Atypical Things To Do on the Oregon Coast - Attractions, Sightseeing
Large List of Oregon Coast Attractions and Spas

(Oregon Coast) – Another guide to things to do on the Oregon coast: build sandcastles, fly kites, walk on the beach, look for agates and drain your brain with more insipid suggestions that are so obvious you feel as you've lost a few handfuls of IQ points. (See the Virtual Tours in the righthand column for more Oregon Coast Things to Do and See)

Major DUH fest! Oregon Coast Beach Connection will not insult your intelligence. This isn’t that kind of guide to things to do. You already know what things there are to do on the beaches. That’s why you’re heading there, or thinking about it, anyway.

Lurking around each and every corner of Oregon’s coastline are loads of things in the out of the ordinary category. There’s much to see or experience that many miss or don’t even think about - things that aren’t so obvious, and thus often a much richer moment and memory to be had.

In every little beach town - or within a short drive away – there's something unusual to see, something more than just a tad out of the ordinary. You too can have a bit of the Lewis & Clark spirit in you and explore some of the area's insanely cool places. Also here: Large List of Oregon Coast Attractions and Spas

Hint: click on the links provided here to take you to more detailed information about that particular area.

Like in the bustling tourist town of Seaside, where it seems it’s almost impossible to get away from the crowds - even on the beaches. But head to the last beach access before the river, about a quarter mile away, and you’ll discover the richest depository of unbroken sand dollars on the entire coast. The reasons for this vary, and it depends on the time of year. But it has a lot to do with the fact this area is often ignored by tourists, and thus not picked over. The reefs here are especially rich in sand dollars because of certain oceanic conditions and heavy nutrients provided by the Necanicum River and the Columbia River up north.

The southern accesses of Gearhart – on the other side of the Necanicum – are also quite flush with the finds.

Cannon Beach has a hidden hiking trail and beach that shouldn’t be missed if possible. Crescent Beach is the clandestine stretch of sand you see from the tops of Ecola State Park and its famous views. It lies on the other side of a small headland you see poking out into the water from downtown Cannon Beach. In the middle of this secretive strand is a rugged, rather prehistoric looking chunk of sandstone sitting by itself. It’s only accessible by a mile-long hike that begins along the road going into Ecola State Park.Occasionally, extreme low tides allow entrance from the Cannon Beach downtown area – but you have to watch that very closely or you’re in for more than a mile’s trek back to civilization.

Manzanita sits about 15 miles south of Cannon Beach, with mysterious Neahkahnie Mountain looming above it. Just north of town are a handful of the coast’s most amazing viewpoints: long basalt rock walls overlooking vast ocean vistas a few hundred feet above the deep blue. Those are amazing enough on their own and shouldn’t be missed. For the more rugged explorer – and this is a dangerous spot so don’t head here in slippery weather – there are some weird, hidden treasures just north of these viewpoints that will leave you speechless.

Wild, even freakish, craggy rock structures here look like something from the old "Planet of the Apes" movies, with a post-apocalyptic feel that’s awe-inspiring and tingly.

Rockaway Beach seems a rather cut and dried stretch of sand, about seven miles worth of it. But at the northern end, Manhattan Beach cloisters the rather remarkable jetty. Climbing on this one isn’t always a bad idea, like other jetties on the coast, where big waves smack with injurious regularity. It’s calmer than most – usually. So it is rather fun to amble around these enormous boulders and gawk at the diminutive bay mouth of the Nehalem Bay.

Heading further southward, you encounter the Tillamoook, just a few miles outside of Rockaway. At its other send begins a nearly endless cavalcade of fun crammed into 25 miles, known as the Three Capes Loop. Highway 101 veers inland for a while, while the Loop continues on a winding, often white-knuckled drive that skirts the craggy rocks and rugged beaches of this area.

There’s the eight-mile-long Bayocean Spit, which is devoid of almost any human presence, but interestingly enough was once host to a burgeoning resort that is now completely gone. Cape Meares sits nearby, with its stubby little lighthouse and the oddball Octopus Tree – a gargantuan organism that with a candelabra shape that until the '90s boasted eight great limbs.

Down the road is quirky and surprising Oceanside, with its myriad of natural delights, including a freaky tunnel going through a massive cliff, exiting to an incredible beach of secret tidbits. Netarts is about two miles away, with its strangely calm bay waters lazily lapping at the sand.

