Oregon Coast Beach Connection - lodging, dining, news, events and more

Wild, Wet Weather Fun on the Oregon Coast


Covering 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.


Secrets of the Season

Wild, Wet Weather Fun on the Oregon Coast

Manzanita, during a particularly strange storm where the sunset was visible

(Oregon Coast) – It seems as if the second summer phenomenon has ended a bit early, with early October bringing in a large dose of storms rather than the usual warm temps that are mostly typical of this time of year.

It heralds – at least for now – the coming of winter storms and big rainsqualls. This in turn brings to mind the possibilities of early fall recreation and repose. But how to really enjoy these wintry moments on the beach? How to deal with the crazed, erratic weather?

You’d be surprised as to the possibilities. The key is to find beaches that are close to civilization, should the weather turn on you. Or, what drives or viewpoints are to be discovered, where you can enjoy this wild place from the comfort of your car.

That, however, is just the beginning.

Beyond the tunnel, Oceanside

Oceanside Delights

It’s less of a secret spot than it used to be, but this tiny town west of Tillamook is huge on engaging attractions and hidden wonders.

oregon coast lighthouses on dvdAt first glance, Oceanside appears to be just another wayside with a collection of homes clustered around it. But this out of the way spot, nestled up against the hills of the Tillamook Forest, is major gem on the Oregon coast. It’s an old, rustic hamlet that smacks of another time, dripping with weather-beaten cuteness and charm – and it hides a major culinary wonder in the form of the upscale Roseanna’s Café.

The beaches here are often shielded from the wind by the headland called Maxwell Point - about 100 yards north of the parking lot - looming above like a tall, dark, watchful god. To the south, it's about three miles of sandy beach leading straight to Netarts Bay, with not much else other than rocks, boulders and driftwood piled up next to the vegetation line. About a mile down, you'll find some minor trails meandering through the brush underneath the Three Capes residential development, and if you're lucky, oddly colored slabs of rock become visible if the tide is low enough.

A1 Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers. Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.

The real fun of Oceanside's beach lies inside Maxwell Point, however. The concrete tunnel here is a gateway to a stunning, secret world. Entrance into the tunnel is somewhat unadvisable recently, because of falling rocks from the cliffs. During inclement weather, staying away from this tunnel is a definite must.

But if conditions are calm, on the other side sits a stunning beach where enormous boulders and weirdly shaped sea stacks give the entire area a feel like something out of the old ``Star Trek'' series.

Cape Meares' lighthouse

The entire area is cluttered with stuff to play on as well as a sense of the serene and the surreal.

In the vicinity is Cape Meares, with its lighthouse, a freakish, enormous organism called the Octopus Tree and stunning views. A couple of wild hidden beaches lurk nearby as well.

If you've got the time – or if the weather is nasty - a leisurely stroll or drive through Oceanside’s miniscule back streets is highly suggested. The ocean view and the neighborhood tour are nothing short of a visual kick in the head.

The older homes are stunning enough, but some of the more recent additions may drive you mad with jealousy with their opulence and the amazing ocean view they sit in front of. A few of these have delightfully weird shapes which will astound you and maybe cause you to scratch your head. Many are located high up on the hill overlooking Oceanside and Maxwell Point, where a panoramic view of the ocean nearly wallops you with its immensity.

Manzanita and Neahkahnie Mt.

Manzanita’s Surrealism and Sands

There are few things like standing on this beach and having to strain your neck to look up at Neahkahnie Mountain looming above you. It’s absolutely awe-inspiring, with its mystical vibe and the mists that often surround it.

A wide and beautiful sandy beach fills the eye here. Although at the beach’s northernmost access – near Neahkahnie Rd. – it quickly becomes large cobblestones and boulders until it ends at the base of Neahkahnie Mt. some 200 feet down.

Tradewinds Motel, 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. www.tradewinds-motel.com

The most obvious beach accesses lie past its downtown and at along the road skirting next to the beach. But there are numerous hidden ones south of there, between the homes, along the beachside roads. These eventually dead-end at a back entrance to Nehalem Bay State Park.

Surreal night at Manzanita

In this tiny town that's full of culinary and shopping pleasures, wondrous new objects can pop up on the beach at sufficient minus tides. Depending on the amount of sand lying around that time of year, different rock objects appear on an otherwise smooth, barren beach. Simply watching the beach at various times of the year yields interesting moments.

This slice of the coast is especially dramatic as you descend Manzanita’s main drag and catch your first glimpse of the ocean from here. If the sea is raging and bonkers, it’s truly a memorable sight, appearing from this vantage point to broil just beyond the end of the street.

