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Deceptively Simple Oregon Coast Beach Spots: Bandon, Seal Rock, Lane County

Published 11/01/22 at 5:26 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Deceptively Simple Oregon Coast Beach Spots: Bandon, Seal Rock, Lane County

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(Oregon Coast) – Beaches aren't always what they seem at first glance. They can be deceptively simple, looking at first like there's not a lot to them: it's simply a pretty spot. Sometimes, they're not just a pretty face. There's something fairly complex going on here, and some areas really pack the layers beneath the surface. (Above: Bandon at night - photo courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more)

Many times, a beach itself hosts a varied of roster of discoveries. Here are three such examples of stunning sights and sites that will fill a whole day or more all on their own.

Bandon's Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint. From above and even just below, Bandon's Face Rock area is nothing short of breathtaking when it comes to views. It's among the most photographed places in the entire Oregon coast. Part of the big reason is the ever-looming presence of that giant, rocky head gazing upwards, sitting a ways offshore.


Cave of the Winds, historical photo courtesy Bandon Historical Society

Face Rock is a she, by the way, and she goes by a few names sometimes, but mostly Ewauna in the local language. There's a lot more to this beach than meets the eye, and even so the place looks busy at a glance already. So many rocky blobs and spires are here – and a few sea caves.

They go by names like the well-known Howling Dog Rock (top photo) and Wizards Hat Rock (no, they are not the same one, as some have postulated). Then there's the bristly The Castle, which looks a fair amount like its name. There's a Guardian of the Wizard, The Needle, Little Need, The Kittens, The Cathedral, and gigantic Table Rock.


Elephant Head aglow - photo courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

One of the other highlights is Elephant Head Rock (sometimes known as Elephant Rock or The Elephant) with its giant arch in the middle. Stand in the right spot during some sunsets and you'll see the giant hole glowing.

Then there's a tunnel darting through Gravel Point, and at least one other sea cave or three, one of which is called Cave of the Winds.

Even more engaging: many of those sea stacks are of a completely different geologic origin than the others. Some can be made of one set of materials, the next can be completely different. It's as if you're walking through different time zones as you stroll between them. South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Deceptively Simple Oregon Coast Beach Spots: Bandon, Seal Rock, Lane County

Seal Rock State Recreational Site. Between Waldport and Newport sits the tiny town of Seal Rock, the sprawling recreational site called Seal Rock State Recreational Site – and its array of structures sometimes referred to as Seal Rocks. (Photo copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. All photos below Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Seal Rock is still Seal Rock by any other name, Shakespeare would've said, and all that really matters are the stunning sights. And they are copious.


Not even a quarter mile of town exists here, but it boasts this massive treasure. Seal Rock began its days as a budding resort town back in the last century, but various failed business deals resulted in this diminutive dot on Highway 101 remaining so, but surrounded by no small amount of wondrous, unspoiled natural attractions. Seal Rock is one large chunk, with a variety of rock structures, rock-dotted sandy beaches and weird grooves made of basalt (actually geologic oddities and hints of fault lines) to climb around on.

There's one section near the tide line where the basalt rocks form a small channel that creates some fun climbing opportunities at lower tides.

If you're looking for a hidden spot around here: a tad north of the entrance to Seal Rock State Recreational Site sits a small path down to the beach. Look for Grebe St. and it's nearby. Hotels in Waldport - Where to eat - Waldport, Seal Rock Maps and Virtual Tours

Between Yachats and Florence. Dive into some of the Oregon coast's most amazing stretches of sand and rock, almost always devoid of crowds and often sparsely populated at best. 20 miles or so of wild, untamed beach accesses await in this Upper Lane County, moving from soaring viewpoint to intricate beach hideaways in seconds flat. (Above: Strawberry Hill)

Check out Ocean Beach Picnic Area and the beach just the other side of the headland, Rock Creek Campground and Roosevelt Beach - where there's an almost mirror image of the rock structure and cave on both sides.


For a real spectacular beach romp full of wonders, hop around the unmarked beach access and parking lot just north of Neptune State Scenic Recreation Area (just immediately south of the Lane and Lincoln County line). There, hit the small beach for some relaxing in the sand, or wander up on the rocky area jutting into the ocean to watch the tide slam logs around at high tide, check out tide pools, or gawk at the tidal action in the giant crevices here. There's a small footpath on the bluffs above where you can wander a bit and feel like an explorer, discovering some place no one else has been.


More popular destinations like Cape Perpetua (soaring some 800 feet high) and the ruckus Devil's Churn below it are jaw-dropping and much busier, but it's well worth the exploration even if you're looking for a beach less traveled.

Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane Maps and Virtual Tours

 


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