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Five Astounding Stops on Oregon's Coast

Published 12/26/20 at 10:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Five Astounding Stops on Oregon's Coast

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Everyone hitting the Oregon coast – from newbie to professional beach bum – has some place they’ve never been to. Likely, there’s a lot of them. There’s something that hasn’t been on your list, or certainly your radar. Here are five spots that are guaranteed to make an impression on your friends and family - whether you be tourist or local.

Ever Astounding Arch Cape. A couple of miles south of Hug Point (just south of Cannon Beach) you'll encounter the lovely little beach interlude known as Arch Cape. It's a tiny north Oregon coast community that consists of a few homes and one or two businesses right on 101. Mostly it's a couple of beach accesses hidden behind some neighborhood streets - and it's one truly romantic beach walk.

This beach, a mix of cobblestones and sand, reaches north all the way to near Hug Point (which is totally accessible at low tide after a two-mile walk.) But on its south side you'll find a small grouping of rock structures hugging a basalt point. At lower tides, you can walk between these and the cliffs and explore a rocky beach full of boulders, dramatic structures and that glorious standby of great dates: poking around tidepools with the object of your affection. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Photo courtesy Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, Bandon. On the southern Oregon coast, two of the most popular and most-photographed spots are Shore Acres State Park near Coos Bay and Face Rock at Bandon. And for good reason. At its center is the mysterious, ancient rock known as Face Rock, which chillingly looks just like a human being. A multitude of grooves and scars from eons of geologic existence (perhaps around 150 million years old) give her an eerie mummy look.

Local native tribes gave it the female designation, with an entire origin story about her being a young girl whose rather benign behaviors got her in trouble with the great deity and getting her turned to stone. The real story is much more intricate and complex – and astoundingly old.

She’s not alone here, however. A host of sea stacks keep her company, offering a home for offshore wildlife and sometimes places for human to amble around. So plentiful they almost form a forest of rocky objects, among them the famed Wizard’s Hat Rock. In one area you may find an arch underneath a rock, in others simply epic climbing possibilities and miles of sand in either direction. Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - Where to eat - Southern Coast

Cape Kiwanda. The wonders never cease on top of the golden, weather-sculpted cliffs of Cape Kiwanda - the centerpiece to Pacific City. Offshore sits the stately Haystack Rock, almost as if it guards these cliffs.

Scale to the top of the cliffs via a strenuous incline made of loose sand that makes it even harder. Once there, eye-popping sights await, such as wild, craggy structures with weird color schemes, resembling another world. There are secret trails leading you to more stunning viewpoints, and a small cove with minute cracks in the rocks where the tide can sometimes squirt out.

It's the gateway to a stunning, even sometimes alien landscape, serving up hidden glimpses of parts of the cliff which jut and wriggle their ways out into the ocean. There's a nearly endless parade of incredible viewpoints you can't get anywhere else in the area. Then on sunny days, the cape becomes especially entrancing as the sun sets the cliffs on fire and causes the tumultuous water below to turn a deep, dark blue in stark and unforgettable contrast. Hotels in Pacific City - Where to eat - Pacific City Maps and Virtual Tours

Manzanita. A bit of civilization in the midst of rustic forests, the town and beaches of Manzanita include loads of wonders all their own. A wide and beautiful sandy strand fills the eye here. Although at the beach's northernmost access - near Neahkahnie Rd. - it quickly becomes large cobblestones until it ends at the base of Neahkahnie Mt. some 200 feet down.

In this tiny town that's full of culinary pleasures, wondrous new objects can pop up on the beach at sufficient minus tides. Depending on the amount of sand lying around that time of year, different rock objects appear on an otherwise smooth, barren beach. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours

Hidden Rocks of Depoe Bay. Keep your eye out for Vista St. along the northern part of Depoe Bay, just south of the massive Trendwest developments, and this will lead you down to a charming, weather-beaten neighborhood and an amazing span of puffy, bubble-like basalt cliffs.

This rather clandestine central Oregon coast spot delivers astounding, dizzying views of wild stuff you won't be able to witness any other way. To the north, weird coves and hidden caves become apparent. Straight out to sea, you're high above the crushing, crashing waves and a captive audience member to some amazing oceanic power.

Insider’s Tip: hang out here on more raucous wave days (keep clear of the edges and stay safe) and you can sometimes feel the cliffs shudder with the tidal impact.

This spot is actually known as Depoe View Park, and there’s one tiny sign designating it as such. Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours

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