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Four Possible Major Attractions Now on Washington, Oregon Coast

Published 09/21/20 at 4:41 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Four Possible Major Attractions Now on Washington, Oregon Coast

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – Oh, the myriad of ways the beaches of Oregon and Washington can amuse in late summer, early fall. There’s the whole second summer thing to look forward to, the places where you can find wilder waves in calmer weather, and some truly interstellar means of repose. (Photo courtesy Portland's Pilar French: moody, rainy skies could mean rainbows)

Oregon / Washington Coast Weather. Don’t let the weather reports fool you – it can actually be nicer than they say it is on Portland TV stations, and in September they can be talking about some awfully lovely weather. Except maybe for the next week or so.

September and early October are generally known as Second Summer, a phenomenon where conditions are usually the nicest of the entire year. This time around, wildfire smoke dampened the beginning of this most hallowed of coastal seasons, and now a series of rain systems have taken over the forecasts through near the end of the month. So this may not be the most stellar of Second Summers, but give it time to turn around.

Some brilliant sunsets can appear when it gets sunnier. Add to that the presence of the moon, which likes to struggle with the sunset for dominance in the dusk sky, and you have some remarkable sights at sundown.

Glowing Sand. September, with its generally warmer conditions, can be an excellent time of year to spot this. Much of the summer was filled with not just glowing sand but glowing waves – a striking, actually astounding find that isn’t seen very often along the Washington or Oregon coastlines. However, if it’s been raining that day, forget it.

It’s the result of a bioluminescent form of phytoplankton that hits the coast periodically, causing little sparks blue/green beneath your feet as you walk along the beach. You must find a very dark beach, however, with little to no light interference from streetlamps or the moon. Bioluminescent Phytoplankton: What Makes Glowing Sand On Oregon Coast, Washington


Crazed Waves. The great visual dichotomy of nicer times of the year now is the occurrence of monster waves on the coast. In spite of starkly sunny and calm conditions, places like the Spouting Horn in Depoe Bay, the spouting horn at Cook’s Chasm near Yachats, or the craggy basalt rocks of Yachats can be the recipients of enormous wave action, and thus some monster spouting horns.

Given the right conditions, even the southern coast’s star wave generator – Shore Acres State Park – could provide some water whoppers, especially if things get a bit choppy. It’s not unusual to have some small storms in September or early October. Up on the Washington coast, look to Cape Disappointment for wave sights that are exactly the opposite of disappointing.

Shooting Stars. Once the cloudless conditions take over again, that means some clear views of the stars on the coast: constellations to amazing shooting star action.

There isn’t anything in the astronomy world to indicate the Earth is going through anything crazier than normal in terms of meteor showers, but the plummeting mini-planetoids can be plentiful this time of year.

Thanks to the lack of major light noise from big cities and the clear air of the coast, if you’ve got no clouds on the beaches, you’re in for a show at night – a lot of the time. It’s not guaranteed, but clearer coastal night skies often yield surprises.

Don’t forget to make a wish.

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