Most folks don’t visit the Oregon Coast to swim in the ocean or learn how to surf.
Eleven and a half months out of the year the water is unbearably cold, and more often than not even the most intrepid beach-goer is forced to bundle up against the wind.
Despite (or perhaps because of?) this, the Oregon Coast is one of the most diverse and starkly beautiful places we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.
Parts of the coast are covered in sandy beaches dotted with weathered logs, while just a mile away you might find jagged rocks and hidden tidepools.
We stayed a few days in Yachats, an adorably sleepy little coastal town that moves at a snail’s pace.
When not curled up reading, we spent our time scrambling along the rocky shoreline, burying our feet in “quicksand”, and searching the tide pools for starfish. Sadly we didn’t find any, but we did come across a brilliant colony of mussels!
Just south of Yachats on Highway 101 is the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, a beautiful stretch of coastline combining quirky rock/water formations with rugged cliffs covered in viridescent vegetation.
One of the more popular fixtures in this area is called the Devil’s Churn; when the tide washes up through this narrow inlet, waves smashing against the back of the churn can throw spray several hundred (!!) feet into the air.
We didn’t get to see the Devil’s Churn in its full glory, but the crashing waves were quite imposing from our perch just a few feet away.
The Spouting Horn was even more entertaining. Due to some magic interaction between the tides and an underwater cave with a small air vent, when the waves hit just right spray whooshes out of the rocks like some sort of inanimate whale’s spout… it’s pretty impressive.
Further down the coast is the Heceta Head Lighthouse, widely considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the Oregon Coast. We were too lazy decided not to hike up to the actual lighthouse, but there’s a vantage point across the cove that offers great views of the cape (as well as sea lions hanging on the rocks below!).
The Oregon Coast is cold and wet, but also green and uniquely beautiful. It’s definitely worth a visit!