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Saying 'Whatever' to the Weather on Oregon Coast, Unique Strategies

Published 01/03/22 at 6:22 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Saying 'Whatever' to the Weather on Oregon Coast, Unique Strategies

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Oregon Coast) – In the end, it doesn't really matter what the weather is doing on the Oregon coast: you'll always find something engaging. Be it rain, storm, winds or sun, there is a never-ending array of things to explore and stuff to do, even if you're getting soaked or trying to dodge those raindrops. (Above: Seaside, courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

If there's a will, there's a way. And besides, the other saying that holds true along Oregon's coastline is if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes.

Granted, breaks in those downpouring are not always the case in the heart of stormy winter. Yet this time of year hosts its awesome little strategies.

The Right Kind of Beach

Bandon, Photo courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

Stormwatching is, of course, the biggie in inclement weather.

But what if it's simply gnarly out?

Towns with huge, sprawling 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.

Manzanita is another, with plenty of yummy places to duck into should things get a tad too soaking. Newport and Lincoln City also present beaches incredibly close to everything.

On the southern Oregon coast, much of Bandon and Port Orford are a quick shot from the wet sands.

Stunning Drives

Perhaps sticking close to your car – or in it – is the best plan? Take a slow drive along one of the scenic stretches that really show off the chaotic sights, and yet allow you a quick jump to get out and explore if the opportunity arises.

The beaches between Florence and Yachats offer a variety of possibilities and environments. That 20-mile stretch includes stunning views by auto or pullout from above, and almost a dozen little beach areas and attractions.

Some chunks of sand are a mix of rocky structures, boulders and tidepools, often rather small and compact as they're separated by one landmass or another. Some spots are mostly rocky slabs where the tide slams into the basalt with dramatic intensity. Other places are the soft, fluffy sands indicative of Florence. Then there are the wild and spectacular cliffs that soar above the waves and provide glimpses of chillingly powerful breakers putting on a show.

It's an area that houses a nearly endless supply of wild visual candy as you putt-putt along, including the Heceta Head Lighthouse, a few spouting horns, a variety of weird sea caves, more starfish than people, the crazed wave action of the Devil's Churn and the monumental Cape Perpetua towering over it. All of these spots are a quick walk to the parking lot.

Yet more scenic highway stretches lie between Manzanita and Cannon Beach, with jaw-dropping pullouts like Neahkanie Mountain or Silver Point; taking the Cape Arago Highway through Sunset Bay to Cape Arago State Park; and the stunning ocean vistas of Highway 101 between Port Orford and Humbug Mountain.

Another insanely cool section lies just below Highway 101 at Otter Loop Road near Depoe Bay (above), a rather unknown gem.

Gleefully Rain-Soaked

Shore Acres near Coos Bay, courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

Don't be a scaredy-cat and shy from the wintry beaches. It's actually more fun than you may imagine to just wander the outdoors during one of those notorious squalls. You'll have to dress appropriately, of course, but you'll have the beach to yourself and see wonders you won't normally see. Besides, few things are more romantic than finding a bit of temporary shelter from the storm with your relevant other and having to cuddle for warmth and comfort.

Indoor Attractions

Oregon Coast Aquarium

There is, of course, always the standby fun of the indoor attractions.

Winter is a perfect time to check out the myriad of manmade wonders that feature nature. Indulge in the Seaside Aquarium, Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center - the latter two are in Newport. Also in Newport, you'll find the Wax Museum and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not. In Tillamook, get cheesy at the Tillamook Cheese Factory or check out the large variety of vintage aircraft at the Tillamook Air Museum. Fort Clatsop, near Astoria, is the closest you'll come to seeing Lewis & Clark firsthand. Down near Florence, you'll find the Sea Lion Caves and its various wonders. In many cities, like Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Coos Bay, Newport and Florence, there are often more than one historical museum where you can get lost in time.

On the southern Oregon coast, just a tad inland (and slightly protected from wild winds) is Mingus Park in Coos Bay, the Coos Art Museum in town, or for a slightly more hearty adventure there's the Prehistoric Gardens in Port Orford.


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