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Lincoln Beach on Central Oregon Coast: Not to be Confused with Lincoln City

Published 10/09/23 at 9:42 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Lincoln Beach on Central Oregon Coast: Not to be Confused with Lincoln City

(Gleneden Beach, Oregon) – It sounds like a riddle: when is an Oregon coast beach called Lincoln not a part of Lincoln City? (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Above: Willow St. access)

When it's Lincoln Beach.

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Don't let the name throw you – and it certainly has thrown many on social media. The area is tagged all wrong in a lot of ways in photos. Pics of Newport show up labeled as Lincoln Beach, as well as Lincoln City or nearby Fogarty Beach as well as others.

Where Lincoln Beach actually starts and ends is a bit hazy. More on that in a bit. One thing is for sure: Lincoln Beach is a few miles south of Lincoln City and not part of it. In fact, Lincoln Beach technically includes the older, more high-profile Gleneden Beach and its Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site.

You can get wrapped up in the geographic semantics for a long time. Whatever it all is, it's one lovely stretch of beach, and a little more dynamic than many. Sand, sand and nothing but sand, except for those rather distinctive, orange cliffs. Most of the way along Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach, you'll find that rather soft sandstone, which makes for astounding sunset colors but it's bad for erosion. Chunks of it are seriously falling apart below some houses and a condo / hotel at the southern end of Gleneden Beach. (See Erosion Continues Damage on Oregon Coast - Homes Threatened, More Finds)

Safety Warnings

These cliffs also make for some important Oregon coast safety warnings: this creates no escape during high tides. Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach are also rather short, so high tide events make them extra dangerous. People have died here in the past, especially with sneaker waves. Stay off Lincoln Beach and the other sands around them during unruly tides.

Unique Tidelines

The one thing that typifies both Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach is the rather steep tideline after the soft dunes crest. This is more prominent in summer than other seasons, because sand levels get higher. What it does is make the waves come in fast and hard, then suddenly wisp away. That causes it to sound a little fiercer than it is (but then again, heed the safety warnings above if the tides are running close to the cliffs). Gleneden Beach's Varied, Multi-Layered Looks: Never the Same Bit of Oregon Coast

Where Are the Lincoln Beach Accesses?

That all depends on how think of Lincoln Beach vs. Gleneden Beach, but to the casual beachgoer Willow St. appears to be the only actual access near the Lincoln Beach highway signs. Here, the tidelines aren't usually so steep, and it's all mellow beach to walk upon. Really, from the southern border at Fishing Rock to the edges of the Salishan Spit, it's pure soft sands.

See Lincoln Beach at Night

Willow St. is clearly marked along that stretch of highway that's designated as Lincoln Beach, where it opens up into four lanes and a host of businesses. Follow that to its end. However, parking here is someone else's neighborhood so be considerate.

Lincoln Beach, seen from Fishing Rock

It's less than a quarter mile down to Fishing Rock to the south, which is scalable on foot if conditions are mellow.

Beach Accesses Northward:

Rush Place Access. Take Division St. west and you'll dead-end at Rush Place, where there's a little overlook to check out the beaches and a small access path. Other beach accesses in this area are behind gated neighborhoods.

Bella Beach Access. This beach access is surrounded by the vacation rental biz and neighborhood here, so public parking is a bit iffy.

Wallace St. Access. Actually winding up a rather interesting little access on the Oregon coast, it's a little over a mile from the Willow St. access and just shy of Gleneden Beach's state park. In summer, the place is placid and lovely as hell, with more of those soft sands to meander around. Some remarkable driftwood and wind-bent trees create interesting, different shapes.

In winter, the access is raucous and even vengeful, so don't go near it. However, you can sometimes park just up the street a bit and watch the waves. It's not a bad stormwatch spot.

Where Exactly is Lincoln Beach?

Lincoln Beach is about five to seven miles south of Lincoln City, depending on where the boundary actually is - well, in the mind of the beholder. Maps and the real world kind of differ. Both unincorporated little villages, Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach show up on highway signs as separate, but on maps say Gleneden Beach is part of Lincoln Beach.

Officially, Lincoln Beach runs from the tip of the Salishan Spit to the edges of Fishing Rock, just north of Depoe Bay. Yet to the beachgoer, Lincoln Beach really starts a mile south of Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site - as per the highway sign - with only a few beach accesses south of the main state park.

Whatev's. What's important is the beaches are totally fire.

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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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