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We want to see lighthouses on the Oregon Coast in November. Are there RV campgrounds open year-round?

Temperatures are typically mild along the Oregon Coast in November, so only on rare occasions do you need to worry about ice or frost on our roads. This is the rainy season on the coast and it can rain hard and be windy, but the Oregon Coast is spectacular anytime of year and many people come specifically to experience the weather and stormy seas.

There are several State Parks that offer year round RV campsites including Cape Lookout State Park (close to Cape Meares Lighthouse), Beverly Beach State Park (near Yaquina Head and Yaquina Bay Lighthouses), Sunset Bay State Park (near Cape Arago Lighthouse), Umpqua Lighthouse State Park (near Umpqua River Lighthouse), Bullards Beach State Park (near Coquille River Lighthouse) and Cape Blanco State Park (near Cape Blanco Lighthouse). There are also many private RV parks that remain open year-round.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse north of Florence is undergoing an extensive renovation and it is currently completely covered, but Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park nearby is also open year round for RVs.

Visit the Oregon State Parks website to look into the RV facilities.

Hope this is helpful and happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on November 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

Where is the best place to observe the whales is December? –Jane

There are many great places to view migrating Gray Whales in December all along the Oregon Coast. On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach, the Highway 101 viewpoints from Neahkahnie Mountain near Manzanita or Cape Meares State Park west of Tillamook. On the Central Oregon Coast, I recommend Depoe Bay, Yaquina Head near Newport or the Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center near Yachats. On the South Oregon Coast, try Shore Acres State Park near Charleston, the Face Rock Viewpoint in Bandon or Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.

The winter Gray Whale migration typically peaks in late December and December 26-30, a statewide program called “Whale Watching Spoken Here” positions volunteers at these locations and others to help visitors spot the migrating mammoths.

You can find more information on the program HERE along with a list of all of the locations which can be good for spotting whales anytime between mid-December and mid-January.

Happy whale watching!
Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on November 9th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are good spots on the Oregon Coast for beachcombing? I’m looking for agates. -Sandi

There are many beaches along Oregon’s 363 mile coastline where you will find agates. On the North Oregon Coast, I would recommend beaches south of Cannon Beach such as Arcadia Beach or Short Sand Beach (Oswald West State Park). Further south, Oceanside is known for agates where at low tide you can pass through a tunnel at Maxwell Point to find gravel beds great for agate hunters.

On the Central Oregon Coast, the stretch of beach between Otter Rock and Newport are famous for agates, including the appropriately named Agate Beach. Further south you will find some good agate beaches between Yachats and Florence. Consider the beach access areas adjacent to small creeks such as Agate Point just south of Yachats, Neptune Beach or Stonefield Beach.

On the South Oregon coast, consider Seven Devils Wayside south of Coos Bay, the beaches near Cape Blanco State Park and beaches both north and south of Gold Beach.

The quieter seasons of the year are often the best for agate hunters. Not only is there less competition for the prized stones, but off season storms often pull sand off the beach and waves dislodge agates from the shoreline revealing them to beachcombers. Look for areas of gravel deposits, then look closer to find the polished translucent quartz stones along with polished jasper and sometimes petrified wood and fossils.

Happy agate hunting!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on November 1st, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some romantic spots along the Oregon Coast? We’re driving up the coastline from California.

If your idea of romantic spots is sharing spectacular scenery, your visit to the Oregon Coast will be a can’t-miss. I suggest you stop at the Oregon Welcome Center as you cross the state line near Brookings. Be sure to pick up information on the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. You will enter this beautiful scenic area as you drive between Brookings and Gold Beach. There are many scenic viewpoints and if you like to hike, most of these stops are intersected by some of the most beautiful portions of the Oregon Coast Trail.

I would recommend you spend at least a couple days in Gold Beach, allowing you to explore this scenic area. If you don’t mind not staying on the beach and want to splurge, one of the most romantic spots to stay would be Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, just up the north side of the Rogue River. Their dining room is open May through October and will offer some of the finest food you will find in the region, though you will be seated in tables of eight. For more intimate dining, return to downtown Gold Beach and look for Anna’s by the Sea, a small, quirky spot just off the main track that will offer a high level of dining. If you would prefer more of a cabin stay experience, consider Ireland’s Rustic Lodges, each cabin with wood burning fireplaces. They also offer traditional oceanfront motel rooms at Gold Beach Inn. For breakfast or lunch, consider a visit to Rollin in Dough Bakery and Bistro. I enjoyed the breakfast here last week and the lunch menu looked great. If you day trip to the north at Port Orford, consider a visit to Redfish restaurant.

