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What are the most beautiful sites in Southern Oregon? What is the best beach for RVs?

In the Southern Oregon Region, the most beautiful site arguably is Crater Lake, the centerpiece of the state’s only national park and a sacred site to native tribes long before settlers “discovered it.” The summertime and wintertime landscapes each show unique facets of this natural wonder.

In Southern Oregon, there are several sites I recommend at various points along the coast. Starting with the farthest south, Harris Beach State Park has 36 full-hookup sites; http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_79.php About 80 miles north in Bandon, Bullards Beach State Park is larger with 104 full-hookup sites. About 25 miles just outside Charleston, Bastendorff Beach county park has 74 full-hookup sites: http://www.co.coos.or.us/Departments/CoosCountyParks/Bastendorff.aspx.

And although Bastendorff Beach isn’t quite as easy to access on foot as beaches at the previous two sites mentioned, this is my personal favorite beach on the South Coast, and the one I always go to. On the south end of the Coos Bay jetty, the beach is long and flat with finely textured sand. A sandstone cliff borders one end that makes for nice tidepooling and surf fishing at low tide. Water is shallow for a quite a ways in the surf zone. It’s popular with surfers and people flying kites and walking dogs. On a clear day, Cape Arago lighthouse (isolated, closed to the public and hard to spot from almost any other point on the coast) is visible from the beach’s north end.

Enjoy your stay,
Sarah Lemon

 

Answered by Sarah Lemon on October 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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We are looking to spend 5 days around the coast in June 2013. We have found lots of cool lodges to stay in, but they mostly want at least 2 nights minimum stay. Would you recommend hotels and moving around the coast? Or, base ourselves in a lodge and travel from there each day? — Pete

I would recommend you plan your itinerary to base yourself strategically in two places and make day trips north and south from each base. For instance, to explore the South Coast, you could stay in Bandon and spend one day exploring north to the great State Parks southwest of Coos Bay (Shore Acres, Sunset Bay and Cape Arago) and another day going south, perhaps as far as Samuel H Boardman State Park near Brookings. On the Central Coast, you could base your stay in Yachats, then venture north to visit the attractions in Newport like the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the historic bay front and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. To the south, you could explore the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Heceta Head Lighthouse and Florence where you can experience the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. If you wanted to explore the North Oregon Coast, you could have a base in Cannon Beach or Manzanita that would offer day tripping north to Ecola State Park, Seaside and Astoria. For a day trip south, I would recommend the Three Capes Scenic Route that begins west of Tillamook and includes Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda.

I hope this helps, but if you narrow down the areas you’d prefer to visit, I may be able to help with some more specific recommendations on itinerary, attractions or lodging based on your interests.

Happy Exploring!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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We are thinking of visiting Oregon in either November, December or during the Spring. One of the things we would like to do is clam digging, is there anyone that offers this activity? – Lori

Most of the razor clamming on the coast is in Clatsop County (Warrenton to Cannon Beach). These beaches have the most stable populations of razor clams. There are other beaches that support razor clams including (north to south): Short Sands (Oswald West State Park); Cape Meares beach; Agate Beach; North Beach and South Beach (Newport); Waldport beach; North Umpqua Spit; Bastendorff beach and North Spit (Coos Bay); Whiskey Run (Bandon); and Meyers Creek beach (Gold Beach), but about 95 percent of the razor clamming is on Clatsop County beaches.

Razor clamming is open on Clatsop beaches from October 1 to July 14. The most popular times for clamming is during the spring and summer, when tides are lowest. There are some minus tides during daylight hours this year in November and December that would be your best opportunity this year, so check a tide table for those dates. Tidal predictions for the north jetty of the Columbia River would be the most accurate for Clatsop beaches.

A license for recreational clamming is required through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and clammers are limited to the first 15 clams taken. The ODFW website can offer more information on licenses and regulations. I don’t know of anyone who offers razor clamming as an activity commercially.

Hope this helps and happy clamming!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 17th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

If I had 3 days in Oregon, where would I travel to? Love sun, water and rock formations. Love to eat seafood (especially shell fish).

