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Best of Oregon Coast Summer Weather Still to Come - Whales, Glowing Sand

Published 08/24/2017 at 4:03 PM PDT - Updated 08/24/2017 at 4:13 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Best of Summer Weather Still to Come on Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) – If you think this was summer on the Oregon coast, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Literally, the best is yet to come.

They call September and early October the “Second Summer” on the coast. In fact, some even call it the first summer, depending on how conditions were that year. It's a time when the coast is at its warmest by far, and more inviting for a number of reasons. Crowds are (mostly) less, lodging prices drop, whale sightings are up and you generally have a better chance of seeing the famed “glowing sands” at night.

This was a sizable secret for decades. Since 2000 or so, popularity of the beaches and the spreading of such information over the net has risen, getting the word out. Now, it's not uncommon to see some weekdays in September and October fairly full.

The most obvious aspect is the warmer weather. September and early October simply have warmer temps and less wind, thanks to a variety of meteorological factors. You also don't get that fog swooping in that you do in August (sometimes Oregon coast residents call that month “Fog-ust.”) When you have less wind, the beaches become downright balmy, thanks to the ocean and the sands reflecting the heat right back.

It can be a good ten degrees warmer by the water than just beyond the vegetation line.

These kinds of weather conditions also lend themselves to better whale watching. Don't be surprised to see a lot of them, especially on the central Oregon coast and around Depoe Bay, where whale populations are quite steady due to lots of food.

Even the north coast can get a sizable helping of whale action. Humpbacks seem to gravitate towards that area in late summer because of the abundance of bait fish hitting the lower Columbia River. Parts of this summer have already been stellar Humpback viewing around Astoria, and the last two, three years have experienced incredible waves of whales in that area, including one year where they darted around and between boats on the river.

Even with the secret out, the crowds are usually markedly less, leaving you with many beaches all to yourself under these glorious conditions – especially weekdays. Generally, the roadways are not as packed full of frustrating traffic jams as well.

Again, however, thanks to the Information Age, predictions of mid-70s weather on the beaches spread like wildfire and in come the crowds.

These days, according to officials like Newport Chamber director Lorna Davis, the lodging price drops happen later than they used to – but it still happens. Summer rates used to dip sharply just after Labor Day, but now it takes a little longer at many hotels, motels and rentals. However, a fair amount of businesses do lower rates shortly after, even if just a little, still making this time of year a decent bargain.

Davis said many more two-for-the-price-of-one specials start to pop up after September 15.

“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,” she said.

By October, when the sun is still beating down nicely, the price dips become much more pronounced.

It's October when the real pleasures start. Prices and crowds really drop, but the weather stays incredible throughout most of the first two weeks.

Weather patterns usually start changing in the middle of the month to a stormier state. But not always. About half the time, late October shows off some insanely warm conditions as well. It differs from year to year. Where to stay for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

So why does this happen? The science behind the Oregon coast's second summer is fascinating.

In a nutshell, the differences between coastal temps and those inland are less dramatic in September and October. The valley cools a bit, but the coastal waters have been warmed up by summer. All this keeps the winds down, and those temp differences are what draws fog out of the ocean – but they're gone now. On top of all that, warmer air from California is allowed to come up more by that action, which heats up the Oregon coast even more.

These warmer kinds of conditions also increase your chances of seeing “glowing sand” on the beaches at night. This is created by tiny forms of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, which are bioluminescent – meaning they glow like fireflies.

You may find this on a very dark beach in the wet sand near the tide line by scuffling your feet backwards. It shows up as tiny sparks in the sand, usually a blue or green tint. See the full story on glowing sand.






 

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