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Four Oregon Coast Finds Filled with Awe: Carnivore Plants, Dead Forests, Puzzling Shapes

Published 12/31/22 at 6:15 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Four Oregon Coast Finds Filled with Awe: Carnivore Plants, Dead Forests, Puzzling Shapes

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(Oregon Coast) – Looking for something a wee bit different on the Oregon coast? That's actually a dime a dozen, if you know what to look for. Yet even for those who know a lot about this region, some areas are just chock full of amazing aspects. Hit the right places and you'll find remnants of forests thousands of years old, plants that catch their pray, alien-looking landscapes, places where whales may be checking you out and more. (Above: Darlingtonia Gardens photo Oregon State Parks)

It's all technically more than four things going on here, but who's really counting?

Darlingtonia Gardens near Florence. They're beautiful plants but they're deadly – at least if you're a bug.

Four Oregon Coast Finds Filled with Awe: Carnivore Plants, Dead Forests, Puzzling Shapes
Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Darlingtonia Wayside features insect-chomping plants that mostly live between Florence and northern California. With somewhat transparent sections and colorful parts inside, these attract insects who then get sucked into them by sticky parts on the outside. There, they slowly get digested.


You'll find the Darlingtonia Wayside off Highway 101 near Mercer Rd., a little ways north of Florence. Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Depoe Bay View Scenic Area at North Point. It's one of the cooler little secrets of Depoe Bay, but it's also a tad confusing. There are two parks in town by that name. This one is otherwise known as North Point, but the sign at the entrance here and at the other park near the fire station reads “Depoe Bay View Scenic Area.”

North Point is a striking and beautiful little hangout, where puffy, bubble-like basalt cliffs jut out a bit beyond the bay and from some areas you're looking eastward back into town. Look straight out to sea, and you'll notice you're high above the crushing, crashing waves and a captive audience member to some amazing oceanic power. At the park's northern end, you can spot weird coves and sea caves and walk along some very odd shapes and features. Walk to the south a ways, and you'll encounter more craggy structures (including a natural oddity that looks like a mini Stonehenge).

On really calm days, it's not unusual to find whales lazily wandering past these rocks, and they're unusually close to you. You can tell they're checking you out too. Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours

Photo Oregon's Adventure Coast

Shore Acres State Park, near Coos Bay. Much of this spot looks like an alien world, with nubs, blobs, honeycomb-like holes, and meandering, even complex shapes all over that often simply defy easy description. Between Shore Acres' intricate, tilted cliffs to nearby Sunset Bay's wall of little wonders, this stretch of south Oregon coast is packed with wacky eye candy.

Within Sunset Bay itself, it turns out there's a year-round ghost forest. Those are rare: plenty of ghost forests lie beneath the sands in various spots all over the Oregon coast, appearing only when sand levels get low enough. Two are visible year-round: at Neskowin and in Sunset Bay. This set is unusual in that they're a mere 1200 years old (most are around 4,000), and their origin is a bit more up for debate than the other sand-hidden stands.

Photo courtesy Brent Lerwill

Wander around the bay and the cliffs and you'll find things that look like cannon balls, jagged shapes that come from getting beaten up by salt, strange pits and various complexes of holes. Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Neskowin. Just north of Lincoln City and a tiny bit south of Pacific City, Neskowin seems to lie in a coastal kind of middle-of-nowhere. There's a hidden quality to it, and there's more stuff actually hidden in the town's beaches.

Sitting right on that border between north Oregon coast and central coast, Neskowin has miles of calming beach, perfect for quiet introspection and a sense of peace. At its northern end especially: there's a mix of fine and coarse sand grains with a lot of it quite dark. That comes from material eroded away from Cascade Head, making for a distinctive beach.

A favorite here is, of course, the year-round ghost forest, stands of trees that were preserved by a slow process of soil and water slowly covering them. Later, sands came along and really buried them for almost 1900 years. See Explanations of Neskowin Ghost Forest Wrong, Say Oregon Coast Geologists

On top of Proposal Rock, more surprises lurk. At lower tides, you can hop up onto the top of the big blob at the tideline and do some exploring. There's a small path up top which wanders through the brush. You may see a bald eagle now and then on those treetops – always a thrill. Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours



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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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