Scintillating Sands of Oregon Coast: Waldport to Yachats
Published 07/09/2015 at 75:04 PM PDT
(Yachats, Oregon) – At the lower end of Lincoln County, just before the central Oregon coast turns from sandy stretches to basalt ledges and high, soaring cliffs, there sits an especially quietening cadre of sites and sights. Seal Rock, Waldport and the northern chunk of Yachats are each known for their respective means of relaxation and repose, but in between them numerous treasures lie.
Portlander Jimmy Radosta has been in love with this stretch for some 40 years, starting as a kid in the Salem area. Along the way, he's discovered a few other treasures of the region.
“I grew up visiting our family cabin in Waldport about one weekend a month, and I wouldn't swap it for any other town on the Oregon coast,” Radosta said. “The beach at Alsea Bay is picturesque and uncrowded. It's located near stunning Cape Perpetua and charming Yachats. Even the drive from Portland is delightful, taking you by wine country, covered bridges or Otis Cafe, depending on the route.”
The fun of the area really starts just north of Waldport and Seal Rock. Here, you'll find one of the most unique beaches on the whole of the Oregon coast: Ona Beach. Like some sort of super hero alter ego, by summer it's a mild-mannered strand with interesting holes in the rocky cliffs. But even then some wild, weird rock structures are usually poking out.
As sand levels lower in fall, winter and spring, the place comes alive with a host of rounded objects and surreal structures, sometimes looking like alien pod ships from a sci-fi flick.
Travel a bit south and you'll run into Seal Rock, with its dramatic winter waves and engaging, calming summertime vibe. Look for the funky crack hidden at one section that's like a miniature channel.
At Waldport, it's entirely fluffy, soft sands and sand dunes. The Bayshore district, at the north end, starts off as a sprawling neighborhood development but soon gives way to an expanse of piles and piles of sand. Around the bend and just over the bridge, you have the famed Alsea Bay – a crabbing and clamming hotspot.
Just south of Waldport sits Governor Patterson State Park, which provides a long stretch of sand to play on and explore.
Even more such places exist just south of there, as you head the seven miles from Waldport to Yachats. Beachside State Park (seen above, which is often closed in winter) is a campground with more gobs of sand. Tillicum State Park is yet another campground with lots of amenities to offer, aside from the huge expanse of beach.
Some of the real hidden treasures lurk at the very northern tip of Yachats, just before the landscape changes from the soft sands you've seen so far to the rocky ledges typical of Yachats. Find the neighborhood with streets named after states and therein sit a half dozen of stellar, spectacular little hidden spots. One has a contraption built to walk these sandstone cliffs, while in general you'll find yourself alone here and far from any maddening crowds.
A little ways down, perhaps less than a mile, you'll encounter where things suddenly change into the basalt we all know and love about Yachats. For a mile or two on the north end, it's been all flat sand. But around Spindrift St., one of the streets there leads down to a very hidden access.
This is one of the more intriguing spots along the entire coast as well, as there's a sudden wall of rock in front of you. It goes on for miles after this, broken only by a few pocket beaches between Yachats and Florence (a 25-mile stretch). From here on out, Yachats is the wild and rugged place you know it as.
This basalt gateway is also where the 804 Trail begins (or ends, depending on how you think of it), which is a mile worth of easily-walked pavement that provides quick access to all the mammoth and marauding waves the area is famous for.
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