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Cool Sea Caves of the Oregon Coast: a Sampler

Published 04/03/23 at 11:15 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

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(Oregon Coast) – Oh, the lure of a sea cave. You find a big enough one on the Oregon coast and the imagination is lit on fire with thoughts of buried treasure, pirate flicks, or maybe Jules Verne tales. They're irresistible, actually. They call to you like a siren at sea. (Above: Cave of the Winds at Bandon, courtesy Jim Proehl, Bandon Historical Society)

And yet there aren't that many on this coastline. They're fairly few and far between. Even so, there's enough that this little guide contains just a relative handful. On the south coast, you'll find even more of these wondrous, cavernous attractions. More on those down the line.

Neptune Beach (southern entrance). Just a few miles north of Bob Creek, you’ll find Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint. Here's the tricky part: there are two of them. The northern one is kind of unmarked – or not clearly, anyway. It is easily seen from the highway. The southern section is well marked but the beach itself is behind a forest and shrubbery.

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You'll find picnic tables, restrooms and a sandy beach that changes into a series of craggy, rock land masses. On the other side of the stream from the access stairway, you'll see a smallish cave. It's surrounded by all sorts of interesting colors [see geology of Neptune Sea Cave]. It's not a big cave; yet you may fit. Depending on sand levels, you might be able to poke your head in if you're crouching real low. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Virtual Tours

Bob Creek Wayside, south of Yachats. There are definitely more tidepools than humans populating this central Oregon coast favorite. It doesn't get busy very often, because it is a bit off the beaten path and thus a bit obscure. There are times, however, when it's a bit bustling with avid agate hunters.

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Head to the southern part of this tiny beach and cove and you'll find two caves – or just one, depending on you think about it. There's a small cave-like structure next to a huge boulder that creates a sort of arch by leaning up against the cliff. On the other side of the arch, there's a sizable sea cave [Bob Creek sea cave] that allows you to walk inside and check out the freaky debris deposited there by the tides. Water is dripping from the top and it gets a little dark, so watch the slippery stuff.

You probably don't want to amble around the weird shapes at the very end of the cave, because things can get dangerous. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Virtual Tours

Oregon Coast Beach Connection: larger cave at Hug Point

Way up on the north coast - a few miles south of Cannon Beach - you'll find Hug Point. A waterfall, several sea caves and a raised tidepool within another cave are all just a precursor to one of the Oregon coast's most fascinating spots. Not to mention that always-engaging remnant of a road going around the rocky point.

As you first enter the beach, you'll spot the waterfall immediately to the south of you and a large sea cave. Inside, it's mostly debris and cobblestones, but there are strangely-shaped cracks and shapes meandering into its far end. You can wander a little ways inside, and if you look closely you may spot one of the creepy, alien-looking insects that inhabit the large cracks.

Head northward around this point to find the really big sea cave, which definitely one of the more spectacular on these beaches.

On the southern end of this beach there's a point that's normally not crossable unless the tide is sufficiently low enough. In such a case, you'll find another cove and another sea cave [Hug Point Sea Cave]. There are more rock slabs to play around on, many of which are surrounded by rich tidepools. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Oceanside's Double Cave Wonders. A ways in between the Yachats area and Cannon Beach, there's the Three Capes Tour and the tiny little town of Oceanside. There, you'll find not a natural cave but a manmade tunnel leading through the headland to a wondrous hidden spot. Yet there's more: head to the northern end and you'll find a much larger sea cave, a giant gap that's fairly wide as well. Depending on sand levels (which shift from season to season), it's a lot taller or shorter. Hotels in Oceanside - Where to eat - Oceanside Maps and Virtual Tours

Courtesy Bandon Historical Museum

Cave of the Winds, Bandon. At Bandon's Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, some attractions have been there for hundreds of years, likely much longer, actually: probably more like thousands of years. Face Rock itself has First Nation lore that goes back maybe a few hundred years. Once Europeans took over the area, they gave all these rock structures new names, and over the last 100 or so years those names have changed.

However, one south Oregon coast landmark here has remained steady in the moniker department: Cave of the Winds. It's found in the cliff right near the viewpoint itself, and looking out on one of those famous skinny sea stacks with pointy tops that are so plentiful here. In this historic photo provided by the Bandon Historical Society and volunteer Jim Proehl, it was called that about 100 years ago.

Jim also took this top shot (lead photo) of the famed gap in the rocks in recent months, looking largely the same. Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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