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Oregon Travel: Five Coastal Beach Burghs of Cajoling Charm

Published 03/17/2015

(Oregon Coast) – As they say, sometimes the best things do indeed come in smaller packages. Case in point: these five amazing beach burghs of the Oregon coast – some of which are just smaller neighborhoods of larger, better-known cities. Above: Pacific City.

Occasionally, a smaller part of a town really sums up what a trip to the coast should really be about. Here's five reasons why:

Newport's Nye Beach

Once upon a time, Newport was more of a lumber and port town, comprised mostly of businesses along the Bayfront. The neighborhood now known as Nye Beach was then a separate resort town, known as the "Honeymoon Capitol of the World," and connected only to the Bayfront area by wooden planks and mud.

These days, Nye Beach has retained its Victorian era charm and vibe, with a load of restaurants and hotels keeping their old style looks and atmosphere. The streets themselves were revamped about a decade ago to reacquire a 19th century look with a modern slant.

Take some time to walk this insanely delightful collection of tiny streets overlooking the beach and you'll find gems like the Sylvia Beach Hotel, with rooms decorated in themes from different authors. There's the Hemmingway Room, with a safari theme and other elements of his life represented. Or there's the Dr. Suess Room, where various characters from the authors' surreal imagination are staying with you as well.

The hotel also includes a fanciful and fantastic restaurant. 267 NW Cliff St. 888-795-8422.

Stroll the streets bit more - soaking up the atmosphere that's part old timey Americana, part Old Europe - to find some shopping opportunities you've likely not encountered before. They range from upscale curiosities to new age oddities, along with unique indie clothing shops, wine, old books, to some wondrous eateries that can cause the tongue and palate to soar.

Or simply take in the sights of the surf from the Turnaround, which hosts enough exploration possibilities to eat up a few hours.

Pacific City

This town at the beginning of the Three Capes Tour provides incredible beach opportunities with miles and miles of sand and the enormous, wind-carved splendor of Cape Kiwanda.

But if the ability to dart in and out of inclement weather while still taking in incredible views is what tugs at you, then stroll along the shops in the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. There, bookstores, galleries, a beauty shop and a coffee shop are all located within ogling distance of the beauty and drama of the beach. Continue the experience at the Pelican Pub & Brewery (503-965-7007), which sits much closer to the beach and the cape.

A bit inland, Brooten Road provides various shopping and dining pleasures. Intriguing galleries, kooky dive bars, and numerous other brightly painted boutiques beckon random walking expeditions. Note how at least one business here has lifted their building onto platforms above the ground – because of occasional chaotic flooding.

It's that close proximity that really hooked Eugene Roxann Morrill.

“For starters great hospitality at Cape Kiwanda Inn and The Pelican Brewery.” Morill said. “I'll be back to Pacific City and Cape Kiwanda Inn in a heartbeat. And the view of the ocean, walking distance to the beach, was an added delight.”


About halfway between Florence and Newport, the tiny town of Yachats features dramatic views in endless abundance. Its beaches are primarily rocky slabs and shelves, jagged and pointy in many spots, with crevices and blowholes, with many interspersed with tiny spots of sandy beaches comprised of rather large, coarse grains.

In back of "downtown" lays the large beach access, with an enormous parking lot and some concrete spots close to the surf - perfect for a picnic by the raging seas of this extraordinary area. The street follows the shoreline for several blocks, with the occasional bench on a perch and beach access.

If you decide to walk about the town, shop the quirky boutiques on 101, or check out attractions like the bay, or the Little Log Church, found on Third Street. Later, enjoy delectable eateries from an impressive range for such a small town. Along the way, you'll encounter a kind of beach funk mishmash in its architecture, ranging from what could be called “upscale hippie psychedelic,” to old school beach town historic, to the quiet understatement of cedar typical of many Oregon coast towns.

Cannon Beach's Midtown

The area of Cannon Beach that boasts the enormous Haystack Rock is a bit like a hidden spot in the middle of one the most popular coastal towns in Oregon.

There, a couple of gargantuan resort hotels seem to guard Haystack and its smaller companions, with the main access to the rocks nearby. But other, smaller accesses lurk at the end of various tiny neighborhood streets, all of which are surrounded by big, fluffy dunes that are perfect for lounging on.

For a pleasant stroll in any weather, walk this part of Hemlock and catch some beautiful architectural examples. It's filled with distinct charmers that recall various decades of early 20th century history, along with some modern beauties.

Wheeler, on Nehalem Bay

For the last 15 years, Wheeler has been on and off a secret artists' haven, but its incredible bay views and loads of big finds in tiny corners are just part of the fun in this whimsical, captivating burgh on the Nehalem Bay. In the space of only two blocks, this tiny place manages to pack more fun in than most.

Walk the atmospheric sidewalks and fall in love with Wheeler's quaint, old buildings and unusual shops. It is old school Americana here, with antique stores at the epicenter of its quiet but formidable tourism industry. All sorts of shopping surprises lurk here, along with a couple of stunning restaurant finds.

In spot, a former church building soars with almost Victorian elegance, while the rest of this tiny town appears to be an old west logging settlement frozen in time – but painted up in some wacky, bright colors.

Be prepared to explore the side streets for more surprises. See the virtual tour links in this article for deeper details and maps. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this s - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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