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Get Ready for the 'Secret Season' on Oregon Coast

Published 03/26/2018 at 4:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Get Ready for the 'Secret Season' on Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) - There's more to spring on the Oregon coast than spring break. In fact, that period after the main spring breaks - from mid April through to the end of May - is a distinctly unpopulated time with a host of interesting natural wonders that make this an unusual time of year on these beaches. It's nicknamed the “secret season,” “hidden spring” or “secret spring” – various incarnations of that - because no one ever seems to talk about it. There is a growing movement of coastal businesses that are making it a point to speak up, however.

It's filled with a lot of wild wonders. From crazed sea foam, more fascinating creatures, empty beaches to really low tides and even Orcas. (See the video below).

The Beaches Less Traveled. On top of the beautiful natural phenomena that abound this time of year, crowds are sizably less. In many beach burghs, it's almost a ghost town, especially the north Oregon coast. You can enjoy the most incredible chunks of the coastline in total solitude. You're apt to find the roads and beaches completely to yourself at times, if not fairly often. This is true even on most really nice weather weekends, where things do get a bit busier – but not much so.



Crazed Sea Foam Action. Spring storms can offer some wild, strange sights, especially when paired with the larger blooms of phytoplankton that happen this time of year. These are the microscopic creatures that whales and other fish eat in huge abundance. One kind, called diatoms, are responsible for the sea foam you see in the waves. Their millions of tiny skeletons combine with the air to make air bubbles in the breakers.

With more of them in the spring blooms, you then get a better chance of seeing sea foam pulling all sorts of strange stunts during the season's storms, like moving across the highways or even flying upwards, creating the mind-boggling sight of what looks like snow going the wrong direction. Also see Oregon Coast Spring Surprise: Now is Most Photogenic Time of Year.

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Major Minus Tides. Some of the year's lowest minus tides can happen in March, April and May, with May having a tendency to be the lowest. This allows for greater exploration of tide pools and other sights not always visible.

You'll find whole new worlds to discover on the Oregon coast, as a myriad of objects both alive and inanimate open up. It means a lot more than sea stars.

In some spots, like Oceanside on the Three Capes Tour, the landscape changes drastically in many ways at low tides. Entire new vistas of rocky marine gardens show themselves. Not to mention, you can walk around Maxwell Point to get to its other side, instead of having to go through the tunnel.

Lodging Prices Surprises. In the spring, around spring break, lodging prices start rising again after winter lows, but there's still this intermediate time where some remain at winter rates or just slightly higher. Lodging prices may even sometimes drop back down until May.

The spring lodging specials begin popping up like daisies, and that's where you can rake in the savings. Even if general rack prices don't drop back down.

Midweek savings packages are usually still around, and some inns remain 20 to 40 percent off their summer rates.


Wild Weather Mood Swings. March and April bring a crazed kind of weather, often switching back and forth abruptly between sunny and squalls within the same day, sometimes within a half hour. You get an interesting mix of increasingly nice days, with occasional winter-like storms still possible – periodically within the same day. May starts to calm down considerably, and you lose the big storms, but weather switch-a-roo's still happen quite often.

You'll want to come prepared for abrupt changes in weather, bringing along changes in clothing and jackets, in case the weather decides to turn on you. Where to stay for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

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