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The Oregon Coast That Whizzes By


Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

The Oregon Coast That Whizzes By

Highway 101 just north of Florence: indicative of the kind of beauty and atmosphere found on the roads around the coast.

By Andre' Hagestedt

(Oregon Coast) – When you run a media company on the Oregon coast, one that covers about 180 miles of it, it’s your job to zip up and down that range quite often.

Such is the curse of being editor of BeachConnection.net, a job that requires you to go to the coast, and then run around beaches, eat at great restaurants and sometimes stay at lovely hotels in that upper half of the coastline. It’s intoxicating, hypnotizing and a pain in the ass all at the same time.

My life truly is a beach. And what I see on almost a daily basis would pop the eyes out of almost every visitor.

Wild waves typical of Yachats

the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.

Sumptuous indoor pool heated year round. Lovely ocean views come with many rooms. All units big, extremely comfortable, w/ special touches. Each room contains a microwave, refrigerator, in-room coffee makers, cable TV, and larger kitchen units are available as well. Free parking, choice of smoking or non-smoking rooms. Within walking distance to all of Yachats’ various amenities; short walk to the beaches

Things could begin in Yachats, and often do. Often, I’ll meander along the rocky shoreline on those side roads that hug the ocean barriers, watching briefly the waves roll in on the bay, or the massive display of spray and foam as big breakers smack the basalt slabs that populate most of Yachats’ beach.

From there, it’s usually a quick drive through the northern end of town, past the various rolling vistas and sandy stretches that are typical of the highway between Yachats and Waldport, through sometimes eerie tunnel-like forests of bent-over trees that have twisted from years winds raging from the west.

Seal Rock is a blackened blip outside my car window, with its series of basalt structures blocking the waves and yet causing them to punch the rocks with splashes of white, grey and blue.

Seal Rock

A forest and various cliffs block the view most of the time here, until you get to the bridge at Newport, which can be a windy endeavor, even on the seemingly calmest of days.

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – 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: 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 allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Below, two vigorous sandy tracts hug the bay mouth, dotted with dunes and the promise of lots of beachy fun.

Nye Beach and its many eateries, wine sampling possibilities and old friends often makes for a distraction, or I continue flying past gorgeous vistas of hundred-foot cliffs overlooking beaches of pristine sand, until the climb of Cape Foulweather and its many nearly aerial views of the ocean.

Wave drama is the norm as you drive past Depoe Bay

Depoe Bay’s commercial side glares brightly on the east side of the highway with its myriad of kooky shops and eateries, now often draped in pirate paraphernalia because of that town’s affection for those legends. But on the other side of the highway lie rugged bunches of basalt where the sea crashes with wild abandon and an abundance of whales waiting to be spotted. Sunsets often explode here as well.

North of town, various spectacular wave spots give way to more forests, until you breeze into Lincoln City and its long, drawn out commercial district which cloisters a bevy of beautiful beaches, unseen from the highway but mesmerizing if you take the time to slow-poke through the various beachside neighborhoods.

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.

A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, sautéed scallops.

From there, the highway enters the Nestucca Valley, glimpses of Cascade Head and the forested canopy sometimes referred to as the “corridor of mystery.” This eventually leads you to a rolling highway that occasionally provides enormous glimpses of the vast ocean, in between massive hills often dotted with elaborate homes.

Tierra Del Mar, near Pacific City: the views along this part of the Three Cape Tour are unequaled

Pacific City is a half hour drive from Lincoln City. As you approach the town, the gargantuan Haystack Rock pops into view in the far distance, way beyond the trees and streams that fill the miles still between you and the surf. A really trippy optical illusion happens here: this mysterious looking object appears on the horizon, and appears to move very slowly over the tree tops. It doesn’t really come into full view until you’re well into Pacific City.

I usually don’t take 101 straight up to Tillamook, but instead zip past Pacific City, the flat beaches of Tierra Del Mar, and the thick forest canopies of the road that snakes its way to the junction where you have to decide whether to continue on the Three Capes Loop, or head east towards Tillamook. I believe this route is a bit shorter than taking all of 101, and even at night it’s a better view.

Tillamook Bay at dusk: sometimes the moonlight on the water makes for incredible sights

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and 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 pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

On Tillamook Bay, things get really interesting, especially at night. Often I’ve driven around the bay after dark, with the faint glow of Garibaldi’s giant “G” on the hillside, and seen wisps of clouds floating in the air at various elevations – looking so much like a colony of giant ghosts just hovering in the bay. It almost only seems to happen here, in quite that way. It’s spellbinding.

