NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler,
Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln
City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
It's Fall on the Coast: Summer is Here
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast
sunset/moonscape scene at dusk, Lincoln City
– It’s a side to the travel world seldom seen. After
the sun goes down, the Oregon coast has a distinctly different vibe
and atmosphere, one that creates an entirely new layer for play,
repose and exploration, and more options for the visitor of any
It goes way beyond looking
for a haunted house or beach – although that is the easy choice.
There’s the nightlife options, which really come to life after
dark (and Heaven knows, with daylight hours waning, this becomes
a little more emphasized on the beaches). Then there’s simply
exploring the beaches at night, which is a sublime pleasure all
its own for a variety of reasons. These spots have a completely
different look and feel, and there are treasures to find in some
very esoteric ways that can’t be found during the day.
Here are several beach
spots on the coast with a wide range of different aspects and attractions
– both at night and during the day. Some aren’t so much
beach spots as they are wondrous places along the coastline, containing
their own surprises. But each of these sandy spots are easily accessible
at night, and don’t pose any danger when bouncing around the
City’s Nelscott District
upon a time, the area now known as Lincoln City was a long strip
of five tiny towns called Nelscott, Delake, Taft, Oceanlake and
Cutler City. But in 1964, locals took a vote and combined forces
to become this long, meandering town.
The Nelscott area lies
just north of the enormous Inn at Spanish Head, including a large
bluff that’s been turned into a winding street full of beautiful
homes. There’s also the businesses district here, where you’ll
find some scrumptious eateries, a year-round Christmas shop and
various beautiful lodging on 101 as well as on the streets skirting
City Vacation Homes There’s something
for everyone among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller
homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All the
homes are either oceanfront or just a few steps away from
the sand – all with a low bank access and fantastic
views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the
casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies, depending
on the home: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers,
Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues;
there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home
has two apartments. Pets are allowed in some homes –
ask ahead. Each comes with complete kitchens so you’ll
have a home away from home. Most have the seventh night
free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night.
Take a turn
west on 32nd St. and you’ll find one of the more prominent
beach accesses of the area. But down at the end of 35th St., there’s
a tiny parking lot with beach access that’s especially delightful.
A few hundred feet to the south you’ll find some fun rock
structures for climbing (at acceptably lower tides, that is) and
the beach below the Inn at Spanish Head.
All these spots are easily
traipsed at night, with good lighting in some areas and little or
no obstacles to trip you in the dark. There are some accesses dark
enough to catch sight of the “glowing sand” phenomenon,
should it reappear.
Just south of here, at
night, the Taft area bubbles over with nightlife activity, such
as at the oddball Snug Harbor and the effervescent Roadhouse 101,
practically an earthquake of live music fun and frivolity. This
area also includes the Siletz Bay, which is also incredibly beautiful
at night – especially wonderful for a romantic little walk
over that pier.
south of Cannon Beach sits the stunning town of Manzanita, which
seems almost hypnotic in its intriguing mix of class, ruggedness
and mystery. Ancient legends of crashed sailing ships and rumors
of hidden treasure mix with murky fir trees, a somewhat hip, almost
urban sense of architectural aesthetics and a backwoodsy sense of
sorts, making this burgh a place you don't want to leave.
There’s some incredible
cuisine lurking here too. Try the taste bud-bursting fast food Mexican
grub of Left Coast Siesta for a startling and wonderful foray that’s
inexpensive to boot.
night, the place to be is the San Dune Pub or the Wateringhole in
Nehalem - both friendly and playful full service bars with sometimes
inadvertently kooky lounge acts or other brands of entertainment
on the weekends.
The beaches of Manzanita
are a real killer: there's nothing like standing on this beach and
having to strain your neck to look up at Neahkahnie Mountain looming
A wide and beautiful
sandy beach fills the eye here. Although at the beach’s northernmost
access – near Neahkahnie Rd. – it quickly becomes large
cobblestones until it ends at the base of Neahkahnie Mt. some 200
The most obvious beach
accesses lie past its downtown and at the bottom of the main road,
Laneda Rd. But there are numerous hidden ones south of there, between
the homes, along the beachside roads. These eventually dead-end
at a back entrance to Nehalem Bay State Park.
creature made of driftwood on a Manzanita beach.
In this tiny
town that's full of culinary pleasures, wondrous new objects can
pop up on the beach at sufficient minus tides - or at night as well.
Depending on the amount of sand lying around that time of year,
different rock objects appear on an otherwise smooth, barren beach.
If the sand levels are
low enough, you’ll find one rock looks a lot like a chair
from some angles, with a large crack going down what would be its
back. This barnacle-covered oddity has a much more indistinct shape,
however, and sadly it's not a shape suited for sitting.
