Cape Foulweather

June 5, 2015 (Updated June 24, 2015)

As the seasons change, the sun, surf and sand merge in a breathtaking moment along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway.

That’s especially true along the Central Oregon coast at a place whose name couldn’t be further from the truth on a day too nice to stay indoors: Cape Foulweather!

“Foulweather is probably one of the most popular and picturesque areas along the Oregon Coast,” noted Oregon Parks and Recreation Ranger Dave Newton. “Everyone who visits wants to get that prime photograph and right here they can do that.”

Rising 500 feet above the ocean, Cape Foulweather is “where Oregon began.” It’s the first Oregon land formation that Captain Cook spied in March, 1778. Cook coined the name for the fierce weather and rough ocean conditions that he and his crew encountered.

But not at this time of year, when blissful weather takes over! Cape Foulweather is a state park that offers fabulous views of bald eagles and gray whales.

Newton added that the Cape Foulweather Gift Store’s history reaches back nearly a century when Buck and Ann Badley built the place as a coffee shop. “They named it ‘Fairweather Coffee Shop,’ but they found out that wasn’t really what the visitors people wanted. Folks wanted souvenirs that they could take back with them, so the Badley’s changed it into a gift store.”

Oregon State Parks acquired the site in 2013 and quickly made changes.”We wanted to open up the store’s space and give visitors more opportunity to enjoy the views,” said Newton. “So, we cleared shelves away from the windows and put in benches and binoculars that invite people to stay longer. And they do!”

Nearby you’ll find many good reasons for an even longer stay. Beverly Beach State Park Campground offers 280 sites for tents or trailers, plus 21 yurts that offer many of the same comforts of home. There’s easy access to the sand that gives families miles of beach to stretch out and play.

A short four-mile drive to the south leads you to the sprawling Yaquina Headland. It is a site that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and it is home to seabirds by the thousands each spring – plus, the site offers some of the most accessible tide pools of the Oregon Coast.

“The tide pools at Yaquina Head are probably the most diverse,” said BLM Ranger Jay Moeller. “They have the most living things in them than any tide pool that I’ve seen in the northwest. Really diverse and easy to get to and they’re protected.”

Above it all, Yaquina Lighthouse has stood its ground since 1873, and today visitors line up to go inside on guided tours.BLM Ranger Bret Greenheck, said he “gets a kick” out of playing the part of a Yaquina Lighthouse keeper and guiding folks up to the top. “The winds across Yaquina Headland can typically reach 100 miles an hour,” said Greenheck.”Our walls in here may whistle, but they do not waver!”

You’ll not waver on your visit to this stretch of scenic byway. The sun and the surf and the sand make certain at a place that’s never twice the same.”

About The

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.