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Oregon Coast Spring Break Highlights: Many Levels of Fun

Published 03/11/2017 at 7:03 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

wreck of the Peter Iredale: a spring break must-see

(Oregon Coast) – So much Oregon coast – so little time for spring break. (Above: wreck of the Peter Iredale: a spring break must-see).

The big vacation weeks for Oregon and Washington students is upon us, and this shoreline offers bundles of beautiful beaches and places filled with aspects not always in plain sight. Whale watching and the big SOLVE cleanup are always major players during this time, but there's even more lurking behind the captivating spots you see from the highway.

Looking to dig a little deeper and find the true treasures? Keep reading and then check the virtual tours to each area for much more.

Astoria and Warrenton: Sprawling Fort Stevens State Park will be the big buzz-inducer for the kids. It's not just gobs of beaches here (some of which you can drive on), but a huge array of trails and attractions. The wreck of the Peter Iredale is a highlight, but one of the most remarkable experiences on the entire Oregon coast is crawling around the spooky, cavernous and castle-like Battery Russell – a former military post that guarded this area.

Seaside and Cannon Beach. The undisputed king of spring break on the coast is Seaside, with its myriad of kid-friendly stuff, such as bumper cars, a helicopter ride and the ever-engaging Seaside Aquarium. Cannon Beach comes in a decent second with its variety of yummy eateries and fun shops, but beaches just south of there like Arch Cape or Hug Point are crammed full of discoveries and surprises.

Manzanita and Nehalem Bay. The most obvious pleasure is the lack of the obvious: it's not as crowded or commercial as many areas on the Oregon coast. The overlooks and the pristine beaches are endless fun, but it's the mind-bending finds like the freaky cliffs near Neahkahnie and their unique rock formations that will truly leave a lasting impression. Slightly inland, Wheeler and Nehalem are chock full of outdoor fun like fishing and kayaking.

Rockaway Beach to Tillamook Bay. The expansive, laidback sands of Rockaway Beach are among the longest stretches of uninterrupted beach along the coastline, but don't forget dreamy Lake Lytle across the highway. The town quickly gives way to the soaring scenery of Garibaldi and Bay City along Tillamook Bay, where fishing, boating, crabbing and the delicious seafood of Pacific Seafood rule the day.

Three Capes Route. You need more than one day just to explore this 25-mile stretch properly. Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout and the lighthouse-laden Cape Meares are just the most high profile destinations. Tiny Oceanside has so much crammed into its diminutive digs that you could spend a whole day there. Netarts and Tierra Del Mar are two villages full of surprises.

Lincoln City. Another spring break hotspot, there's more to do here for families or couples than two days and nights can allow. A thriving performing arts scene, live music, major examples of culinary prowess, a place to blow your own glass floats – well, that's just the surface. Shopping is huge, candy shops abound, and then there are all those beaches. Seven miles of deliriously delightful beaches.

Depoe Bay. The stretch that includes Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Depoe Bay, Otter Loop Road and Cape Foulweather is a mere 9-mile tract that is so overflowing with sights and sites there's no way to get into it here. But if you like soaring cliffs, wild waves, enormous ocean vistas, whales and places not tread upon by many others, then this is your ticket.

Newport. Another hotspot bubbling over with the fun and the fascinating, Newport has not just plenty of beaches but two lighthouses and a stunning culinary scene. There's the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Oregon Coast Aquarium for the kidlets, but everyone will adore the bustling bayfront district or the charming, time-tripping Nye Beach.

Waldport to Yachats. Seal Rock and the hidden beaches near South Beach are some of the most intriguing places on the entire Oregon coast. Waldport's sandy charms give way to Yachats' awe-inspiring rocky ledges, where crazed breakers entertain all day. You cannot miss Cape Perpetua and its soaring views some 600 feet high, nor skip out on the Devil's Churn and its raucous displays below.

Upper Lane County to Florence. There are about 20 miles of hidden beaches between Yachats and Florence, and you really should check out each one. The famed Heceta Head Lighthouse and seriously clandestine Hobbit Trail beach are two must-see's. Places like Bob Creek, Neptune State Park and Strawberry Hill are labyrinth-like mixes of mysterious rocky ledges and soft sands. There's even a few caves. Oregon Coast Hotels in these areas - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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