Cities Guide for the Southern Oregon Coast

Beach Combing
To the Beach!
From Florence, Oregon to Brookings, Oregon
Hey, it's just a trip to the beach, right? 

Just a little walk along the water, maybe get a little wet, maybe watch the sunset. Sandy shoes, but everyone has fun. We can do this! 

There are beaches close at hand and others that take some finding; those that are well- known and a few usually deserted. 

Wind, rain, fog, tides and a capricious sun conspire at all times. It's always about the weather, and the weather always changes. 

To the frustration of many visitors, summer can be a bummer on the Oregon coast. Mornings may be foggy; almost always by afternoon the north wind has kicked in. Everyone wants to at least see the ocean, of course, and hopefully get out for a little walk (or ride, if you're so equipped with dune buggy or ATV) but in many cases, the wind can quickly cool your enthusiasm. 

Best time for Oregon beaches is autumn, when the winds die down and crowds thin out. it's still warm -- Indian summer warm -- and the light lies mellow across land and seascape. 

In winter, coastal winds shift, arriving from the south and bearing frequent, ferocious storms. But there are periods of calm, almost balmy weather; the south coast is often Oregon's warmest place in winter. Just remember you can get a sunburn in January! 

There's also something about the winter sun, arcing through it's southernmost course of the year. It hangs low on the horizon, casting light at dramatic right angles, deepening shadows and adding depth to the land and seascape. Winter sunsets come early, but they're among the most dramatic. 

The winter ocean is clean and blue, every breaker creamy with foam whipped up by recent storms. Incidentally, that foam is not the result of pollution, but the breakdown of algae and seaweed hastened by vigorous doses of oxygen. 

Beaches change with the seasons. High tides and winter storms beat right up to the fordunes and over, and some beaches wash away. Others lose much of their sand, becoming steeply slanted from water's edge to foredune. 

It should go without saying that beaches must be avoided during storms. Every year people are hurt or killed by waves that hurl logs and debris onto the beach. Confine your storm-watching to a safe overlook, such as the observation area at Shore Acres State Park, or even better, a room with a big window and a nice fireplace nearby. But let's not get to technical; any day it's not too windy is a good day at the beach. 

This material reprinted from 
"Out Our Back Door",
24 Driving Tours from the Coos Bay Area

Read Tom Baake's Weekly Column 
"Out Our Back Door" in the South Coast Shopper

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