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Almost Aerial on the Oregon Coast: Dizzying Pullouts and Lookouts

Published 6/17/24 at 5:15 p.m.
By , Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Almost Aerial on the Oregon Coast: Dizzying Pullouts, Lookouts

(Oregon Coast) – For most people, they are often the literal highlights of their trip to the Oregon coast, certainly creating the very first striking moment they come across when entering the amaze-balls world of Highway 101. The high vantage points and viewpoints of this coastline - especially when they're simple, easy pullouts and lookouts - can cause your jaw to drop.

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These are fantastic for checking out the sights while huddled in the warmth of your car during a storm, but they're also invaluable for looking for whales, be they gray whales or even the very coveted orca sighting.

And they're everywhere.

Among the most remarkable is the Neahkahnie Viewpoint above Manzanita, on the north Oregon coast. A few hundred feet up above that beach, the knockout sights just don't seem to stop here. You can see down into the Nehalem Bay, get an aerial glimpse of Rockaway Beach in the deep distance, and on good days you can see as far south as Oceanside, some 40 miles away.

Most fascinating and often overlooked here are the interesting colors that can get lit up here. As in the photo at the top, the ocean can turn some wondrous shades of blue beneath you. Then there are those are mysterious little colors mixed in, like shades of pinks that could well be reflections from the sky – or rocky shelves illuminated below.

The sea and sky here above Manzanita have the most intense relationships, however. In this example, sun rays burst out of the clouds in engaging formations while a blob of dusky color fires up along the horizon. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours

Just up the road, towards Cannon Beach, there are a set of pullouts just south of town which allow some astounding views of Haystack Rock, the town itself, and other wonders like Silver Point. This is often the first stop of many for hordes as they come south from the junction of Highway 26, and as they drive past Cannon Beach towards Nehalem Bay and other points south.

If you've got the right kind of binoculars or zoom lens, you can see the very mysterious Tillamook Rock lighthouse, which lurks about a mile offshore, between Cannon Beach and Seaside. Here, it's seen from a very different viewpoint, zoomed in on from one of the pull-outs south of town, with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel patrolling the area.

Down around Oceanside, along the Three Capes Loop, the wowing viewpoints are aplenty. Among them are Cape Meares, which hosts a lighthouse, a natural oddity called the Octopus Tree and extensive bird viewing possibilities. But it's the high spots that are the highlights, letting you see the famed Three Arch Rocks from a very different perspective and even glimpses of the extremely secret Lost Boy Beach.

More such stunning viewpoints are found just south of the cape, including Anderson's Viewpoint, Netarts, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours

At Lincoln City, though it's not incredibly high the views can be incredible as well – though it's a bit of a secret hiding in plain sight. While Lincoln City is primarily known for its long stretches of flat sand, there are some cliff areas that rise and soar here too. Some of the best views come from the drive along NW Jetty, one with a quick pullover spot with no signage. In the back end of Taft, go searching around Beach Ave. until you find its end: there's a secret park there.

Some of the best views come from the oceanfront lodgings along here, such as the Surfland Hotel and Coho Inn – as well as a tiny secret park the owners had installed next to it for the public to enjoy. See the Virtual Tour. Hotels in Lincoln City - Where to eat - Lincoln City Maps and Virtual Tours

Down south, in Lane County, between Yachats and Florence, the lofty spots abound with remarkable regularity. 20 miles of more-often-than-not deserted beaches sit in quiet repose around here, punctuated by vantage points like Cape Perpetua, Brays Point and numerous other unnamed spots – all providing a constant eye-full, and plenty of opportunity to burn through your phone's memory chip. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Maps and Virtual Tours

While all those featured here rather easy pullouts, one on the south coast is stunningly dramatic is a bit of a walk from the parking lot – but not too much. Cape Sebastian near Gold Beach first takes you through an atmospheric tunnel of trees, something that will surely remind you of Tolkien if there's fog in the area.

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Then you arrive at Cape Sebastian's intense viewpoint: if it's the right time of year flowers will be in bloom and it'll look a bit like something out of the TV show LOST. Don't bother looking for the hatch, however, but do look north and south and take time to absorb it all. There's few things like it on this coastline. - See Cape Sebastian Hike

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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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