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Pacific City's Two Wonder-Inducing Neighbors: Where the North Oregon Coast Begins

Published 05/18/2019 at 4:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Pacific City's Two Wonder-Inducing Neighbors: Where the North Oregon Coast Begins

(Neskowin, Oregon) – Not much is truly hidden on the Oregon coast anymore, especially the formerly out-of-the-way Pacific City, which arose from an unknown and ruddy little surfers’ hideout in the ‘80s to a mini metropolitan town bulging at its boundaries. (Above: Neskowin and its ghost forest).

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Yet Pacific City has some neighbors that will surprise with their lack of people. Lurking just south of town and that famous start of the Three Capes Tour, you’ll find two little deliciously awesome scenic wonders that are a smack to your visual cortex. One is a tiny town; the other a wowing beach of otherworldly sights.

Neskowin. Just a few short miles south of bustling Pacific City, Neskowin is the little tourism hotspot that “almost did” - like the “Little Engine That Could,” but it didn’t. It did not explode into something bigger. This tiny burgh sits right next to that dividing line between north Oregon coast and central Oregon coast, just inside the Tillamook County border.

Hit this slightly unusual beach and you'll often find loads of people milling about – but not always. When this place is cleared out, it’s seriously empty. On those higher density days, cross the creek, walk towards mysterious Proposal Rock, and the population drops further. You can actually walk around on top of the rock and check out the views from the top (although be extremely cautious of the tide so as not to get stuck.)

The sands here are an oddity: they’re larger and coarser than normal. Especially at its northern end, where the streets become names of other Oregon towns, the grains get enormous and have a mysterious black color (which actually comes from the Cascade Head headland hovering over it).

Northern end of Neskowin

Walk further beyond Proposal Rock and you'll definitely be more alone. Along the way, note the stumps at the tide line, 2000-or-so-year-old remnants of something rather ominous. Somewhere in those millennia, enormous geographic changes quickly submerged a forest into the surf. The result was the salt water preserved them instead of allowing them to decay in normal ways.

A handful (or a smattering) of businesses occupy the edges of Neskowin close to 101: a small selection of lodgings and maybe a grocery or eatery or two. The rest of civilization lies to the north at Pacific City, or a 15-minute drive to Lincoln City to the south.

Winema Beach. It's hard to get more clandestine than this. Just a few miles north of Neskowin – and a couple of miles short of Pacific City – an unassuming sign declares Winema Road. Literally: blink and you’ll miss it. Follow that to the bottom and a tract of sandy beach that nearly no one knows about.

You’ll find a seriously blob-like mound of a rock structure that looks a bit like Neskowin's Proposal Rock, except this one features a flat stretch at the top that's perfect for lounging.

Other interesting shapes and crevices present themselves as you walk northward. The rocky globs almost look alien at times. Some spots in the cliffs seem to invite climbing and exploring. There is more than one cubbyhole or feature that affords you shelter from the wind as well as a great place for couples to huddle and cuddle if the mood so arises.

The cliffs of Winema soar high and at dusk become a striking gold, with some awe-inspiring homes up top. A little less than a mile north, the beach ends abruptly at the southern end of Nestucca Bay, allowing you a unique angle of the waterway that leads into Pacific City. Hotels in Pacific City, Neskowin - Where to eat - Neskowin, Winema Maps and Virtual Tours


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