180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Seaside Attraction Digs Deep Into Tales
of North Oregon Coast
Oregon) – At the northern edge of Seaside,
in an unassuming brown building, there’s a gateway to a massive
array of discoveries about the Oregon coast. All kinds of amazing facts
about its natural history lie inside, such as geology, animals, trees
and foliage – basically why you see what you see as you wander the
beaches or play in the forests.
If OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) was located
on the coast, it might be a bit like this.
“It’s a clearing house for the natural history
of the region,” said Seaside geologist Tom Horning, who helps run
what is called the
Coastal Natural History Center, which also goes by the name of Gateway
To Discovery. It’s crammed with stuff on the natural sciences
of the area, a place where tourists can stop briefly to find out the secrets
of the north Oregon coast, how and why things look as they do, and how
to really appreciate the natural surroundings they’ve just driven
tens or hundreds of miles to see.
|Sunset from the deck of the Coastal Natural History Center
“We want to make them aware of what they’re
recreating in, and then go and play in it,” Horning said. “The
real value of learning is in the experience of it. Tourists like the outdoors.
That’s what they’re here for. We’ll show them what they
can find out there, or maybe take them out to see it. Then when they’re
done here, they go out and do what tourists do. But they have a greater
understanding of it and a greater appreciation.”
INTO LUXURY, HISTORY AT THE TIDES
TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside
visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated.
Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes,
one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining
rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two
bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor
pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern
end of Seaside. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.
The Coastal Natural History Center has a myriad of displays
about nature and geology, showing you a multitude of fascinating things
about the beaches, wetlands, hiking paths, forests, marine gardens and
all the animals and fish you’ll find there. It sits right on the
Necanicum Estuary, which in itself yields some amazing nature moments,
when one kind of beastie or another wanders by. There’s a deck here
that’s used for showing the public natural goodies firsthand, or
in the warmer, drier months they’ll give talks here on a variety
Horning, who is also president of the Seaside Native American
Project, said the center also concentrates on the history of the native
tribes here as well as the natural history. He says these are all connected.
“The natives and their culture across the continent
always reflected the environment they lived in,” Horning said. “Unlike
the white people, who imposed their presence on the land, the natives
lived within their landscape. So the center not only covers the natural
aspects but the Native American history. Basically, it covers everything
but the Euro-American culture. Everyone else does that already.”
One of the big points the center tries to get across is
how interconnected the entire environment is, especially in the coastal
region. Displays and exhibits explain much about the fish, birds, plant
life and geology of the area. But it shows how closely related all these
facets are to each other, and to the forests, its watersheds and the animal
life that’s just a ways inland.
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Horning gets excited as he talks on this subject. He points
to the fish that swim upstream from the ocean. They in turn are eaten
by the coyotes or bears. These animals then fertilize the land with their
feces after these meals, as well as by dragging fish carcasses onto the
land. This allows for the continuation of plant life, which in turn feeds
many of the species the animals feed on. It’s a circle of life that’s
incredibly intertwined with the ocean and the land.
There are microscopes plugged into television monitors
which allow visitors to look at rocks, shells, plants and other objects
very closely. A glass display case shows what various fish inhabit the
near shore ocean and the coastal rivers. Another case shows off a myriad
of objects found at local digs, with replicas of native artifacts thousands
of years old. At the other end of the spectrum, a telescope is sometimes
used to spot the creatures which wander around the estuary, in the distance,
like elk, birds, otters, etc.
deck often serves that purpose, as well as for hosting lectures on things
like lighthouses or other natural aspects of the area. These happen during
the spring and summer months and are usually free.
This building hosts a large replica of an Indian longhouse
– a structure that was rescued from certain destruction after it
was used in a Lewis & Clark bicentennial in St. Louis.
The native history is so intertwined with the natural history
of the area it cannot be ignored, Horning said. This aspect of Seaside
yields yet more unbelievable surprises.
“Did you know Seaside has more archeological sites
than anywhere on the West Coast?” he asks. “They are hidden
below the ground all over Seaside, and they’re in danger.”
