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More Than 20 Reasons to Oregon Coast It In Spring


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.


Secrets of the Season

More Than 20 Reasons to Oregon Coast It In Spring

Spring temperatures descend on the area just north of Florence

(Oregon Coast) - Do you really need a list of reasons to visit the Oregon coast?

If statistics say anything, you probably do. At least when it comes to late spring, after the school vacationers have gone home and left the beaches and streets to the rain, the increasingly sunny days and the locals.

After the spring breaks are over, usually after the first weekend of April, so begins a time of year with a variety of really different aspects going on. Yet it’s one of the least populated times of the year on the beaches. There’s the whole “secret season,” unusual weather phenomenon, lower than usual minus tides, lodging specials and a host of other hidden gems about these sands most people don’t know about.

#1: The Secret Season. There’s more to spring than spring break. In fact, that period after the main spring breaks, from mid April through to the end of May, is a distinctively unpopulated time with a host of interesting natural wonders that make this an unusual time of year at the coast. It’s nicknamed the “secret season,” “hidden spring” or “secret spring” – various incarnations of that, because no one ever seems to talk about it. There is a growing movement of coastal businesses that are making it a point to speak up, however.

What are the components of the “secret spring?” Read on.

There are few pleasures like finding yourself the only person on a beach

20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

Free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River. Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players; movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial occasion packages

#2: Fewer Crowds On top of the beautiful natural phenomenon that abound this time of year, crowds are sizably less. In some areas, like Manzanita, it’s almost a ghost town, and you can enjoy the most incredible chunks of north coast beaches in total solitude. You're apt to find the roads and beaches completely to yourself at times, if not fairly often. This is true even on most really nice weather weekends, where things do get a bit busier – but not much.

#3: Wild Weather Extremes March and April bring a crazed kind of weather, often switching back and forth abruptly between sunny and squalls within the same day, sometimes within a half hour. You get an interesting mix of increasingly nice days, with occasional winter-like storms still possible – periodically within the same day. May starts to calm down considerably, and you lose the big storms, but weather switch-a-roo’s still happen quite often.

You’ll want to come prepared for abrupt changes in weather, bringing along changes in clothing and jackets, in case the weather decides to turn on you.

Crazed sea foam at Cape Perpetua during a spring storm

#4: The Weird Wonders of Spring Storms Spring storms can offer some wild, strange sights, especially when paired with the larger blooms of phytoplankton that happen this time of year. These are the microscopic creatures that whales and other fish eat in huge abundance. One kind, called diatoms, are responsible for the sea foam you see in the waves. Their millions of tiny skeletons combine with the air to make air bubbles in the breakers.

With more of them in the spring blooms, you then get a better chance of seeing sea foam pulling all sorts of strange stunts during the season’s storms, like moving across the highways or even flying upwards, creating the mind-boggling sight of what looks like snow going the wrong direction.

#5: Lower Minus Tides Some of the year’s lowest minus tides can happen in March, April and May, with May having a tendency to be the lowest. This allows for greater exploration of tide pools and other sights not always visible.

Extreme low tides at Oceanside

This means a huge new world to discover on the coast, as a myriad of objects both alive and inanimate open up. It means a lot more than starfish.

Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.

Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.

In places like Hug Point, on the north coast, minus tides bring entire new vistas to this already remarkable beach. You can see the bottom parts of the road that was blown out of the headland in the early last century, and other mysterious rocky slabs show themselves just beneath the water.

Add to that the incredibly low sand levels we’ve had this winter and you’re bound to spot more oddities than you’ll believe. At Hug Point, stumps from a forest theorized to be 80,000 years old showed up earlier this year (though they’ll probably be gone soon, if not already, as sand levels have risen across the coast).

In Oceanside, on the Three Capes Tour, the landscape changes drastically in many ways at low tides. Entire new vistas of rocky marine gardens show themselves. Not to mention, you can walk around Maxwell Point to get to its other side, instead of having to go through the tunnel.

Lots of diatoms also mean crazy brown waves, as Seaside often gets hit with

#6: Lodging Prices Still Down Traditionally, lodging prices drop after Labor Day Weekend, and then stay really low throughout the winter after dropping again in the late fall. In the spring, around spring break, they start going up again, but there’s still this intermediate time where some remain at winter rates or just slightly higher.

