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A Washington Spring Break Guide to the Oregon Coast

Published 04/05/2011

(Oregon Coast) – For those spring breakers from Washington, the point of view will be that the Oregon coast starts at Astoria, and for many it may end at Seaside or Cannon Beach. But it’s worth the drive to continue exploring a bit more. Or for others who haven’t ventured out here yet, it’s worth the drive from anywhere in Washington to explore some stunning new territory. (Above: Wreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens, Warrenton).

Here are some highlights:

Warrenton. Just below Astoria you’ll find the sprawling Fort Stevens State Park with such mammoth attractions as the ancient wreck of the Peter Iredale (above) and the castle ruins-like Battery Russell. Not far from here is Fort Clatsop, where Lewis & Clark spent the winter of their journey. See the Astoria, Warrenton Virtual Tour.

Seaside. Truly family oriented in every sense of the word, the town caters to the kid in all of us with a variety of attractions, like bumper cars, taffy shops, curio shops, an outlet mall, and the Seaside Aquarium – as well as a mind-blowing helicopter ride at Seaside Helicopters. Then, of course there’s the beach, which can be busy and nutty during such heavy populated periods at spring break. To get away from these throngs, head to the north end of town and the beach access at 12th Avenue, or near the extreme southern end close to the cove area. These are magical. Seaside, Oregon Virtual Tour.

Cannon Beach. A quick six-minute drive yields this gem of a small town, with a decidedly upscale feel. Again, the middle area beaches tend to be the most populated, but the southern section – just a tad south of the popular Tolovana area – is a solitary delight. Cannon Beach also hosts the fabulous Ecola State Park where amazing views abound, as well as the cove-like Indian Beach, a well known surfing spot. Cannon Beach Virtual Tour

Just south of town starts the real eye candy, with Hug Point and its many secrets like caves or that mysterious ancient road carved out of the rock, Arch Cape and a few beaches with nifty tide pool action. Awe-inspiring viewpoints abound here as well.

From here southward, it can get even better – especially if you’ve never been here before.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings not found anywhere else
In Cannon Beach:
Winter rates, free night offers
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Special prices for spring, free night offers
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
How to get a free night - stormwatch deals
In Lincoln City:
Exclusive listings; spring specials
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
A lot of stunning oceanfront whale watching
In Newport:
Special offers, free nights - stormwatch, spring deals
In Waldport
Low spring rates - stormwatch deals
In Yachats, Florence
Great spring deals; find lodgings not listed anywhere else

Manzanita and Oswald State Park. Just beyond the Arch Cape Tunnel sits the massive nature wonderland of Oswald State Park, which hosts some amazing trails and the engaging Short Sands Beach – another popular surfing spot.

A wee bit down the road you’ll find perhaps the most stunning viewpoint on the entire length of the Oregon coast: the Neahkahnie overlooks, above Manzanita. You can see some 40 miles to Oceanside from here. Manzanita itself is a deliciously kid friendly beach, where bonfires reign supreme at night, and the tiny town is a calm, quiet bit of fun and funky Americana.

Nehalem Bay State Park and its miles of sand spit, crabbing possibilities, camping and more cap the southern end of town.

Just south of here, Highway 101 veers inland to Nehalem and Wheeler, where antiquing and a host of interesting shops and restaurant grab the attention of Mom and Dad. Rockaway, Nehalem Bay, Manzanita Virtual Tour

Rockaway Beach to Tillamook Bay. More of the less traffic and lack of frenetic conditions exist in this dreamy little stretch. Rockaway is seven miles of absolutely pristine sand and all sorts of beachcombing, kite-flying possibilities. Nearby Garibaldi and Tillamook Bay yield tons of fishing, crabbing and charter boat opportunities. Rockaway, Nehalem Bay, Manzanita Virtual Tour

Three Capes and the Central Coast

Another captivatingly clandestine chunk of the coastline lays along the Three Capes Tour and begins about 60 miles from Cannon Beach. Three capes, a lighthouse you can visit, sea caves, a variety of natural oddities and so many hidden beaches you’ll lose count occupy this route. A handful of charming villages will grab you as well, like the secretive Oceanside and Netarts, or upscale Pacific City. Three Cape Tour: Pacific City, Oceanside, Netarts Vitual Tour

From here, there’s the family paradise of Lincoln City, rocky and dramatic Depoe Bay and then bustling Newport, with its Oregon Coast Aquarium, Hatfield Marine Science and other must-see attractions for the kidlets. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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