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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
Biggest Travel Secret: Summer Starts with Fall on the Coast
- like this at Cape Lookout - are at their dryest right now
- 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
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.
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.
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.”
in Seaside, Nehalem Bay and Newport
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.
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.”
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.
in Nye Beach
& 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.
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.
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
“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
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.”
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
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
However, Lorna Davis,
interim director of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, said you’ll
start to some drops in Newport fairly soon.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.