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Spring Break in Oregon Coast's Center: Wild Sands, Rides of Florence

Published 03/15/22 at 4:55 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Spring Break in Oregon Coast's Center: Wild Sands, Rides of Florence

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(Florence, Oregon) – Adventures, thrills and maybe hidden beaches or sands that make odd noises: this is the realm of possibilities for spring break in and around the central Oregon coast town of Florence. (Photo above courtesy Florence Chamber of Commerce)

While there are no real major events planned for the kiddies, at the end of the month the Heceta Head Lightstation is hosting a serious celebration. See Central Oregon Coast's Heceta Head Light Celebrates 128 Years, March 30.

The Florence area itself is known for rather out-of-the-way beaches, especially just north. A whole host of semi-secret spots dot the region around upper Lane County.

One of them is Bob Creek, which offers a variety of terrains, divided by the creek itself. On the southern end, find a funky sea cave and a giant boulder that's leaning up against the rocks and giving you the vibe of another sea cave or arch. The area is a hotspot for agates.

Near there, Strawberry Hill is one of the more intricate and interesting spots on the entire Oregon coast, where rocky blobs are interspersed with the sandy areas, creating a multi-layered experience almost like a labyrinth. Head to the back of the place and discover oddities like holes in the cliff that look like a giant face, or a sizable log piercing a piece of cliff that's strangely standing alone, away from the rest of the cliff.

ATV's are the big attraction along the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area right outside of Florence. There's eighty miles of sand mountains between here and Coos Bay. Numerous places in the region rent them out, as well as actual dune buggies.


Photo above courtesy Florence Chamber of Commerce

If driving an ATV isn't quite your thing, perhaps one of the sand rail tours will be. Someone else is in the driver's seat here. It can be as mellow as you want or a manic adrenaline rush. Florence's Sand Dunes Frontier and Sandland Adventures offer a larger form of dune buggy that can accommodate up to seven people on these vast sands. A bulkier buggy zips you up and down these massive dunes, and you get to choose the pace. Often, people go for the gusto here and those dramatic slides and drops along with the high-speed straighter paths can really get the wind going in your hair.

They also provide scenic guided tours in the area. Sand Dunes Frontier is four miles south of Florence, at 83960 Hwy 101 South. 541-997-3544. Sandland Adventures is at 85366 Highway 101. 541-997-8087.

Sandboarding is a newish serious draw along the Oregon coast, having only been invented in recent decades. It's like a surfboard or skateboard – but on sand. Sand Master Park is the centerpiece on the Oregon coast for this, where you rent either a sandboard or sand sled and go zipping down the enormous dunes. Thrills and spills are the rule of the day, and it's one of the more intense ways to ride the dunes.

If you're real lucky, you'll encounter the famed but rare “singing sands” in the dunes, where they make a strange humming, singing or violin-like noise.


Photo above courtesy Florence Chamber of Commerce

Riding on horseback is undoubtedly one of those bucket list things for many – and it's easy in the Florence area, and perfect for families as well. C&M Stables at Florence offers up a wide variety of different packages for galloping on the beaches, for beginners, intermediate riders and advanced riders. Some of them are different varieties of beach rides, including the dunes, morning rides or trails. There's also a sunset ride. (541) 997-7540.

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