Walking on the beaches
here at night is an ethereal pleasure to say the least: Neahkahnie
is hit by yellow lights that have a mysterious vibe to them after
dark, adding to the majestic surrealism and spiritual feel of the
place. Plus, it makes part of the basalt wall look as if it’s
hovering in the dark.
The big lifeline
between Oregon and Washington starts here, taking 4.1 miles to cross
the Columbia River.
Take it from the Oregon
side and you’ll wind right past the windows of two homes as
this part of the bridge snakes around these houses. There’s
also a small covering over the onramp to the bridge – a remnant
of the tollbooth for the bridge which once helped pay back bonds
for its construction. On the other side, it’s a few miles
to the Washington coast with a few Lewis & Clark landmarks along
back in 1962, it’s the world’s longest continuous bridge.
The beautiful monstrosity
towers over everything in the town, slithering over parts of downtown
like a giant sea beast from an old horror movie, stretching its
limbs as it rises from the deep.
There are a
couple high-rise buildings with windows still close to the bridge,
and you slither past them as the winding onramp snakes its way upward,
past these homes. It’s almost a little awkward, as you realize
you could easily peep into someone’s apartment on your little
drive towards Washington – the onramp is that close.
Try this drive
at night for a spectacular experience of river ambiance and a smattering
of glittering lights on the bridge and from Astoria.
Freaky and Fun at Neskowin
At MP 98,
this picturesque and engaging village is largely comprised of a
few condominiums, a golf course, a couple of businesses and a smattering
of charming little homes.
There is, at first glimpse
anyway, not much at Neskowin. The beach is really the real top bill
here: a nearly never-ending promenade of sand. But because of Neskowin's
relative isolation, tucked away along a twisty stretch of highway,
it's a treasure trove that's usually not very crowded.
From the parking lot,
Neskowin State Park and Beach is a short walk to the beach and its
slightly unusual dark grains of sand, plus enough driftwood to make
yourself a decent fire.
Rock is the intriguing blob-like structure sitting in front of you,
boasting a small forest sitting on top. There's a sizable creek
between you and it, however, and to get to the structure means crossing
this cold body of water barefoot.
Atop the rock,
there are some hidden trails meandering through the forest where
the views are somewhat legendary. Watch the tide closely or you
could get stranded, and be careful of the trail's slippery entrance.
the entrance, look for a small, round brass plaque, an oddity embedded
there early in the century.
On the other
side of the often cold and heavy flow of the creek, you’ll
find weird 2,000-year-old stumps – called the Ghost Forest.
This downright spectacular oddity is almost a rare sight in Neskowin,
but you may not know just how spectacular it is unless you know
what it is you're looking at.
They look somewhat like
old, ragged pilings leftover from something manmade - but they are,
in fact, stumps of a 2,000-year-old forest. As many as 100 are sometimes
visible in various shapes and sizes. It's theorized that around
2,000 years ago a massive, cataclysmic earthquake abruptly dropped
this forest as much as six feet. This wound up preserving them,
rather then destroying and scattering them as natural erosion might've
There are 4,000 year-old
stumps periodically visible near Newport, although these are quite
After the sun goes bye-bye,
this place becomes pitch black. But it’s one of the notoriously
most deserted and romantic beaches at night on all of Oregon’s
coast. Plus, the esoteric little village and beach are known as
a kind of “spiritual spot,” where an unmistakable and
yet indefinable sense of peace and calm envelopes you. It’s
rather legendary for this and must be experienced to be understood.
Head Lighthouse Viewpoints
of the Cape Creek Bridge and its tunnel (just north of Florence),
you’ll find yourself along a winding twisting road with large
basalt cliffs on one side and dramatic ocean views on the other.
Soon, there’s a few amazing viewpoints. Stop for a while here
– as most people do – and you won’t be disappointed.
Check out the views of the lighthouse and Devil’s Elbow State
More of this road is winding and twisting just south of the Sea
Lion Caves, sometimes dotted with various viewpoints and small waterfalls
tumbling off the basalt rocks on the landward side of the highway.
viewpoints are bordered by black rock walls which give them a slight
Gothic castle vibe – especially if you stop by on a stormy
night. Below them can be spotted various kinds of wildlife, from
birds to sea lions. But mostly they provide opportunistic views
of the Heceta Head lighthouse, which help make it among the most
photographed lighthouses in the world.
You’ll want to
watch yourself here, however, as this part of the road is winding
and twisty, and rubbernecking at the greats vistas is easy while
driving. But plenty of viewpoints continue to lurk along the side
of the road as you hedge southward, allowing you dramatic views
of the ocean – and eventually a great aerial shot of the expanse
of Baker Beach (Look for MP 181).