From the north end of Manzanita, this sprawling shoreline of nothing but sand goes on for over two miles, past Nehalem Bay State Park and onto the sand spit that borders Nehalem Bay. A good two miles down the sand spit you may find spots to watch seals rather closely.

But don't get too close: bothering them in their natural habitat is illegal.

What makes Manzanita particularly inviting during rainy moments is that the small town and the parking spots along the street are a short jaunt from the beach. Or, you can hide in your car and enjoy spectacular views by heading up to the viewpoints over Manzanita, catching a bird’s eye view of the ocean and the bay area.

Neptune State Park's more wild side

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.

20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

Neptune State Park

It’s a pretty place, lodged in the middle of forestland and rather easy to drive past if you’re not looking carefully. There’s picnic tables, restrooms, a small patch of forest to wander in and access to a small, cobblestone beach. At calmer times of the year, you can continue walking south and stoop in wonder over tide pools. The graveyard of massive boulders here presents all sorts of opportunities for climbing and discovery, as well as watching waves slam against rocks from a rather close yet safe vantage point.

Neptune sits in the middle of one of the coast’s biggest secret landscapes: that 25-mile stretch between Yachats and Florence. Nary a soul is found on most of these beaches during all but the busiest of summer weekends. The terrain is sometimes foreboding, but always stunning, dynamic and even a little weird, with its mix of sandy stretches, pocket beaches and large, monolithic slabs of basalt that often create elaborate labyrinths.

There’s nothing like it on the coast, and it’s perfect for short trips to the beach in crazy weather, or long, lazy drives past places you’ve never imagined existed.

12th Ave. access at the end of the Promenade

Seaside and Its Other Sides

Often maligned for its heavy-handed touristy qualities, there is indeed much more to this town than the garish.

But first, your initial glance will find its beautiful 20’s-era promenade, a long stretch of wind-sheltered beach, its charming streets and its somewhat carnival atmosphere.

Weiss' Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside

Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway St.
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families. All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com

Seaside has all the amenities you could ask for: scrumptious, sometimes innovative cuisine, major grocery stores, a liquor store, a large movie theater complex and an outlet mall filled to the brim with 60 stores.

The Cove, at Seaside

On the promenade, history takes the front seat on your journey through Seaside. The Promenade was built first as a wooden construct, then made of concrete. These days, it stretches a little more than a mile and a half, taking you past beautiful motel fronts and charming beach cottages – many of them quite old.

If the Promenade whispers of history, then the Turnaround shouts it. Its centerpiece is the statue of Lewis & Clark (who never actually stopped in this spot, although it gives you that erroneous impression.)

All this is a short walk from the beach.

Then, for the more adventurous, venture to the southern end – known as “the cove” – and watch waves slam with indiscriminate intensity. Sometimes, they flood the street here and dump stuff all over. But usually, during those wetter moments – or the dry ones - this is a fabulous spot to park and watch nature.

The extreme northern end, past the 12th Ave. access, presents the beachcomber with all sorts of wondrous finds as well as plenty of alone time.

STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com

True but Strange at Seal Rock State Park

This dynamic and enchanting spot offers a few winding paths and a lot of basalt or sandstone to frolic on and ascend, including a few structures which provide some beautiful views of an often wild surf. Clambering up and down these is some of the most amusement you can have on Oregon’s coast.

Part of the rocks here at Seal Rock is a bird sanctuary, so stay away from the signs that designate it as such.

There is one area of sea stack rocks that forms a narrow split, which is climbable and full of fun. This section of rock channels the tide farther in than other spots on this beach and at the same time allows you to climb around on it, taking you out over the rough tide and offering you a somewhat unusual little viewpoint from which to watch the action.

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.Look for the large grooves, or simply the patterns of diagonal lines made by rocks slightly separated from other rocks: these are the product of exposed fault lines that are no longer active.

This place works well in various kinds of weather because some of the vantage points from which to check out Seal Rock are somewhat canopied by trees, and all of the pathways are easily traversable paved walks that are a short step from the parking lot. Several overlooks nearby provide great views of the large, weird grooves on the southern end of the Seal Rock cluster of structures from your car, if necessary. You’ll find them south of the park entrance.

Arch 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 sea.
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 866-436-1607.

D Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River. Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players; movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com. 171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Inn 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.

The 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. www.theoceanlodge.com


Prepare for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they run across your feet

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon 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

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Nehalem Bay, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway Oregon Coast
Nehalem Bay

For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside.

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.

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too.

Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the Promenade