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Pacific City's More Shy Sides, Where Oregon Coast Nature Still Rules

Published 03/09/23 at 5:43 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Pacific City's More Shy Sides, Where Oregon Coast Nature Still Rules

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(Pacific City, Oregon) – Since about the late '90s, the north Oregon coast haven of Pacific City has undergone a raging growth spurt, certainly in the world of tourism where it's become Oregon's least kept secret. The tiny town gets pretty crowded on even a relatively mellow day. Pacific City has literally grown so much it's maxed out the land use boundaries: it's got nowhere to go with new homes, and the remaining beautiful, surrounding land has been saved for natural use and for future generations. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Above: the pristine parts of McPhillips Beach)

See Pacific City Almost Had a Nuclear Power Plant.

Ironically, that makes it only more attractive to those looking to visit the area. Like the new Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, which is miles of clandestine beach hiking. But that takes some intense walking to get to.

So where to go to get away from the crowds without a major hike? Oh, there are still ways. Here's two examples: one just north of famed Cape Kiwanda and the other a tad south of Pacific City.

About a mile north of Cape Kiwanda there's a beach that's still somewhat clandestine: called McPhillips Beach (it's actually named after the guy who sold this land to the state, keeping it from getting cursed with a nuclear power plant).

Look for an unmarked road on the west side of the highway, and at the bottom you'll find a fairly untouched section of beach with interesting views of the other side of Cape Kiwanda. Well, maybe not so untouched: driving is allowed there, but in recent years some of that driveable area shrank.

This makes it even more of an north Oregon coast gem.

Here, a host of blackened rocks jut upwards from the sand, looking a bit like the charred ruins of some Roman column-like structure. They cap a small headland at McPhillips, which protrudes from the vegetation line, creating awesome shelter from the wind.

Continue walking north – almost a mile – and you'll encounter that mysterious northern tip of Cape Kiwanda, arguably one of the most strangely beautiful places along the entire Oregon coast. A kind of oceanic canyon suddenly opens up there, where you can watch waves careen and bounce between the weirdly-shaped semi-spires of sandstone.

Heading the other direction, towards Neskowin and Lincoln City, a truly secret spot hides behind rolling hills that look out towards the Pacific.

About two miles south of the Highway 101/Pacific City junction, you'll find a true clandestine gem in the form of Winema Beach. It's an intriguing mixture of a rock climber's paradise and a playground of endless sand.

On Highway 101, between MP 94 and Oretown, Winema Road sits inconspicuously on the west side. If you blink, you'll miss it. Once there, you'll find all sorts of oddities in the cliffs - most notably the giant rock structure plopped in the middle of the tideline. It too is perfect for climbing, with a tiny patch of grass welcoming you at its top.

Head another mile or so north along this beach and you'll reach some very secretive areas of the Nestucca Bay. More on the areas north of Pacific City at Hotels in Pacific City - Where to eat - Pacific City Maps and Virtual Tours. More on Winema Beach at Hotels in Lincoln City - Where to eat - Lincoln City Maps and Virtual Tours.




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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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