There is no rule of thumb how much prices rise, but usually summer rates don’t kick in until June or July. Many incredible deals are still anxiously awaiting takers, as the coast is rather bereft of tourists at this time of year.

Inn at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms. Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly. Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.

Midweek savings packages are usually still around, and some inns remain 20 to 40 percent off their summer rates.

#7: Lodging Specials Abound. According to Lorna Davis, Director of Tourism Development for the Newport Chamber, hotels, motels and inns are just twitching to get people onto those empty beaches and into their rooms. “There’s a lot of two-for-one specials, or ‘stay two nights and get the third free,’ especially during the mid week,” Davis said.

The waters of the coast start getting warmer (pictured: Big Creek, near Florence)

#8: Warmer Waters Thanks to the weather slowly warming up, you’re going to find the sea just a bit warmer at times. Especially in May, the calmer air and more stable spells of sunlight start to heat things up a little more. However, you’ll still find a great deal of cold water and even crazed storms in April.

#9: Dig In, It’s Clamming Season! On the north coast, razor clamming is especially hot – from Tillamook Bay northward. Areas like Rockaway, Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Seaside are excellent for obtaining the delicious little critters. All you need is the right tools and a license, purchased from any sporting goods stores.

This year, all of Oregon’s coast is open for mussels, bay clams and razor clams. “Thick sandy shorelines have something to do with great razor clamming,” said Newport beach expert Guy DiTorrice. “They like to move around, so they need real sandy locations. Our cobble-strewn beaches at most locations here do not bode well for razor clamming as much as they do for cockles and steamers.”

Newport's bay is outstanding for crabbing and clamming

#10: Crabbing Season Still Hot. While crabbing is best in late fall, early winter, with their meat at the thickest just after December. But less people are out trying to catch the same catch as you, and charter boats aren’t quite as busy with tourists.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) spokesman Brandon Ford gave some hints.

“When ocean conditions permit, anglers can combine crabbing and bottom fishing in one trip,” Ford said. “I believe there are more people looking for those opportunities. The crabs are generally bigger in the deep ocean, although it is often a matter of luck, like any sport fishing.”

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

ODFW said that slack tides – high and minus tides – are the best times of day. “The most number of crabs are walking around foraging, since they are not getting pushed around by tidal exchange,” says its website.

Velella velella start hitting the beach in late spring in enormous numbers

#11: Purple Sails Arrive Typically, this time of year means the occurrence of what are called “purple sails,” or velella velella, as they’re technically called. They look like small, purplish round jellyfish, with a small fin at the top. They often show up in spring or early summer, in great abundance, and usually start creating a pungent fishy smell while stranding on the beaches in such numbers. The start to arrive when the east winds kick up. Some have already been spotted on Oregon’s north coast, says a representative of the Seaside Aquarium.

#12. Wine Tasting Weekends – and Weekdays These abound with greater regularity up and down the coast, and they can be an incredible find. In Yachat, Yachats Wine Trader and The Wine Shop offers a constant stream of vino and incredible cuisine most days of the week, while The Wine Shop hosts special tasting events on Saturdays. Nye Beach Gallery in Newport and Cannon Beach's Wine Shack also provide wine tasting hours every Saturday afternoon. There is always the Flying Dutchman Winery near Depoe Bay, and the Depoe Bay Winery and Nehalem Bay Winery where the tasting rooms are always open. Yummy Wine Bar and Bistro, in Seaside, is the latest hotspot that’s irresistible in the fermented grape category.

Ancient stumps at Cape Lookout

#13: Oddities on the Beach Agates are again found at Agate Beach in Newport, thanks to the sand-scouring action of the season’s storms. They’ve been buried beneath the sand layers all along, and weren’t seen there for ten years, until last year.

“There are a couple of small agate-containing agate bars that are open along the meandering channel of Big Creek,” said Newport beach expert Guy DiTorrice.” The channel has shortened its hard-northerly track this past winter, opting for some wider sections closer to Agate Beach State Park.

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.

