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Intricate, Intense Stretch of Oregon Coast With Odd Hollywood Connections

Published 08/06/22 at 5:45 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Intricate, Intense Stretch of Oregon Coast With Odd Hollywood Connections

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(Florence, Oregon) – If you're looking to trip the night (and day) fantastic, one chunk of Oregon coastline provides a multivaried experience that's chock full of scenic eyebrow-raisers and at the same plenty of means to get away from crowds. 20 miles of unbelievable spots dot the sides of Highway 101 between Yachats and Florence, where the structures sometimes smack of a Yes album cover in their alien beauty and surrealism, and there's some curious bits of Hollywood history lurking in the curves and coves. (Above: the scene used quite a bit in the Bates Motel series is filmed right here, just north of Florence. All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Northern Lane County, starting directly south of Cook's Chasm, is a striking place that has its stories.

One of them is Bates Motel – no, not quite the Hitchcock one. Several years ago, just after A&E's stunning success with Breaking Bad, the cable network ran Bates Motel, a dark and twisted prequel to the Hitchcock universe. This was a contemporary take on it, set now in modern times. It sees a young Norman Bates before Hitchcock's events, showing the future killer dealing with mental illness, the whims of his crazy mom and navigating the criminal undercurrents of a north California coastal town.

Glimpses of this, towards Florence, are sometimes seen in Bates Motel

Oregon fans of the show flipped over the fact scenes of the coastal highway around the show's fictional town were filmed just south of Yachats. Those were usually captured from just above Yachats, just above Florence or some of the winding stretches in between (such as the top shot).

Real life exploration here can truly pounce on the TV connections, however.

Nothing smacks of beautiful reality more than winds atop an 800-foot vantage point like this bit of wilderness, on top of Cape Perpetua. Thus begins the cool ride. It's one of the most incredible views along the entire coastline. Just below it is Cook's Chasm – a geyser-like feature where sea water whooshes up in spectacular blasts.

Amble down the road a tad and the next couple of miles will be surrounded by Neptune State Scenic Wayside and its many facets – and it includes more than a couple of beach accesses too. One area is a delightful stretch of soft sands while the other a couple of captivating coves and basalt labyrinth structures.

Strawberry Hill is another wild wonder along the way, featuring a larger cove-like area and insane amounts of tidepool wonders. Just south of there sits Bob Creek Wayside which again features more starfish than humans. There's also an intriguing cave at Bob Creek, which is directly below a stunning pullout along the highway where more memorable ocean vistas can be viewed.

Ten Mile Creek and somewhat enigmatic Stonefield Beach appear next, with the creek dividing the area between smooth granules and a stretch where seriously prehistoric-looking rock structures dot the landscape.

South of here, the road rises and falls dramatically, sometimes not allowing you any beach accesses. Just around the corner sits Roosevelt Beach, a curious knobby knoll for a mini-headland and the varied delights of Ocean Beach Picnic Area.

Suddenly, the landscape changes to all soft sands around Muriel Ponsler Wayside, Washburne State Park and the cloistered, mystical Hobbit Trail. It's all beach, all the time. Then, just as suddenly, at the Heceta Head area (which includes the lighthouse), soaring cliffs and dramatic views take over, eventually leading you to more chunks of nearly-aerial highway where Florence can be seen below (scenes often featured in Bates Motel).

However, this area towards Florence contains another kooky celluloid connection: Cry for the Strangers. It's a laughably bad horror flick from the early '80s starring Patrick Duffy (before he became a Ewing) with filming locations around Heceta Head, the tunnel near the lighthouse, Florence itself and other areas. See Tokatee Klootchman State Wayside on Central Oregon Coast: Unobtainable Beauty

More details and more on these beaches, including directions and 100's of photos, at the Upper Lane County Virtual Tour, Map.

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KEYWORDS: Hollywood connections to Oregon Coast, Patrick Duffy, Cry for the Strangers, Heceta Head movie, Bates Motel series, Yachats / Florence history

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