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Astounding Storms Sights of Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

Published 02/02/2020 at 12:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Astounding Storms Sights of Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

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(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – Now that storm season seems to have really, truly kicked in along the Washington and Oregon coasts, the eye-popping sights and sites abound. Looking for a preview of and hints for insane ocean action? Here are some of the most sensational places you'll find for this unforgettable form of spectating. Follow the links for maps and details.

Ilwaco, Washington. One of the most impressive storm sights takes place just outside of the Oregon coast on the southern Washington coast, at the spot Lewis & Clark erroneously named Cape Disappointment. There, various rocky surfaces above and below the ocean cause literal monsters to come tumbling in and explode (see this Facebook post). It's not always safe to be out here – keep back from the shoreline and any barriers they may have. Like all the crack photogs you may have to depend on a zoom lens.

Warrenton. The south jetty of the Columbia River at Fort Stevens State Park often yields legendary crashings. If it's horribly windy you may be able to catch some of the spectacle from your car, but the best shots are taken from the platform up high.

Cannon Beach Area. Haystack Rock itself isn't always the best pyrotechnics display, and if it is you certainly don't want to be on the beach within a mile or so. That's too dangerous. However, the best stormy monsters appear at Silver Point (the famed lookout just south of town), at Ecola State Park, and at Hug Point and Arcadia Beach just south of Cannon Beach. Stay far back at the parking lot areas, however. (Photo above of Hug Point courtesy Steven Bash: the tide is normally beyond that headland).

At Hug Point, you may get lucky and see the whole place fill up with crazed ocean water that is downright livid, in a swirling mass that is actually rather frightening. At Ecola, if waves are large enough you may actually see them explode over the lighthouse a mile offshore.

Rockaway Beach. Some of the most fun you can have stormwatching on the Oregon coast is seeing waves completely pummel Twin Rocks in the distance. (Photo at top).


Photo courtesy Cape Kiwanda RV Resort

Three Capes Route. Cape Meares is downright jitter-inducing when you see gargantuan waves come barreling in, appearing to be tens of feet tall. Oceanside gets insane during storms (and incredibly unsafe because it's a short beach), and it's even more amazing to watch the wave smack the Three Arch Rocks around. Up at Cape Kiwanda, however, is where some of the most dazzling sights are found. If you're lucky, you may even see waves so powerful they tower over the top of the headland and come crashing over from the other side. That's wave height of more than 100 feet flying up from Kiwanda.


Depoe Bay. This central Oregon coast hotspot is one long showstopper after another, with those basalt cliffs going several miles down the shore. There is, of course, its jaw-dropping spouting horn, which can spray water 40 feet into the air above the seawall (and cover traffic). But you can't go wrong at Boiler Bay's two viewpoints, all of Depoe Bay proper, Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, Rodea Point and all of the Otter Crest Loop Road.

Insider's Tip: Rodea Point is pretty spectacular in even just mildly rough seas. That's a year-round must-see.


Seal Rock. Prepare ye for numerous big ones. Large basalt blobs mean lots of waves going bonkers. Just stay off the beach.


Yachats. From Yachats itself down to almost Florence you've got a non-stop tidal show for more than 20 miles. Cape Perpetua, the 804 Trail, Cook's Chasm, Strawberry Hill, Bob Creek and more all let you watch the oceanic insanity from somewhere safe.

Shore Acres State Park, Bandon. What can we say that pictures don't tell you even better? This one from Oregon State Parks and Recreation shows why this spot is the king of storms along the coastline.

Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. Miles and miles of rocky nubs and intricate labyrinths of basalt make for hear-pounding action as the waves have plenty of stuff to knock against.

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