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Get Ready for Second Summer on Oregon Coast: Warmest Through October

Published 08/29/2016 at 6:21 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Get ready for the best weather of the entire year, at least on the Oregon coast.

(Oregon Coast) – Get ready for the best weather of the entire year, at least on the Oregon coast. Many still don't know this, but September and early October see the beaches at their finest.

They call it the “second summer” on Oregon's coast, and it's really the best time of year to hit the area for a number of reasons. Thanks to a nice combination of weather factors, you'll find the warmest, calmest conditions of the whole year. But you'll also find lodging prices starting to dip, less people on the roads, more beaches to yourself and often no wait times at your favorite eateries.

Second summer also means the added luxury of more whale sightings.

There are exceptions, of course (like the year the SOLV Beach Cleanup had to cancel due to a freak wind storm), but you'll genreally find these inviting conditions going until about the middle of October – often a bit beyond. Temps linger around 70 or more, skies are blue, and winds are often nearly nonexistent.

For decades, this was a big secret. But since about 2000 or so, the popularity of the region during this month or tow has gradually increased, so that now it's not uncommon to have even weekdays be full of visitors. Those grand inviting conditions that once made second summer known to just a few diehards has resulted in a lot more people. Basically, the secret is out.

Many towns still see some lodging price drops after Labor Day but now they're not as much as before the early 2000's. In fact, larger towns like Seaside, Cannon Beach or Newport don't drop much – if at all – until the end of September.

Still, however, most weekdays boast less people amid some extremely balmy weather.

Once you get to early October, then crowds and lodging prices really dip. The second summer phenomenon is still keeping things quite warm through the middle of the month. It's about October 15 when things move towards the blustery and rainy again, although in the last fifteen years there have typically been at least seven days scattered throughout October's last two weeks that remain remarkably warm, even tropical.

This is when the real paradise begins along the beaches, according to travel officials like Lorna Davis of the Newport Chamber or Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium.

Davis said many more two-for-the-price-of-one specials start to pop up after September 15.

“This also a really good time to book conferences and meetings, and you see a lot of those happening because the lodgings aren’t as packed, or they are attracted to the place by the lodgings’ sales efforts,” she said.

A good rule of thumb is that the more expensive the place, the more it will drop in price. Less expensive hotels or motels will drop less.

Chandler said it's the reason many locals live on the coast.

So is this Oregon Coast Second Summer real, you're asking? The science behind it is interesting.

According to meteorologists, the valley starts to cool off in September, but meanwhile the ocean waters off the coast have heated up over summer. This lessens the temperature differences between the two areas, and this helps keep things calmer (as those differences also drive things like wind and fog during the summer). On top of all that, warmer air from California is allowed to come up more by that action, which warms up the Oregon coast even more.

All this lack of wind, fog and generally nicer conditions creates waves that aren't as big. That is what you need to spot whales. September and October are usually incredible for whale sightings because the wave height doesn't hide them. Calmer conditions also coax them closer to shore, where they may be checking you out as well.

In recent years, there have been unusual currents in late summer and early fall that have driven lots of baitfish into some areas, especially the north coast. So while the central coast – especially Yachats, Newport and Depoe Bay – often have the most whales, these conditions have caused some extraordinary sightings up north as well. In 2015, there were an extremely large number of Humpback whales cruising around Cannon Beach, Manzanita and especially up the Columbia River.

It's difficult to predict if that will happen again, but there have been sporadic reports of them already in that area. Gray whales are more common on the central coast. You can keep a close on Oregon coast weather here. Where to stay for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour


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A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
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