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Florence's Old Town Park and Gazebo Filled with Historic Oregon Coast Atmosphere

Published 05/06/22 at 12:05 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Florence's Old Town Park and Gazebo Filled with Historic Oregon Coast Atmosphere

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(Florence, Oregon) – A restful spot in an Oregon coast town made for kicking back and for plenty of respite from daily life inland. It's a peaceful kind of almost-dichotomy with Florence's Old Town Park, sitting at the end of Laurel Street along Bay Street. The gazebo and the Siuslaw River views are the highlights, but there's plenty of nooks 'n crannies in this tiny spot right off the main drag of Florence's Old Town (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection).

Old Town Park, with its lush greenery keeping the place hidden from view, would be an ultimate romantic nocturnal walk, with that gazebo providing unparalleled atmosphere for a couple's stroll, the lights shimmering on the water and a vast expanse of the Siuslaw River stretching out before you. However, the park is only open from dawn to dusk and is day-use only. Bummer.

Still, the hand-holding possibilities of this little and rather unknown central Oregon coast landmark are still there in the daylight, with plenty to be seen and absorbed along this uniquely rustic riverfront.

Old Town Park itself, sometimes erroneously called Gazebo Park, was completed in 1976, a perfect compliment to the vibes of Old Town and its mix of spry colors and nearly 100-year-old constructs. A bit of old time Americana still resides and resounds in this spot.

The photos here include what the park used to look like back in the early 2000s – a bit of history about this living history of Florence. Back then, the fenced dock used for fishing descended via wooden gangway all the way down to another fishing dock, which is still there out in front of this spot. Now the two are disconnected and both are fenced off. Currently, the elevated platform makes for loads of idyllic ambiance, as the river lazily drifts past. Cast your line out from here or bring someone to cuddle with – or just take in the natural sights.

The old fishing dock below Old Town Park

All of this cozy Oregon coast hidden park begins where Laurel Street ends and it intersects with Bay Street. There, a drinking fountain and a dedication plaque as well as a couple of tree-covered benches sit facing the crowds and traffic. A slightly murky, thickly green path takes you a short walk into Old Town Park, where a sizable lawn features picnic tables. Yes, this is a perfect spot to take your fish 'n chips to go and enjoy nature while the world rages on just behind those trees.

There are restrooms nearby.

For added atmosphere, plop yourself at the bench near the gazebo, in front of the charming little brick posts holding up a rather turn-of-the-century iron fence. It's not hard to imagine yourself back in time.

It's also not difficult to spot some interesting wildlife now and then. Gulls and other birds can be plentiful, the random seal or sea lion may wander through. And then there was the remarkable incident where a pod of orcas came sauntering through with two little ones in tow, seen from near Old Town Park.

Back in May of 2015, a woman from Sweet Home reported to Oregon Coast Beach Connection about the sighting, complete with video. The whole thing was stunning, with a group of two adults and two baby orcas chomping away at something in the river. Whether it was bundles of fish or a pinniped of some sort wasn't clear.

However, the tale was prefaced by that always-astounding omen of other wildlife disappearing. The presence of killer whales along the Oregon coast is known for inducing that reaction, this time with a load of sea lions suddenly just gone from the scene. Other wildlife know they're coming – and they're not in love with the idea of being around when the orcas are. See the full story When a Baby Orca Visited Central Oregon Coast River | Video

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