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Oregon's North Coast and Its Varied, Layered Spring Break Experience

Published 3/10/24 at 5:45 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon's North Coast and Its Varied, Layered Spring Break Experience

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Be you a family or be you a collegiate, spring break will undoubtedly call you to Oregon's coastline.

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In Seaside:
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Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

On the Oregon coast's upper third – what is known as the north Oregon coast – it's the big hotspot for spring breakers. It's the magnet for getting away for both the kiddies and those early 20-somethings who want a bit of something different for a party. That stretch begins with a bang at Astoria and ends with a soft whisper at calming Neskowin, with everything in between creating some unique option for recreation and repose.

The spotlight is always on Seaside and Cannon Beach it seems – and for good reason. But there are more options in that region.

In Seaside, the big attractions are the Promenade, the beaches and the shops along Broadway (and of course the Seaside Aquarium). Together, the three form this unique, multi-sided identity that is Seaside's: part historical nugget, part natural wonder and part sometimes-kooky playground. This is, after all, the only Oregon coast town that had a giant Ferris wheel for years.

The Promenade is a nostalgic stretch of Americana, a mile and a half of quaint charm that whispers tales of yesteryear to those who wander this scenic, antique walkway. The heart of Oregon coast family entertainment beats along Broadway, where a kaleidoscope of kiddie rides, eclectic shops, inviting eateries, and often kooky bars await.

The beaches run a few miles from the "cove" end at the south, just below Tillamook Head, to the mouth of the Necanicum River to the north. From its southern end, things go from a rickety, cobblestone-covered beach to softer sands, becoming dunes at the northern end of town, until it all dumps you off into an estuary and the river. Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours

The beaches run a few miles from the "cove" end at the south, just below Tillamook Head, to the mouth of the Necanicum River to the north. From its southern end, things go from a rickety, cobblestone-covered beach to softer sands, becoming dunes at the northern end of town, until it all dumps you off into an estuary and the river. Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours

In Cannon Beach, this arty resort town is smothered in cedar siding and boasts a plethora of upscale hotels, eateries, galleries and shops. On its north end, Ecola State Park contains such natural jaw-droppers as the cozy crescent of Indian Beach, jaw-dropping views of mysterious Tillamook Head Lighthouse looming offshore, and the cliffs overlooking the town to the south.

On the beach, Haystack Rock is of course the most prominent feature, but head to the town's extreme southern or northern ends and you'll find things less dense in population and containing a few funky geologic wonders. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Astoria

At the very tippy-top of the state, this ancient town veers inland away from the beach, and for the college-age types provides a sometimes hilarious but certainly unique bar scene. For those with kiddies, they'll never tire of wowing, nearby attractions like the Wreck of the Peter Iredale or the old castle-like Fort Stevens. Hotels in Astoria - Where to eat - Astoria Maps and Virtual Tours

Manzanita


So much beach, so little time. However, the very literal pinnacle of this north Oregon coast gem is the three-mile roundtrip trail to the 1600-ft. top of Neahkahnie Mountain. That and the Neahkahnie Overlooks are some of the most dramatic in the state. They can't be beat either for incredible views. You can see the Pacific, Neahkahnie Bay and Manzanita in all their glory.

The Neahkahnie trailhead lies off a gravel road marked by signs on Highway 101. The access road lies about a mile north of Manzanita, and the trailhead is marked by a gray post. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours

Rockaway Beach

Like Lincoln City, there's seven miles of pristine beach alongside this pleasant place. That's about the gist of it: lots of sand. At the northern tip of Rockaway Beach, the south jetty of Nehalem Bay helps create a tidal situation that brings in enormous amounts of driftwood, the heaviest inundation of the stuff outside of Lincoln City's Siletz Bay. As you get towards the southern edges, you can get awfully close to Twin Rocks and see how it changes shape as you head this direction. Hotels in Rockaway Beach - Where to eat - Rockaway Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Three Capes Loop


Cape Meares

They say good things come in pairs, but in this case it's three's: well, more like dozens. In this 17-mile (or so) stretch there's three massive and diverse capes jutting out into the ocean, one lighthouse, a handful of quaint little burghs and much more than you could do in one day.

Oceanside is a sleepy, tiny village with a giant hole in it: there's an intriguing tunnel going through Maxwell Point. Nearby Cape Meares hosts the stumpy lighthouse and the freaky Octopus Tree with its candelabra shape. Netarts gets you into the bay for all sorts of water action, including clamming. Pacific City at the southern opening of the tour is a charmer that includes not only Cape Kiwanda but the secretive wonders of McPhillips Beach just beyond the outcropping. Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours

Teensy Neskowin with its ethereal vibe sits at the very bottom of Tillamook County and what is considered the north coast.



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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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