Rockaway Beach is just a few miles away at this point, and its southern end allows brief glimpses of a closer view of the massive twin rocks, as they peek out from two or three beach accesses that can be seen from the road. If you walk the beach at this end, they are closer to you than anywhere else, and they appear looming – almost threatening. It’s not hard to imagine them suddenly coming to life and stomping their way up the beach and into town like some bad Godzilla flick.

One of the Twin Rocks at Rockaway, zoomed in up close

The Nehalem Bay dashes in and out of your eyes between here and Wheeler, appearing through the trees as you round this eight-mile stretch of forest. Always, my first glimpse of this little town is like the sun coming out to me – no matter how drizzly the weather. This esoteric place hoards more interesting secrets and legends than its mere six blocks allows you to see while driving through here.

The 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. www.theoceanlodge.com

Through Nehalem and into Manzanita I go, and I’m home – at least for a bit. Neahkahnie Mountain looms over this place like a protective mother, and there are times I believe its ancient, forested bluffs are exactly that. Always, the first sight of the ocean crashing and making a raucous at the end of Laneda Ave. sends some new electrical pulse through my heart.

Manzanita, with mysterious Neahkahnie Mountain looming above

Often, I just drop my stuff off and keep heading north, past the winding tract that curves around Manzanita, and that yellow street lamp that makes the mountain look like a mystifying, glowing mass just hovering in the night sky when viewed from the beach below.

Around the next bend is a brief glimpse of the cove at Short Sand Beach, where I’ve seen unbelievably large wave formations come barreling in like Japanese movie monsters during stormy periods. Through more thick forests of Oswald State Park and out of the Arch Cape Tunnel, the next few miles give way to this tiny delight, where the dense trees tease you with minute hints of the ocean, and whatever craziness it's up down there. Sometimes you can just see it churning like mad, smacking the beaches of this village. Others, it’s a graceful, pristine lady, with dainty waves lightly washing in beneath clear, blue skies.

Some of the ocean vistas that are a regular part of commuting between the north coast and the central coast

The road quickly rises and you’re looking at ocean vistas now, whose features – like massive rocky forms or headland formations - whoosh past with troubling speed. You want to linger and take each one in.

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.

oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

All this leads to Cannon Beach, a place where you’re forced to drive slowly and lazily, if you get off the highway and wander into town. This is quite often one of my destinations. Frequently, it’s also one of my last stops before I head back to my Portland pad. I’ll meander to a rather secret access on the extreme southern end, and even if I’m wearing a suit from the previous day’s work, I’ll roll up my pant legs, take off my shoes and wade in the surf. Even if it’s winter; even if it’s at night. After dark, I especially have this spot all to myself, with its rather diminutive sea stack (no doubt a pretender to the throne of Cannon Beach’s monolith, also called Haystack Rock). The things I’ve seen here at night still amaze me.

Seaside has some serious atmosphere at night

Seaside is another start or end for me. It’s here where I simply barge in on the ocean geeks at the Seaside Aquarium, chat them up about stuff going on around the beaches or simply joke with manager Keith about Star Trek or some other goofy thing. Aside from the myriad of social calls I make, where I annoy lots of friends at work in the tourism business, I’ll wander the beaches – day or night. After dark, the city and the promenade are illuminated in this always-ethereal way, with chunks of the air glowing because the mist gets lit up by street lamps. Again, I’m the only dork wearing a suit and walking the beach barefoot, bouncing around the waves and sucking in the sky and surf into all sorts of regions of my psyche, oblivious to what anyone else may think about this sight of an aging hipster with spiked, pseudo-punk rock hair in a business suit, without shoes, playing in the water.

From Yachats to Seaside, or vise versa, is a regular route to me, and I love the fact these exquisite sights often whiz by. It’s the best commute in the world. But no matter how many times I whisk up or down 101, like any tourist, I can’t resist my inner beach bum. I eventually have to stop and smell not the roses, but the surf.

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.
Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss
Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the Promenade

A1 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.

Inn 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.

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 entire property for 20-26. 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. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com

Arch 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 sea.
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 866-436-1607.


Click here for video of Dec. storm aftermath

Oregon Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events in nature and stunning moments for 2007

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures 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 Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports - Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings, along with weekly lodging availability reports

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Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

Condo-hotel that offers the amenities of a fine hotel, but also includes ownership of a vacation home on the north Oregon coast. It is a unique opportunity, as condo owners have an opportunity to share in the revenues of their unit. All have either spectacular, nearly aerial views of the ocean and city, or they gaze out at the lush forests of the coast range mountains. There are private balconies in all rooms, which come as studios or units with one bedroom or two - as large as 850 square feet. Each is fully furnished. $189,000 to $449,000, (with most in the $300,000 range.) When owners are not using their units, they may be rented out as hotel rooms, and owners may share in those revenues.

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.

20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

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