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Manzanita in Summer: Wider Beaches, Glowing Things, a Different Face of N. Oregon Coast

Published 07/30/020 at 6:24 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Manzanita in Summer: Wider Beaches, Glowing Things, a Different Face of N. Oregon Coast

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – The thing about Manzanita in summer is that there are a lot of things going on. The north Oregon coast burgh, at the tail end of the Tillamook Coast, actually gets bigger when summer rolls around. That doesn’t mean in terms of popularity or population, although that’s certainly true. Its sands expand, thanks to the way calmer waves dump more sand than they take out.

There’s a whole new face to this north Oregon coast treasure, more than you likely know. A ton of new aspects arise in this longtime favorite destination.

Wider Beaches. This happens all over the coastline, even through the Washington coast. In Manzanita, the beaches are quite wide anyway, and even in many winter storms it’s okay to wander here whereas other, smaller areas are chock full of danger.

Summers in Manzanita mean an extra 100 feet or more of space, and it’s glorious. With sand levels so high, you get massive swirling patterns in the sand, often via mounds that resemble small dunes. These are especially beautiful when seen from high above, such as at the Neahkahnie viewpoint.


These also create a dangerous aspect: enormous “crab holes” as they’re sometimes called. Between each of these mounds are large spaces, and the mounds themselves can be anywhere from one foot to six feet higher than the spaces. The problem comes when these are hidden at the tideline, so that you can’t see the sudden drop in front of you. When you suddenly dip three or four feet in standing water it’s a shock to your body, and if the water is deep enough to put you or a child under, they may not come back out alive. See the video on Summer’s Hidden Danger.


On a more pleasant note, huge sand levels also create fake double tidelines, where you sometimes have a second set of breakers just a ways away from the actual breakers. That water is much warmer to wade in.

Possibilities of Glowing Sand. Little bioluminescent creatures called dinoflagellates create this amazing sight, which is definitely more prominent in summer. What you see is tiny blue, green flashes beneath your feet; shuffle your feet backwards in the wet sand near the tideline.


Phot courtesy Angelina Martin - see the video of this

Manzanita is good for this in summer because of the extended beaches and the large wet areas left behind. If you find a pool of sea water that’s been around for much of the day, stomp your foot in it. If the glowing sand critters are there you’ll see what looks like a small galaxy briefly explode beneath your feet. It’s pure ecstasy.

Nearby, at Wheeler and its docks on the Nehalem Bay, the glowing phyto’s creating another mind-blower. Stick your hand in the bay waters and they leave an eerie, blue-green wake behind you.


Full Colors of Manzanita. This is a time when all things are in full bloom, and that means extra bursts of color throughout the area. Large blobs of yellow grace the now-very dense and green beachgrass of Manzanita’s dunes. Up high, Neahkanie Mountain has a variety of shades mixed in with the thick greens of its usual foliage, making for more vibrant selfie moments with the vast sea behind you.

Wonders of Neahkahnie Mountain. On a clear day from this towering vantage point you can see all the way to Oceanside and its Three Arch Rocks, some 40 miles away. Even if things aren’t so clear, this is one jaw-dropping viewpoint. Luckily, summer provides more of these clear days than most parts of the year.


The Neahkahnie Overlooks aren’t just good for daytime viewing. Summer nights are downright ethereal here, and don’t be surprised to see more shooting stars up here than usual. Get your pro camera gear up to this spot and the star field photography possibilities are insane. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours




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