Rugged Relaxation on Oregon Coast Travel Tips: Hikes, Kayaks and Hybrids
(Oregon Coast) – Now that spring is almost sprung (or perhaps it did a while ago), thoughts turn to the more outdoorsy activities on the Oregon coast. This is a prime season for these more rugged means of relaxation, with hiking, kayaking, and of course surfing becoming king for a growing number of visitors each year. (Above: surfing at Cannon Beach's Indian Beach).
“There's a lot more kinds of wild, energetic things to out here than there used to be,” said Portlander Todd Reynolds, an avid surfer. “There are some new sports that have been around for ten years or less.”
Find out more about these places at the map and virtual tour links included.
There are some unusual hybrid sports emerging these days. There's surf kayaking, which is a combination of both those activities. It’s an unusual sport, where a kayak is used a little bit like a surfboard, just hovering in the waves as it bobs in out of the breakers.
Although still in the infant stages, sand boarding is becoming increasingly popular on sand dune areas like the National Dunes Recreation Area near Florence. It's largely a homemade thing still, where snowboards are waxed a certain way and then ridden down the towering dunes for a thrilling ride. The sport has just arrived at the gigantic structure called Cape Kiwanda, in Pacific City, where the towering dune gets turned into a makeshift snowboarding area. At Cape Kiwanda RV Resort and Marketplace, you can actually rent these boards – made by a firm in Florence.
Surfing remains the most visible activity at various spots, but it only increases in popularity as the kids get out of school. Seaside's cove area, on the south end of town, is hugely popular. Other hotspots include the crescent-shaped beaches at Oswald West State Park, Crescent Beach in Cannon Beach, the south side of the Devil's Punchbowl at Otter Crest, Oceanside and parts of northern Newport around Agate Beach.
Hang gliding is a favorite on the coast, with its many winds zipping around and high places from which to launch. Oceanside, a spot just north of Cape Kiwanda, another just south of Tillamook Bay and some spots around northern Newport are common places to see these great, silent birds of beauty and grace.
“I couldn't imagine actually doing this, but I love watching it,” said Portland resident Randy Englestrom. “I come out to Anderson's Viewpoint or to Oceanside and watch them sail around in the air. It's way more fun than watching planes at the airport, you know? If you're really lucky, you spot them jet off into the air. That is really cool.”
Hiking is still the staple around these beachy parts, and it's still the most accessible activity for coastal visitors.
At Heceta Head, just north of Florence, the trails meander in back of the lighthouse on their way to "Hobbit Beach" a mile and a half from here. Along the way are some stunning viewpoints.
In Newport, there's the mesmerizing half-mile trail above Yaquina Head, with several switchbacks taking you up to Salal Hill and some funky finds awaiting the explorer.
“I've always loved that one,” said Eugene resident Kimmy Benton. “It feels like you're miles up above the Oregon coast, then looking down at Agate Beach.
On the north Oregon coast, Cape Lookout features three dizzyingly beautiful hikes. One zips to the end of the cape in a five-mile loop, with astounding viewpoints along the way. Another wiggles its way two miles down to the secret cove, with its wild, weird black sands. From there you can hike another four miles along seriously untouched sands to the Sand Lake Recreation Area, where ATV'ers go bonkers in this place nicknamed "the other Sand Dunes of the Oregon Coast."
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