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Widely Varied Spring Break on N. Oregon Coast at Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Pacific City

Published 05/16/22 at 7:15 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Widely Varied Spring Break on N. Oregon Coast at Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Pacific City

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(Oceanside, Oregon) – On the north Oregon coast, it's hard to get more varied in landscape, beachscape and amenities than the Tillamook County area. Here, pleasantly action-packed meets convenience in places like Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Tillamook and Pacific City, making a multi-leveled array of distractions for the spring break visitor. No matter the age, you'll find something here. But most of all, families will discover the region chock full of ways to distract and delight the kidlets with rugged exploration all the way to comfy means of goofing around the beaches or stuffing your bellies. (Above: Rockaway Beach)

Manzanita. Starting at the northernmost edges of this north Oregon coast county, the rougher spots are some of the most spectacular. Oswald West State Park is not only a surfers' paradise but the gateway to some of the region's most stunning hiking possibilities. Contained within is Short Sand Beach near Manzanita, which is perfect for all ages with its rather unique tidal action caused by the close quarters of the two headlands surrounding it. Another highlight is the wooden suspension bridge, which is a bit of a thrill ride since it's rather bumpy and some people find that alarming – but scary in a fun way.

Wander the trails around here and wind up at a secret lookout near the beach, or keep going and head a few miles up to the top of Neahkahnie Mountain.

For more mellow repose, hit the beaches of Manzanita or Nehalem Bay State Park and its miles of nature reserves. Meanwhile, the town itself is tiny but crammed full of ideal foodstuffs for kids, the grownups (such as MacGregor's Whiskey Bar) or the entire family – all a close walk to the beach.

Wheeler / Nehalem. Quirky shops rule the streets in these quiet north Oregon coast towns, set just a ways back from the beaches. But the Nehalem River offers up all kinds of fishing possibilities and the Nehalem Bay is chock full of promise of kayaking fun and adventure. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Rockaway Beach. Seven miles of pristine sand are the primary attraction, but kidlets will love the very northern ends of the town (Manhattan Beach) and all the driftwood logs, which make it perfect for building forts. As you get closer to the southern edges of town, the impressive Twin Rocks becomes even more prominent, looming like a giant monster if you're at their closest point to shore.

There are cool shops catering to kids here, with kites, toys and all sorts of wacky beach accouterments, and there's the video game arcade. Hotels in Rockaway Beach - Where to eat - Rockaway Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Garibaldi / Tillamook Bay. Seafood is the big attraction here, and there's lots of nifty little shops that both adults and the wee ones will enjoy for fish 'n chips and other tasty former ocean dwellers. Not to mention, Garibaldi is a prime place to catch your own crab, or maybe take a fishing tour out of the docks.

Three Capes Tour. Three capes, one lighthouse and 25 miles of sometimes quite hidden beaches make the Three Cape Route on the north Oregon coast a resounding yes for family exploration.

First, there's the Cape Meares Lighthouse, the stumpy little specimen that only sits at near 40 feet high. However, it's on a 200-foot cliff, which ends up making it the tallest lighthouse on the coastline. Bird watching and whale watching are prime from these soaring cliffs, and there's also the curious Octopus Tree – an ancient tree that's curved in unique, even bizarre ways.

Down the road a bit there's Oceanside, one of the tiniest villages on the Oregon coast and well off-the-beaten-path. Yet there's so much going on here you couldn't fit it it all in a day. There's the tunnel through Maxwell Point, the southern stretches and viewpoints towards Netarts, and the walk or drive up into the town's hills and atmospheric neighborhoods.

Two miles down the road you'll find Netarts and a bay full of crabbing, oysters and clamming. Beyond that, there's Cape Lookout State Park with its intricate places, and then the five-mile hike of Cape Lookout itself. All you need do is walk a quarter mile from the parking lot, however, to discover a striking viewpoint that gazes down on the sand dunes area and lots of untouched beaches you've never heard of.

The Sand Lake Recreation Area is a sprawling several miles of major sand dunes and a hotspot for ATV activity – plus the beaches beyond the vehicle area are absolutely stunning and pristine, not to mention bereft of other humans. Continue that isolated feeling by zipping down a few miles to the teensy weensy village of Tierra Del Mar, where again miles of untouched sands surround you.

At the bottom of the entire county sits Pacific City, where wind-sculpted Cape Kiwanda juts out into the sea at kinds of angles and unique shapes. Climb to the top to check out those whales or simply be blown away by all the new finds – including that massive sand dune that kids love sandboarding on or tumbling down.

Hotels in Three Capes - Where to eat - Three Capes Maps and Virtual Tours



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