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Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.

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Oregon Travel Secrets: Nocturnal Beaches

Seaside at night provides some of the most amazing opportunities

(Oregon Coast) - The Oregon coast takes on a whole other atmosphere at night, creating an entirely different world for the tourist or traveler. Most beaches are amazing at this time and reveal interesting aspects not seen during the day, even if it is harder to see the wonders around you. Wandering these is a sublime pleasure, and some beaches have some truly distinctive qualities after dark.

But first, a bit of warning about such exploration. Some spots are better than others for walking on in the dark. Even if you're armed with a big flashlight or two, really craggy, rocky places could be a recipe for disaster for either injuring yourself or getting walloped by the tide.

So, stick to wide beaches with lots of room between you and the surf so you can keep an eye on it. Most places between Yachats and Florence - where there's a large amount of rocky structures - are pretty much a no-no, unless there's a good deal of sand between the tide and the vegetation line. Yachats' rocky slab-filled shores are definitely not a good idea after dark; they're best viewed from above.

Boiler Bay - by Depoe Bay - should never be attempted at night, no matter how much lighting you have with you.

All this doesn't mean, however, that you have to stick to well-lit beaches. In fact, some of the best for nocturnal exploring are pitch black at night. But you will want to find beaches that are accessed easily, without steep, tricky trails meandering down that could cause you to fall.

Lincoln City's ramp at NW 15th

Many spots in the Gleneden Beach and Lincoln Beach areas are easy to get into at night. Between Depoe Bay and Lincoln City is where you'll find these sandy stretches. In Gleneden Beach, the State Park access is prohibited after dusk, and it's a bit tricky at night anyway. So wander the neighborhood streets in back of Gleneden Beach Rd. and you'll find several accesses where you walk directly from concrete steps or small trails to fluffy, sandy entrances.

In Lincoln Beach, the vast majority of accesses are via the neighborhood streets. Once on the beach, the homes above provide some faint light, enough to prevent you from walking into the water blindly. The steep bluffs of coarse sands at the tide line make for some interesting wave action. The waves come in crashing loudly, then dissipate in power fast because of the incline here.

Most beaches in Lincoln City, Florence, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Gearhart, Pacific City, Oceanside, Seaside and Newport are easily accessible at night. Chunks of Newport, Lincoln City and Seaside are even quite well lit. Some are dimly lighted - or not at all - but still large enough to cause no worry about the tide. These are the distinctly magical spots, as long as you carry some small flashlight with you for safety reasons. Usually you're alone out here in the black, save for the sound of the waves. And you'll want that flashlight to get a better glimpse of some of the marvels surrounding you, and how different they look at night.

In Lincoln City, head to the NW 15th St. ramp, which has a well-lit stairway and ramp going down to the beach. You can take your car down here after dark and park on the sand - a perfect opportunity for getting hypnotized by the waves while leaning against your vehicle.

Some spots in Lincoln City are trickier than others, with numerous spots sending you down long, stone walkways. These can be treacherous if not lit well or if they're rather long. But many aren't extensive - or they're flat entranceways - and thus great for getting onto a nocturnal stretch of sand.

Tierra Del Mar - just north of Pacific City - at dusk

Manzanita's beach accesses are all very easy to crawl down, although there are some parking restrictions after 11 p.m. the closer you get to Neahkahnie Mountain. This place is especially enchanting, with part of Neahkahnie above lit up at night, looking a bit like a giant ghost hovering over the beach.

In Seaside, there's virtually no barrier to the sandy beaches of Seaside from the Promenade or the sidewalk area next to the beach on the southern side of town. Most the beaches here have playground equipment that's rather fun for goofing around on after midnight - for those adults who are kids at heart. The stony area of the cove - at the southernmost end - isn't advisable to walk around on at night, however.

If you really want to find yourself alone after dark, explore the sandy stretches of Neskowin, the areas south of Pacific City's Turnaround or the tiny town of Oceanside.

Giant nocturnal bonfire at Cannon Beach

Other wonderful, nocturnal non-sandy moments can be had by loitering on the long crabbing pier on the southern side of Newport's Yaquina Bay. With the sound of the waves in the distance and the lights reflected on the water, it's unforgettable. At Depoe Bay, wander the lookouts along the seawall or above the channel. It's well lit enough so you can see the waves pounding the rocks below.

Once you get onto the beach at night, you'll find yourself mesmerized by the tides in this situation. Creating a bonfire (in areas where it's permitted) with some friends can be a remarkable experience. Wade in the midst of the breakers and feel that rush of seeing waves appear out of the darkness and head for you. Or simply wander the beach and the tideline and see a different world, full of all sorts of atmosphere and mystery you can't find during the day.


Memorable Neighborhood Tours of the Oregon Coast Sometimes, there's more to the beach than the shoreline

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Ghostly Tourism on Oregon’s Coast Hunting tales of ghosts is another fun pasttime on the coast

Hiking It and Roughing It on Oregon’s Coast A look at trails and rugged campgrounds

Some Oregon Spots Are Hidden; Some Have Secrets A tour of unusual details from Manzanita to Florence

Geologic Wonders of Oregon Beaches Make Freaky History Lesson Beneath the sands and deep inside the cliffs, there's more to the coast




STARFISH POINT is located on the Central Oregon Coast - in Newport - and offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. At Starfish Point, every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All of the units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks - surrounding you in soothing relaxation. We have a friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com


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In Awe of AstoriaASTORIA
Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
Serenity in SeasideSEASIDE
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
Cavort in Cannon BeachCANNON BEACH
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Annihilating  Beauty of Nehalem BayNEHALEM BAY
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Time Trip Around Tillamook BayTILLAMOOK BAY
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
Triple the Pleasure in 3 CapesTHREE CAPES LOOP
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
Divine Depoe BayDEPOE BAY
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Nature in NewportNEWPORT
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Staggering Seal RockWALDPORT / SEAL ROCK
Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks
Aargh, there's no alliteration with Yachats - but it IS unbelievableYACHATS
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Unsurpassable Upper LaneUPPER LANE COUNTY
25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Fine Times in FlorenceFLORENCE
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes




THE TIDES BY THE SEA For over 80 years, The Tides has been a favorite of Seaside visitors. There's a sense of history as well as modern luxury here, with the ancient-looking stone walls and pillars out front practically screaming to tell tales of the generations of visitors that have stayed here. These 51 oceanfront condos come in various incarnations and are individually owned and decorated. Find suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bedroom family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. There are wonderful oceanview cottages that sleep anywhere from two to eight people, with two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens.
Meanwhile, the heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds with picnic tables and location at the quiet southern end of Seaside make for some memorable means of play and repose. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.