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What To Expect For This Oregon Coast Spring Break

Published 03/10/21 at 6:40 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

What To Expect For This Oregon Coast Spring Break

(Oregon Coast) – Spring break on the Oregon coast will look markedly different than before in some places and in others less so. It’s not going to be a completely normal vacation week on the beaches, and not just because of things like masks and cleaning protocols. Schools are still in a state of flux, and thus for many spring break will be no different than this last year, which may cause many not to bother with spring break.

At least we have one this time around.

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Last year, we did not have a spring break here in Oregon. At least not a real one. Emergency quarantine measures went into effect right around 2020’s spring break, which included shutting down schools and most types of businesses. When everyone decided this was a good time to head to the Oregon coast – and “everyone” is meant quite literally – smaller coastal towns panicked over the insane flood of visitors and the high likelihood of spreading the disease.

State and local officials shut down spring break and recreational travel.

This year, other factors may make spring break to be less of an outburst, such as the fact attention to the region is more spread out this year. Coastal lodgings are reporting somewhat substantial upticks in occupancy rates for the fall and winter because of telecommuting and in-home learning.

Yet according to tourism managers in various coastal regions – including Tillamook County, Bandon, Coos Bay and Lincoln City – hotel rooms are filling up quickly.

What’s also quite different this year is the risk level in each county, which directly affects what is open and what is not.

Yet the beaches are still the big attraction, and they are all wide open. Almost all parks are open as well.

There’s also a wide range of predictions for what you can expect this spring break.

“Tillamook County is in Low Risk category, our hotels and vacation rentals are booked for March, and most of our restaurants are offering in-house dining,” said Nan Devlin, director of Tillamook Coast. “With that being said, schools are reopening April 7 so it could be that families will see this as a chance to get away now, and not again until Memorial Day weekend.”

Devlin and the Lincoln City Visitors Bureau’s Scott Humpert said weather will determine a lot.

“We’re expecting a busy Spring Break in Lincoln City,” Humpert said. “That said, weather is always a contributing factor, especially for day trippers. Despite restrictions, we experienced a busy summer, and in recent months, occupancy has been up 10-20% compared to this time last year.”

Humpert added there’s still that sense of visitors feeling “pent-up” and anxious to go somewhere that drives people out to the coast. In fact, the bureau has paused most advertising and invitational messaging because it's not lacking in visitors.

“Lincoln County is in the ‘Lower Risk’ category making us a perceived safe destination along with more amenities able to reopen,” he said. “Schools in Lincoln County have moved to hybrid like others across the state. Regardless of in-person instruction or distance learning, I believe schools are all taking time off for Spring Break, allowing the ability for families to travel. Another factor for us has been the fact that while distance learning and remote work opportunities are in play, there is a segment of the population that are doing so from second homes, vacation rentals and the like, which has probably helped push occupancy levels to some extent.”

On the southern Oregon coast, Coos County and Douglas County – which include Bandon, Coos Bay and Winchester Bay – are still at the severe risk category. Tents are still the only way to eat “inside” a restaurant there.

Even so, in Bandon they’re bracing for a busy spring season, according to the visitors center’s Margaret Pounder.

“We did a check-in with lodging last week - all seem to be either full or filling nicely,” she said. “With projected all take-out dining, which is making our dining limited, it could be interesting in Bandon. Our wind (and probable rain) will definitely keep tents as a not great alternative, so we will certainly see how it all rolls out.”

In the Coos Bay / North Bend / Charleston area, the visitors center’s Janice Langlinais said Coos County will be in the extreme risk category through spring break, so she’s published a guide to navigating the culinary delights of the area right now.

“I expect the state park and county park will be full,” Langlinais said. “My properties within city limits of North Bend and Coos Bay are not filling up yet, but I expect we’re a bit early still. Bandon usually fills up before we do, though.”

In Lincoln City, one big event has gleefully returned: the Festival of Illusions. The mix of magic and comedy happens at the Lincoln City Cultural Center from March 19 through the 28th.

What To Look Out For

Lodging: Make sure you to make your reservations well ahead of time. Things could change abruptly this year and you may find yourself without a room if you come out last minute. Find north Oregon coast hotels for spring break here – south coast hotels here.

Attractions: Almost all history museums are closed. Among those open, however, include some in the Astoria area: Hanthorn Cannery Museum, Heritage Musuem, Flavel House, Oregon Film Museum and Columbia River Maritime Museum. The Garibaldi History Museum is also open. Two aquariums are open: Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport and the Seaside Aquarium in Seaside.

Aquariums still closed for now are the Charleston Marine Life Center on the south coast and the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Whale Watch Week is not happening - this is a DIY situation. There are still plenty of whales to be seen, however. The SOLVE beach cleanup no longer happens at the beginning of spring break. Look for it on April 17 SOLVE Cleanup Returns to Oregon Coast, Inland Under New Name.

Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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