Making the most of Oregon’s central coast (2015)
Diane Navarrete and her husband recently set out from Salem with the goal to see every state park and wayside from Lincoln City to the California boarder—some 60-plus sites—all detailed in the Oregon State Parks Guide. Here are their top picks for the 40-mile section between Lincoln City and Waldport.
Geology — Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area at Otter Crest is a nifty cavernous rock formation churning with wild surf. The punch bowl was probably created by the collapse of the roof over two sea caves and carved by years of wave action. Enjoy a picnic atop a rocky shoreline. After checking out the views along a short path, head from the lower parking lot down to the beach to watch the surfers take advantage of robust waves.
A tale of two lighthouses — In Newport, the majestic clifftop Yaquina Head Lighthouse often steals attention from its predecessor, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. The latter operated only three years before Yaquina Head replaced it. But I like Yaquina Bay for its window into the past: It’s the only Oregon lighthouse with living quarters attached; what fun to walk through the period-decorated rooms and imagine the isolated life of a light keeper and his family. It’s also the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing, so it looks completely distinct from Oregon’s other lighthouses. Both lighthouses have daily tours.
Nature at Brian Booth — Just inland from Ona Beach, you’ll find a marshland oasis teeming with birds and wildlife. Paddle Beaver Creek or take a walk on the park’s many trails to explore the marsh, which is prime habitat for coho salmon, cutthroat trout, winter steelhead, waterfowl, coyote, elk, deer and more. Visit the Welcome Center a mile inland to learn about the area and start your hike.
Exploring Seal Rock — Head down a steep, mostly-paved trail to tidepools brimming with anemones, crabs, barnacles, sea stars and more. The offshore rock formations are home to seals, sea lions, seabirds and other marine life. You can look down on this beautiful section of coast from an ADA-accessible viewing platform.
Make it a weekend — Beverly Beach and South Beach campgrounds are both good options for an overnight getaway that’s central to all of the attractions listed here, as well as the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The campgrounds are popular on weekends, so be sure to reserve your spot by calling 800-452-5687.
Posted on July 22, 2015, in state parks and tagged Beaver Creek at Brian Booth, Beverly Beach, Devil's Punchbowl State Park, parks, Seal Rock, South Beach, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.