Sounds like you need to plan a trip to the Oregon Coast! If sun is an important part of the equation, you should plan your trip for July, August or September. Of course, the coast is spectacular no matter what the weather, but those are the months with the best chance of dry days and sunny skies. The rocks, water and seafood are the easy part. The Oregon Coast is known for its coastline punctuated by nearly 2000 sea stacks and small islands that are all part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. They are great areas for exploring tidepools and watching birds, marine life and crashing waves. On the North Oregon Coast, the state’s most famous landmark is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. From Cannon Beach, you can also see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse built on a small rock a mile from the shore. Pacific City also has a Haystack Rock a little further offshore and the beautifully sculpted sandstone headland, Cape Kiwanda. On the Central Oregon Coast, Seal Rocks is named for it’s rock formations at the edge of the shoreline. Other great geologic formations include Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock and Devil’s Churn in the Cape Perpetual Scenic Area near Yachats. On the South Oregon Coast, the beach at Bandon offers numerous rock formations. These are just a few examples. Here’s a recent story we did on the Oregon Coast’s sea stacks.

Wherever you choose to go on the coast you will find great, fresh seafood. Dungeness Crab, oysters and razor clams are among the Pacific shellfish delicacies you will find. If you’d like to provide more information on what area of the coast you are interested in or where you are coming from, I can make some more specific recommendations. I hope this helps for now.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 16th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

I’m looking for history or information about Thor’s well?

Thor’s Well is also known simply as Spouting Horn and is located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats. It can be viewed by taking the Captain Cook Trailhead from the Visitor Center. When surf is up, water shoots upward from the bowl carved out of the basalt shoreline, then drains back into the opening. Many photographers trying to capture the action report how dangerous it is to try to get close to the spouting horn when it’s active, so if you visit, be careful and keep your distance.

Formations like these are typically formed over long periods of time geologically. They begin as a sea cave and eventually the top of the cave collapses, leaving an opening where the tide surges in, then shoots upward with dramatic force. Similar dramatic formations can be seen nearby at Devil’s Churn and at Devil’s Punchbowl in Otter Rock to the north.

Editor’s Note: Our own Grant McOmie traveled to Cape Perpetua earlier this year; see the story and video here.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 16th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What is the best time of year to visit Oregon, drive along the scenic coast, antique…? –Gus

The Oregon Coast is different and spectacular in each season. Summer is the warmest and driest, but busiest time. Spring is beautiful with new growth on the foliage, blooming wildflowers and is good for enjoying birds and wildlife. Winter is a favorite for storm watchers and those who like it quiet and secluded. The ocean is a totally different experience in the winter with dramatic crashing waves. There are many savvy travelers that wait until after the summer rush (after Labor Day) and enjoy the usually beautiful Indian Summer and fall. I personally love mid-September to mid-October. There’s still a good chance of warm weather and it can be beautiful or dramatic with fog, mist and beautiful cloud formations.

If you like to antique along the way, I would suggest the quieter seasons. Lincoln City is  known for it’s numerous antique stores. Astoria and Seaside also features several. Each February, Lincoln City hosts Antique Week – actually 10 days of antique sales and events. We just did a story on Antiquing in Lincoln City you can find HERE.

Hope this is helpful.

Happy Exploring!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 16th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

Is there a bad time of the year to visit Oregon (i.e. when is the rainy season)? We are thinking of a visit along the coast and across the Columbia River Gorge in July or august in a couple years; however, we are open to any suggestions of a better time of the year.

No, there is not a bad time of year to visit the Oregon Coast, but there is a rainy season. Between November and January, many parts of the coast average over 10 inches of rain each month. Many people come to the coast during this time to experience the awesome storms that can whip the seas into a frenzy and showcase the dramatic forces that shape the landscape. It can be wet and windy, but many are attracted to this quieter season at the coast. Hotels offer great off season rates too.

July and August are the most dependable months for dry weather and sunny skies. It is also the busiest time of year. My favorite time of year is September and early October. There are typically smaller crowds and the weather can still be nice, though slightly cooler than summer. Fall can offer scenes of fog, mist and cloud formations that can be stunning.

Whatever time of year you come, you will want to be prepared for cool temperatures and the possibility of rain. If you are prepared, you will be able to enjoy the magic of the coast in any season you visit.

Happy Planning!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 15th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We are planning a road trip along the entire Oregon Coast next year. I would like to know when is the best time for whale watching, what wouldn’t you miss, and how long a trip should we take to make it worth our while? We like to hike and would love to do some fun things as well as the scenery and tide pools. Where are the best places to camp along the way?

You didn’t mention what time of year you were planning your trip, but their are two times of year that Gray whales migrate along the Oregon Coast. They travel south during the winter, with mid-December to mid-January beginning the typical peak of migration along the Oregon Coast. The last week of December there is a coast wide program called Whale Watching Spoken Here with volunteers at dozens of the top whale watching locations to help assist visitors in spotting them. The whales return north in early spring with the peak of the migration between March and April. The Spring Whale Watching Spoken Here program is the last week in March.

