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Unique Family Fun on the Oregon Coast: Sights You Didn't Know

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By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Unique Family Fun on the Oregon Coast: Sights You Didn't Know

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(Oregon Coast) - The Oregon coast has a lot more to it than meets the eye. As you're in the midst of trip planning for the beaches, readying the family for a few days of oceanic abandon, there’s a few insiders’ tips you should know. It’s time to let you in on some secrets about the region – cool stuff you may find worthy of passing down the generations. (Above: Arcadia Beach near Cannon Beach where you might hear the sands make odd noises).

Looking for something different on your beach vacay? Here’s a few wild ‘n wacky sights you didn’t know existed.

Among them is the famed green flash at sunset. This true oddity of science was for years a means of ridicule for people who claimed to have seen it, but by the ‘70s it was documented on film. Under the right conditions, the sunset may provide a weird green blob for a few seconds, a “green flash” (it’s a misnomer, it’s actually longer) directly above the sun, just before the last sliver dips below the horizon. Sometimes it causes the bulk of the sliver to turn green, then poof – it’s gone with the sun.


This can usually only happen on a day of no clouds, and it’s the result of a variety of conditions that block out all the color bands except for green. A little more frequent - but harder to discern - is a slightly longer, green blob that lingers just above the sunset.

It has an even stranger relative: the Novaya Zemlya effect. Both will be sure to make the kidlets exclaim with awe.

Then there are the famed glowing and singing sands of the Oregon coast.


Actual singing sands are extremely rare and apparently it only happens in the National Dunes Recreation Area south of Florence. Occasionally, it sounds like distant voices singing. Others, it's a bit like a violin or an odd, elongated squeaking noise. This, too, only happens under certain conditions, when two different kinds of sands grind together under the right degree of humidity.

At Cannon Beach, there are numerous historical businesses listed in its early days that referred to “Singing Sands,” but there’s nothing clear about those references being the actual singing noise. It is fairly well documented there is a good amount of “squeaking sands” in the area, and it appears it could be more prevalent in town and at Arcadia Beach to the south than other areas. It does, however, happen along the entire Oregon coast on occasion. Oregon Coast Beach Connection has noted it in Manzanita and Lincoln City in the past.

During spring, summer and early fall you'll have a better chance of catching the "glowing sands," although it's still much more common in tropical climates. It’s very faint in these parts – usually. Here, if you find yourself at the tideline on a really dark beach, you may find a strange, green/bluish spark coming from the sand kicked up by your feet.

This is caused by tiny, bioluminescent phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, which glow in a manner not too dissimilar from fireflies. It’s really impossible to predict when these appear, but it is jaw-dropping.

For something rather unusual and guaranteed, wait until August and the yearly meteor showers that hit the Earth. While these are easily spotted anywhere on a clear night, cloudless coastal nights allow especially crystal clear views of this. It's unforgettable.




In and around Florence, you’ll find a touch of “Feed me, Seymour.” The Darlingtonia Wayside features an incredibly beautiful plant – but one that’s deadly. If you’re an insect, anyway. These Darlingtonia Pitcher plants actually eat bugs.

You’ll find lots at the Darlingtonia Wayside just north of town, where a rainforest-like park features a wooden walkway which keeps you elevated and away from the protein-hungry plants. The wayside is free, and you'll find it just off 101, near Mercer Rd. Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

 



 

 

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