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Wowing Winter Drives of Oregon's Coastline

 

Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.

2/10/07

Secrets of the Season

Wowing Winter Drives of Oregon's Coastline

Cape Foulweather

(Oregon Coast) - When winter rolls around, the Oregon coast takes on a truly rugged character. Incredible winds, massive storm-fueled waves and torrential downpours come and go, interspersed with bouts of sun and gorgeous sunsets - or these storms may stay around for days on end. It's a wild place, filled with amazing sights.

In a lot of instances, remaining in your car will seem the best option. Perhaps you should take a scenic drive: you're sure to find something to make your eyes pop out.

A1 Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers. Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.

Otter Crest Loop

Astounding views from this hidden spot

South of Depoe Bay, where the road begins its abrupt ascent up a steep hill towards Cape Foulweather, sits a hidden road that darts off to the west of Highway 101, running beneath it as the highway heads upward. 101 provides high vantage point vistas in this area, but Otter Crest Loop Road lets you get close enough to the jagged cliffs - unseen from 101 - to see the drama of the breakers that slam them.

There's even a bike route along this stretch of road. But it's a one-way-only road, heading south towards the parking lot at Cape Foulweather.

Along the way, you can find secret pathways to those surprise-filled cliffs. One trail wanders down a steep hill, briefly into a dark forest area, before it emerges out onto a stunning landscape where wild waves attack almost constantly.

Coxcomb Drive

The entire town of Astoria is one incredible drive. With steep hills, an abundance of Victorian homes and a long-standing maritime tradition, it has a vibe somewhere between San Francisco and Portland back in the sixties. Wandering any of these turn-of-the-century neighborhoods will have you gawking in no time.

Follow the signs up the winding hill to Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column, and you'll reach one of the most marvelous views in Oregon. You'll end up 600 feet above the rest of this sky-high town, but the stunning Astoria Column soars another 125 feet. You can reach this spot too, after trotting some 164 steps to the top for even more incredible views.

The enormous span of the Astoria/Megler Bridge - rather imposing up close - looks like a child's toy from here.

Depoe Bay's spouting horn

DIVE INTO LUXURY, HISTORY AT THE TIDES

THE TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.

Depoe Bay

Wintertime is the best to catch the most incredible wave displays in this cozy little town between Newport and Lincoln City. Under the right tidal conditions, fissures in the rocks below the seawall will squeeze the water into one giant squirt, spouting seawater high into the air. Occasionally you'll catch the delightfully surreal sight of spouting horns shooting high enough to soak cars on the highway. Be prepared to get soaked if you're parked near them and venture outside your car.

Other remarkable moments wait just north of town, such as the viewpoints around Boiler Bay, where, if the tides are right, you can spot the boiler from an old shipwreck (which is where this spot got its name from).

Looking west from the Neahkahnie overlooks

Neahkahnie Mountain

Arch Cape Property Services. Dozens of homes in that dreamy, rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the sea.
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com 866-436-1607.

Between Manzanita and Oswald West State Park, the road twists and turns along precarious cliff edges, beneath which the Pacific roars and slams into ancient rock formations with ferocity year-round. Several viewpoints sit along the way, beneath the looming presence of Neahkahnie Mountain, allowing you to park and ogle the seemingly endless expanse of ocean.

Not far from the entrance to Oswald, the road gives way to glimpses of Short Sand Beach, also known as Smuggler's Cove. In winter, these waves can be gargantuan and frightening as they crash and tumble into the crescent-shaped area, an imposing sight even from about a mile away.

Continue north, out of Oswald, and you'll emerge from the forests of the park and encounter more high vantage points as the highway twists and turns on its way to Cannon Beach. En route, you'll see the sweeping vistas and craggy cliffs just south of the Arch Cape Tunnel and a host of sea stacks just offshore.

The whole eight-mile stretch between Manzanita and Cannon Beach is filled with numerous wonders that can be enjoyed from above.

Tierra Del Mar

Tierra Del Mar to Pacific City

BREATHTAKING CLIFFTOP IN NEWPORT

STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com

Along the Three Capes Tour, just west of Tillamook, the highway winds around tight bends, through forests and in and out of incredible viewpoints. Just south of Sand Lake Road and the community of Sand Lake, you emerge from the farmlands and forests and hit one of the last untouched coastal areas: Tierra Del Mar. Currently, it's primarily a collection of sleepy neighborhoods. But plans for a major golf course in the area will likely make it a tourism force to deal with in coming years.

As the trees give way to ocean views, the long, sandy stretches of this tiny town appear. You can drive on parts of this beach, all the way to Cape Kiwanda State Park, a few miles south. Haystack Rock is usually visible from here.

The hill ascends again, and the beach mostly disappears behind a thick canopy of trees. Soon, you pop out at Pacific City, about where Pelican Pub sits, encountering the grandiose sandstone marvel known as Cape Kiwanda, and its companion, the sulking Haystack Rock.

Continue south, onto Highway 101, and more incredible ocean horizons await you as you drive toward Neskowin.

D Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River. Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players; movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com. 171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.


Weiss' Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside

Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway St.
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families. All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com


Lincoln City Vacation Homes There’s something for everyone among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All the homes are either oceanfront or just a few steps away from the sand – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies, depending on the home: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets are allowed in some homes – ask ahead. Each comes with complete kitchens so you’ll have a home away from home. Most have the seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.


Inn At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in the penthouse restaurant and bar - for a casual meal or a candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including a decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to one-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Hotel include wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and a year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive, gorgeous wedding possibilities. 4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161. www.spanishhead.com


Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones with data ports. Oceanfronts all have a queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms are pet friendly.523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com


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