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Which Central Coast town is best for secluded beaches and a laid-back vibe?

Consider Yachats as your destination. I think it fits your description and desires better than any town on the Central Oregon Coast. It’s a popular destination, but it’s definitely quieter than North Coast destinations like Seaside or Cannon Beach in mid-September. It’s just outside of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area where you will find more secluded beaches and some of the best hiking on all of the Oregon Coast.

You will find a reasonable gentle hike between Cook’s Chasm (Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well) and Devil’s Churn or you can just explore the paved trails that extend from either the Cook’s Chasm and Devil’s Churn waysides. There are also a variety of rainforest trails including some shorter interpretive nature trails. A visit to Heceta Head Lighthouse, a little further south in Florence, is also a must and the short walk from the State Park to the lighthouse is beautiful. You could easily explore as far south as Florence and the Oregon Dunes, where Honeyman State Park makes an easy stop and offers nature trails around Cleawox Lake.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on September 19th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Are dogs allowed on Oregon Coast beaches?

In general, most of Oregon’s beaches allow dogs. Some beaches within local enforcement areas may require that dogs be leashed and there are a few beaches that do not allow dogs or require leashes to protect wildlife. Inter-tidal areas designated as Marine Gardens by the State of Oregon require that dogs be leashed and a few beaches do not allow dogs during the Snowy Plover nesting season March 15 to September 15.

Generally speaking, off-leash dogs are tolerated on most beaches as long as under “direct control” of the owner. This means the dog’s handler must remain within sight of the dog and the dog must respond to voice commands. Other common sense rules apply to dogs on beaches according to state law. Handlers must prevent their animals from harassing people, wildlife and other domestic animals; and you are responsible for the removal of the animal’s waste while in the ocean shore state recreation area. Owners are required to carry a leash and leash their dog at the request of authorities, including Oregon State Parks personnel. If your dog is well behaved, does not approach other people or dogs, does not chase birds, approach wildlife or other domestic animals, you can enjoy most Oregon beaches off-leash with your dog.

I almost always travel the coast with my girl Gracie and we not only enjoy the beaches, but find many dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor dining areas and dog-related or dog-friendly businesses. There can’t be a better destination for dogs than the Oregon Coast.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on September 2nd, 2016 - Post Your Answer

How can I see the Oregon Coast on a budget?

Oregon State Parks offer access to some of the most remarkable scenic views and natural areas on the Oregon Coast. Many of the Oregon Coast’s State Parks do not require day-use fees and of those, my favorites are Cape Meares, Seal Rock and Cape Arago.

Those with day use fees that I would not hesitate to pay even for a brief visit include Ecola State Park, Heceta Head Lighthouse State Park and Shore Acres State Park. Likewise, the day use fee for entrance to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is also well worth it. On a related note, the Oregon Pacific Coast Passport covers day use fees for all Oregon State Parks, BLM sites (Yaquina Head), Forest Service managed natural areas including the Oregon Dunes and Cape Perpetua; and National Park sites (Fort Clatsop near Astoria) on the Oregon Coast.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on August 22nd, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where is the closest crabbing/clamming location to Portland?

The best beaches for razor clamming on the Oregon Coast are about 90 minutes from Portland in the Seaside area and north toward Fort Stevens State Park. You’ll want to check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding licensing, limits and shellfish safety closures. The razor clam season is closed on these beaches between July 15 and September 30 to protect juvenile clams.

There is also a variety of bay clamming on the North Oregon Coast, most notably on Tillamook Bay, Nehalem Bay and Netarts Bay. Nehalem Bay is also a good spots for crabbing and local marinas offer rental gear and boats or you can crab off the docks, then have your catch cooked fresh just steps from where you caught it.

Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on July 28th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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What are your top 5 places to spend a night (or two) on the Oregon Coast?

My choices would be Cannon Beach, Newport, Yachats, Bandon and Gold Beach for the following reasons:

Cannon Beach is a good base for nearby attractions like Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park, Oswald West State Park, Hug Point and towns like Seaside, Astoria and Manzanita. Follow the Three Capes Scenic Route (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and cape Kiwanda) as you drive south to Newport.

Newport has many local attractions like Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, the historic bay front, Oregon Coast Aquarium and easy day trips to Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock, Cape Foulweather (Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint) and the town of Depoe Bay. Visit Seal Rock State Recreation Site as you drive south to Yachats.

Yachats is not far from Newport, but it offers the best access to the many attractions of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area including hiking trails, Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well and panoramic views from the top of the Cape. Heceta Head Lighthouse makes an easy day trip. Explore the town of Florence and the Oregon Dunes as you drive south to Bandon.

Bandon offers a spectacular beach with interesting rock formations, a nice Old Town area and the Coquille River Lighthouse. The three State Parks on Cape Arago make a great day trip from Bandon if you don’t have time to visit them as you travel between Yachats and Bandon. The Cape Blanco Lighthouse is an easy day trip to the south of Bandon. Explore the town of Port Orford, Port Orford Heads State Park and Battle Rock Park as you travel south to Gold Beach.

