Romantic Oregon Coast Walks and Breathtaking Make Out Spots
(Oregon Coast) – It's become one of the hottest holidays in winter on the coast, with hordes of visitors packing every Oregon coast town in increasingly larger numbers each year. It's big enough now that if you're living in Oregon and not taking your relevant other to the coast on Valentine's Day for a romantic night, dinner and bit of beach exploration - then perhaps you don't deserve them.
The roads are busy, some motels, hotels and B&B's are at capacity, and the fine restaurants are stuffed with hand-holders. It's beautiful and romantic beyond belief - and it's a short drive from where most Oregonians live along the I-5 corridor.
Ultimately, it's the natural scenery that's the big draw: with the surf, sand and rocky formations causing everyone to pause and take things a little slower. Sometimes it’s that sweet tingle of a perfect handholding walk along a sandy beach or intricate beach. Other times you really just want to make out with the ocean roaring nearby.
The beach is calling you for this Valentine’s week. Here’s a sampling of outstanding places to take your relevant other.
Manzanita and Its Breathtaking Beauty
Just to the north of Nehalem Bay 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.
At night, the place to be is the San Dune Pub, a friendly and fun full service bar with an abundance of friendly locals and interesting folk from all around.
Often, you’ll first glimpse this jaw-dropping little burgh from above, from the unforgettable panoramic viewpoints just below the mountain. There’s little else that screams make out spot like these handholding-inducing views.
At the beaches of Manzanita, there's nothing like standing here and having to strain your neck to look up at Neahkahnie Mountain looming above you. At night, this place becomes absolutely ethereal, as the mountain walls become illuminated by lights and wind up looking like part of a ghostly chunk of rock just hovering in the night sky.
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 feet down.
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.
At first glance, Oceanside appears to be just another wayside with a collection of homes clustered around it. But this out of the way spot, nestled up against the hills of the Tillamook Forest, is one hidden gem on the Oregon coast, filled with a myriad of obvious and secret delights. It’s an old, rustic hamlet that smacks of another time, dripping with weather-beaten cuteness and charm – and it hides a major culinary wonder in the form of the upscale Roseanna’s Café.
The beaches here are often shielded from the wind by the headland called Maxwell Point - about 100 yards north of the parking lot - looming above like a tall, dark, watchful god. 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 if the tide is low enough.
Because of its relative protection from northwest coastal winds, the beach at Oceanside is often a great spot for sunbathing or for any activity which requires getting away from the cold (of which a good make out session definitely counts as).
The real fun of Oceanside's beach lies inside Maxwell Point, however. The concrete tunnel here is a gateway to a stunning, secret world. Entrance into the tunnel is somewhat unadvisable recently, because of falling rocks from the cliffs.
But if conditions are calm, on the other side 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.
The entire area is cluttered with stuff to play on as well as a sense of the serene and the surreal.
This charmer of a town is home to many artists on the coast, and it’s purported a few national rock stars have cabins nearby as well. This artiness shows, partially in the city council’s rule that most buildings be dressed up in cedar shingles, giving the whole town a sense of the rustic yet refined.
This delicate aesthetic is also obvious in the abundance of quaint businesses around town, from whimsical shops selling kites, clothes and gifts, to its galleries, fine cuisine in a variety of price ranges and the many flower pots hanging everywhere. Some of the restaurants and bars even have outdoor seating – a daring, if not very urban-thinking move on the coast. Some of the restaurants are by far the most romantic on the entire coast.
Sure, it’s touristy in some ways and certainly packed with tourists most of the time. But there’s a coziness and beauty to this place that’s hard to forget.
For other major cozy, intimate moments, especially if they involve some good alone time on a deserted beach, head to the extreme north and southern ends of the sands. You’re almost sure to be by yourselves on most days.
The Wilderness of Upper Lane County
It’s a place where tide pools reign supreme, humans are rare, where hobbits and rabbits dwell, where a lighthouse shines and where life is truly rugged. It’s the biggest collection of non-stop hidden spots along the coast, with about 25 miles of delicious secrets between Yachats and Florence.
Start your romantic, isolated journey at Strawberry Hill (sure, you can insert the pun here “found your thrill…”), which is just south of the Lane County line. First, you step out on a rather stately bluff with breathtaking views all around you. To the south, there’s a long stretch of cobblestone beach with towering cliffs directly behind you. West and north allows you access to a favorite spot of tide pool hunters, with large and small rocky blobs creating a labyrinth in the sand and providing plenty of places for starfish, mussels and other tide line dwellers to live.
It’s as much fun for climbing and tide pool hunting as it is for a simple, hand-in-hand walk on the beach.
Just down the road is Bob Creek Wayside, where more tide pools than humans populate this obscure but fascinating place. They really emerge at lower tides, clinging to odd, mushroom-shaped rocky blobs at the southern end. At this end, there’s also a small sea cave and a huge boulder that creates a sort of arch by leaning up against the cliffs here.
At the north end, you’ll find plenty of mussels – but you’ll have to cross the creek to do so. During the winter that’s difficult, if not impossible and certainly unwise. During the summer months it’s much easier.
Just stone’s throw north of Stonefield Beach and the small bridge over Ten Mile Creek you’ll find a tiny, unmarked beach access lying behind a patch of gravel on the side of the road. Take this, then wander down a long path through the grass, past some idyllic stream scenes, to find a small hidden beach featuring all sorts of bubble-like and craggy basalt shapes lying in the water and on the shore.
Within a few feet sits the striking Ziggurat – an unusual bed and breakfast that looks like a Rubik’s Cube all twisted up into a strange but wonderful shape.
One of the coast’s biggest and most deliriously romantic secrets lies between Washburne State Park and the Heceta Head Lighthouse. It’s called the Hobbit Trail – and don’t tell anybody.
It’s so named because the eerie tunnel-like earthen walls that surround you at certain points upon your descent. But it’s a place sometimes favored by creative-types from the Eugene area who often construct wildly imaginative structures from the natural objects lying around, like amazing gardens of rocks, things you might find in Japanese gardens, strange rune-like figures from stones or whimsical carvings in the sandstone.
Or maybe it is occupied by gnomes who scurry away from their constructions upon the approach of any human being?
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