Safe But Insane During Oregon Coast Storms
(Oregon Coast) – Storm season on the coast is in full swing, and that means serious extra care for safety should be the high priority as you head to check out the oceanic madness. Goofing around the beaches is not a good idea – but neither is ignoring this time of year and sticking around your hometown. You're missing an incredible show, which – aside from the cost of gas to get there – is free.
The best way to compromise here is find a safe yet high point vantage point from which to obverse. Not only are you well out of harms way, but you often get the benefit way more dramatic action as rocky areas beneath solid cliffs result in much bigger breakers.
Here are just a few of the more spectacular spots that often go unspoken.
Viewpoints North of Florence
More of 101 becomes winding and twisting south and north of the Sea Lion Caves, sometimes dotted with various viewpoints and small waterfalls tumbling off the basalt rocks on the landward side of the highway.
These viewpoints are bordered by black rock walls which give them a slight Gothic castle vibe – especially if you stop by on a stormy night. Below them can be spotted various kinds of wildlife, from birds to sea lions. But mostly they provide opportunistic views of the Heceta Head lighthouse, which help make it among the most photographed lighthouses in the world.
From here, storm waves do intense summersaults onto the craggy rocks below, accentuating broiling, pent up energy released.
The sweeping, golden and wind and sea ravaged cliffs of Cape Kiwanda are known as the most photographed chunk of the Oregon coast - and you need only see them from a distance to understand why.
Several viewpoint platforms and high points allow you to watch the marine insanity from a safe distance.
Just a wee walk from the parking lot, Cape Kiwanda is the gargantuan sandstone structure jutting out into the sea, coming complete with a whopping sand dune towering above it. Sitting a ways offshore like an ancient, silent sentinel is the brooding form of Haystack Rock (not to be confused with the Haystack in Cannon Beach).
When really big storms hit, the waves sometimes get so big they can be seen poking up from the other side of the cape.
A lighthouse, a weird natural anomaly and a few hidden trails all create a whole new world to explore in this relatively small State Park – all a trifle north of MP 4.
Here, you'll find an abundance of incredible panoramic ocean views as seals, whales and other wildlife frolic below you.
You can see for miles around you from these vantage points. While you’re hundreds of feet above the melee, the waves can still reach scary heights here that look as if they may be aiming straight for.
Take the paved walkway to the Cape Meares Lighthouse, where the ocean views become panoramic and really explode. This stumpy specimen is probably the smallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, standing only 38 feet high. But size isn't important here as it stands on a 200 ft high cliff, more than making up for its own lack of height.
Inside, this 1890 beauty sports a gift shop and a wrought-iron spiral staircase which leads you to the lens - a kaleidoscopic carnival of colors when the sun hits it just right. It’s open during touristy times of the year.
At first glance, Oceanside appears to be just another wayside with a collection of homes clustered around it. But this out of the way spot, nestled up against the hills of the Tillamook Forest, is one hidden gem on the Oregon Coast, filled with a myriad of obvious and secret delights. It’s an old, rustic hamlet that smacks of another time, dripping with weather-beaten cuteness and charm.
The views are safe here, as the tide doesn’t usually get too close to the parking lot above. Waves smash dramatically into the point. Sometimes, they do get too near the fence, so you’ll want stay a ways back at that point.
The beaches here are often shielded from the wind by the headland called Maxwell Point - about 100 yards north of the parking lot - looming above like a tall, dark, watchful god. To the south, it's about three miles of sandy beach leading straight to Netarts Bay, with not much else other than rocks, boulders and driftwood piled up next to the vegetation line.
Some vantage points on the road exist just south of Oceanside as well.
The tiny town is definitely one of Oregon's more stunning scenic vistas, and one heck of a charmer of a village. Upscale, intriguing, restaurants populate this place in great abundance, as well as some interesting lodging. It has an unusual character for any place on Oregon's coast, managing to be rugged and untamed in many ways yet still exude an unparallel sense of class.
Yachats has its secrets. There's more to this engaging area than meets the eye - even the eyes of many regulars. You need only spend a little more time poking around and you’ll find a variety of interesting to oddball stuff: beach-oriented goodies that go well beyond Yachats’ already steady supply of craggy, rock-filled beaches, amazing eateries and intriguing accommodations.
Check out its funky buildings, often with a new age flavor to them, or the beautiful, atmospheric and historical examples such as the log cabin-like church.
Waves make an astounding spectacle no matter what time of the year, because the area is mostly rocky ledges that butt heads with the ocean. The results in winter storms are jaw-dropping, as little spouting horns become giant ones, and the idea of “waves rolling in” is abandoned for massive displays of watery fireworks.
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