Southern Oregon Coastline Pictures Heading North - Beaches and Attractions
Southern Oregon Coast
This portion of my mother's, niece's and my Oregon vacation will focus on the Oregon coastline and many pictures will be shown of that resplendent, wild, rocky and fascinating border between land and the ever active waves of the Pacific Ocean. Numerous beaches and attractions were seen and savored.
Two weeks were spent viewing many different areas of Oregon starting with our arrival in Portland from Houston, Texas. Wish that it could have been two months!
After seeing some of that city we headed inland along the Columbia River Gorge viewing countless waterfalls. Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake National Park, and a jet boat ride on the Rogue River were just a few of the highlights that we experienced.
We had only spent one night in the very northwestern tip of California to primarily take in viewing the tall and majestic redwoods in the Redwood National Park. Thus this journey begins as we head up the southern Oregon coast heading north.
This scenic highway hugs the coastline of all the Pacific Ocean bordering states from Los Angeles in California through Oregon and on up to Port Angeles in Washington State.
For anyone having the time to take this route the scenery presented along this highway is breathtaking. Sometimes it winds a few miles inland but often it hugs the coastline offering sweeping views of the Pacific from the road. It is curvy and twists and turns with the outline of the land and also the topography...so for people in a hurry, Interstate 5 which is further inland is probably the best way to go.
We opted to take route 101, also called the "Oregon Coast Highway" in Oregon and were in for a sensual treat.
Harris Beach State Park
There are a number of State Parks as one drives south to north heading up the Oregon coast. Harris Beach State Park is located just north of Brookings and is a great place for beachcombers.
Walking along the windswept beach we started adding to a rock collection that we would take home as souvenirs of this Oregon vacation.
We would soon find out as we progressed north that just about at every beach location the rocks amazingly varied. Some were multicolored and irregularly shaped while others were grey to black and smooth and polished just like the ones commonly found in Japanese gardens.
Samuel H. Boardman State Park
This park stretches for about 11 miles along the coast and has signs posted to the various beaches and places to pull off the road if one wishes to photograph the scenery, hike some of the trails or picnic at some of the provided tables that are situated in scenic locations.
At Lone Ranch we spotted our first sea anemones attached to the rocks in tidal pools. The rocks were also encrusted with barnacles.
The morning fog enshrouded the distant rocks and views and the humid and salty breezes made sweater wearing comfortable for us even though the time of year was August.
Sound effects of the constant din of the breaking waves washing ashore added to the muffled sounds of people talking and the plaintive cry of seagulls skimming the air.
At this location (pictured below), anyone collecting driftwood would have had a great selection of sea-washed pieces.
Scouring the beach for that perfect souvenir rock!
There are seemingly endless terrific vistas of ocean and coastline as one continues traveling up highway 101 along the Oregon coast.
Natural Bridge Cove
A short 50 yard walk from one's parked car leads to this natural arch carved out of solid rock by the relentless pounding and scouring action of the surf. The coastline continually loses land to the sea by erosive actions over the course of years forming cliffs and islets and offshore rocks.
Humbug Mountain State Park
This state park is about a mile from the shoreline and is situated in a wooded canyon setting. It is a beautiful picnic and camping site and perfect for hiking and biking.
Taking the time to stop for a short rest and walk, we found some wild blackberries bushes and apple trees and helped ourselves to some of that succulent blackberry fruit. While we were in a fairly secluded spot and strolling along enjoying the scenery we decided to make a hasty exit.
Why? We spotted some very fresh bear droppings! Thinking it was probably best to leave the blackberries to the bear we headed back to the coast.
Beaches and State Parks along the Oregon Coast
Passing Port Orford which is a commercial fishing village we next stopped at Coos Bay which is where the Coos River meets the Pacific. There is a sizable body of water inland connecting to the Pacific.
While we were visiting there was a replica of a 16th century warship moored in this port city. I have no idea if it is still there as a permanent exhibit or if it was just passing through this area on its way to some other location. In any case this warship with flags furled made a striking appearance on Coos Bay grabbing our attention and I am certain the attention of many others as well.
Sand Dunes National Recreation Area
My mother, niece and I were surprised to see massive sand dunes that went on for miles and miles along the coastline of Oregon as we were driving.
We found out that it was a National Recreation Site. It consists of miles (40 along the coast!) of entertainment for people who enjoy off road dune buggy riding, hiking, swimming (there are both large and small lakes in these dunes!) and other activities. In fact this Sand Dunes National Recreation Area is the largest expanse of dunes that run along a coastline in all of North America.
It certainly provides an attraction for vacationers in this part of Oregon and can be a destination all by itself for much fun and outdoor activities between Coos Bay and Florence, Oregon to the north.
Coos Bay Oregon Dune Ride
Florence and Coos Bay in Oregon
Newport is a seaside town along the Oregon coast that has several attractions among which is the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, an aquarium and the Undersea Gardens.
