The term beach vacation conjures up images of relaxing under swaying palm trees while sipping fruity cocktails, but Oregon beaches offer visitors a different experience. You may not return from a vacation to an Oregon beach with a tan, but you'll return with memories that will last a lifetime. Here's why.
Delicious and nutritious fresh salmon is available at restaurants and fish markets in the majority of Oregon coastal communities. Salmon season generally lasts from June through the end of August. Fresh albacore and yellowfin tuna are also common catches of those who commercially fish off the Oregon coast. Oysters, crab, and razor clams also exist in abundance in this region, as do bottom fish such as halibut, red snapper, and black cod. Seasonal festivals and fairs are common on the Oregon coast and often feature the best of the region's culinary traditions.
The Pacific Northwest coast has been a destination of artists for decades. You'll find art galleries featuring finely crafted seascapes, drawings, jewelry made from beach glass, ceramics, sculpture, blown glass, and a variety of other creations. Art prices at coastal galleries tend to be less expensive than their inland, urban counterparts, so it's possible you'll pick up some real bargains during your visit. Communities are small, so finding interesting galleries doesn't involve navigating tricky traffic conditions.
Steller sea lions can be seen on rocky islands and shore-based caves in many parts of both Oregon and Washington. One of the most popular sea lion viewing spots is between the Oregon coastal communities of Yachats and Florence, where sea lions can be seen by the thousands. Although highly recommended for people of all ages, there's something particularly fulfilling about watching children's faces when they witness this incredible site for the first time.
Grey whale migrations can be seen twice per year as these giant sea creatures move between their summer home in the arctic to their winter grounds off the coast of Baja California. They are easier to see during the spring migration when they are headed to the arctic because they move at a more leisurely pace during this time and are more likely to be closer to shore.
The The Whale Watch Center at Depoe Bay, Oregon, is one of the best spots to observe these magnificent mammals, and the center is also staffed with knowledgeable employees and volunteers. There plenty of platforms up and down the Oregon coast for viewing whales, and small boat tours are also available.
The Oregon coast contains 40 miles of sand dunes that provide a variety of recreational activities for visitors and residents alike. Dune buggy rentals are readily available for family and individual fun, and many people enjoy an activity known as sand boarding, which is basically the same thing as snowboarding but on sand instead of snow.
Some people enjoy simply walking on the beach and taking in the natural beauty of the area. Sand dune enthusiasts flock to the area to attend various summer celebrations that include activities such as dune buggy races, live entertainment, demonstrations, and children's games and crafts.
Redwoods don't just grow in California; they can also be seen on the coast of Southern Oregon. The Redwood Nature Trail in Loeb State Park near the Oregon community of Brookings provides easy access to 50 acres of this ancient trees. Because the loop is only a mile long, it's ideal for families with small children. Like the sea lion caves, worth every step to parents who see the enraptured expression on the faces of their little ones when they witness one of nature's more astounding miracles.
Check out resorts like Sands Resorts to get an idea of your beach vacation options.