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Oregon’s Coastal Quirks

Posted by Jody on September 19, 2011

Seaside, Oregon (Photo by M.O. Stevens, from Wikimedia Commons)

We have always been thrilled with our trips to the Oregon Coast.  The scenery along the Oregon Coast, from the mouth of the Columbia River to McVay Rock (the last traffic light before the Oregon/California border), is among the most dramatic on earth!  Almost every twist or  turn of  Highway 101 (the coastal road) presents you with a stunning display of craggy coastline or a beautiful sandy stretch of beach.  Along the way you are treated to  unfolding views of  historic lighthouses and picturesque  panoramas of quaint fishing villages. From the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean to the lush forested mountains of the Coast Range it’s difficult to choose where to pull over and pause to take in the spectacular vistas.

The Oregon Coast presents some very different and specific safety issues compared to many other shorelines.  Even though the number one safety tip for all beach goers, from Cocoa Beach, Florida to Seaside, Oregon, is “Learn to swim”, visiting the Pacific Coast of Oregon comes with a variety of beach dangers that every visitor needs to be aware of in order to assure a safe trip to this particular stretch of seashore.

Something we don’t concern ourselves with when we are on the beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida are “sneaker waves”.  But, on the Oregon Coast, they are a very real phenomenon. “They’re called sneaker waves because they appear without warning, often surging high up on the beach with deadly force, and are impossible to predict. How to play it safe: Never turn your back on the ocean.”  This advise comes from the “Visit the Oregon Coast website which has a very thorough and informative Beach Safety” page.

The Spectacular Oregon Coast (Photo by JJ Harrison, from Wikimedia Commons)

The Spectacular Oregon Coast (Photo by JJ Harrison, from Wikimedia Commons)

Along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico we use the tide tables so we can head out to beach comb in hopes of finding the best beach treasures before they are all scooped up! On the Oregon Coast we really need to know the tides for safety and security reasons. “Incoming tides isolate rocks from headlands and the shore. Avoid the temptation of strolling out to an interesting rock without knowing when the tide rolls back in. Free tide tables are readily available at state park offices, information centers and many shops and motels. How to play it safe: Stay off rocks and small, enclosed beaches.”

Check out the Oregon Coast Visitor Association’s excellent Beach Safety page for more great information. It’s packed with things you should know before you go. Stay safe and have fun!

Enjoy the ride along the Oregon Coast!  -J-

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