NEWS YOU CAN USE
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.
Weird Travel Surprises on Oregon Coast
bring all sorts of oddities onshore this time of year, such
as driftwood in interesting shapes (pictured here: Lincoln City)
– Between the hazy, lazy days of the post-second summer, latter
half of October and the regular storms of December, November is
a turning point with its growing squalls and tempestuous seas. It
screams “go indoors” to stare in awe at the tidal ferocity,
yet shockers lurk in the form of a surprising amount of calm, sunny
days that are even warmer than your home inland.
a story plot full of twists and turns, but it’s a little known
Oregon tourism factoid that there’s more to November weather
than meets the eye. It's a crazy guessing game, unless you keep
a close watch on the weather reports. Even then, these can often
change every few hours.
Hence this sampling
of cool spots you may want to check out this month: how their character
changes in different weather this time of year and what to do when
It begins with
the indoor travel suggestions, but this story then makes a wide
swath across a lot of coastal landscapes.
Fun and Funky Indoor Coastal Nuggets
should it rain excessively, part of the fun here is the nearly 70-year-old
Seaside Aquarium. Located right on the Promenade, it features plenty
of fish tanks, a touch tank, and a chance to feed the frolicking
family of Harbor seals. Plus the enormous whale skeleton in the
front window is quite an eye-catcher. (503) 738-6211.
you may feel compelled to visit the various aquariums which draw
thousands to the area each year.
ever-famous Oregon Coast Aquarium (once the home of Keiko the Killer
Whale), where you can dig into all sorts of marine life up close
and personal, especially with its Passages of the Deep. Wander a
giant glass-like tube that contains a 360-degree view of three distinctly
different Oregon Coast underwater habitats and encounter all manner
of shark and other fishies. It's OK to drop your jaw as you do so.
In South Beach, across the bay from Newport. (541) 867-3474.
The nearby Hatfield
Marine Science Center provides some seriously scientific and cerebral
fun, with its displays of a variety of interesting aspects of the
ocean deep. You're also in the heart of some of the most cutting-edge
research being done in the Pacific Ocean: from the pharmacological
applications of various sea goo, the world-famous whale research
of Bruce Mate's work to the awe-inspiring VENTS program, which digs
into the underwater volcanoes lurking off our shores. (541-867-0100.)
Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside
Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR
Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent our
entire property for 20-26. All units 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. Enjoy comfy robes & slippers, luxury
bath amenities, quality linens and more. See us on The Travel
Channel's "Great Escapes" show in August 2006. 741
S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
Up between Astoria
and Seaside, discover history firsthand at the replica of Fort Clatsop.
Here is approximately where Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery
made their winter camp for 1805-06 (the exact location was lost
a good 150 years ago). Explore the replica of their lives back then.
You can almost smell the wet leather and mold from the 110-odd days
of constant rain they experienced.
The modern museum
facility tells the tale in deeper detail. That includes much about
the Corps' dog. Appropriately enough, dogs are allowed on the premises
of this National Park. Entrance is via a road approximately five
miles south of Astoria, near MP 7.
Bay, Its Graces and Its Ghost Town
and weird sunsets along the spit of Tillamook Bay (Bayocean)
you can catch them in November, make for some dramatic shots on
this bay between Tillamook and Garibaldi.
On its south
side, just west of Tillamook, there's the Bayocean Spit, with miles
and miles of sand stretching out over the mouth of the bay. Here,
hiking as well as boating and fishing in the bay are king –
not just for tourists but for day-trippers and locals as well. This
deliciously silent place takes a round trip hike of about 3.9 miles
if you walk through the sandy draw near the middle and come back
around. Or you can hike the entire thing in an eight-mile loop.
is a weird remnant of history. There was once a large resort town
here in the 1910's, bustling with two hotels, a natatorium, a dance
hall of sorts and five miles of roads. Some 4000 lots were created
for homes, with perhaps 1600 actually being sold. Hard economic
times, erosion and storms rather quickly turned the place into a
dilapidated ghost town. By the 70's, what remained was bulldozed
by the government.
