180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Famed 'Secret Season' Descending on Oregon
|Killer whales near Florence (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
(Oregon Coast) - It's the most neglected time of the year
on the coast, yet it probably has the most interesting and awe-inspiring
aspects of any season.
The latter half of spring - after all the spring break
vacationers have disappeared from the beaches - is nicknamed the “secret
season” on the Oregon coast because of its lack of crowds and a
host of inviting, even unusual, natural features not found any other time
of year. Weather pulls some interesting surprises, minus tides are often
at their lowest of the year, sea foam is more apt do some wild stunts,
and this spring in particular holds some wonders because of low sand levels
and changes in beaches. Plus, lodging deals are in such great abundance
they almost outnumber the visitors to the coast.
Newport is one of those major destinations which offer more to do and
see during this unique season. When the weather is co-operating - and
it does more than many people know - a wide variety of beaches, two lighthouses
and numerous trails offer more coastal fun than you shake a piece of seaweed
at. If the storms or squalls should kick in, you’re in for a show
that rivals any big screen TV, and Newport’s multitude of dining,
shopping and indoor attractions provide plenty of cover. Meanwhile, the
town’s numerous lodgings provide a front row seat to nature’s
|Stormy waves smack the coast in April
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. Those storms create some wild possibilities, especially
when paired with the larger blooms of phytoplankton. You then get a better
chance of seeing sea foam pulling all sorts of strange stunts, like moving
across the highways or even flying upwards, creating the mind-boggling
sight of what looks like snow going the wrong direction.
According to Bill Hanshumaker, public information officer
for the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, the little creatures
that create sea foam are a form of phytoplankton known as diatoms. These
tend to bloom in greater numbers in the spring, and seasonal storms can
result in incredible sights such as foam so frothy it moves like flurries
|Devil's Churn: snow-like flurries of foam beginning their surreal,
These manifest themselves all over the coast. Near Yachats,
the Devil’s Churn is set within a quarter of a mile-high crevice
in the face of Cape Perpetua, creating an enormous tube that sometimes
funnels the flurries of foam into an upwards direction – looking
like snow going the wrong way.
Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch
Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces,
decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials
that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com
All over the coast, in places where the highway is close
to the beaches, like Rockaway Beach, Oceanside, and just south of Newport,
you may see this phenomenon of snow-like foam drifting across the highways.
Whales are still moving near the coast in great abundance
in spring. The Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay is the only place to get
guided assistance in spotting these. Although if you stand around long
enough on any day with calm seas (wild breakers hide the great cetaceans),
you’ll spot one or two, if not a mother whale and her adorable calf.
|Wacky stuff still washes up on the beaches in the spring (pictured:
To boot, Killer Whales – or Orcas – often hit
the central coast region in the middle of the month. They usually loiter
between Newport and Lincoln City, but are sometimes spotted as far south
as the Florence area.
Usually, by May, the storms have subsided, and the sunnier, warmer days
are more frequent in number, interspersed by rainy days. But the moody
skies that change within an hour still holds true during many days in
Thus, the weather reports won’t tell the whole story, says Lorna
Davis, head of Newport’s Chamber of Commerce. The weather pundits
on TV may predict one thing, but it doesn’t mean that will hold
true for the whole day.
|Lodging prices will be lower in Seaside as well as everywhere else
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood
burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive
book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet
breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies.
888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
“It’s unpredictable weather year-round,”
Davis said. “But especially in spring, things change so quickly.
Keep your eye on what’s being said on the weather reports, and be
prepared to throw your stuff in the car and head out quickly. You can
also take advantage of some great last–minute travel deals too.”
Davis said lodging prices are still near winter lows in
Newport and elsewhere on the coast, with almost everyone offering incredible
deals on weekends and weekdays, as they’re looking to coax people
in. “There’s a lot of two-for-one specials, or ‘stay
two nights and get the third free,’ especially during the mid week,”
Often, the rule of thumb for lodging prices is that the
higher end places go down in price more than the lower-priced, smaller
motels. This happens in towns like Lincoln City, Seaside, Cannon Beach,
Manzanita, Yachats, Florence and more.
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.
|More odd stuff will wash up in the spring, such as this log covered
with sea life (photo Boothe)
Look forward to a huge new world to discover on the coast,
as a myriad of objects both alive and inanimate open up. It means a lot
more than starfish.
are again found at Agate Beach in Newport, thanks to the sand-scouring
action of the season’s storms. They’ve been buried beneath
the sand layers all along, and haven’t been seen there for more
than ten years, until a couple years ago.
“There are a couple of small agate-containing agate bars that are
open along the meandering channel of Big Creek,” said Newport beach
expert Guy DiTorrice.” The channel has shortened its hard-northerly
track this past winter, opting for some wider sections closer to Agate
Beach State Park.”
|Velella velella on the beaches
DiTorrice added there are some agate-containing beaches
open north and south of Lost Creek State Park and further north at Thiel
Creek, with many collectors reporting nice picking, especially for a particular
brand known as the “Newport blues.”
Typically, this time of year means the occurrence of what
are nicknamed “purple sails,” or velella velella, as they’re
technically called. They look like small, purplish round jellyfish, with
a small fin at the top. They often show up in spring or early summer,
in great abundance, and usually start creating a pungent fishy smell while
stranding on the beaches in such numbers. They start to arrive when the
west winds kick up.
Spring can also bring baby seals to
Oregon’s coastline – but it is a really bad idea to go near
them, besides the fact it’s illegal.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a
double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck.
Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person
romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate
oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family
reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect
to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly.
523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938.
at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by
the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach
strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering
gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms.
Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly.
Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine
and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At
Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.
At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. Lincoln City’s only resort
hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled
against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine
in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight
dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other
Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range
from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and
refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise
room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game
room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms
for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.
4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161.
here for video of Dec. storm aftermath
Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners
are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events
in nature and stunning moments for 2007
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Cool Ideas for Oregon Coast Romance Be it the season
of Valentine's or be it any time of the year, Oregon's coastline has
essentially cornered the market for cuddle-inducing possibilities and
gushy activities for the hand-holding set
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports
/ ADVERTISE ON BEACH CONNECTION