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N. Oregon Coast Motel A Gateway to Rockaway Beach's Secrets

Published 10/19/20 at 6:44 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast Motel A Gateway to Rockaway Beach's Secrets

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(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – There’s a lot that's obvious and out in the open about Rockaway Beach on the north Oregon coast – but there’s much that isn’t as well. Either it’s kind of hiding in plain sight and you need an expert to point it out to you, or it’s a true hidden spot in the Tillamook Coast town. (Above: Rockaway Beach's secret shipwreck).

Many of these lie on the northern end, and near that northern edge – almost halfway between the downtown center and the northern tip of Rockaway Beach - sits Tradewinds Motel. The spry, delightful dream of the Patel family, the Tradwinds is not only a lovely lodging and place to lay your head within earshot of the night’s lulling waves, it’s a quick shot to a few unknown wonders.

The Patels redid the place a couple of years ago, creating some eye-popping results. It went from a nice but average motel look to something a little sleek and futuristic, adding angular lamps that are akin to modern art, dark wood and slick white walls. All new furniture, beds, carpets, linens, curtains, along with remodeled decks came along as well, and the entire layout had old and new regulars flipping out.

Neil Patel is the main man upfront, and he easily laughs about the old look.

N. Oregon Coast Motel A Gateway to Rockaway Beach's Secrets

“Nothing matched,” Patel said with a chuckle. “Now everything is themed to the ocean. The carpets are now black-gray with a little white in there. It looks like waves you see in sand or waves in the ocean. It’s the theme of tradewinds, like they’re blowing the sand around. The carpets look like waves.”

Much of the place is oceanfront, and you’re only a few hundred feet from the tideline, as seen from the balconies or the ground floor patios. During really big winter storms, those waves reach precariously close, and indeed sometimes wallop the riprap just below the building. It’s quite a thrill ride.


Rockaway Beach is only about seven miles long, so you’re not far from any of the town’s unique aspects, hidden or not.

When winter comes, some years bring the town’s most illustrious secret: the wreck of the Emily G. Reed. This shows up a block or two south of the main beach access, when sand levels get low enough. The Reed crashed at the mouth of the Nehalem River a century ago and chunks of it washed up here, then disappeared by the ‘60s. One section of skeletal remains reappears every now and then since 2008.


Up on the northern edges of the Oregon coast town, Manhattan Beach is a bit off the beaten track and Madonna Beach – with its south jetty – even more so. The latter has safer places to climb on the jetty – way back on the eastern side of the beach. There, the waters are more the pace of the river itself. But stay away from anything near the ocean waters, where you’re really just asking to get swept away.


What’s a little strange here is all the proliferation of huge piles of driftwood, going far, far back towards the woods. There’s really only one way they can get there: waves so massive they haul these giants hundreds of feet.

It’s also possible, according to local geologist Tom Horning, that they’re getting tossed onto shore by huge waves far back in the jetty area.

Whatever’s going on here, Rockaway Beach’s south jetty is actually quite unique on the Oregon coast because of this: no other jetties seem to have quite this log action next to them.

Some rooms have a fireplace and some allow pets. There’s also a deluxe suite with a Jacuzzi. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

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