A small walking path wanders off into the forest, which
center personnel sometimes use for giving small walking tours. Then, Horning
points to a bit of forestland in the distance and notes a major archeological
site was discovered there in the 90’s – a village some 2,000
Then there’s the whole world of geological aspects
of Seaside – a mind-blowing trip through time that really gets Horning
excited. After all, Horning can recount with a sort of haunted glee how
he lived through the 1964 tsunami that slammed through Seaside, back when
he was in fourth grade.
|Oceanfront building at The Tides, 2006: lots of beach exists here
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones with data ports. Oceanfronts all have a queen
bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a
private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed
for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on
a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen,
double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many
as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings,
some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites.
Some rooms are pet friendly.523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach.
(503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com
An enormous aerial photograph of Seaside tells about a
whole other side to Seaside. Horning points out that a tsunami and other
natural catastrophes have seriously changed the landscape here in just
the last one hundred years. The mouth of the Necanicum River, which now
sits nearly a half-mile north of the end of the Promenade, was actually
right about where the Seaside Aquarium is now, back before the tsunami
of 1700. Horning uses the photograph to point out these facts and other
“A huge landslide in 1987 added about 100 yards to
the southern end of Seaside, where the cove is now,” Horning said.
He explains that Tillamook Head sometimes drops tons and
tons of rocky material into the sea, which periodically changes the landscape.
Boulders and rocks from this particular landslide slowly filled in the
cove area, extending one part out hundreds of feet. A new spit was formed
by the rocks for a while, which locals used with glee to catch loads of
fish. Fairly quickly, that space between the spit and the land filled
in, creating an enormous dead tide pool for a few months. Eventually,
sand and rocks filled all that in, as well as down the beach. The entire
southern end of Seaside's beaches became wider after that.
Horning points to the building at the cove that is the
beachfront section of The Tides by the Sea hotel. “Back when they
first built this, the sea practically came right up to the building,”
Horning said. “They had boulders and rip rap there to keep it away.
After 1987, 100 yards of beach was created in front of that area.”
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and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
This small center of science has some big
plans. It is run by three nonprofit partnerships: the North Coast Land
Conservancy, the Seaside Native American Project (of which Horning is
the president), the Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribe and the Seaside
History Museum. The five entities hope to expand the building someday
and along with the city of Seaside, create a bigger park out of neighboring
land. Horning said they’re also hoping the Gateway To Discovery
center will become the big tsunami education outreach for the area.
hope to grow and become a major element in the north coast's outdoor focus
and community resource for citizens and education,” Horning said.
“With a regional National Heritage Site designation for the area
near the mouth of Columbia River hopefully coming up soon, this kind of
center will fit perfectly and naturally with everyone else in the region.”
Horning again points to how everything is interconnected,
and how there is not only a coming together of the various science disciplines,
but of various civic and governmental agencies as well – all pointing
to a more interesting future for this center and the public’s ability
to enjoy what it has to offer.
“It used to be, long before geology, geology,
weather, etc., became separate science disciplines, natural history was
the subject taught to students,” Horning said. “We need to
get back to that. Our focus at the center tries to reunify all these topics,
including Native American culture and history. Landscape culture and science
for the masses is our goal.”
Aerial photographs courtesy Seaside Helicopiters.
Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked
cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and
up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River.
Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and
balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players;
movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa,
and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four
to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial
occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com.
171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood
burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive
book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet
breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies.
888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
City Vacation Homes
There’s something for everyone
among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller homes with a view
to a large house that sleeps 15. All the homes are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away from the sand – all with a low
bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area;
one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies,
depending on the home: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers,
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a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments.
Pets are allowed in some homes – ask ahead. Each comes with
complete kitchens so you’ll have a home away from home.
Most have the seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85
to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. Lincoln City’s only resort
hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled
against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine
in the penthouse restaurant and bar - for a casual meal or a candlelight
dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other
Northwest favorites, including a decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range
from bedrooms to studios to one-bedroom suites with microwaves and
refrigerators to full kitchens. Hotel include wi-fi, spa, saunas,
exercise room and a year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love
the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting
rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive, gorgeous wedding
possibilities. 4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127
or 541-996-2161. www.spanishhead.com
for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The
little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they
run across your feet
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Up for Summer Camping on Oregon's Coast There are
dozens of campsites, providing exceptional opportunities for beachcombing
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConection.net's 800 pages
Coast Real Estate
TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
Where the Columbia
meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of
atmosphere & history
Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
of the rugged & upscale
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes
CLIFFTOP IN NEWPORT
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Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family
vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with
over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection
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Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.