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Seven Colorful Places on Oregon Coast

Published 02/19/21 at 12:36 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Seven Colorful Places of Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – Some moments on these beaches are too awe-inspiring to not capture in-camera, to not be frozen in time. Beaches here can seemingly effortlessly do the most astounding things. And once you see it, you want more.

Hence this display of seven wonders you should look to along this shoreline.

Secret Beach, near Brookings. (Photo courtesy Oregon Coast Visitors Association) Part of the Samuel H. Boardman Corridor, Secret Beach isn’t really a secret, it’s just off-the-beaten-path. Trudge here and you won’t always encounter spry shades or atmospheric fireworks of sunset like this, but the foliage, the varied sea goo and whatever else grows like a plant make for striking brush strokes from nature no matter the weather.

Gleneden Beach. Sandstone cliffs along any place on the Oregon coast will get you lovely colors when the sun comes out, and this area – just south of Lincoln City – is well known for bright yellow walls. However, as in this case one June dusk, sometimes the sunset brings extra power to the scene. This one was a strangely yellow / orange sunset, one that yielded amazing sights all over.


Photo Rick Obst / Flickr

Shore Acres State Park, Coos Bay. Yellows, and browns, grays and even reddish or orange tones abound on this strangely-tilted set of cliffs and sort-of islands on the southern Oregon coast. When the sun hits it all just right it fires up like sandstone, but interlaced with truly different tones. Pair that with the deep ocean blue and white caps and it’s a smorgasbord for the eyes – beyond a feast.

Strawberry Hill, Lane County. Between Florence and Yachats, these cliffs get bright and shiny when the sunset hits them, without fail. The wilder the sunset the more spectacular the bluffs. Yet head down below, to this quirky little semi-cove of a beach, and the rock structures get surreal and all sorts of intensely-tinted critters cling to the mesmerizing shapes.

Sand Lake / Whalen Island, near Pacific City. Don’t let the sometimes-drab high grass and dark forest fool you: this place explodes with vividness if the sun hits it right. The plant life catches fire (figuratively) and the saltwater can turn a deep blue, mimicking the nearby ocean. The subtler shades and textures of that forest are also engaging, from tree top to lowly mushroom.


Astoria. This comely, semi-little town at the northern edges of the Oregon coast at first may seem a weather-beaten bayside bit of history, but the architecture and its rougher edges are charming beyond reproach. Yet look out towards the water as the great orb tints this old city and things can simply, hypnotizingly explode.

The Glowing Dinoflagellate. Far, far down into the macro scale of things, closer to the size of sand, there’s a certain kind of phytoplankton which causes sand on the Oregon and Washington coast to glow. It’s bioluminescent, meaning it’s like a firefly, but microscopic. This can only be seen at night and only on rare occasions. See this link to learn more and see what this looks like in the surf.

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