Atypical Things To Do on the Oregon Coast
Large List of Oregon Coast Attractions and Spas
|Depoe Bay's spouting horn shooting into the air
(Oregon Coast) – Another guide to things to do on
the Oregon coast: build sandcastles, fly kites, walk on the beach, look
for agates and drain your brain with more insipid suggestions that are
so obvious you feel as you’ve lost a few handfuls of IQ points. (See the Virtual Tours in the righthand column for more Oregon Coast Things to Do and See)
Major DUH fest! Beachconnection.net will not insult your
intelligence. This isn’t that kind of guide to things to do. You
already know what things there are to do on the beaches. That’s
why you’re heading there, or thinking about it, anyway.
Lurking around each and every corner of Oregon’s
coastline are loads of things in the out of the ordinary category. There’s
much to see or experience that many miss or don’t even think about,
things that aren’t so obvious – and thus often a much richer
moment and memory to be had.
In every little beach town - or within a short drive away
– there’s something unusual to see, something more than just
a tad out of the ordinary. You too can have a bit of the Lewis & Clark
spirit in you and explore some of the area's insanely cool places.
Hint: click on the links provided here
to take you to more detailed information about that particular area.
Like in the bustling tourist town of Seaside,
where it seems it’s almost impossible to get away from the crowds
- even on the beaches. But head to the last beach access before the river,
about a quarter mile away, and you’ll discover the richest depository
of unbroken sand dollars on the entire coast. The reasons for this vary,
and it depends on the time of year. But it has a lot to do with the fact
this area is often ignored by tourists, and thus not picked over. The
reefs here are especially rich in sand dollars because of certain oceanic
conditions and heavy nutrients provided by the Necanicum River and the Columbia River up north.
The southern accesses of Gearhart – on the other
side of the Necanicum – are also quite flush with the finds.
Cannon Beach has a hidden hiking trail and beach that shouldn’t be missed if
possible. Crescent Beach is the clandestine stretch of sand you see from
the tops of Ecola State Park and its famous views. It lies on the other
side of a small headland you see poking out into the water from downtown
Cannon Beach. In the middle of this secretive strand is a rugged, rather
prehistoric looking chunk of sandstone sitting by itself. It’s only
accessible by a mile-long hike that begins along the road going into Ecola
State Park. Occasionally, extreme low tides allow entrance from the
Cannon Beach downtown area – but you have to watch that very closely
or you’re in for more than a mile’s trek back to civilization.
|Wild hidden spot near Manzanita
Manzanita sits about 15
miles south of Cannon Beach, with mysterious Neahkahnie Mountain looming
above it. Just north of town are a handful of the coast’s most amazing
viewpoints: long basalt rock walls overlooking vast ocean vistas a few
hundred feet above the deep blue. Those are amazing enough on their own
and shouldn’t be missed. For the more rugged explorer – and
this is a dangerous spot so don’t head here in slippery weather
– there are some weird, hidden treasures just north of these viewpoints
that will leave you speechless.
Wild, even freakish, craggy rock structures here look like
something from the old “Planet of the Apes” movies, with a
post-apocalyptic feel that’s awe-inspiring and tingly.
Rockaway Beach seems a
rather cut and dried stretch f osand, about seven miles worth of it. But
at the northern end, Manhattan Beach cloisters the rather remarkable jetty.
Climbing on this one isn’t always a bad idea, like other jetties
on the coast, where big waves smack with injurious regularity. It’s
calmer than most – usually. So it is rather fun to amble around
these enormous boulders and gawk at the diminutive bay mouth of the Nehalem
|Tunnel at Oceanside
Heading further southward, you encounter the Tillamoook,
just a few miles outside of Rockaway. At its other send begins a nearly
endless cavalcade of fun crammed into 25 miles, known as the Three
Capes Loop. Highway 101 veers inland for a while, while the Loop continues
on a winding, often white-knuckled drive that skirts the craggy rocks
and rugged beaches of this area.
There’s the eight-mile-long Bayocean Spit, which
is devoid of almost any human presence, but interestingly enough was once
host to a burgeoning resort that is now completely gone. Cape Meares sits
nearby, with its stubby little lighthouse and the oddball Octopus Tree
– a gargantuan organism that with a candelabra shape that until
the 90’s boasted eight great limbs.
Down the road is quirky and surprising Oceanside, with
its myriad of natural delights, including a freaky tunnel going through
a massive cliff, exiting to an incredible beach of secret tidbits. Netarts
is about two miles away, with its strangely calm bay waters lazily lapping
at the sand.
|View from Cape Lookout
enormous Cape Lookout provides a five-mile hike of insane views, as well
as a plaque commemorating where a WWII bomber slammed into the headland
back in the 40’s. A few miles away, there’s Cape Lookout State
Park and its long stretch of natural wonders. A ways south of there, Pacific
City boasts the labyrinth of high altitude fun known Cape Kiwanda, with
some parts covered in pock-marked surreal-scapes that look like another
planet. But very interesting, even secret beach sits a mile north of town
down an unmarked one-lane road, where basalt columns emerge at low tide,
resembling ancient Greek ruins.
About 30 minutes away from Pacific City is the tourism
hub of Lincoln City,
with its plenty of obvious delights. But in between is the serene and
sometimes surreal village of Neskowin,
with its “ghost forest” (remnants of a 2000-year-old forest
that was hidden in the sand for millennia), and the unusual Proposal Rock.
There’s a path here that you can walk around to explore this mini-forest
on top of a basalt blob. Not your average day at the beach in this tiny
|Neskowin's ghost forest and Proposal Rock
Cascade Head is also here, home to miles and miles of rugged
hiking trails and hundreds of moments of uncivilized discoveries.
Lincoln City and Newport sits Depoe Bay,
where exploring the town’s Oceanside storefronts may result in seeing
a massive display of water shooting thirty feet into the air, and maybe
getting you a little soaked (even if you’re across the street and
down a ways).
The central coast capital of fun is largely regarded as Newport, with tons
of touristy activities to engage in. But to explore something a little
different, check out the remnants of a condo at the Jump-Off Joe rock
structure, found in Nye Beach, at the
end of SW 11th St. It’s a bit like a castle ruin here, and almost
as spooky. But being able to traverse a small ledge that juts out above
the stand, about 50 feet high, is one of the town’s truly engaging
Between Newport and Waldport, you’ll find the rocky
jumble of Seal Rock, a bit like a maze of fascinating basalt wonders.
There are also numerous hidden beaches along this stretch, found at unmarked
accesses and gravel pull-offs, especially between Seal Rock and Newport’s
South Beach area.
Just south of Yachats,
it’s 25 miles of pure, pristine
beaches and concealed spots, until you reach the slightly exploding
town of Florence. It’s possible to not encounter a beach access
for miles, but once you do, you can sometimes walk for several miles along
completely unpopulated and unknown stretches of sand.
you’re in Florence,
one of its more unusual features is the garden of insect-eating pitcher
plants at the north end of town. They sit quietly and wait for bugs to
get caught in their pretty colors, then slowly digest them. Yum. Look
for the signs to the Darlingtonia Gardens.
Florence is, of course, gateway to the 40 miles of immaculate
lakes and towering sand dunes known as the National Dunes Recreational
Area. Something else unusual to do: sandboarding. It’s a new sport
that pretty much been given birth to around here, where people essentially
use a kind of snowboard to zip down the dunes. It’s also become
popular at the lofty dune at Cape Kiwanda.
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