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Garibaldi on North Oregon Coast: Distractions to Glowing Attractions

Published 02/10/23 at 5:09 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Garibaldi on North Oregon Coast: Distractions to Glowing Attractions

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(Garibaldi, Oregon) – There are times when you're zipping down Highway 101 towards the beach, the other villages become just a blip on your radar. Blurry moments outside your car window: this ruddy, weatherbeaten inland section has no beach, so let's keep looking forward, you're thinking. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Nope. Time to rethink those thoughts.

On the north Oregon coast, along the sedated waters of the Tillamook Bay, Garibaldi glows. Actually, it really does. But metaphorically, it's an engaging little wonder to meander a bit, take some time out along your beach trip. Garibaldi shines in the interesting sense of the word as well.

As you're coming from the north, a visual barrage begins.

One of your first sights coming around that bend from Barview is the Three Graces, a trio of sizable sea stack structures in the bay but close to shore. They seem to guard Tillamook Bay like ever-present sentinels, but at the very least providing a visual welcome. Pictured here at night, they look almost mystical, with the blue squiggle a reflection of some nearby light source. Meanwhile, way out at sea, a fishing vessel's lights glow like an out-of-place sun at night.

Then, along with the scenic viewpoint dedicated to Captain Gray, you get the official welcome from Garibaldi.

Major landmarks pop into view quickly about now, a rather dense woosh of Oregon coast attractions coming at you from all sides. These often lead to questions.

Piers End, or what is now known as the Historic U.S. Coast Guard Boathouse, stands out immediately. A long pier seems to lead on into nowhere, with that mysterious building sitting where the pier descends into the water.

How many visitors here have wondered what that was, and even outright asked? That answer became more obvious a few years ago as renovation efforts were intensified. There was a very public request for help for refurbishment, and eventually it made it as a part time gallery and part time venue. Now, it's closed the majority of the year except major holidays, when it's manned by volunteers who will show you around the workings of the place as a lifesaving station until the '60s.

Crabbing docks are also here.

Also coming quickly into view, there's the U.S. Coast Guard quarters: a gleaming, white and stately presence.

The gigantic G, of course, is another major object. Built in the early '30s, it was destroyed once by a fallen tree and burned down again later, only to be replaced by firmer structures. On occasion lights may change with the seasons or year.

Garibaldi Marina takes on spring or summer colors nicely, chock full of colorful vessels.

A stone's throw away is Lumberman's Memorial Park, where fishing and crabbing quietly rule the day.

Across the street, the Garibaldi Maritime Museum fills your head with tales of the sea from the region, and plenty of digging deeper into the wee fishing village.

As if there wasn't already enough to do and see, Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad is headquartered right here.

Be it night or day, they are beautiful machines to gawk at, and the rides have become one of the biggest attractions on the coastline.

The other unmistakable attribute of Garibaldi is the giant smokestack, which immediately pops into view from either direction. This remnant of an old paper mill is roped off to the public. Yet it’s so big there’s actually a tree growing on its inside.

Leaving town and heading towards Bay City, you may want to look back. If you're lucky, you'll see something as dreamy as this.

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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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