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Subtle Surprises and Big Delights of Oceanside, N. Oregon Coast

Published 11/01/2016 at 8:01 PM PDT - Updated 11/02/2016 at 5:11 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oceanside on the north Oregon coast

(Oceanside, Oregon) - Find this tiny village on the Three Capes Tour, about nine miles west of Tillamook, and you've happened across one of the Oregon coast's biggest wonders wrapped in a tiny package. Spectacular, soaring hills, a spooky tunnel, an insanely mesmerizing secret beach and much more all reside in little Oceanside. There are pleasures both subtle and gloriously in-your-face.

Hit the beach here and you'll find it often shielded from the north winds by Maxwell Point. You'll also find an intriguing tunnel going through the small headland. On the other side, there's a wondrous beach filled with strange rock slabs and agate-combing possibilities.


If the weather's been wet for a while, stay away from this tunnel, however. The cliffs above often drop rocks and such.

In case of such dreary weather, a walk or drive along the steep, hilly streets of this minuscule town will blow you away. The older homes are stunning enough, but some of the more recent additions may drive you mad with jealousy with their opulence and the amazing ocean view they sit in front of. A few of these have delightfully weird shapes which will delight you and maybe cause you to scratch your head.

To the south, it's about three miles of sandy beach leading straight to Netarts Bay, with not much else other than rocks, boulders and driftwood piled up next to the vegetation line. About a mile down, you'll find some minor trails meandering through the brush underneath the Three Capes residential development, and if you're lucky, oddly colored slabs of rock become visible when the tide is low enough.

If conditions are calm, however, on the other side of the tunnel sits a stunning beach where enormous boulders and weirdly shaped sea stacks give the entire area a feel like something out of the old ``Star Trek'' series.


This is the real fun of Oceanside. And one of the highlights of the entire Oregon coast. The concrete tunnel here is a gateway to a placid yet surreal and surprising world. The whole area is cluttered with stuff to play on as well as a sense of otherworldly beauty. Curious rock structures abound, an array of small sea caves that is highlighted by a really large one at the very northern edge, and gobs of starfish colonies.


A handful of sea stacks sit at the northern tip, and these create some good wave watching in even calm weather and conditions. It's here where the starfish live in great numbers, but you can only get close to see these about half the time because of tidal conditions. Watch these carefully.

In fact, don't go on Oceanside's beach at all during stormy weather, especially if you see less than 50 feet between the tide line and the cliff.


These days, there's not even a gas station or grocery in Oceanside (the closest is nine miles away at Tillamook). But back in the almost-roaring twenties of the Oregon coast, a pair of brothers called the Rosenbergs built a dance hall, a grocery, and a hotel or two. Meanwhile, a massive tent city was erected – which was the standard form of lodging at the time for tourists. It clocked in at 500 or so tents.

That famous tunnel now going through Maxwell Point was created in 1926 by the Rosenberg boys. But it was the year before that really caused Oceanside to skyrocket with travelers, when they built a wooden plank road between there and Netarts.

Another popular feature here was what would be now considered a vastly dangerous and unwise construct: a wooden platform elevated above the waves that allowed people to wander around the big basalts from the beach beyond the tunnel. Sometimes called an “angel walk,” it crumbled after a short time in existence. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

 

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