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Lincoln City Tidepools Hangout at Lincoln City's NW 15th: Central Oregon Coast Colors

Published 06/24/23 at 10:31 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Lincoln City Tidepools Hangout at Lincoln City's NW15th: Central Oregon Coast Colors

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Fun and freaky times await on one central Oregon coast beach. At Lincoln City's NW 15th St. access, it's one of the town's hotspots for tidepools. Really, just a small batch of semi-rounded rocky blobs lie at the tideline, but depending on conditions these get boldly colorful and densely layered.

It's sometimes referred to as “Lincoln City Tidepools,” but there are more than these sets along the town's shoreline. The NW 15th St. access is one of three major tidepool spots in Lincoln City: the other two are at the SW 35th St. access and up at the end of Roads End – a good half mile walk from the Roads End State Recreational Site entrance.

The caveat at NW 15th St. is that tidepools don't always exist here. In summer, there's markedly less of them because of the way sand levels rise and cover up the rocks they've colonized. Or at least what you'll find will be smaller in amount. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Hit those beaches at low tides in the summer: then you'll be able to see more.

After a couple of decent storms in October or November is when sand levels really drop, and that way you'll start to see more of the rocky real estate for critters aside from low tides – although you'll start to need to watch for those notorious Oregon coast storms. Don't go down there at really high tides or if the wave action is covering those rocks.

This spot is, after all, where Lincoln City holds its Tide Pool Exploriences during spring and summer, where real humans guide you around this rocky stretch and show you the multitudes of wee beasties.

What will you find at the Lincoln City tidepools at NW 15th? Possibly sea stars, but certainly anemones, gumboot chitons, kelp, barnacles, and various kinds of algae. Nudibranchs are a good possibility – an incredibly striking and colorful little creature.

If you're really lucky you might encounter talking barnacles.

There's also mussels found here, which Explore Lincoln City said you can harvest here (and the other spots at Roads End and SW 35th.

“Mussels have a long, tapered dark blue to black shell,” they said. “The vivid, orange flesh of the mussel is edible and a prized delicacy in many parts of the world. You’re allowed to harvest mussels but only with a license, which can be purchased from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).”

Kelp is an incredibly varied plant on the Oregon coast. Tiffany Boothe with Seaside Aquarium not long ago told Oregon Coast Beach Connection about the huge array that are out there. It doesn't mean you'll see all these at Lincoln City tidepools, and much would depend on currents and location of their rocky holds. [ALSO SEE All Oregon Coast Tide Pools ]

Among them:

“Little Rockweed, Sea Cabbage, Laver, Black Pine, Spongy Cushion, Sea Moss, Split Kelp, Iridescent Seaweed, Scouler's Surfgrass, Winged Kelp, Coral Leaf Algae and Encrusting Coralline Algae,” she said.

The NW 15th St. access allows driving on the beach – but not in the summer months. That may change as well, as there are possibilities driving may be banned altogether, while another proposal in the works as of this writing is to expand the area that cars are allowed. Stay tuned to the Lincoln City Virtual Tour on any of those changes in the future.


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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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