A clear sky and brilliant sunshine adds up to a March surprise on a recent weekend along the Oregon coast where you can really get away from it all simply with a paddle and a spirit of adventure. It was a perfect time to dive into new adventure on the quiet side of coastal life with Paul Peterson and Marc Hinz of Kayak Tillamook.

Our small troop of paddlers prepped for a trip on Netarts Bay, a small Tillamook County estuary that may suit you just fine. At 2700 acres, Netarts Bay is relatively small in size with no major rivers, but several small creeks that feed into it.

Before we got our boat bottoms wet, our guide demonstrated the forward paddle stroke during our land based prep session: “So in it goes,” said Peterson, who reached forward with the paddle, “and then it’s a push-pull move inside that imaginary strike zone of baseball.”  Once the half hour shore based session wrapped up, we dropped in at near-ebb tide at the Netarts Bay public marina to enjoy a winter’s day that was too nice to believe.

“Netarts Bay is one of the most pristine bays on the Oregon,” added Hinz. It is shallow throughout, no more than 15-feet deep and the water is so clear you can see right to the bottom. You can see Dungeness crabs crawling across the bottom of the bay, so visibility makes this a nice waterway to paddle and it is a very popular clamming destination too.”

Kayak Tillamook’s tours reach across six Tillamook County estuaries for a total of 80 miles on bays, rivers, sloughs and backwater areas. “That’s about 800 square miles of flat water paddling opportunities,” noted Hinz. “Most of which are tidal influenced – but we also have lakes – freshwater lakes and intimate little sloughs that wander up into coastal forests – there’s a lot for us to see and do in a kayak.”

Finally, don’t forget that Cape Lookout State Park is located just few miles from the bay and offers 225 sites including rental cabins, 13 yurts and endless miles and solitude.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

Before you head out on your very own kayak adventure in Tillamook Bay, don’t forget your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) and be sure to check out the new Nehalem Estuary Water Trail Map, a hands-on guide produced and published by the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership.   Also remember that as of January 1, 2010: resident and nonresident boaters are required to have an Aquatic Invasive Sepcies Permit for paddle craft (drift boats, canoes, kayaks, inflatable pontoon boat, etc.) that are 10 feet long or longer.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.


In this Grant’s Getaway

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