Venturing South on the Oregon Coast

sunset over the Pacific OceanSearching For the Sun!

House sitting on the Oregon Coast during winter meant we didn’t see the sun very often. We agreed that whenever we saw the sun for more than an instant, we would venture out. That happened about every two weeks, and we would grab our jackets, jump in the car and head off to explore. 

For our first trip, we headed south from Lincoln City. Since the town is long and narrow (about seven miles) for a while, it’s a bit boring. Then the road, well Highway 101, starts meandering through forest and shoreline.

We drove about 20 minutes and found what looked like a good place to visit – Gleneden State Beach. It was right off the highway. You just park your car, walk under the road, and you’re there.

the ocean visible through a small valley of sand and trees

It had such a beautiful entry point, and we watched the big waves roll in for a while. Surprise, surprise we had the beach to ourselves! The temperature hovered around 50 and of course, it was windy, but we had double layers, good jackets, hats, and scarves and took it all in!

sandy hills at the ocean

The same beach with a small view to the north, it was a lovely spot! The next two photos are the foam we saw all along this beach. We didn’t know if it was a good or a bad sign, but it was fascinating and fun to watch. Each new wave would add a little foam and stir up the whole pile.

close up of foam at the ocean edge

I was so curious about it that when we got home, I looked it up.

close up of foam at the ocean edge

It turns out the foam means the ocean is healthy, yippee! It was about a foot high at its peak. We never saw this much foam on any other beach the whole time we were in Oregon!

a large rock at the edge of a beach

Fogarty Creek

Okay, back in the car, turn on the heater, head out on the road, and ten minutes later another beach! Same situation as the last beach, it’s on one side of the highway, and the parking lot and campground are east of the road. Fogarty Creek State Park was smaller than the last and was surrounded by hills, so it felt secluded. The wind was howling, but we ventured out as far on the beach as we could.a small hill, waves, and sand

These were the hills to the south. Keep in mind that this was in January, so we didn’t sit down for a picnic or stay long, but it’s a great spot. We hoped to return when it was a bit warmer.

We got back in the car and a few minutes later – guess what – another beach. There were houses around this one, as it’s a small bay with a serious name, Boiler Bay!

Boiler Bay on the Oregon Coast

This photo is from the south end looking north. As you can see there really isn’t that much sun. The weather forecasters said it would be sunny. Turns out that’s a relative term. Sunny days don’t often happen during winter on the coast!waves crashing against rocks

Next Up – Depoe Bay

They call it the Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast – but we didn’t see any! There were others out at this spot, watching the waves, and shopping.

Apparently, when the tides are just right, the waves come crashing into the lava beds in the bay and water shoots out of the ‘spouting horns’ as much as 60 feet in the air. We came here a few times hoping to witness that but never did. I guess you need to come during a big storm. waves crashing against rocks

Another shot of Depoe Bay but from the southern end. The town is tiny, and all the shops (about 10) are right there across the road from the water. They had all the usual things – seafood restaurants, treasures for tourists, and a few small whale-watching boats in the teeny tiny harbor.

a small bridge at the ocean edge

A few miles down the road we came to a bridge and had to get out and look at the waves crashing and take some photos. It was a peaceful spot even though it was right on the highway. Maybe in summer, it’s full of cars and people, but we had it to ourselves.

a small bridge on the Oregon Coast

Apparently, so many rivers flow into the ocean in Oregon that they need to build more than a few bridges. While standing out there, we noticed these houses all alone on the edge of the sea.a house right by the waves

Wow, if a big wave comes – they are in trouble! We decided we didn’t want to house sit there, but it was a great spot for more adventurous types.a building atop a high cliff overlooking the ocean

Cape Foulweather

A bit further south we started finding taller hills and mountains, and at this one, we noticed that on the top of that ridge it looks like there’s a house. We thought that looked like fun and set out to find it.

Cape Foulweather, that’s what they named it, and you can guess why. The building is a little store, and there’s a huge parking lot with room for everyone stopping to see the sights. The next photo is from that vantage point looking south.

a view southward along the Oregon Coast

The Devil’s Punchbowl

Great name, right! What a neat place! We found out later that at low tide you can get down to some tidepools! I don’t understand where, but I read it so it must be true, right?

rocky shoreline

This is the actual punchbowl, a sandstone cauldron that the water rushes in and out of all the time. In these photos, the water isn’t that high in the bowl. We probably missed high tide and low tide. At our first two stops, we were the only humans. Here there were a few as it’s quite the tourist stop.

a 'bowl' waves enter

It was a fabulous place to stand and watch the water, we both loved it. I made sure the fences didn’t show in our photos, but they were there guarding against stupid tourists. That meant we couldn’t get out to the edge.

waves crashing against a rocky shoreline

We loved this place for sure!

waves crashing against a rocky shoreline

From the same vantage point but looking north.a good sized cliff at ocean's edge

When you are viewing the punchbowl, you can’t tell that we were up from the water quite a bit. The photos above and below give a better perspective. It’s a cliff!a good sized cliff at the ocean's edge

Newport, Oregon

We got back in the car and continued south to Newport, the largest city on the Oregon coast. They have all the typical city stores, restaurants and bars, and tons of tourist stuff as well. At the southern end of town, the 101 crosses this bridge and continues south. 

Newport Bridge over a bay

From the northeast of the bridge in the small harbor.

boats at Newport Harbor

Fishing boats were everywhere as this is a working fishing harbor with all those processing plants right there among the tourist shops. Newport Bridge in the background, woman in foreground

Yes, I was freezing, and it was windy! But still smiling. While strolling the street along the harbor, we heard a strange noise and decided to follow it. We walked out on a short dock and looked down!

a large group of sea lions playing on small docks

This dock is right in the harbor between fish factories, restaurants, and tourist shops. Those critters were loud; that’s for sure. There were a few other people out on the dock, but no one was feeding them.

a large group of sea lions playing on small docks

Here’s our video so you can hear the little buggers! Actually, they aren’t so little. You wouldn’t want one sitting on your hat.

After listening to the sea lion chorus, we drove back to Lincoln City which only took an hour. There is much that we didn’t even cover between the two towns in this post! Just imagine how much more there is to see of this magical coastline!

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    • Patricia Murar on December 21, 2016 at 11:03 am
    • Reply

    Hi you two,
    We love your pictures and travel commentary and humor! These pics were particularly stunning…makes us want to get on the road ourselves.
    Patty and Robert

    1. Hi Patty,
      Thank you! I just wish I had a real camera, then the photos would be even better! You should travel the Oregon Coast – it is an absolute wonder.

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