“However, sand depth remains high on most of Agate Beach; ditto at Beverly Beach State Park, Coal Creek and Moolack Beach.”

DiTorrice added there are some agate-containing beaches open north and south of Lost Creek State Park and further north at Thiel Creek, with many collectors reporting nice picking, especially for the “Newport blues.”

Lower sand levels mean the ancient “ghost forest” stumps were visible again on beaches just south of Newport, just as the ones in Hug Point, Arch Cape and various other spots along the coast. But these are likely to disappear very soon. However, there is a major “ghost forest” that’s still very visible at Neskowin.

The Landmark in Yachats, one of the coast's coolest hotspots

#14. Explore the Coast’s Live Music Scene From bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, classical, reggae and blues to rock 'n' roll of various genres, the entire coast has a burgeoning live music scene that's actually more interesting than many places inland. The Newport Performing Arts often features the Newport Symphony Orchestra (and sometimes with locally-based celebrity David Ogden Stiers behind the baton). Find all sorts of stuff at The Yachats Commons, rock and blues at the Landmark down the street, big names in Lincoln City at Eden Hall, and more regional favorites at the Kernville Steakhouse. The San Dune in Manzanita and the Sand Trap in Gearhart carry many regional favorites as well, such as The Crackpots or Norman Sylvester.

Perhaps the big hotspot on the entire coast these days is Roadhouse 101 in Lincoln City, (formerly Kodiak Bar & Grill). A recent makeover in structure, approach and management has turned this into a nightclub that’s constantly packed, as throngs sway to blues and rock.

Brave souls hit the beach on a rainy, stormy day in Manzanita - and they love it.

#15. Rain-Soaked Adventures Don't be a scaredy cat and shy from the beaches during spring squalls. It's actually more fun than you may imagine to just wander the outdoors during one of those notorious downpours. You'll have the beach to yourself and see wonders you won't normally see.

For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside.

oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

#16: Hold Your Meetings on the Coast There is also an enormous industry on the coast geared to this, and places like the Seaside Convention Center or Embarcadero in Newport or the Stephanie Inn are just the beginning. Numerous hotels, like the ones listed in the wedding planning section of this article, also have grand facilities for setting up a large gathering.

Many nature programs will take place at Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock during the weekend of April 18 - 20, also in honor of Earth Day

#17: April 19 - 27. Earth Week Celebration. Celebrate animals great and small. Honor the Earth through stories, biofact tables, special presentations, crafts, and more during this fun-filled week. Oregon Coast Aquarium, 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd. Newport, Oregon. 541-867-3474. www.aquarium.org.

#18: April 25 - 27: Astoria-Warrenton Crab and Seafood Festival. Celebrating fresh Oregon seafood, the 26th annual Astoria-Warrenton Crab and Seafood Festival is crawling back to town. This delicious three-day festival is highlighted by a traditional crab dinner featuring fresh-caught Dungeness crab, along with a beer garden and vintages from more than 50 regional wineries. The festival also features arts and crafts from more than 200 regional artisans, along with live music and entertainment. Adult admission for the festival is $10 on Friday and Saturday, and $5 on Sunday. Children under the age of 12 are free. (800) 875-6807, or visit http://www.oldoregon.com.

#19: May 17: Seaside Downtown Wine Walk. 4 - 7 p.m. Wine tasting by dozens of wineries, hosted at businesses throughout downtown Seaside. Some food and entertainment. 503-717-1914. Seaside, Oregon. www.seasidedowntown.com.

#20: Indoor Attractions When the weather gets crappy, it's a perfect time to check out the myriad of manmade wonders that feature nature. Indulge in the Seaside Aquarium, Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center - the latter two are in Newport. Also in Newport, you'll find the Undersea Gardens, Wax Museum and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not. In Tillamook, get cheesy at the Tillamook Cheese Factory or check out the large variety of vintage aircraft at the Tillamook Air Museum. Fort Clatsop, near Astoria, is the closest you'll come to seeing Lewis & Clark firsthand. Nearby, the Gateway to Discovery Center in Seaside takes you on a mind-bending ride through the natural amenities of the north coast and some seriously wowing geologic facts. Down near Florence, you'll find the Sea Lion Caves and its various wonders. In many cities, like Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Newport and Florence, there are often more than one historical museum where you can get lost in time.