If it were me, I would enjoy the drive north about 60 miles and spend the balance of your nights in Bandon. A visit to Cape Blanco State Park on the way would be a don’t miss place to visit. The beach at Bandon is spectacular, dotted with sea stacks, making for beautiful beach strolling at sunset. Beach Loop Drive in Bandon offers several great view points and beach access areas, most notably the Face Rock viewpoint and Coquille Point to the north. For romantic dining, don’t miss Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant in old town Bandon. Also nearby to consider is The Loft Restaurant and Bar with views of the Coquille River. For coffee or desserts, look for Coastal Mist. I’ve also heard good things about Lord Bennett’s Restaurant. There are a number of oceanfront hotels in Bandon. Consider the Table Rock Motel, Windermere on the Beach, Bandon Beach Motel or Sunset Oceanfront Lodging. I recently stayed in one of the suites at Inn at Face Rock (Best Western) and the room was nicely upgraded and had a wood burning (presto log) fireplace. Though not oceanfront, it had some ocean views and the property also has a good restaurant, Bandon Bill’s.

One great day trip from Bandon is to drive north to Charleston and the State Parks at Cape Arago. You can make this trip via the Charleston to Bandon Tour Route. Just a few minutes away is a nice restaurant, Empire Cafe.

Hope this is some help on your romantic getaway!

Gary

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 29th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are some fun activities on the Oregon Coast for a young family? -Corin

There are some great family attractions on the coast. Obviously the beach is the number one attraction, but many communities also offer the opportunity to catch live crab off the docks which is always a hit with kids. You may want to consider some of the following:

Seaside: Indoor carousel, kiddie rides and Seaside Aquarium.
Newport: Oregon Coast Aquarium
North of Florence: Sea Lion Caves
South of Bandon: West Coast Game Park Safari (petting zoo with opportunity to pet exotic baby animals).
Reedsport: Umpqua Discovery Center (Interactive walk through natural history exhibits). Nearby is a dependable location for elk watching.
Between Gold Beach and Port Orford: Prehistoric Gardens (rainforest walk with 23 life size dinosaur replicas).

You didn’t mention which part of the coast you are visiting, so this list includes attractions covering almost 300 miles of the Oregon Coast. If you’d like to let me know where you will be spending your two days, I can get more specific about that region. Hope this helps for now. Happy exploring!

Answered by Gary Hayes, Ask Oregon Coast Expert on October 24th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

I will be in Eugene for a meeting on Jan 14th and 15th and would like to see some of the Oregon Coast; perhaps on the previous weekend or maybe starting on Jan 10th. What area would be relatively easy to drive to from Eugene or Portland? What kind of weather should I expect? Can you suggest some B&Bs? — Lois

From the coast, the most direct route to Eugene is from Florence on the Oregon Coast via OR 126 (just under 1.5 hours). You didn’t mention where you are traveling from, but it sounds like you may be coming from the north and you could easily spend four days traveling the North and Central coast between Astoria and Florence. Astoria is famous for bed & breakfasts in historical Victorian homes. If you are looking for more ocean beach destinations, I would consider starting in Seaside or Cannon Beach. In Seaside, you may want to try the Gilbert Inn B&B (historic home). In Cannon Beach, consider Song of the Sea B&B (modern home, close to town and beach). Just south of Cannon Beach is the unique French Chateau-like Arch Cape Inn. In the Newport area, you may want to consider the Sylvia Beach Hotel. It’s actually a historic beach hotel, but very B&B like with a literary slant. Rooms are furnished and decorated based on famous authors. Another unique B&B stay would be the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B, the original lighthouse keepers’ home (near Florence).

Weather is typically mild and rarely below freezing on the coast, so your travel along the coast should not be a problem. You will want to check on pass conditions as you pass through the Coast Range on your way to and from the coast. From the Portland/Longview area, the lowest elevation on the North Oregon Coast is Highway 30 into Astoria (the Washington side of the Columbia is even closer to sea level). Highway 26 is the most direct route to the coast from Portland, but the Coast Range summit is about 1500 feet and is most likely to have mountain travel conditions. The highest point on OR 126 from Florence to Eugene is under 800 feet.

Weather in January is typically cool with highs average in the high 40s and lows in the mid to high 30s. It is one of the wetter months of the year, averaging nine or more inches of rain during the month, so be prepared. Many come to the coast for storm watching this time of year. There can be high winds. The storm tossed seas can be an awesome site.

Hope this helps.

Happy travels!
Gary

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