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The Remarkable Transformations of Oceanside: N Oregon Coast Seasonal Wonders

Published 05/19/2018 at 4:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

The Remarkable Transformations of Oceanside: N Oregon Coast Seasonal Wonders

(Oceanside, Oregon) – One of the more awe-inspiring spots on the Oregon coast is tucked away in the middle of a kind of beachy nowhere. The tiny, sleepy village of Oceanside has really nothing going on, at least in human terms. But it’s got a lot going for it, and there’s an amazing amount of stuff going on just below the surface.

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Oceanside can truly surprise with its bevy of changes, sometimes even in the layout of this pleasant place. Its transformations can be remarkable.

It sits just west of Tillamook, along the Three Cape Tour, where the beaches here are often shielded from the wind by the headland called Maxwell Point - about 100 yards north of the parking lot. It looms above like a tall, dark, watchful god.

The real fun of Oceanside's beach lies beyond Maxwell Point. The concrete tunnel here is a gateway to a stunning, secret world. Entrance into the tunnel is somewhat unadvisable in wetter moments, because of falling rocks from the cliffs.


A bevy of enormous boulders and weirdly shaped sea stacks give the entire area a feel like something out of the old ``Star Trek'' series. In fact, it acquired the nickname “Star Trek Beach” because of this awhile back.

For perhaps hundreds of years, a small arch sat at the northern end of this beach, looking a bit like that eerie relic in that old “Star Trek” episode that served as a time travel portal (above). The result of millions of years of pounding at the sturdy basalt, the arch was probably originally a small sea stack – and before that part of a larger rocky body of some sort.

For as long as anyone could remember in this area, that structure had the shape of an arch. Sometime in the winter of 2004, the storms finally took their toll, and the arch crumbled. Another Oregon coast landmark gone.

Now, in its place are two small sea stacks, no longer connected. It’s possible one of them could develop a crack, which then enlarges to an arch again – albeit a much smaller one.

Seasons make jaw-dropping changes here, too. In the winter, sands get scoured out and everything is a bit taller. Rocky blobs you saw in summer or fall seem to rise in height two to maybe even four feet more. That old concrete opening into the tunnel is suddenly higher off the ground.


The point is more raucous and dangerous: waves careen and crash against it with far greater fury. Gravel beds open all along the beach, which in itself seems to be on a steeper slope than you’ve seen it during the rest of the year. Agates begin to abound because of this.

On the tunnel’s other side, that weird “magic rocks” beach noise begins to happen. Gravel beds and agates appear with greater frequency, thus bringing more of the rounded cobblestones that make that wacky click-clacking noise.


Most of fall, spring and the beginnings of winter and summer have a similar look in Oceanside. But in mid summer, often the sand levels rise so high you encounter yet another different world. This can create large berms that keep the tide much farther out, mimicking an extreme low tide event. The beach is abruptly much wider.


All of a sudden, you can walk around that point with great ease and safety. The caves are shorter and the cobblestones aren’t as many. But Star Trek Beach is also wider than before and not the hazardous endeavor it can be in winter or high tides.

Oceanside has many faces and many facets. If you return a few times a year you'll see a different beach. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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