One of the kookiest places you can get married is inside the Oregon Coast Aquarium's "Passages of the Deep"

Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the Promenade

Condo-hotel that offers the amenities of a fine hotel, but also includes ownership of a vacation home on the north Oregon coast. It is a unique opportunity, as condo owners have an opportunity to share in the revenues of their unit. All have either spectacular, nearly aerial views of the ocean and city, or they gaze out at the lush forests of the coast range mountains. There are private balconies in all rooms, which come as studios or units with one bedroom or two - as large as 850 square feet. Each is fully furnished. $189,000 to $449,000, (with most in the $300,000 range.) When owners are not using their units, they may be rented out as hotel rooms, and owners may share in those revenues.

#21: Get Hitched on the Coast Weddings take on a whole new dimension of when done on our shoreline. Try a spring wedding inside the Oregon Coast Aquarium, especially in its 360-degree view tube known as "Passages of the Deep," as sharks and stingrays swim around you. Get married in the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Many large hotels provide perfect facilities for ceremonies, receptions or whatever, like Nehalem Bay Winery or The Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach. Lincoln City provides some extensive information in a booklet and on their website, www.oregoncoast.org.

#22: May 17. Oregon Coast Steam Adventure. Take a ride on a steam locomotive. It begins at Lumberman’s Park, Garibaldi, up Tillamook Bay, Garibaldi, Barview, Ocean Lake Park, Twin Rocks, Saltair, Tillamook Beach, Rockaway Beach, Lake Lytle, Manhattan Beach, Haddon, Brighton Beach, Mohler, the Nehalem River, Foley, Batterson, Tunnel 37, Nehalem Falls and then stopping at Nehalem Bay Winery. 10 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Cost for the train ride is $148 per person. 503-292-5055. Website here.

Goonies Rock, at Cannon Beach, was featured near the end of the cult film "Goonies"

#23: May 31 – June 1. Cannon Beach Film Fest. Check out the north coast town’s moments in the glare of Hollywood. This festival spotlights movies that featured Cannon Beach as locations, such as the classic “Goonies” and “Point Break.” Four films on Saturday and three films on Sunday. Traditional movie snacks and a raffle drawing. Coaster Theatre. Hemlock, in downtown Cannon Beach. 503.436.1242.

#24: Memorial Weekend Wine Tour Every Memorial Day Weekend, almost all the Willamette Valley-area wineries go nuts with one gigantic weekend of wine tours, tasting, entertainment, food and other surprises. It features over 100 wineries, stretching from the Portland area into Yamhill County area, and down to wineries around Corvallis and Eugene. www.willamettewines.com. (503) 646-2985.

Arch Cape Property Services. Dozens of homes in that dreamy, rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the sea.
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com 866-436-1607.


Click here for video of Dec. storm aftermath

Oregon Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events in nature and stunning moments for 2007

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Staggeringly Cool Ideas for Oregon Coast Romance Be it the season of Valentine's or be it any time of the year, Oregon's coastline has essentially cornered the market for cuddle-inducing possibilities and gushy activities for the hand-holding set

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports - Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings, along with weekly lodging availability reports

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Nehalem Bay

Generously appointed rooms or spacious two-room suites. Continental breakfast. Heated salt-water pool and spa, fitness room, high-speed Internet, some Jacuzzi spas and ADA accessibility. Some pet friendly. Business and meeting facilities. Catering services available.

Suites, duplex units, houses for 2-8 people. Close to everything. All units w/ kitchens; many have fireplaces, decks, jetted tubs. Robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities and more. Award-winning flowers. Featured on Travel Channel.

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.

Sumptuous indoor pool heated year round. Lovely ocean views come with many rooms. All units big, extremely comfortable, w/ special touches. Each room contains a microwave, refrigerator, in-room coffee makers, cable TV, and larger kitchen units are available as well. Free parking, choice of smoking or non-smoking rooms. Within walking distance to all of Yachats’ various amenities; short walk to the beaches

the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.

Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers.

smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free.

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, sautéed scallops.

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

The Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun (nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies. 888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.theoceanlodge.com