On Newport's old bay front which is slightly reminiscent of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, although smaller, we decided to see the Undersea Gardens.
It was enjoyable. One actually walks down into an undersea theater and when the curtains expose the glassed tank area, a myriad of sea creatures are to be viewed along with some scuba divers showing off various things within that marine environment. It is a narrated show so that people understand what they are viewing.
By this time of our vacation we had settled into a great spot for lodging in Lincoln City, Oregon and were venturing out for daily sightseeing trips such as this one back down to Newport.
We decided to have lunch at the Embarcadero Resort Hotel and Marina where they pride themselves for every room having a view of the bay and marina. So did their restaurant.
Looking out of the picture windows while we dined on local seafood were these colorful boats moored just outside.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Newport, Oregon is also the home to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and my mother, niece and I decided to take a look at it. It is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast and is still operational.
Comorants, seagulls and other birds roost offshore on the jutting rocks and while interesting to see and hear, I must admit the odor originating from there wasn't great.
Just north of Newport is Agate Beach where collectors of these stones can occasionally pick them right up from the beach. Apparently if one gets there right after a storm or at least soon after the tide goes out, one has a better chance of finding some. We looked but did not see any that we could identify as agates although we found some pretty pebbles.
One has to be careful when walking along the Oregon coastline because what they label as "sneaker waves" can catch one off guard. Every now and then the foaming waves of the ocean come in much further than one expects when walking along the hard packed sand of the beach. My mother, niece and I were all fooled at least once and got the Pacific ocean in our shoes!
Sneaker waves along Oregon coastlineClick thumbnail to view full-size
Devils Punchbowl State Park
A roof of two caves collapsed causing a large bowl-like effect which the ebb and flow of the Pacific Ocean regularly fills with salty water. During stormy weather this catch basin can apparently look like a boiling and steaming cauldron.
We simply looked down at it but the video shows it from the top as well as the bottom. It is a pretty site. Nothing stays the same with the ever present forces of nature exacting their toll.
We would pass several more beaches and parks heading north of Newport going back to Lincoln City.
At Fogarty Creek State Park on the east side of highway 101, a path leads under the highway to gain beach access.
Gleneden Beach has the famous Salishan Lodge and had we wanted to blow our entire vacation budget this would have been our choice of places to stay. But reason prevailed and we got to do and see many more things by staying in less expensive accommodations.
There are several capes just north of Pacific City, Oregon.
At Cape Kiwanda we saw hang gliders catapulting off of the cliffs and soaring over the Pacific waters. We were told that the waters are so cold that wet suits are almost mandatory and even with that precaution approximately 90 minutes in the water is the limit.
Cape Lookout State Park
An ancient lava flow created an area for hiking through forested areas in the Cape Lookout State Park. Overnight camping is allowed and many people take advantage of the scenery as well as enjoyment of the beach along the Pacific. Views of the coastline are nothing short of spectacular!
Cape Meares State Park
This was the most northern coastal site that we visited prior to turning east and heading back to Portland, Oregon for our return trip back to Houston. It lies on the coast just west of Tillamook, the famous dairy and cheese making region of Oregon. We regularly purchase Tillamook cheeses and have some in our refrigerator right now.
The historic Cape Meares Lighthouse was built in 1890.
From a bluff overlooking the ocean one can see roosting birds and this site would also be a great place to do some hiking.
On the beaches below the bluffs the tides continually wash ashore great specimens of driftwood. Alas...driftwood was too large to take home with us on the airplane, but we had our rocks!
Beaches and parks along the Oregon coastline
Lincoln City, Oregon
Our home away from home for four days was at the Ester Lee Motel in Lincoln City where we had a cottage suite with kitchen, wood fireplace (which we used nightly) and great views of the Pacific Ocean.
One day while we were doing our exploring in different directions we came across a pickup truck selling fresh ears of corn on the cob. The hosts at the motel generously loaned us a large pot in which to boil our corn and that night we had a feast of fresh corn on the cob and vine ripened sliced tomatoes...one of my mother's all time favorite meals!
Watching large ships way out at sea going both north and south, feeding the seagulls right out of the sliding windows of our unit and watching the sun going down over the water just below were simple pleasures but fun.
Instead of watching television at the end of each day we played cards and conversed about our days activities or plans for the next day. Sandcastles were built and memories created to last a lifetime.
Lincoln City Leisure TimeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Central point for the last 4 days of our exploration of the Oregon coast and attractions.
Perhaps this has given you some idea of the sights that can be enjoyed on an Oregon coast vacation starting from the southern Oregon coast heading north. Obviously there are many more worthy diversions along the way but this can hopefully give one a general idea of the beaches, parks and attractions that we enjoyed on our vacation many years ago.
If you enjoyed these pictures, please leave a comment. Happy traveling wherever you decide to go!
Does the Oregon coast look like a place that you would like to vacation?
© 2011 Peggy Woods