Making the most of Oregon’s central coast (2015)


Diane Navarrete

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.

Devil's Punchbowl

Stormy seas shaped Devil’s Punchbowl.

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.

Yes, it’s quaint, but the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse offers a unique look into the life of a light keeper’s family.

Yes, it’s quaint, but the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse offers a unique look into the life of a lighthouse keeper’s family.

Beaver Creek is wide near the ocean and gradually becomes narrower as you paddle upstream.

Beaver Creek narrows as you paddle upstream.

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.

Seal Rock seagulls

Sea gulls cavort in the tidepools at Seal Rock.

Exploring Seal RockHead 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.

View from Otter Crest State Scenic Area

The view from Otter Crest.

 

Posted on July 22, 2015, in state parks and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ll bet you didn’t visit San Marine State Park, an long time state owned and undeveloped site between MP 161 and 162 on Hwy 101. Lots of reasons given we locals why the State won’t do at least a partial development on a beautiful piece of property on a virtually hidden stretch of beach. One claim of it being a ‘wetland’ but that doesn’t hold water. We locals have accessed the area for years and years and it is no different than any of the other properties in the area, wet when it’s wet. dry when it’s dry. And then the cost of having to have ODOT put in a turning lane!!!! Really? This area needs all the tourist traffic it can get.

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