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N. Oregon Coast's Cape Meares Lighthouse / Gift Shop Again Open to Public

Published 07/31/22 at 4:45 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast's Cape Meares Lighthouse / Gift Shop Again Open to Public

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(Oceanside, Oregon) – Along the Three Capes, one of the more curious and cutesy lighthouses of the Oregon coast sits, tucked down beneath the hills and forest of Cape Meares. The little lighthouse and its gift shop have been closed for what seems like forever, since the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down the entire Oregon coast in March of 2020.

Now, since the beginning of summer, the Cape Meares Lighthouse is back open to the public along with its gift shop, open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers will be on-hand to tell the tales of mariners, lighthouse keepers and the dramatic story of those who helped build this thing.

Tours of the lens are no longer allowed, and haven't been for quite some time, due to worries about the fragility of the glass.

It's presumed the lighthouse will again be open in fall and winter as well, but so far there is no word on what those hours may be. However, shortages of volunteers as well as paid staff is common in many private and state-fun facilities on the Oregon coast and this may hinder hours of operation.

Inside the gift shop are many intriguing and fun keepsake items, such as large photos of the place, intricately-made key chains, coffee mugs, and other objects depicting the famous light.

The Cape Meares Lighthouse carries the oddball distinction of simultaneously being the shortest and the highest lighthouse on the Oregon coast. It's only 38 feet high; Bandon's Coquille River Lighthouse cuts it real close at 40 feet high. So it winds up the shortest on these shores. However, standing on a promontory over 200 feet high, that brings the guiding light stalwart into the highest category.

For even more see Cape Meares Lighthouse History and Its Future on Oregon Coast

That brilliant light first went into action in 1890 and then was shut down in 1963. The lighthouse's rather recent past is one of some tragedy – in the True Crime genre sense.

In 2010, a pair of local men drove their truck all over the lawns of the area and tore them up, but then took guns to the lighthouse and its over 100-year-old Fresnel lens, shooting dozens of holes in the glass. Damage at the time was estimated at nearly half a million dollars, and it took over two years of painstaking, detailed work to restore the lens and get the Cape Meares Lighthouse back open.

Damage to the lighthouse in 2010 (courtesy Oregon State Parks)

Cape Meares also features some intense hiking trails, some of which traipse downward for miles until you reach some secret spots next to Cape Meares the village. There's the oddity called the Octopus Tree (which once had eight gigantic limbs in its candelabra shape), and the viewpoints allow for some exciting whale watching, storm gazing and checking out the sometimes dramatic bird activity on the cliffs.

Cape Meares Lighthouse contact: 503-842-3182. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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