The enormous Cape Lookout provides a five-mile hike of insane views, as well as a plaque commemorating where a WWII bomber slammed into the headland back in the '40s. A few miles away, there’s Cape Lookout State Park and its long stretch of natural wonders. A ways south of there, Pacific City boasts the labyrinth of high altitude fun known Cape Kiwanda, with some parts covered in pock-marked surreal-scapes that look like another planet. But very interesting, even secret beach sits a mile north of town down an unmarked one-lane road, where basalt columns emerge at low tide, resembling ancient Greek ruins.

About 30 minutes away from Pacific City is the tourism hub of Lincoln City, with its plenty of obvious delights. But in between is the serene and sometimes surreal village of Neskowin, with its “ghost forest” (remnants of a 2000-year-old forest that was hidden in the sand for millennia), and the unusual Proposal Rock. There’s a path here that you can walk around to explore this mini-forest on top of a basalt blob. Not your average day at the beach in this tiny place.

Cascade Head is also here, home to miles and miles of rugged hiking trails and hundreds of moments of uncivilized discoveries.

Between Lincoln City and Newport sits Depoe Bay, where exploring the town’s oceanside storefronts may result in seeing a massive display of water shooting thirty feet into the air, and maybe getting you a little soaked (even if you’re across the street and down a ways).

The central coast capitol of fun is largely regarded as Newport, with tons of touristy activities to engage in. But to explore something a little different, check out the remnants of a condo at the Jump-Off Joe rock structure, found in Nye Beach, at the end of SW 11th St. It’s a bit like a castle ruin here, and almost as spooky. But being able to traverse a small ledge that juts out above the stand, about 50 feet high, is one of the town’s truly engaging experiences.

Between Newport and Waldport, you’ll find the rocky jumble of Seal Rock, a bit like a maze of fascinating basalt wonders. There are also numerous hidden beaches along this stretch, found at unmarked accesses and gravel pull-offs, especially between Seal Rock and Newport's South Beach area.

Just south of Yachats, it’s 25 miles of pure, pristine beaches and concealed spots, until you reach the slightly exploding town of Florence. It’s possible to not encounter a beach access for miles, but once you do, you can sometimes walk for several miles along completely unpopulated and unknown stretches of sand.

Once you’re in Florence, one of its more unusual features is the garden of insect-eating pitcher plants at the north end of town. They sit quietly and wait for bugs to get caught in their pretty colors, then slowly digest them. Yum. Look for the signs to the Darlingtonia Gardens.

Florence is, of course, gateway to the 40 miles of immaculate lakes and towering sand dunes known as the National Dunes Recreational Area. Something else unusual to do: sandboarding. It’s a new sport that's pretty much been given birth to in this place, where people essentially use a kind of snowboard to zip down the dunes. It’s also become popular at the lofty dune at Cape Kiwanda.


Literally over 100 homes available as vacation rentals – all distinctive and carefully selected to be special. Find them in Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Nye Beach, Otter Rock, Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach, Lincoln City, Neskowin, Pacific City, Tierra Del Mar and Rockaway Beach. Some pet friendly.
On the Seaside Promenade, in Seaside




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Explore Every Beach Spot
Astoria - at the northernmost tip of Oregon

Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
Seaside, Oregon

The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast
Cannon Beach

A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Nehalem Bay, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway Oregon Coast
Nehalem Bay - Manzanita, Rockaway, Wheeler

Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Oregon Coast: Tillamook Bay, Tillamook, Bay City, Barview, Garibaldi
Tillamook Bay

Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
Three Capes Loop, Oceanside, Netarts, Pacific City, Cape Lookout, Cape Meares
Three Cape Loop - Oceanside, Netarts, Pacific City

The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
Lincoln City, Cascade Head, Neskowin, Inland Highway 101
Lincoln City
& the Corridor of Mystery
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and manmade attractions
Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast
Depoe Bay

A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Newport, Nye Beach on the Oregon Coast

Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Waldport Seal Rock Virtual Tour
Waldport - Seal Rock

Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Between Florence and Yachats - oodles of secret beaches
Upper Lane County

25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Florence - on the central Oregon coast

A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes





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