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Winter Fun and Frolic on N. Oregon Coast Part I: a Primer (Video)

Published 12/21/22 at 11:35 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Winter Fun and Frolic on N. Oregon Coast Part I: a Primer (Video)

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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) – It actually does not matter what the weather is up to on the Oregon coast – there's always something intriguing to find and engaging to take part in. Storms, rain, wind or sun: there's always aspects here that will work to your advantage. You just have to know what you're doing. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection: Arch Cape in a storm)

This is part I of two parts talking about the north Oregon coast. There will be more about winter for the other sections of the shoreline after that. See part 2 N. Oregon Coast Winter Fun and Frolic, Insider Tips - Part II

Indeed, you'll occasionally find all kinds of weather in one day as things in the sky shift maniacally.

Now, as winter sets firmly into the Oregon coast, big storms or not, here's a grab bag of ways to indulge in the season on the northern of the shoreline.


Go Ahead and Rough It

Cannon Beach and some brave souls

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. A look at winter safety:


Snow in Seaside, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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, providing heaps of goodies for the tastebuds. Even from the beachfront it's a decent 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 15 miles or so to the north through Gearhart and Warrenton - until it reaches the mouth of the Columbia River. 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.

Crazed waves at the cove, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

That cove is particularly interesting in higher tides, as those rocks get shuffled around and make that “magic rocks beach” noise.

Secrets Around Arch Cape

Between Cannon Beach and the Nehalem Bay area, you'll find the Arch Cape Tunnel and tiny, unincorporated community of Arch Cape. It seems like all these beaches here are hidden ones, with hardly any souls wandering most of them.

Just south of the tunnel, you'll find the very clandestine Falcon Cove, nicknamed "Magic Rocks Beach" by some locals because this landscape of mostly ocean-polished cobblestones makes a funny, rattling noise as the tide disturbs them. This area is only acceptable to wander during calmer conditions and highly dangerous during storms. However, the cliff above it makes a decent, safe vantage point to watch the show. However, stay far back: part of a family lost their lives in this spot wandering just above. Anything directly above the stormy raucous should be considered off limits.

Arch Cape itself is an oft-deserted wonder, with a pair of sea stacks hugging a slightly hidden cove, only accessible at low tides.

When winter sand levels get low enough, check out the freaky ghost forests of this area, also sometimes found at Arcadia Beach and Hug Point.

Further north, you'll find the varied treasures of Hug Point, with its sea caves, waterfall, the remnants of a road going around the headland and the evidence of all kinds of millions-of-years-old fossils embedded in the rocks (they're few and far between, however). Most of this is only accessible at moderate to lower tides, but it's more spectacular when sand levels get whittled down. Interesting new rock colors appear you've never seen before – and not just ghost forests.

Just north of there, Aracadia Beach provides a great vantage point to watch storms hit this beach and its rocky structures. Or at lower tides, venture around the point to see tidepools, a huge sea cave, and glimpse the vast stretch of sand between you and Cannon Beach's rocky landmarks in the distance.

Part two will look at Astoria, Oceanside, Manzanita and other juicy tidbits. See part 2 N. Oregon Coast Winter Fun and Frolic, Insider Tips - Part II

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