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Video: Walking Oceanside, Oregon Coast and Its Magic Rocks Sounds

Published 02/07/2018 at 3:05 PM PDT - Updated 02/07/2018 at 3:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oceanside, Oregon) - Sometimes it's called Tunnel Beach, but in recent years it's been increasingly referred to as Star Trek Beach. Whatever the name, the secluded and sequestered beach just beyond the tunnel at Oceanside is an ever-engaging wonder, with a variety of craggy shapes and structures that are surreal, strange and yet jaw-droppingly beautiful. These intricate oddities have helped give this hidden Oregon coast gem the Star Trek moniker.

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You'll find some small caves here and one large one, and a kind of ramp-like feature or two made of the once-fiery basalt that comprises everything you see here but the sand. One of this place's distinct marvels is the famed “magic rocks” sound, which happens because of the large cobblestones lying in the sand getting knocked together by the tides, creating a rattling or click-clacking sound.

The origin of the "magic rocks" idea comes from the nickname given to the beach at Falcon Cove further up the north Oregon coast, near Manzanita. Locals there call it Magic Rocks Beach because it's mostly comprised of giant layers of these polished cobblestones, and winter's larger tides hit it more often and harder, making quite the ruckus.

A small handful of places along the Oregon coast are capable of this trippy little noise, and Oceanside is definitely not the loudest of them. In fact, you can barely hear it all in this video. You actually see more of another of the tiny town's big attractions: agates. Winter sand levels reveal a lot here.

The only other major rattler on the coast is the village of Cape Meares, just around the corner from Oceanside (but because of an indefinite road closure you have to trek back towards Tillamook and then take another side trip to Bayocean Road, making it more then a ten-mile drive instead of the three minutes it would take without the blockage).

You have to be extremely careful in this cloistered section of Oceanside, however. Tidal conditions in winter are not always conducive to playing around this pleasure-filled beach. It's a thin stretch of strand where there's little room to run should you need to. Stay away if there's not a good 100 feet between the regular tide line and the cliff walls.

In the video, you see brief glimpses of the structures that have helped give it the sci-fi nickname. The origin of the Star Trek Beach name comes from the '90s actually, back when one of those pointy sea stacks in the cluster you see to the north was still an arch. It resembled the time portal in the original series' “City on the Edge of Forever” episode. That, and some early internet tourism pioneers noticed some of the rock structures were somewhat reminiscent of the jagged shaped feature that was centerpiece in that episode where Kirk fought the Gorn. The term simply gained steam on the internet. Pacific City Hotels, Lodging in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

Other features to keep an eye out here are of course the dark, jagged tunnel that gains access in the first place, which is a tad jarring to walk through, providing a thrill not unlike a haunted house at Halloween. Carry a flashlight for safety. The giant cave at the northern edge is a delight as well.

Even better: summer's high sand levels often push the tide far back and you can access the cove without the tunnel. It's then that you see a myriad of impressive sights you can't see any other way.


Oceanside during a high sand level event that pushes the tides far out.


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