There are also resident whales that might be spotted year-round. Your best bet would be to visit the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, an area the whales are known to frequent.

If you plan on doing a fair amount of hiking on your trip, I would definitely plan on two weeks.

A pretty spectacular start to your journey would be Ecola State Park at the north end of Cannon Beach. You’ll have great panoramic views of the local icon Haystack Rock and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse just offshore. There are several hiking trails within the park. Cannon Beach is a cute upscale beach town with an easy to walk downtown filled with boutiques and art galleries. Haystack Rock is known for its easily accessible tidepools and at many low tides the Haystack Rock Awareness Program is on the beach offering interpretive information on tidepools and nesting seabirds including puffins during the spring and summer.

About 10 minutes to the south is Oswald West State Park with more hiking trails. I would recommend the Cape Falcon trail, that is just under five miles roundtrip to the end of the cape and back (a great whale watching spot!). Just a couple minutes to the north on the highway, you climb Neahkahnie Mountain where several highway turnouts offer expansive views hundreds of feet about the surf (another great whale watching location!). There is a nice campground a little further south at Nehalem Bay State Park.

As you continue south, you may want to stop at the Tillamook County Creamery, home of Tillamook Cheese, one of the region’s best known products. Then, I’d make a sidetrip off Highway 101, following signs to Cape Meares and the Three Capes Scenic Route. Cape Meares is just a few minutes away where Cape Meares State Park offers great views and a short walk to a historic lighthouse. Your next stop would be Cape Lookout State Park. This would be another great camping spot with adjacent hiking trails. The last cape on the sidetrip is Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, a sculpted sandstone headland with a giant sand dune on its flank and just offshore is another of Oregon’s Haystack Rocks. You rejoin the highway just south of Pacific City.

The drive between Lincoln City and Newport will offer many views. I’d stop at Boiler Bay State Wayside and the town of Depoe Bay (whales!). Make another off the highway trip to Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl State Park. Just a little further south, you can make Beverly Beach State Park another camping destination before you continue toward Newport. Take time to visit Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural area just north of Newport. There are great views, bird watching, whale watching, a beautiful lighthouse and, if you plan your visit for a good low tide, an incredible tidepool area. In Newport, be sure to visit the Bayfront area and you should probably set aside a minimum of two hours for the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

As you continue south, you may want to make time for a visit to the beach at Seal Rock for more tidepools, then set your sights on the Cape Perpetua Natural Area just south of Yachats. You’ll find some great hiking and beach areas there.

Further south,  I’d camp at Honeyman State Park in Florence, offering access to sand dunes and for dune hiking you may also want to stop at the John Dellenback Dunes Trail south of Reedsport.

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on September 10th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We’re coming to Oregon this summer. We want to rent a place on the beach, walk, eat well, see local sites and shop in art galleries. We also want to spend a couple of days in Portland. There are four of us and none of us have ever spent time in Oregon before. Do you have any suggestions for how to set up a couple days in the city and four days on the coast? – Elaine R.

On the Oregon Coast your best bet for art, beach, and eating well is probably Cannon Beach on the North Coast, or Newport on the Central Coast. I’m also partial to Astoria (where I live part-time) for everything you listed, except it’s about 10 miles inland from the beaches, on the south bank of the Columbia River (which is about 4 miles wide at that point, so it feels more like a bay). In all the above places there are plenty of hotels, motels, and beds and breakfasts.

You should have no problem finding something in Portland.  I would recommend a downtown hotel – downtown is famously walkable. You may find some good deals on the Travel Portland.

Answered by Dave Strom on May 15th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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My wife and I would like to see the best of the Oregon coast in two or three days. We’ll be doing it after visiting Ashland. Any suggestions? – Rev S.

I’d recommend you stick to the south and central coast, then, if you only have two or three days. I’d think you could enjoy the scenic Highway 42, from Ashland west to Bandon, then north on Highway, 101. If I had three days, two nights, I would probably spend the first night in Florence, see the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, have lunch in Yachats, then the second night in Newport, and spend the morning there (the Oregon Coast Aquarium, beautiful bridge, lovely bayfront) before heading west on Highway 20 to Interstate 5.

The town of Florence is known as the state’s center for rhododendrons. The annual rhododendron festival is May 18 – 20, 2012 this year. But the corridor of Highway 101 between Reedsport and Florence usually is awash in the flowers between May and June.

Answered by Niki Price on May 15th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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