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Teeny, Tiny Oceanside a Multi-Layered Oregon Coast Experience

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By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Teeny, Tiny Oceanside a Multi-Layered Oregon Coast Experience

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(Oceanside, Oregon) – Sometimes it seems if you try to get lost on this part of the Oregon coast, you’ll find it faster. The tiny town of Oceanside, along Tillamook County’s Three Capes Route, lies some nine miles west of Tillamook. As minuscule as it is, it’s probably one of the coast’s biggest wonders.

Then again, getting lost while by hanging out here is the point.

So much is crammed into this little town and the couple of miles around it, you could never touch it all in one day. Sure, there’s the beach, slightly shielded from winds by Maxwell Point, and that engaging tunnel going through it. Then there’s that other side, called either Tunnel Beach or Star Trek Beach – whichever you prefer – a secretive and wondrous place filled with strange rock slabs and agate-combing possibilities.

However, there’s the drive up through the hills, the nearby adventuring of Cape Meares, the eye-popping splendor of a secret beach right next to it, the off-the-beaten-path wonders of the stretch towards Netarts, and even more. Besides that, there’s not much to Oceanside: one or two restaurants, a smattering of places to stay, and a part time coffee spot. No gas pumps. No groceries. Just layers and layers of natural surprises – and a few manmade ones.


The main tract of beach is the big attraction: where Maxwell Point meets the sea. This is a stretch with some wild mood swings, according to season. In winter, it can be exceedingly dangerous with tides treading too close to the cliff for comfort (yet too many dare the angry ocean anyway – dumb). That cajoling tunnel is a no-no when it rains a lot: loose rocks tend to fall from the top. Yet in summer, when sand levels get high enough, you don’t need the tunnel. Massive sand bars where the tideline used to be keep the ocean at bay, creating lots of open space around the point.

Fairly often, that is. The tide can still come in and nab you, so watch it closely.


On dreary, wet days, bag the beach and stick to your car. The drive up through the tiny streets won’t disappoint. There are jealousy-inducing mansion-like homes to architectural curiosities of varying shapes. And sometimes colors are amazing as well. Drive up the mountain road far enough and you may discover the wild clifftop that hovers over everything, where you’re actually looking down on Three Arch Rocks.


Right next to Oceanside, along the road that runs in back of it all, you may bump into Short Beach. This now features the “stairway of a thousand steps” zig-zagging its way down to this somewhat secret strand. Until a decade ago it was a steep, slippery, muddy cliffside that allowed access, but too many visitors wound up going to the emergency room, so locals created the stairway.

Down here, you’ll find a funky little half-cove beach, with a giant blob at one end and a couple of wild waterfalls in other sections.



A half mile up the road there’s Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, which is a day of exploration all its own. Take in the untamed hiking trails, views of Lost Boy Beach below, the ancient lighthouse – and the trippy Octopus Tree.


More discoveries sit at the southern end of Oceanside: the mile or so walk along the water-dripping cliffs towards Netarts provides a distinctive and tranquil experience, far from most other souls.

More on Oceanside at the Three Capes Virtual Tour. Hotels in Oceanside - Where to eat - Oceanside Maps and Virtual Tours



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