Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Trippy Side of Oceanside: Crazy Things Oregon Coast Sand Levels Do

Published 03/20/21 at 12:50 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Trippy Side of Oceanside: Crazy Things Oregon Coast Sand Levels Do

(Oceanside, Oregon) – It doesn't happen every summer, and even then it's never the same way twice. Oceanside, in the north Oregon coast region of the Tillamook Coast, can see some truly extraordinary changes when sand levels rise or fall. More so than most Oregon coast locales.

Normally, the famed and looming Maxwell Point is a dangerous spot to get near, and in fact during winters stormy waves make most of this beach a big no-no – unless you like getting killed. Yet during summer, when sand levels rise considerably, if they build up enough you get big sand bars just beyond the usual tideline, creating what looks like a constant low tide effect. But it's not: it's simply the sand bars keeping the tide farther out.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

This area is only accessible via a tunnel through the cliff, but if those sand levels get tall enough, the area has a tideline so far out beyond its usual place that you can easily walk around the point.

For a time this winter, the Oceanside tunnel was shut down. Luckily, it's back open.

Oceanside's Maxwell Point is usually covered in wild waves and only very rare low tide events allow access around it. However, during these spectacular sand level events – which can last from July through September - there can be as much as 50 feet between the point and the tideline.

Then, you have a gloriously cool walk around the point to what is often known as Star Trek Beach (though some still stick to the old moniker of Tunnel Beach).

Above: What Oceanside typically looks like

Many years this only lasts a few weeks, but in later years it's stuck around longer. For some unknown reason, ocean conditions can remain calm enough to let this happen with greater frequency and for a longer duration in recent years around this shoreline. It creates greater access to places like Maxwell Point, spots in the Cannon Beach area and other sections of the Oregon coast in ways that are sometimes not only unprecedented but they stick around past the main summer season and into the early fall.

It takes calm conditions to allow sand to start piling up. The calmer the wave situation, the more sand it brings in.

Bit of a rare sight: Maxwell Point in a dry state

When waves pick up or the storm season begins, that's what takes sand outward. This, too, has its incredible rewards, like lots of agates at Oceanside. Or down the road a bit, at Cape Lookout, if sand gets scoured out enough you can see some killer ghost forests.

Most of those are around 1,000 years old or so, but there's one set at Netarts that's an astounding 80,000 years old.

This “new” kind of ease-of-access can shock even longtime residents in the nearby communities, although residents of Oceanside are rather used to it.

All this unusual accessibility isn't a guarantee for safety, however. Those tides can come back in.

Make sure you keep a close eye on the tide if you decide to check any of these areas out. Be warned that Oceanside's access phenomenon at Maxwell Point can start waning at any time after it kicks in during summer.

Hotels in Oceanside - Where to eat - Oceanside Maps and Virtual Tours


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Great Coastal Gale of '07 Tore Into Oregon Coast 15 Years Ago - Video
The storm changed parts of the region forever. History, Bandon, Coos Bay, Newport, Lincoln City, Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Astoria
How Storms - Even Solar Storms - May Affect Whales on Oregon / Washington Coast
Why do they disappear? Does it disturb them at all? Marine sciences
Attending Seaside Aquarium This Month Helps Feed the Hungry on Oregon Coast -...
Patrons pay admission to the aquarium with two cans of food per person. Seaside events
Warm Sunsets to Raucous Oregon Coast Storms: Upclose at Cannon Beach's Schoon...
One of the major highlights is that beachfront lawn. Cannon Beach hotels, lodging reviews
Washington Coast Holidays Include Crab Pot Tree, Santa with Pirates, Music, Food
Holiday happs from Ilwaco up through Westport. Washington coast events
Famed Holiday Show Tradition Back on Oregon Coast, at Newport Performing Arts...
The Christmas Show! is finally back, Dec. 16 and 17. Newport events
Cyber Monday for Oregon Coast Too: Giving the Beach for Christmas
Give a night or two at the coast, or books, hoodies, T's. weather
Orcas Spotted Again on N. Oregon Coast - First Time This Pod Recorded Here
A pod of four were photographed on November 23. Marine sciences

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Keywords: Oregon Coast, Star Trek, Oceanside, Tillamook Coast, travel, geology, beaches, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Newport, Bandon, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay