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Oceanside, Little Oregon Coast Town That's Off the Beaten Track

Published 05/07/22 at 7:25 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oceanside, Little Oregon Coast Town That's Off the Beaten Track

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(Oceanside, Oregon) – While tiny Oceanside remains fairly off the beaten track along the north Oregon coast, seemingly quite sequestered, it's continued to grow in popularity. This wee burgh sits just west of Tillamook, in a kind of cul-de-sac along the Three Capes Tour, tucked away in a corner, behind towering hills filled with gorgeous homes. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection unless otherwise credited)

At first glance, there may not seem to be much to it: a neighborhood up against the beach with a handful of businesses – no gas station or convenience store. All that's a few miles back at Netarts. Yet the small headland there contains a wild and wacky tunnel going through the other side, where a beautiful and slightly surreal beach awaits, filled with an array of remarkable rocky boulders, walls and shapes. To boot, the area is surrounded by a lighthouse, another secret beach, and some true oddities such as the Octopus Tree.

For many decades, until perhaps the last one, most people had never heard of Oceanside. It was a true Oregon coast getaway. When it first started in the '20s, however, there were the equivalent to 500 “rooms” full of guests. Back then, tents were the only lodging, and the stretches surrounding the beach were filled with as many as 500 tents sometimes during summers.

Oceanside almost 100 years ago (photo courtesy OSU)

It was a place well-shielded from the north winds, leaving you a little warmer than many beaches on the coastline. It still is. Don't be surprised if you need sunscreen during sunnier days here.

With its trademark Three Arch Rocks dominating the scenery (these were decreed national wildlife refuges at the beginning of the 20th century), the headland known as Maxwell Point is the next thing you'll spot. Cutting through the point is an almost 100-year-old tunnel, originally built for a small resort by the Rosenberg brothers - entrepreneurs of the area at the time. Via this ancient structure you can get to the other side, where a hidden and unbelievably pristine beach stretches for almost a quarter of a mile, filled with wonders like sea caves and other rocky platforms for carousing on.

The town itself sits on a steep hill, with plenty of funky and beautiful homes crammed together, giving it a slight vibe like that of Astoria. Walking through the neighborhoods and checking these out is highly recommended.

On that back road between Oceanside and Cape Meares, you'll find another breathtaking veiled beach called Short Beach. Look for the blob of a sea stack lurking just beyond a sign marked Radar Road. Walk towards the cliffs of the cape to find a hidden cove-like area and to witness a stunning waterfall.

A ways further down the road sits Cape Meares and its stumpy lighthouse, as well as the natural oddity called the Octopus Tree with its seven thick, candelabra-like limbs. There used to be eight until the '90s or so, when one was lopped off by the wind. Way back in the '50s through the '80s, the tree was featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not books, attracting some national attention to the diminutive place.

Oceanside came into being when the Rosenberg brothers officially decreed the place with that name on July 4, 1922. There is reportedly a large celebration for its centennial in the works for this year. See Odd Oceanside History Part 1

Hotels in Oceanside - Where to eat - Oceanside Maps and Virtual Tours


Ocean Front Cabins. In every room there’s expansive views of the horizon, and of course famed Three Arch Rocks. An historic inn with a stunning, cozy vibe; finished wood and fun little architectural details. Amenities in each room: pet friendly, free parking, free Wi-fi, microwave, fridge, flat-screen TV, kitchenettes or large kitchens. Watch whales wander by, quick drive to Cape Meares, Octopus Tree, Netarts. 1610 Pacific Avenue NW, Oceanside. (503) 842-6081. Ocean Front Cabins Website.

Idyllic Beach Houses. Two lovely pet friendly vacation rental homes, close to beach. Both w/ free WiFi, DVD, eclectic libraries, DVDs, games. Guardenia Street House: nestled at edge of forest. Hardwood interiors, skylights, vaulted ceilings. Enormous wrap-around deck. Kids’ Bunkhouse. Spacious, fully equipped kitchen. Fireplace; BBQ. Sleeps 9. Pier Street House: Vaulted ceilings, second-story balcony, natural wood. DVD/Blu-Ray. Wood stove, BBQ. Deck, fenced backyard. Sleeps 10. Tierra Del Mar, Oregon (5 miles north of Pacific City).


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