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Three Oregon Coast Beach Spots With an Astounding, Marked Difference

Published 10/16/20 at 5:24 AM PDT - Updated 10/16/20 at 6:44 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Oregon Coast Beach Spots With a Marked Difference

(Oregon Coast) – The whole of Oregon’s shoreline is known for its wild and untamed beaches, pristine beyond reproach no matter how buzzing or busy the streets just above it. Sometimes they’re almost pastoral stretches of sand; others it’s ragged and jagged, such as the myriad of spiky features or blobs around Bandon or at Florence’s Strawberry Hill. (Above: the boundary at Yachats)

In every corner of the Oregon coast, you'll find a few out of the ordinary places - beach spots that are at least a little unusual. Sometimes it's a different aspect of a beach you're well familiar with. Other times, it's a hidden thing lying - paradoxically - in plain sight, or practically so. In any case, you have to go looking a bit deeper to find them.

Inner Depoe Bay. There’s plenty that’s obvious about the craggy cliffs of Depoe Bay – and almost as much that isn’t. Upon first glimpse it’s a commercialized cluster of blocks along a rugged oceanfront, but that’s just the surface. Not far from the main viewing area along Depoe Bay's seawall, you'll find another one just below the bridge, on the seaward side of the highway.

From there, the walkway wanders beneath the bridge to the bay and the landward side of 101. This is a better option for crossing the street since 101 here is usually a madhouse of car traffic, but it's also a pleasant walk which can yield its own surprises. Every once in awhile you may catch a seal or sea lion zipping through, sometimes doing tricks for little morsels from someone cutting up the day’s catch. Or watch the vessels carefully glide in and out of the narrow passage to sea.

This area is lighted at night and can really come to life in its own way then. It takes on a wowing ethereal glow that's astounding.

There’s a whole host of secret viewpoints and minuscule parks along the waterfront, including right next to the south side of the bridge and farther north closer to Tidal Raves Restaurant. See the Depoe Bay Virtual Tour for details. Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours

Cape Lookout, Near Oceanside. There are actually three different hiking trails on this enormous headland, and gobs of incredible views along all of them. However, the main one - which winds around some five miles - is legendary for its vistas. Along the way, you'll encounter a memorial to the World War II aircraft that crashed here in the '40s.

The view pictured here is of Sand Beach, which is known as the "other Sand Dunes on the Oregon Coast," and the stretch of sand running between there and the base of Cape Lookout.

There are many such views along this route, but this spot - hidden behind a thick wall of bushes about a quarter mile down the main trail - is nothing short of breathtaking. It used to be a rather dangerous one, but in the last decade it’s become an improved and fully accessible viewpoint.

You'll find Cape Lookout just west of Tillamook, along the Three Capes Tour - and immediately south of Cape Lookout State Park. Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours

Beginning or End of the Trail at Yachats? Just beyond the city limits of Yachats, at the end of a nondescript dirt road, lies a sandy beach that is the gateway to the long stretch of basalt slabs and labyrinths that occupy Yachats' beachfront.

This is technically where the 804 Trail ends, having begun a little less than a mile away at Smelt Sands. Or is it the beginning? That all depends on how you look at it.

At this rather unknown central Oregon coast spot, it's the dividing line between the two different types of beaches, with huge, encrusted boulders and odd basalt shapes meandering in dozens of different directions at once. It almost creates a maze of an alien landscape - one that is startling and stunning at the same time. Amble up these wild, even surreal forms to encounter more oddities, such as a puzzling section of this 50-million-year-old lava field that appears to be cut into a zigzag shape. It’s uniform and a smooth break, as if somehow man-made. It’s just natural erosion, however, taking on engaging formations by coincidence.

Massive pools of green sea goo lie up here, and just beyond it there’s another mini cove of sorts. Beyond that, it’s all funky, craggy rocks and basalt ledges for over a mile until you hit some pocket beaches, and eventually Yachats Bay. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Yachats Maps and Virtual Tours

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