Get the Most Out of Your Summer Visit With These Tips
Published: 06/17/2019  Updated: 06/18/2019
Cape Kiwanda near Pacific City, Oregon
Cape Kiwanda near Pacific City, Oregon  Photo by Gary Hayes

Follow these pointers to make the most of your Oregon Coast visit and beat the summer swell.

I'll admit it, summer is not my favorite time of year on the Oregon Coast. Popular beaches and towns can be crowded, driving can be slow and finding a parking spot can be challenging. Generally, I prefer the crashing waves of winter, the wildlife that emerges once summer crowds are gone and the more laid-back attitude that is more the authentic Oregon Coast than summer can ever offer. Still, there are summer experiences that cannot be matched and following a few simple tips will reveal these wonders and help avoid the most frustrating parts of peak-season travel. The lowest tides of the year occur during summer, making it an ideal time for exploring intertidal areas. Check the local tide tables and plan your beach outings to areas that offer tidepool viewing or plan an extended beach walk in areas where low tides offer access around points of land normally blocked by regular tides. In these areas, knowing the tides, putting safety first and treading lightly is essential. In areas with near-shore rock formations, seabirds can also be an awe-inspiring spectacle. Seabirds like Common Murres, Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots and Tufted Puffins are only seen from shore during spring and summer months when they seek a safe place to nest and raise chicks before returning to open seas. Bring your binoculars, scan the rocks and you may discover an active scene you may have never noticed just a few hundred yards away. Traveling without hotel or campsite reservations or trying to day trip to the Oregon Coast during the summer is rarely a good idea. If you do either, make sure you arrive at destinations early or you may experience more frustration than Oregon Coast wonder. To avoid the crowds, consider saving the most popular destinations for your off-season travels and during the summer, visit places a little more off the beaten path. Consider making your base in smaller towns or destinations further from major metropolitan areas. The South Oregon Coast typically sees far less crowding than areas within a two-hour drive of Portland and the Willamette Valley. Happy exploring!
Get the Most Out of Your Summer Visit With These Tips