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Three Distinctive and Ultra-Cool Oregon Coast Travel Destinations You Don't Know

Published 06/08/23 at 6:45 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Distinctive and Ultra-Cool Oregon Coast Hangouts You Don't Know

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(Oregon Coast) – What's cool and hip about the Oregon coast isn't always in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes cool just is what it is, and only the insiders know. It's a lot like having been there for the beginning of the careers of bands like Manic Street Preachers or The Horrors, before everyone knew them. It can still leave you with something most others aren't aware of. (Above: McPhillips Beach. All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Or maybe knowing Darth Vader before he got all evil. OK, now we are definitely just joking.

Some beach spots are like that around here, when you've been enough times. If you know, you know.

Yet sometimes the cool aspects of beaches around here aren't so much where but a when. You'll see.

Off The Beaten Path at Pacific City

There's plenty here that's obvious about this north Oregon coast standby: the sprawling, wild cliffs of Cape Kiwanda, tidepools at low tide, and the numerous quaint shops and eateries. However, for less populated fun and frolic, hit the unmarked road about one mile north of Kiwanda's parking lot (a small one darting down the hill on the west side of the highway.)

You can drive here – but it's not a good idea. Here, by the way, is called McPhillips Beach, and it is the northern face of Cape Kiwanda.

There, you'll find a small outcropping with basalt columns that look a bit like ruins, and a few indentations in the rock to make for great cuddling or hiding from the wind. They are a curious occurrence, however, as the rest of the area is that softer sandstone Kiwanda is made of.

It's about a half mile from the entrance of this park to the cape. For some real alone time this is it:, walk south, towards that cape, and you'll encounter more natural wonders along this immaculate stretch of sand. There's the semi-famous oceanic canyon here – more proof that Kiwanda is slowly dwindling. Hotels in Pacific City - Where to eat - Pacific City Maps and Virtual Tours

Clandestine on the Central Oregon Coast

Just south of Newport's South Beach area, it's a host of winding, twisting spots on the road and residential areas with no beach accesses.

However, about eight miles down or so you'll pass an unassuming gravel pullout. Look for MP 146, actually. You'll notice a second gravel patch just a bit farther back – and blocked off from parking.

Behind all this lies a little wonder actually called Holiday Beach. Walk the thickly-greened path and you'll discover a set of truly hidden crescent-shaped dents in the cliffs, and a seemingly endless beach on either side.

Once on this apparently-unnamed beach, you'll find a pleasant stream and a lot of striking sandstone cliffs. But head maybe a quarter of a mile to the south and there's a couple of these rounded-out areas in the cliffs, one of which has a tiny waterfall. There is a small stretch of climbable spots above the cliffs next to the beach access. Hotels in Newport - Where to eat - Waldport, Seal Rock Maps and Virtual Tours

Seaside's All-Weather Sides

Oregon coast towns with huge, mammoth beaches nestled up against them are especially handy in the winter season. If the weather should turn on you, you can make a quick run for all the amenities nearby.

Seaside is one of the more perfect burghs for this, with tons of its best features all crammed close to the pristine beach. The vast majority of the town's eateries and shops lie on Broadway, which extends east from the Turnaround and the Promenade. Even from there it's a reasonably short walk to the end of Broadway and to a strip mall full of other shops.

This beach goes on for a few miles, broken only by a minor river, and then going for about 13 miles to the north, through Gearhart and Warrenton - until it reaches the mouth of the Columbia River. This is all known as Clatsop Beach, and it's the realm of the highest concentration of razor clams along the entire coastline.

At Seaside's southern and more deserted end, you'll find the soft sand turning more to cobblestones just before it dead-ends at "the cove" area and Tillamook Head. Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours



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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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