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7-Mile Stretch of Central Oregon Coast Road Between Newport and Seal Rock Packs a Wallop

Published 2/04/24 at 8:45 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

7-Mile Stretch of Central Oregon Coast Road Between Newport and Seal Rock Packs a Wallop

(Seal Rock, Oregon) - A mere seven miles or so worth of central Oregon coast roadway can pack a pretty powerful punch, even if there's apparently little there. While that stretch between Newport's South Beach and Seal Rock seems just a blur of brush and towering trees that hide the surf from view, there's much more than meets the eye here. (Above: Holiday Beach near South Beach / All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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Sure, much of the time you're zipping past greenery and a host of little and often ruddy business parks. Yes, the road twists and turns in a way that requires your constant attention at the wheel. But don't be surprised to be surprised, and be prepared to pull over.

The fun begins at sprawling South Beach State Park itself, which is crammed full of camping spots. However, a big highlight here is those miles of soft to massive dunes that characterize the area, capped at the very north by the Yaquina Bay's southern jetty.

See Newport's South Beach Mix of Oregon Coast Whimsical to Atmospheric

For more exploration, follow the marshy trails of South Beach State Park through thick brush and the frequent sight of various ponds. It's a tad ethereal.

Then for further trail intrigue, hike those seven, eight miles straight from the jetty southward, where the sandy world is uninterrupted by only the occasional creek, the largest of which is Beaver Creek.

From here it's lots of winding, twisting spots in the road, dotted by residential areas with no beach accesses. The wind-swept trees, bent by decades of force, are particularly impressive.

Around SW 66th St. the view opens up again to marshland but only briefly. Just past SW 73rd St. you can see the beach for a split second, this time with a big, pastoral field. At about SW 93rd St., just before MP 146, there's a random gravel patch by the side of the road. This is Thiel Creek and what is often known as Holiday Beach.

Oregon Coast's Mega-Cool Holiday Beach Near Newport - What You Don't Know

It's a set of truly hidden crescent-shaped dents in the cliffs, where a slightly rough and meandering trail dumps you out onto this placid spot. In the winter, sometimes freaky ghost forests pop up – and at 4,000 years old they're some of the more spectacular ones on the Oregon coast. Oregon Coast Virtual Tour: Winter Views of a Secret Spot South of Newport

About another mile down the road there's MP 147, and if you're coming from the south you'll realize here is where it says “Entering Newport.” Surprisingly, city limits stretch this far south.

Near here is Lost Creek State Park, a small but eye-catching place with a parking lot, vault toilets and interesting cliffs to check out.

Lost Creek is a varied place in many ways, though it mostly appears as only sand. Agates are not a bad adventure to seek when lower sand levels come along in winter. Lost Creek of the Central Oregon Coast

7-Mile Stretch of Central Oregon Coast Road Between Newport and Seal Rock Packs a Wallop

Another secretive beach access is close to here: look for another unmarked gravel pullout with a trail or two to the beach.

In this area there are other small holes in the brush, which sometimes go to beaches but mostly don't. Either way, they're not next to any safe spot to park so stay clear of them and do not walk on the road shoulders to go exploring.

Quickly, the road opens up and then twists abruptly, but you see the signs for Brian Booth State Park and the Beaver Creek Bridge. Watch that bridge when it gets icy: it really can get dangerous – though luckily ice doesn't happen much on the Oregon coast.

Booth State Park encompasses a much larger area, including the stream heading inland that's big on kayaking. It includes Ona Beach, which you can see from afar from the Booth parking lot right off 101. This southern side of the creek is like a pristine secret spot hiding in full sight.

Ona Beach itself is a wild addition to the Oregon coast's lineup of incredible beaches. It all starts with a nice few acres of greenery and picnic tables, then there's that rounded bridge over the creek.

Once on the sands, during most times of the year (except those with high sand levels), you'll encounter a bevy of rocky structures in curious, even alien-like shapes. Objects that look like rows of cryogenic pods from sci-fi flicks, small arch-like shapes to all manner of rounded blobs or another: it's a trippy little place. Intricate Oregon Coast Oddities: Surreal Slabs of Ona Beach

Just down the road is the last of the teensy-weensy accesses before you hit Seal Rock. Immediately north of the village's city limits is the Curtis St. access of Seal Rock, with a parking spot for only a handful of cars. What is mostly all flat beach until you get to the giants of Seal Rock, Curtis St. hides a ghost forest beneath its sands that only comes out every year or two, and even then only briefly.

At the northern end you may see bedrock, part of the Astoria formation, some 18 million years old. At Seal Rock's NW Curtis St.: Funky Little Oregon Coast Access with No Name

During summer, the beach extends out farther and provides a lot of room to play in the surf.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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