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From North to South: Intriguing, Even Obscure Oregon Coast Adventures

Published 09/27/20 at 1:41 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

From North to South: Intriguing, Even Obscure Oregon Coast Adventures

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(Oregon Coast) – There’s little about the Oregon coast that isn’t completely visible on the Net these days, but there are still obscure, slightly hidden pleasures lurking in corners. From Brookings to near Yachats, to the tiny town of Oceanside, sometimes out of the way is the only way.

Around Oceanside (above). What was once a fairly sequestered little village can be as packed as the big towns these days, but even 15 years ago you could still find yourself alone here on many days of the week. It’s a jewel on the north Oregon coast to be sure, and the fact it’s somewhat tucked away in a corner of Tillamook County still makes it rather special.

The tiny town of Oceanside sits just west of Tillamook, a few miles from the Cape Meares Lighthouse, if you're traveling along that back road with intermittent ocean views. At first glance, the burgh appears to host little else than a bunch of interesting homes and about five businesses (including two restaurants.) Yet there’s so much more to the story, such as the small headland that contains a wild and wacky tunnel going through the other side. Behind it, a beautiful and slightly surreal beach awaits, filled with an array of remarkable rocky boulders, walls and shapes.

There’s plenty to do here, on what is called either Tunnel Beach or Star Trek Beach, enough to fill a few hours. That sea cave at the very back end is one outstanding stunner. Starfish colonies abound at this little beach, and it’s sometimes known for making the “magic rocks” noise (an odd rattling of rocks when the tide disturbs them).

For another eye-popping side, take the drive to the top of Maxwell Mountain via the long, winding little streets and witness the funky, beautiful homes along the way. Don’t be surprised to be surprised by a deer wandering near you. Hotels in Oceanside - Where to eat - Oceanside Maps and Virtual Tours

Obscure Wonder of Upper Lane County. While even the most hidden of beaches will be more crowded than usual on any high-density weekend, the area between Florence and Yachats still yields many isolated wonders. Look for an unmarked beach access immediately south of the line between Lincoln and Lane counties, and you'll find a parking lot that gives way to two routes to a varied and rather amazing beach. It’s technically part of Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, though this part isn’t clearly marked from the road. The second half – about a half mile down 101 – is marked in an obvious manner.

Walk the winding, twisting path over the bluff to hop onto large basalt structures filled with cracks and crevices that give glimpses of churning waves beneath you. They'll sometimes squirt water up at you.

Or walk down a sizable but smooth and paved trail from the parking lot to the sandy part of this beach, which makes for a cozy little cove, bordered by the cliffs of Neptune to its south.

You can usually hop up and down the basalt structures from here as well, and part of the rock forms an intriguing arch in the sand. At its northernmost, there's a small cove and tiny patch of beach which ends in a large wall. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane Maps and Virtual Tours

Harris Beach and Arch Rock.
Near the hamlet of Brookings, at the extreme southern end of the Oregon coast, Harris Beach is one wild ride of sights and surprise pleasantries. Two main pathways take you down to the beach with strikingly different results. The main section winds its way downward via a concrete path and brings you out onto the big cove, where Goat Island (the largest offshore island on these shores) sits just out of reach. A variety of rocky textures abound here, and freaky, fun things to climb on.

The other pathway leads you down into a smaller cove with even more intricate qualities and colors, and the looming, monolithic presence of Arch Rock (one of a few with such a name on the south coast). Here, this massive, flattened rock structure has a big hole in it – hence the name. In comes the tide through this unique feature, squeezing and almost squirting through in varying degrees of laziness to urgency. Tidepool life abounds here as well.

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