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Manzanita / Nehalem Bay: Secret Ways to Dig Into N. Oregon Coast Spring, Video

Published 03/07/2020 at 7:38 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Manzanita / Nehalem Bay: Secret Ways to Dig Into N. Oregon Coast Spring, Video

(Manzanita, Oregon) – As official spring approaches along with spring break, the eyes of Oregon and Washington residents turn to the coast. Hordes will hit the area around Manzanita and Nehalem Bay and some will find they’re just one in a huge crowd. (Above: mysterious Cube Rock).

How to get away from those crowds? How to look for something different in this unique and mesmerizing section of Oregon coast? Here’s a few tips.

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Pulpit Rock / Hiking Neahkahnie. Hiking to the tippy top of 1600-foot Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the more amazing experiences the Oregon coast can provide. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the peak, there’s a handful of stopover viewpoints along the way, including one that has an inviting bench, all affording incredible views.

However, another more secretive pleasure of the place is that hiking path from a gravel parking lot down to Short Sand Beach, where you can divert yourself to the west and take in beautifully strange landmarks such as Devil’s Cauldron, Pulpit Rock, or the soaring, enigmatic Cube Rock.

Oswald West Viewpoints, Bridge. Just a tad north of Manzanita is Oswald West State Park with its own sprawling run of trails and that ever-engaging Short Sand Beach. But there are other viewpoints as well, including the somewhat secretive Kramer Memorial viewpoint, found about a quarter mile down the Cape Falcon Trail (which starts at the big parking lot).

The centerpiece to Oswald is about a half mile from the parking lot: Short Sand Beach itself. Just before you get there you’ll encounter the large suspension bridge. The beach is, of course, the focal point, but the bridge is a funky thrill all its own.

Ocean Inn is one of only a very few hotels in town right on the oceanfront. All of Manzanita's pristine beaches are less than a minute's walk, and all of its wonders. Some units have decks facing the ocean, a wood stove, a Jacuzzi bath and more. Pristine wood graces each room, some with knotty pine and others just as a pleasant finishing touch. They’ve also got a killer web cam for Manzanita. 2 Laneda Ave. Manzanita, Oregon. 503-368-7701. 866-368-7701.

Nehalem Bay sunset in blue

Wandering the Nehalem Bay. The marina at Wheeler is a distinctive pleasure all its own, even if you aren’t launching some kind of watercraft from this atmospheric place. Sunset watching here is prime, or just taking in the often-snow capped splendor of the hills surrounding the Nehalem Bay area as the water gently moves around you. If you’re really lucky, that glowing phytoplankton thing may be in action, and if you stick your hand in the bay at night an eerie blue glow will trail behind it.

On the more rugged side, however, water sports here is a highlight. Kayaking through the area is the biggie, with at least a couple of places to rent out such gear between Manzanita and Wheeler (including Wheeler Marina, 503-368-5780 ). Hit these waters and you can paddle your way through a host of secret spots you can’t reach any other way, past reedy plant life and eye-popping marshlands that reveal all kinds of wildlife. Since it’s spring, you may get to witness elk on the island to the west butting heads and fighting over mates.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is another craze that’s somewhat new to the north Oregon coast. Essentially, you’re standing up on a giant paddle board and pushing yourself along through the placid waters. See SUP Manzanita: 503 368-4777.

Beach Break Break Vacation Rentals' Boat Homes. Glorious places to stay abound in the Manzanita area: from mansions to downright cozy; beachfront to well, then there’s the “boatel.” You’ll find this quirky wonder on the Nehalem River a little ways inland: actually three house boats on the water. These can be combined into one gigantic vacation rental experience, or you can stay in one of them. All three sit on a cozy dock with a host of amenities surrounding them, not the least of which is you being in the middle of nature. Wildlife like elk, seals, birds (including bald eagles) and of course fish are aplenty here. 503-368-3865. 877-655-0623. Website.

Glorious Scenery From Rentals on High. Manzanita’s Sunset Vacation Rentals has quite the roster of stunners, and they have more than 100 homes dotting the north Oregon coast between Rockaway Beach and Manzanita. One highlight is this soaring monster, Maison de La Lune house, sitting high above it all. You can hardly beat this combo of upscale home with an outdoor lounge area set in front of a view like this – and a fire pit. 186 Laneda Ave., Manzanita, Oregon. 503-368-7969. 800-883-7784.

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