainment and that wacky Fungi Fashion Show. All over Yachats. 800-929-0477. www.yachats.org.
#11: Lincoln City’s Fall Kite Festival.
October 13 – 14. It’s where you can bring your kites to the D River State Wayside and enjoy a bevy of beachy activities with the emphasis on soaring fun. Weather permitting, activities include kite demonstrations, kite ballet, Rokkaku battles, kite buggy, kite boarding, ducky derby, stuffed animal drop, kids kite making and kite building workshops. It’s all free. 800-452-2151. www.oregoncoast.org.
#12: Ursula K. LeGuin
October 20. The famed sci-fi writer – who is a part time north coast resident – shows up in Newport as part of the Nye Beach Writers Series. LeGuin is also a world-famous poet, fantasy and children’s book author. She will read from her latest works. 7 p.m. Admission $10 at door. Hatfield Marine Science Center, Visitors Center Auditorium. www.writersontheedge.org.
#13: Dog Show on the Beach, Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach goes to the dogs on October 20 with the Surfsand Resort’s Dog Show On The Beach. Pedigree is not the point here, as The Surfsand Resort opens its nearby beaches to all dog lovers and types of pups. Competitions include barking, surfing, owner look-a-like and ugliest, among a myriad of others. There’s a parade of champions at the end of the day. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 800-547-6100.
Events and explorations for the ghost hunter abound on the beach, including a plethora of purportedly haunted spots up and down the coast. Look for BeachConnection.net editor Andre’ Hagestedt to do talks on coastal ghost tales at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for its Creatures of the Night celebration, as well as at Beach Books in Seaside (exact dates to be announced).
In the meantime, there’s lots o’ planning to do for the holiday now.
Every Halloween, Seaside hosts a big trick or treat event for kids.
For adults, there are major ragers at many bars, including the Sea Shack in Wheeler, San Dune Tavern in Manzanita, Sportsman’s Pub & Grub in Pacific City, the Shilo Inn lounges in Seaside and Newport, Yachats’ The Landmark, Watering Hole in Nehalem, and elsewhere. Coastal bars are the place to be for grown ups who really want to bump and grind in the night.
#15: Beginning of Storm Watch Season
Storms start to kick in somewhere in November - at least usually. You can catch some incredible waves tearing up places like Depoe Bay, Yachats, Newport’s Yaquina Head - or watch frightening aquatic monsters attack places like Cape Meares, Cape Kiwanda, Short Sand Beach (near Manzanita) or the rocky spots around Cannon Beach’s Ecola State Park. These really kick in about late December, but you can often begin to catch them in late November.
#16: Stormy Weather Arts Festvial
Friday, November 2 – Sunday, November 4. Cannon Beach shows its true colors as an art mecca every year with this incredible citywide event, combing fine art, music and audience participation. This year it happens on November 4-6, with events happening at art galleries, shops and small concerts at restaurants and eateries. Witness artists scrambling to paint and frame a whole piece in an hour, mini-plays, poetry readings, large concerts and the famous Art Walk. That’s just the beginning. www.cannonbeach.org. 503-436-2623 x3.
#17: 7th Annual Oyster Cloyster
Saturday, November 3. This festival of food means the incredible social event of the year for Newport, where dozens of amazing chefs from the Northwest compete for charity. Fine cuisine, entertainment and a culinary competition comprised of local giants make this a happenin’ to remember. 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Proceeds go to charity. Held at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport. (541) 574-7131.
#18: Kick-Off to the Holidays
The holidays actually begin a little early on the coast, especially with the Newport Shilo Inn hosting a Holiday Bazaar in mid-November. In late November, the Haystack Holidays give a boost to the season in Cannon Beach, with the town hosting various holiday events, including a tree lighting ceremony.
In Seaside, it means the town begins to get lit up with a host of decorations in late November - especially ones in sea star shapes. The Yuletide at Seaside competition starts, with various businesses around town getting really decked out. A bus will drive visitors around town on weekends to observe the twinkling.
#19: Seaside Downtown Wine Walk
November 17. Twice a year, Seaside gets especially festive
with its Downtown Wine Walk. Dozens of wineries show up at various businesses
around town and the vino flows freely. There’s even live music and
good eats in some spots. 4 p.m. 7 p.m. Over 21 only – charge for
participation includes wine glass. 503-717-1914 www.seasidedowntown.com
Don’t be surprised to be surprised by the weather out here in November and December. It’s not unlikely you’ll find a decent amount of mild, even beautiful days. Keep an eye on the weather reports - and don’t assume it’s always cold and dreary on the coast. Many coastal locals note how it’s warmer at times in December than in June.