On the other
side, just south of Garibaldi, sit the Three Graces - three sizable
sea stacks, one with a tree growing on top. There are some pullouts
here, where you can watch the wildlife, the trains or sometimes
the U.S. Coast Guard doing practice maneuvers with a helicopter.
black sands beneath Yaquina Head
Head Outstanding Natural Area boasts a manmade tide pool area, various
hiking paths, a variety of rocky areas to climb around on, a strange,
surreal beach and a visitors center. Oh yeah, and there's a wondrous
one of its more popular features in the intertidal area, carved
out of an old rock quarry. These wheelchair-accessible paved paths
weave in and out of rocky tide pool areas that were created to see
what happens when rocky shelves are left alone to become colonies
of marine life.
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.
Not far east
of the intertidal area's parking lot lay some interesting boulder-filled
areas, perfect for climbing on and exploring. And above, on Salal
Hill, a couple of trails meander to various high and awe-inspiring
points overlooking the world.
A noisy beach
with black, polished stones is accessed via a long staircase. This
one's a bear coming back up, but it's worth it. The large cobblestones
make quite a rattling noise when attacked by the tide - which tends
to hit here with sizable force because the tide line is at a fairly
At the headland's
tip sits the majestic Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which was built in
1873 and stands 93 feet high. There is a fee to enter Yaquina Head,
and all attractions are fairly close to the parking lot should the
Sand Beach/Smuggler's Cove
Oswald's suspension bridge
an hour and a half from Portland and you’ll come to the stunning,
pristine Nehalem Bay area and its myriad of mysteries and surprises,
including this multi-leveled state park. The centerpiece to Oswald
State Park, Short Sand Beach (sometimes called Smuggler's Cove),
is a sprawling half-circle that's popular with surfers during nicer
weather. It's also packed to the gills in summer and rather unOregon-like
at that time. But in the fall and winter, it's yet another rugged,
amazing place on these shores. Often, the tide turns Short Sand
into an aptly named place with not very much in the way of walkable
beach. But it's beautiful and inspiring nonetheless, and easy to
watch the swirling madness from a safe vantage point above.
A rustic suspension
footbridge provides some amount of excitement as you cross to access
the southern part of the beach - if you're trying to avoid having
to wade through the creek.
In the park,
there are primitive campsites (which probably aren't much fun in
most November weather) and some incredible views from various hiking
Drama Between Yachats and Florence
access filled with wonders
For a serious
sense of the rugged and hidden, check out the 25-mile stretch between
Yachats and Florence. Most of these beaches are small and compact,
so you usually can't wander too far from your car (which you may
want to dart into when the storms hit).
Check out Neptune
State Park for its sandy stretch and tiny cove-like area on its
north side. It abruptly turns from sand to rocky boulders and slabs
at its southern end, where the waves put on an amazing show as they
slam into them.
A tad north
of Neptune, there's an unmarked beach access full of surprises.
Walk the winding, twisting path over the bluff to hop onto large
basalt structures filled with cracks and crevices that give glimpses
of churning waves beneath you. They'll sometimes squirt water up
at you. Wander here to find tide pools and watch the sea knock logs
Or walk down
a lengthy but smooth and paved trail from the parking lot to the
sandy part of this beach, which makes for a cozy little cove, bordered
by the cliffs of Neptune.
there are little spots like Ocean Beach and Rock Creek, which is
where the landscape begins to turn from the rocky landscapes to
the sandy stretches typical of the areas around Florence. There's
even the Heceta Head Lighthouse along the way. In any case, these
beaches are often bereft of people and you'll likely find yourself
the only beachcomber.
City's Haystack Rock
Just a wee walk
from the main parking lot in town, 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).
The entire area
is one remarkable package of natural fun and frolic, rambling on
for several hundred feet in different directions and hiding numerous
wonders all over. Tide pools abound around the rocks at its base.
Meanwhile, the dune at the top inspires kids of all ages to engage
in all sorts of sledding behaviors, with kids of all ages zipping
The top of the Cape Kiwanda is reached by ascending about 30 feet
of annoyingly loose sand, and from there it's the gateway to a stunning,
even sometimes alien landscape, full of remarkable views.
If the weather
is unaccommodating, you can always sit in the scrumptious Pelican
Pub & Brewery and take in this view from the safety of a fine
restaurant and brewpub. (503) 965-7007.