180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Post Spring Break Weeks Full of Surprises
on Oregon Coast
|Otter Rock, near Newport: where low tides will be especially spectacular,
with the Devil's Punchbowl emptied of tides
(Oregon Coast) – There’s more to spring than
spring break along the tourism hotspot of the Oregon coast.
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 in the region. It’s nicknamed the “secret season”
or “hidden spring” – various incarnations of that, because
it’s a time when the coast becomes neglected and empty. There is
a growing movement of coastal businesses and tourism agencies that are
making it a point to point out what’s going on.
At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. 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.
4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161.
Weather pulls some interesting surprises, minus tides are
often at their lowest of the year, sea foam is more apt do some wild stunts,
and this spring in particular holds some wonders because of low sand levels
and changes in beaches. Plus, lodging deals are in such great abundance
they almost outnumber the visitors to the coast.
Whale watching is still prime as well, with plenty of the
great cetaceans gliding past these shores on their way north to Alaskan
waters. You can still spot them until late May, but even then, the summer
pods start to show up in full force and wander closer to shore, lingering
around most of the summer.
|Killer whales spotted in Florence in May, 2006 (photo Tiffany Boothe,
Yet another startling aspect of all this is beginning to
come to light, as some of the science experts on the central Oregon coast
are just now talking about how killer whales are often seen around Newport
and Depoe Bay in the middle of April. Some believe they may be attracted
by an increase in the population of sardines in recent decades, which
are only now recovering from over fishing back in the 30’s.
The killer whales have been seen wandering into Newport’s
Yaquina Bay in some years. Others, they drift around in the Depoe Bay
area, or simply hang out barely just inside the jetties. Either way, it
makes for some spectacular and highly unusual whale watching.
Hanshumaker, Public Education Officer at the Hatfield Marine Science Center
in Newport, said he’s seen them on the central coast in killing
mode, chasing after sardines and slapping their prey with their tails,
which is part of teaching their young about how to kill food. He’s
also watched some kill sea lions in the area.
|Look for deserted beaches and state parks, like Cape Lookout State
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.
April brings 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.
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
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
Those spring storms can offer some wild, strange sights
that winter storms may not be able to, because of 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.
|Oceanside: a moody spring sky threatens the sun
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.
Some of the year’s lowest minus tides happen in March,
April and May, with May having a tendency to be the lowest. May 17 and
18 will have the biggest minus tides of the year. This allows for greater
exploration of tide pools and other sights not always visible.
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
|Wild objects at Hug Point
In places like Hug Point, just south of Cannon Beach, 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.
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.
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.
There have been a lot of changes in the beaches this year
because of heavy wave action ripping away sand and eroding many spots.
These changes have meant some interesting finds for the
beachgoer. 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 haven’t been seen
there for ten years, until last year.
|Agate Beach from above
“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.
“However, sand depth remains high on most of Agate Beach; ditto
at Beverly Beach State Park, Coal Creek and Moolack Beach (in other words,
the stumps are all covered again).
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 entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families.
All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted
tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens
and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
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
|Ghost forest of Neskowin
Lower sand levels mean the ancient “ghost forest”
stumps were visible again on beaches just north of Newport, just as the
ones in Hug Point and various other spots along the coast. But these have
all disappeared recently. However, there is a major “ghost forest”
that’s still visible fairly often at Neskowin.
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.
|Baby purple sails found in March (photo Seaside Aquarium)
Davis, with the Newport Chamber, said lodging prices are still near winter
lows in Newport, with almost everyone offering incredible deals on weekends
and weekdays, as they’re looking to coax people in. “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.
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. They start
to arrive when the west winds kick up, but smaller, infant purple sails
have been spotted on the beaches since March.
Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. 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. www.dsandsmotel.com.
171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
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.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones with data ports. Oceanfronts all have a queen
bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a
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 are pet friendly.523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach.
(503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. 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.
Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.
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.
Than 20 Reasons for a Late Spring Oregon Coast Jaunt From
lonely beaches, live music pleasures, weird storms sights to lodging
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Wines and Wine Bars on the Oregon Coast Wine shops
and wine bars are a growing part of coastal tourism
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
Coast Real Estate
TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
Where the Columbia
meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of
atmosphere & history
Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
of the rugged & upscale
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes
INTO LUXURY, HISTORY AT THE TIDES
TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. 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. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.
CLIFFTOP IN NEWPORT
POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury
condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the
sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens,
wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private
decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer
service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795.