Maybe there are more spectacular beaches in the world, but not today. A narrow path led through the forest to breakers we had been hearing all morning. First up is a stream struggling to meet the ocean, then an elephant seal, looking unhappy as he molts in the dry sand, and then the beach itself. Too cold to swim, but just right to hang right on the thin line between land and water. Most spectacular, maybe, is how many people walk on to the sand behind us, snap a photo, then turn around leave. Cooper, of course, pulls out his trucks and starts to drive, meaning I have to pretend to drive them too, which gives Laura a precious few moments to pull out the remnants of the Sunday paper and read. Is the tide coming in or out? Is it getting warmer or cooler? Why did I not bring beer? Who cares? We have an hour more and intend on using every minute of it.
Three miles south of Yachats is a turnoff for this lovely beach. Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint makes up 4 turnoffs from Hwy 101, and this particular one is Neptune Beach. After you park, take the stairway down the cliff and onto the beach. It starts as cobblestone, and turns into fine, soft sand. To the right is Cummins Creek and a gorgeous cove with a picturesque bridge over it. To the left is rugged and stunning coastline. There are so many ways to spend your time here, including picnicking, whale watching, windsurfing, and during low tide, hiking to the south to explore a natural cave and tide pools. For those ve enjoy serenity, this is a very peaceful beach that doesn't get many visitors, perhaps due to the many other tourist attractions in the area that people flock to. It's an ideal spot; surrounded by sandstone cliffs and forested bluffs with the waves crashing and no one else around. When we visited, all we needed was some wine, snacks, and more time- take note! There's a lot too see in this area of coastal Oregon, but you'll be very pleased if you stop beautiful and peaceful Neptune Beach!
Seal Rock is a small beachside community on the Oregon coast along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and a five-mile stretch of beach. This historic town has been a vacation destination since the 1880s, but it was not until 1936 that it was easily reached from nearby communities. Today there are a handful of cute businesses, a lot of seriously pretty beach, and daily spectacular sunsets. The Seal Rock State Wayside protects large off-shore rock formations which are home to seals, sea lions, and all manner of boards, as well as sandy beach tidepools. Nearby is Brian Booth State Park, which until 2013 was known as Ona Beach.
To get here we have to cross the busy 101, take a flight of stairs descending through the forest, and walk across rocks and a creek to the sand. There must be hundreds of cars an hour crossing overhead on 101, but we can't hear any of them -- not even the ridiculous motorcycles -- and there's only one other family on this beach. And what a beach it is -- narrow, sandy, with pounding surf and plunging mountainsides all around. Cooper and I dig roads into the beachy sand and drive his toy cars while Laura holds up behind driftwood to read. It's crisp and sunny, cool but warm out of the wind, and boy does that water look good -- but it's just too cold for me to jump in there and leave this warmth. Good times.