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.
Summer Actually Starts with Fall on the Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) - It’s likely THE biggest news story about the Oregon coast, yet it’s one of the area’s biggest secrets: Fall is just the beginning of really warm weather, and the start of a bevy of features that make this the most inviting time of the year on Oregon’s beaches.
Fall is known as the "Second Summer," meaning the coast is at its warmest in September and early October. This season also boasts glittering bits of good news in the realms of whales, lodging prices, lesser crowds, traffic and much more.
By the time September comes around, the ocean is at its warmest because it’s been heated up all season. Meanwhile, things get cooler in the valley, which evens out the temperature differences between the two regions. This allows warmer air flows from the east and from California to help warm things up even more, as well as causing 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, allowing these factors to come together and making for sunnier, hotter days than during June, July and August.
Weather experts say this usually lasts well into October,
with the middle of the month generally being a turning point towards more
blustery weather. However, in 2004, those summer-like conditions lasted
well into the last few days of the month. Perhaps it’s global warming,
perhaps it’s not: but this phenomenon seems to be lasting a bit
longer in many of the past few years.
In Manzanita, San Dune Inn owner Brian Hines is looking forward to what the “second summer” can bring to the coast, noting many retirees and RV’ers partake in the amenities of this time of year. “This should be of particular interest to the ‘Buick’ crowd who seem to surface and start to travel after school starts,” Hines said. “My guess would be with the gas prices and people staying closer to home in Oregon, we at the beach should have a good second summer, assuming, of course, the weather co-operates somewhat.”
Hines noted he’s getting more and more international guests in recent years, especially during the “second summer.”
“Getting them from all over: UK, Italy, Spain, Swizterland etc., and including, of course, Canada,” Hines said.
He added word seems to be getting out about this time of year’s benefits. “September looks strong and we have some reservations through December prior to Christmas.”
Each town on the coast has its own identity and each experiences the benefits of the “other summer on the coast,” as it’s sometimes called. But Seaside has some particularly pleasant amenities during “Second Summer.” Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium noted he sees more whales wandering these waters at this time of year than at any other. “Not because there are more whales,” he quickly adds. “But because the east winds make for less white caps and calmer waters, so it’s easier to spot them.”
At Seaside Helicopters, all these nice days keep pilot/owner Gary Turel quite busy. The long run of pleasant weather makes for ideal flying conditions for his aerial tours of Cannon Beach and Seaside. Hwy 101 - just south of Seaside. www.seaside-helicopters.com. (503) 440-4123.
“Fishing season will be in full swing here on the Nehalem Bay,” said Winston Laszlo, owner of Old Wheeler Hotel in Wheeler. “We'll be seeing them from the window of the hotel wrestling some big fish into their boats.”
In Newport, this increasingly famous secret about the coast
means a lot of dining al fresco possibilities. In fact, it’s a little
known fact that Newport has the most outdoor dining of any town on the
coast. You’ll find at least 11 of them: Rogue Ales Public House,
Gino’s, Lighthouse Deli (in South Beach), Kam Meng, Shirley’s,
Port Dock One, Local Ocean Seafood, The Coffee House, Village Market &
Deli, Café Stephanie, and Nye Beach Scoop. The last three are in
Nye Beach, where the sands are just a few steps away.
Village Market & Deli specializes in putting together to-go lunches for the gourmet palate. It’s a growing need, says owner Deb Trusty, with an ever-larger crowd coming in to grab fine artisan cheeses, imported meats and wines and head for the beach. Combine a variety of sandwiches, deli items and even wines for a beachy picnic with a large dose of panache. NW 3rd, (541) 574-9393.
At Pacific Oyster, on Tillamook Bay, there’s the perfect opportunity to take in the coastal atmosphere, complete with the salt air, Pacific breezes and lull of lapping waves, while snagging some of the freshest seafood possible for your enjoyment back home. The massive facility has a few outdoor benches to enjoy the amazing conditions this region has to offer, with stunning scenery all around you.
A little known secret about the Tillamook Bay: since it’s a ways inland, Pacific Oyster and Bay City is often the recipient of nicer weather, especially if the beaches are foggy.
There’s little that isn’t seafood on the menu, with burgers made of former ocean dwellers, fish ‘n’ chips and seafood melts between $5 and $15, while more complete dinners are around $13. They have a cioppino to die for: thick, hearty and so stocked full of a variety of fish it puts a hatchery to shame. It contains a huge variety of fish, from oysters, halibut, cod and shrimp to even a smattering of octopus. The oysters are like tender little chunks of beef: extremely rich and flavorful, quite powerful for their miniscule size. 5150 Oyster Drive, Bay City. (503) 377-2323.
For a serious surprise – and a hefty measure of surrealism – this season is some of your best chances of the year to find what is called “glowing sands” on the coast. What you see is small, faint bluish/green sparks at your feet when you move them around the sand. Or sometimes, if you move your hands around bays like Nehalem Bay, there will be a strange bluish glowing trail behind your hand.
At the heart of this are creatures that are a form of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates – part of the family of microscopic plants that form the bottom of the food chain for marine life. This particular brand is bioluminescent, meaning they give off a glow when disturbed or bumped through internal chemistry processes, much in the same way a firefly does.
They tend to hit Oregon’s beaches in warmer periods when nutrients can be more abundant and more sunlight can help “charge them up.”
Lodging Specials: Fall Means Falling Prices
In most cases, lodging prices begin to dip sometime in September, although some businesses don’t drop until October or later. One interesting rule of thumb is that more expensive lodgings drop farther in price, while more inexpensive hotels, vacation rentals or motels tend to drop less.
Lodgings in most towns start to drop in September, although Seaside largely stays the same throughout the month because it’s still quite busy, say tourism officials there.
However, Lorna Davis, interim director of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, said you’ll start to some drops in Newport fairly soon.
“You don’t see a drop in price immediately after Labor Day, but when you start to see a decline in tourists, and the lodgings aren’t always full, then you start to see a drop,” Davis said. “Certainly after September 15 there are some reductions, there are more discounts, and you’re more apt to find two-for-the-price-of-one specials to entice people to come out. 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.”
For weekly updated info on lodgings and accomodation reviews, see the Travel News section