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When That Spectacular Glow Hits the Oregon Coast: Surprise Colors Between Yachats and Florence

Published 08/09/22 at 5:25 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

When That Spectacular Glow Hits the Oregon Coast: Surprise Colors Between Yachats and Florence

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(Florence, Oregon) – An early October a few years back, and the beaches and beach towns are warm and bereft of most any breeze. The Oregon coast is unbelievably warm – it feels like a different world. Or at least more like California. However, there's hardly any crowds at this hour: the sun is just now going down and some extraordinary things start to happen. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

It's what is known as the “Second Summer” on Oregon's coast – that period from September through mid or even late October when the beaches are actually warmer than during summer. Actual summer hardly ever leaves the lower 70s along the coastline, but Second Summer sees upper 70s a lot, maybe even the 80s. This is already an incredible time out here, and it's about to get more so in that wild region between Yachats and Florence.

The colors that would erupt around here were mind-bending.

On that particular day, social media erupted with similar shots. It wasn't just Oregon Coast Beach Connection that was spotting this. Sure, similar colors took place in Cannon Beach, Seaside, Lincoln City and others. Still, there was something was different about Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, however.

In fact, lots of things were different.

Just before the sun had gone down completely, Neptune's bridge and its wobbly cobblestone garden of polished, rounded rocks received a hint of the stunning colors to come.

There's a stream that meanders through Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint and its rocky landscape on its way to the sea, until that geography changes to the softer sands. On this day, just after the sun went down, this stream was lit up and fired up into some amazing shades.

Those colors shifted dramatically sometimes, even after the sun had disappeared. One moment, Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint was fired up in a variety of reds, pinks and other similar shades.

The next, this central Oregon coast hidden spot was a landscape of purple – the surreal kind of place rock star Prince might've felt especially at home at.

Part of the new sights here is simply the camera itself: it sees things we don't. So when you've got a tripod and you're using long exposures, something over 20 seconds or a minute or two, it picks up a ton of subtleties we can't see. What looks dark and murky to the human eye after the sun has dropped away is really the best time to shoot. The camera sees and explosion of shades.

Towards the cliffs of Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, you can see something else remarkable. Besides the ethereal tinting of the scene, you'll notice the tide appears much farther out than usual. Indeed, sand levels got so high here they kept the tide out – giving the beach much more space than normal. Most of the time, the water edges up close to those large, rocky blobs near the cliffs. Now, there's about 100 feet more of the beach than before.

This dynamic was true for much of the Oregon coast during the summer and early fall months: from Cannon Beach down to beyond Gold Beach, the beaches saw significant changes.

Also, fascinating is the proliferation of heavy blobs of white foam. It's interesting to note this wasn't the case throughout all the beach at this time. Only certain sections had these massive displays of sea fluff. (Also see Neptune State State Scenic Viewpoint Wild Waves)


What the area normally looks like

It's a sign of a healthy ocean, however. Sea foam is largely the result of a lot of diatoms and other kinds of phytoplankton. It's not made up of them, per se, but rather it's the ocean's movement that squeezes air and water into their microscopic skeletons, blowing bubbles. The more diatoms and their skeletons, the more foam.

To see more of Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint and the area between Yachats and Florence, see the Upper Lane County Virtual Tour.

Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Maps and Virtual Tours

staying here

The Adobe Resort, Yachats. Full-service resort right on the ocean, includes an award-winning restaurant and lounge onsite. Luxuriously unique rooms, some pet friendly and some handicapped-accessible. May find sliding glass doors with patios, private balcony, larger rooms, kitchens. Two-bedroom luxury suites with 1,400 sq feet, or whirlpool jets or Jacuzzis. Amenities: refrigerator, microwave, in-room telephone with voicemail, hair dryer, free wi-fi, room service dining, coffee. Apartments that can be like vacation rentals. (30 mins from Newport, Oregon)1555 HWY 101 N, Yachats, Oregon. (541) 547-3141. Website


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