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Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.

It's Fall on the Coast: Summer is Here Again.

Oregon’s Biggest Travel Secret: Summer Starts with Fall on the Coast

Trails - like this at Cape Lookout - are at their dryest right now

(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 load 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.

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.

Cape Perpetua from below

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.

Manzanita

On top of it all, this season boasts lesser crowds, lower lodging prices and fewer cars on the highway – making this the best time of the year to venture to the Pacific Ocean.

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.”

Surprises in Seaside, Nehalem Bay and Newport

Seaside from above, thanks to Seaside Helicopters

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.

Nehalem Bay

“Fishing season is in full swing here on the Nehalem Bay,” said Winston Laszlo, owner of Old Wheeler Hotel in Wheeler. “We're already 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 12 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, Blu Cork Wine Bar and Nye Beach Scoop. The last four are in Nye Beach, where the sands are just a few steps away.

Al Fresco in Nye Beach

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.

Pacific Oyster in Bay City

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.

Oregon beaches at night yield strange wonders

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.”

At Embarcadero Resort, specials can be a gas – a gas card, actually. The “Free Gas 4 U” promotion gives you the possibility to get up to $100 in free gas when you stay there multiple nights. A minimum 24 hour advance reservation is required, but two nights will get you $25, three nights $50, four nights get you $75 and five nights put $100 worth of gas in your tank. The special expires November 22. SE Bay Boulevard, Newport. 800-547-4779. www.embarcadero-resort.com.

Elizabeth Street Inn, in Nye Beach, hosts a “Whale Watch Special,” as you can see the glorious cetaceans from the oceanfront inn as the begin their journey south. The special runs midweek, Sunday through Thursdays, where you can get rooms for $99 a night instead of the usual $159. The special runs until October 30. 232 SW Elizabeth St., Newport. 877-265-9400. www.elizabethstreetinn.com.

On the north coast, at Arch Cape House, you can stay for less during the week at a real castle, overlooking Arch Cape and Castle Rock. After October 1, weekday stays begin to drop substantially. Look for East Ocean Rd., just north of the Arch Cape Tunnel. www.archcapehouse.com. 800-436-2848.

At the adorable, family-friendly and pet-friendly San Dune Inn in Manzanita, prices are anywhere from $95 for two people to $160 for a family in August. Lodging prices drop about 15 percent in the middle of September and another October 2, which translates to about $25 to $30 per night savings off the summer high season prices. Guests who make early reservations get a further discount. The San Dune Inn features fun and funky pleasantries like free bicycles, game equipment for the sand, beach chairs, etc. www.sandune-inn-manzanita.com. 428 Dorcas Lane. 503-368-5163.

If romance is on your mind, Old Wheeler Hotel presents stunning views of Nehalem Bay in charming, ancient building so beautiful it’s been nicknamed the “Westin-Benson of the Oregon Coast.” Their prices are generally between $80 to $240, but prices begin falling October 1. They’ve also added two more rooms, which brings the total to seven these days. Hwy 101 and Gregory. www.oldwheelerhotel.com. 877-484-3843.

RELATED STORIES

Fall Camping in High Gear on Oregon Coast Crowds are less and weather is at its warmest

Oregon Coastal Village Wows with Mystic Vibe, Ghost Forest Neskowin is different in many ways, including its geologic features

Oregon Travel Oddities: Sparks Above, As Below Proof that summer can yield the wildest, weirdest moments

Coast Abuzz Over Photos of Green Flash, Glowing Sand Coastal residents caught photos of glowing sands and the green flash

Hiking It and Roughing It on Oregon’s Coast A look at trails and rugged campgrounds

Sampling Wines and Wine Bars on the Oregon Coast Wine shops and wine bars are a growing part of coastal tourism

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OR TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
In Awe of AstoriaASTORIA
Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
Serenity in SeasideSEASIDE
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
Cavort in Cannon BeachCANNON BEACH
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Annihilating  Beauty of Nehalem BayNEHALEM BAY
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Time Trip Around Tillamook BayTILLAMOOK BAY
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
Triple the Pleasure in 3 CapesTHREE CAPES LOOP
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
Lovely Lincoln CityLINCOLN CITY & THE CORRIDOR OF MYSTERY
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
Divine Depoe BayDEPOE BAY
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Nature in NewportNEWPORT
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Staggering Seal RockWALDPORT / SEAL ROCK
Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks
Aargh, there's no alliteration with Yachats - but it IS unbelievableYACHATS
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Unsurpassable Upper LaneUPPER LANE COUNTY
25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Fine Times in FlorenceFLORENCE
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes

 

BREATHTAKING CLIFFTOP IN NEWPORT

STARFISH POINT is located on the Central Oregon Coast - in Newport - and offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. At Starfish Point, every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All of the units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks - surrounding you in soothing relaxation. We have a friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com

 

Lincoln City Vacation Homes There’s something for everyone among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All the homes are either oceanfront or just a few steps away from the sand – 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, depending on the home: 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 are allowed in some homes – ask ahead. Each comes with complete kitchens so you’ll have a home away from home. Most have the seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

 

DIVE INTO LUXURY, HISTORY AT THE TIDES

THE TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. For over 80 years, The Tides has been a favorite of Seaside visitors. History meets modern luxury here. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Find suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bedroom family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. There are wonderful oceanview cottages that sleep anywhere from two to eight people, with two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens.
Meanwhile, the heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds with picnic tables and location at the quiet southern end of Seaside make for some memorable means of play and repose. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com
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Weiss' Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside

Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent our entire property for 20-26. All units close to beach, river and Broadway St.
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families. All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted tub. Enjoy comfy robes & slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. See us on The Travel Channel's "Great Escapes" show in August 2006. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com