Oregon Coast Archives: Run Towards the Heat on the Coast
(Oregon Coast - originally from summer 2006) - Now is the time when the Oregon coast is at its warmest. Now is the most inviting time of the year along these shores, in fact. With less winds, warmer temperatures, more sun, less crowds and lowering lodging prices, you have a time that is exceptional and filled with incredible wonders. Above: Cooling off in Depoe Bay
Usually, this lasts until the middle of October. It’s nicknamed the “second summer” on Oregon’s coast – or the “other summer.” In either case, it means you’re in for more fun and more pleasures right about now than you may know what to do with.
It's time to run towards the sun on the coast, instead of simply hiding in the valley. Consequently, here's a list of places and beaches perfect for fun in the sun.
Nye Beach, it seems, was known as the ``honeymoon capitol'' of the world in the teens and `20s. (This is back when Nye Beach was a separate resort town, complete with a natatorium and connected to Newport - what is now the bayfront - by only a primitive road made of planks and mud.)
It still has many romantic qualities today, partly due to the charming turnaround. And the area between Jump-Off Joe and Agate Beach is usually fairly deserted, making for some great walking hand-in-hand opportunities.
It's another marvelous step back in time, except here the atmosphere is as much from Old Europe as it is America 100 years ago. Tiny, even miniscule streets snake their way gracefully between the larger roads and over steep hills, giving way to architecture that is reminiscent of old England as well as the time when Nye Beach was its own bustling resort community.
Especially fascinating in this area is the story of a rock structure called Jump-Off Joe, once situated at Nye Beach, south of 11th St. The original Joe crumbled under the weight of the changing tides by the `40s (pictured at left), and another subsequent rock structure took on the name (at right). The new Jump-Off Joe - at the bottom of 11th - is quickly crumbling too, and it won't be long before it no longer exists.
You can still access the uppermost ledge of Jump-Off Joe and walk about 40 feet above the beach, (which provides a wonderfully romantic spot to cuddle, especially at night.) To access it, take 11th street until it dead ends in the parking lot above Joe. From there, you can walk through the rather ominous-looking remnants of a condominium's foundation to get to the top of Joe.
The Sands – and Mountain – of Manzanita
This tiny town on the North Coast is an engaging one, with loads of surprises lurking in its various corners. Ancient legends of crashed sailing ships and rumors of hidden treasure mix with murky fir trees, a somewhat hip, almost urban sense of architectural aesthetics and a backwoodsy sense of sorts, making this burgh a place you don't want to leave. Hit the beach to find yourself beneath the awe-inspiring gaze of Neahkahnie Mountain, and explore miles and miles of pristine sand that end up at the extraordinary wildlife watching opportunities of the Nehalem Bay Spit. These sands are nothing short of inviting.
Or go on a sizable hike, and wander some 1600 feet up the trail from 101 to the top of Neahkahnie to catch some unforgettable views.
Between Yachats and Florence
Cool off on some of the coast's most amazing stretches of sand, almost always devoid of crowds and often sparsely populated at best. Check out Ocean Beach Picnic Area and the beach just on the other side of the headland, Rock Creek Campground and Roosevelt Beach - where there's an almost mirror image of the rock structure and cave on both sides.
Or for a real spectacular beach romp full of wonders, hop around the unmarked beach access and parking lot just north of Neptune State Park (just immediately south of the Lane and Lincoln County line). There, hit the small beach for some relaxing in the sand, or wander up on the rocky area jutting into the ocean to watch the tide slam logs around at high tide, check out tide pools, or gawk at the tidal action in the giant crevices here. There's a small footpath on the bluffs above where you can spot the remnants of Native American shell middens.
Between Oceanside and Cape Meares, right along the Three Capes Tour, you'll bump into this stunning hidden spot.
Short Beach (which once boasted an actual radar station) is chock full of scenic yumminess, starting with the large, bulbous rock structure plopped at the tide line, sporting a small patch of trees on top. You can't climb the structure, except perhaps at its base at low tide, but it is a beauty.
On one end of the cove, the weird rock structures near Oceanside poke out from behind the cliff. At the other end sits the Cape Meares lighthouse. There, a massive waterfall sometimes spills gently into the ocean - just out of reach of the beach, and there's a rocky cove within this cove, also unreachable.
Access to this spot recently became really, really easy. Once, it was a steep and slippery slope that resulted in lots of injuries. Now, local volunteers have banded together to create a gorgeous meandering stairway.
It's a long stretch of town that has a rustic, rugged and slightly Victorian vibe in many spots. Many of the homes here look like they were built back in the late 1900's when the town was a resort bustling with wealthy and middle class Portlanders. But these have often been gussied up in interesting colors or decorated with wacky sea flotsam.
Rockaway tries to be commercial and touristy, but it doesn't always succeed - thankfully. It still retains a sleepy, rugged quality in spite of the copious lodging and a few oddball, curio shops. The main attraction is still the beach, with about seven miles of it in either direction.
The most recognizable landmark on 101 is the main park and access, with the big red caboose catching the eye This now houses the town's visitor center. The parking lot also has restrooms and a viewing area. During the summer, this beach has a giant volleyball net set up. There are also a myriad of stores nearby.
The other big landmark isn't on land at all. Rockaway is famous for the Twin Rocks - the double rock arches laying just a ways offshore. You check these out with pay binoculars from this main wayside.
Behind Rockaway's downtown, on the roads closest to the beach, there are numerous cabins for rent.
Other highlights in the town include Manhattan Beach, at its very northern end. If you're heading south out of Wheeler, you can recognize it as the first beach access you see as the beach re-emerges from behind the trees of the bay and the road begins to descend.
There's parking here, and over a large dune you'll find a log-covered beach that soon gives way to enormous amounts of sand. And not far from there, the north jetty of Nehalem Bay is accessible, where you can crawl up the huge boulders and amble around for a while, catching glimpses of the sea making its way into Nehalem Bay.
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