Gold Beach is a great base for exploring the wild and scenic Rogue River, the stunning Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor to the south and other great stops include Meyers Beach and Cape Sebastian. Otter Point State Recreation Site is a nice short trip north of Gold Beach.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on July 6th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What is Cannon Beach’s most secluded, away-from-tourists beach?

Relatively speaking, a quiet beach in Cannon Beach during the summer is a bit of on oxymoron. However, Crescent Beach, just north of Cannon Beach, is much more secluded than other Cannon Beach area beaches because it is a hike-in location from Ecola State Park. Generally speaking, the further you get away from Haystack Rock to the north or south, the less populated the beaches will be. Ecola Creek and limited parking isolates the north end beach from the biggest crowds. The beach stretches much further to the south and becomes much less crowded between Silver Point and the Arcadia Beach parking area.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on June 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

I’m a big ‘Goonies’ fan… where do you recommend we visit?

Astoria is famous for being the filming location of the 1985 hit classic ‘The Goonies,’ as well as a handful of other popular movies. Astoria of  has a wide range of accommodations from luxury hotels on the riverfront to historic downtown boutique hotels, chain hotel brands and a good selection of bed and breakfasts. So, depending on your definition of quaint and not necessarily pricey, there are probably a few good choices for you. For a quaint motel, consider the Astoria Crest Motel. It is just east of downtown Astoria in a fabulous view location on a bluff and prices are reasonable.  For budget minded hipsters, downtown boutique hotels include the Commodore Hotel and Norblad Hotel and Hostel. You’ll have to check them out online to see if they’re your cup of tea. If you enjoy bed and breakfasts, consider Rose River Inn, Clementine’s and Crosby House.

Related to the The Goonies, I would definitely suggest a visit to the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria and you should consider a day trip to Cannon Beach, home of Goonies Rock (Haystack Rock). Ecola State Park offers great views as seen in the movie. Check out this page on the TravelAstoria website for more Goonies ideas. My other favorite Astoria area attractions include the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop and the Peter Iredale shipwreck on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park. On a clear day, a stop at the Astoria Column will offer great views. The Astoria Riverwalk makes for a nice stroll or you can hop on the historic trolley to tour the riverfront.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on June 13th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

How can one drive on the sand near Sunset Beach?

Driving on the beach between Fort Steven State Park and Gearhart is allowed with some seasonal restrictions. You can reach the beach access at the west end of Sunset Beach Road, just past the State Park parking area. Many other regulations and restrictions  are enforced for those driving on the beach. Speed limits must not exceed 25 mph and drivers can be cited for driving, even at lower speeds, if driving poses harm to the beach environment, ocean shore resources or creates a hazard to humans or wildlife. Drivers and vehicles must be legally licensed and all provisions of motor vehicle laws of the State of Oregon are applicable and enforceable.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

What are the not-to-miss golf courses on the Oregon Coast?

There are many wonderful golf courses along the Oregon Coast, ranging from all levels of difficulty and pricing. If you start south and head north, a really cool place to play is Salmon Run in Brookings. The Jack River crosses the course several times.

Two hours north is Bandon Dunes, considered the world’s most famous collection of courses with now five courses total. Bandon Dunes Resort is a must for the serious golfer looking for a memorable “bucket list” kind of experience. And there are a variety of accommodations, restaurants and accessible oceanfront so you can really take in the Coast. Just a few miles from Bandon Dunes, another enjoyable golf course is Bandon Crossings. And if you choose to stay in Bandon, the Bandon Inn is a lovely place to stay and tour the town.

 

As you head up the coastline, you must try to play Sandpines Golf. It is in the city of Florence and is considered one of the better public play courses in Oregon. Across the way from Sandpines is a fun, fun course named Ocean Dunes. It is modestly priced and you can play it well under four hours.

 

As you continue up the coastline, there are several other courses you can put on your “must-do list.” Salishan resort course in the town of Gleneden is known for tasty crab.  Manzanita Golf Course in the city of Manzanita is lined with trees, has ocean views and is really fun to play. Hawk Creek Golf in Lincoln City is a gem of a track and kind of a secret place mostly locals play. Gearhart Golf is one of the first courses to populate Oregon and again, is a lot of fun to play.

 

In all cases, you can’t miss celebrating the Oregon Coast with its views, good energy and fun, fun golf!

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on May 27th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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Where are the best places for RV camping on the Coast?

There are several options along Oregon’s 363 mile coastline for RV camping adjacent to the beach. I personally prefer the State Parks camping experience (forested, close to great natural areas) to most private RV parks that are primarily paved or graveled parking lots.

A few State Parks offer campsites adjacent to the beach, though not necessarily offering views from a campsite. Beachside State Park between Waldport and Yachats is likely your best bet for oceanfront RV spaces within a State Park. The trade-off is this park is bordered by Highway 101. Two of my other favorite State Parks with campgrounds adjacent to beach access and views a short walk away include Cape Lookout State Park near Tillamook and Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.

There are several other private RV parks that offer oceanfront sites. You could consider Sea & Sand RV Park in Depoe Bay, Sea Perch RV Resort in Yachats, Oceanside Beachfront RV in Charleston, Oceanside RV Park in Gold Beach and Beachfront RV Park in Brookings.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on May 18th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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