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Right Times and Right Places at Rockaway Beach Tell a Deeper Oregon Coast Tale, Video

Published 03/05/23 at 5:43 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Right Times and Right Places at Rockaway Beach Tell a Deeper Oregon Coast Story, Video

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(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) - Along Oregon's north coast, between Tillamook Bay and at the southern of Nehalem Bay, Rockaway Beach is seven miles of pristine sands and often unique skylines. The place is always photogenic, it seems, and if you hang around for the right moments you'll snag a snap that can bring up a lot of questions. These moments can have their tales to tell. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

No matter the weather, no matter the time of year, and certainly even at night: the little town has some striking sides that aren't always a matter of where but when. You just have to know how to suss out the right moments.

Spring brings new colors to the coastline, especially starting just after the spring break weeks as you head into April and May. The humid, even drenched atmosphere of springtime offshore produces a variety of pastels you don't really see other times of the year.


Case in point: this snap from Rockaway Beach one late May (and at top). There's a whole science story behind this: how big, fat puffy clouds of spring rainstorms intermix with openings between those layers of clouds, causing the light rays to bounce off these sky monsters, creating these delicate hues.


The way clouds move has always been a fascinating sight. Gazing up in the sky and really paying attention to them often yields much more than shapes of animals or other things you might see in them. Along the Oregon coast, you'll notice they move much quicker than inland. Winds out here do a lot more than batter you about on the beach.

There's something about their size – when you hone in on that – that's a tad overwhelming. You feel a kind of intimidation at times when you look into them, as if they're so big they may swallow you.


All this action is also true at night. Utilizing a moving gif, you see Rockaway Beach's signature centerpiece, Twin Rocks, as clouds move above it. Light sources produce different tinges as clouds race along, shifting the atmosphere between the camera and clouds in ways you can't understand without a lengthy chat with a meteorologist.

Dusk during winter also makes for new colors, especially if there's low-laying clouds around, hinting at becoming fog. This shot, taken from around the south jetty, would be about blue hour, if the chilly almost-fog wasn't there. But because of all the extra layers, the sunlight gets a deep purple cast at the end of the day. Rockaway Beach's lights twinkle in the distance.

A not-so-well-known fact about this part of the north Oregon coast is that Manzanita, just north of town, is a kind of “banana belt” of the north coast. Read the full explanation at the link, but the short story is that Neahkahnie Mountain and Cape Falcon keep that area sheltered a bit from full marine layers and clouds. Thus, you'll fairly often see the skyline with diagonal clouds, meeting the shoreline again right here in Rockaway Beach.

You'll want to check out Manzanita Is Indeed 'Banana Belt' of N. Oregon Coast - Science Behind It


Sometimes you'll be privy to rather extraordinary cloud formations just above Neahhkahnie, like this grouping of shapes that looks like layers of clouds piled onto each other. They appear a little angry, or at least swollen with a downpour of rain.

There are days when conditions are so lovely here that even the rip rap looks pretty.


Lake Lytle is a pristine place. Often, it's completely still, allowing mesmerizing reflections from the sky.

In this video, aside from fun science of the area, you see more of those intense, spring pastels.

Then there's storm season along the north Oregon coast, which can produce mammoth waves out there. Twin Rocks can withstand it though, as it's done for millions of years (see the geology of Twin Rocks and its origin story). The ancient structure gives those waves something to make a dramatic scene with.


On clear nights, beaches of the Oregon coast and Washington coast are downright magical. Stars are abundant and thick. Using a long exposure, here you find a better view of Twin Rocks, and the stars above get recorded in their movement down towards the ocean.

Hotels in Rockaway Beach - Where to eat - Rockaway Beach 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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