I'm going to share a top locals secret with you. Summer is not the best season on the coast. Now don't get me wrong, the north coast summers have their appeal; (perfect 70 degree days, sparkling clean waters to swim in, gourmet ice cream from happy grass fed cows, overflowing gardens, fresh tuna steaks on the grill, epic wild berry picking, hiking beach trails, starry night surf camp outs…. It’s no secret that summers on the coast are pretty great!)
But unknown to the summer tourists, locals working like mad in the bustling summer secretly yearn in our hearts for the coming calm and beauty of the rain season (aka September- May). You can feel a collective sigh of relaxation as the mist returns, ocean squalls scrub the empty beaches clean, coho and chinook salmon move upriver, the crowds depart and the lines of traffic disappear. The coast returns to the way it has been in former decades: Peaceful, beautiful, overflowing with natural abundance and quirky small town charm.
Here are some of the local secrets that are FREE and accessible all winter long!
Rainforests: The Oregon Coast is a rare temperate rainforest ecosystem. It has a unique balance of western red cedars, sitka spruce and hemlock that are only found here on our special coastline. These forests are designed to take in the 100 inches or so of rain the coast gets each season. Instead of dropping their leaves and being lifeless- the Oregon Coast rain forest is at its most flourishing in the fall and winter. Expect giant sword, lady, maidenhair and bracken ferns spreading under towering evergreen canopies bedecked with trailing mosses and lichens. Rushing creeks, waterfalls, misty blankets of fog, hidden lakes, sweeping ocean overlooks, abundant wildlife and more shades of green than you ever knew existed. All you need is a good light rain jacket and some waterproof hiking shoes and you are well on your way to becoming a rainforest explorer of the zillions of coastal trails all winter long. Here is a list of trails to get you going
Whales: Squeee! Nothing is more exciting than seeing whales up close from a coastal cliff. The grey whale migration starts in the fall and goes all winter long off the Oregon coast. You have to have luck and a bit of patience but on the right day you can see the spouting of whales and their giant backs rising and falling below you as you stand alone on a coastal outcropping of rock. At that moment you are being given a gift of whale magic and your heart pounds with excitement and the thrill of being lucky enough to witness these magnificent beings in the wild ocean. Oh, and there are barking sea lions, curious seals, loads of wheeling shore birds and incredible pounding surf hitting majestic sea cave filled cliffs as your consolation prize if you don’t see whales that day- it’s pretty much a win win! Here are some spots along the coast to watch for whales- although any point with a clear view is fair game.
Rainbows: OK- you can see rainbows in other places it’s true. But here on the coast there is a unique winter pattern of crazy rain being broken up by patches of clear sunshine as the weather rolls in untamed off the vast stretches of Pacific Ocean. Everyday there are rainbows, double rainbows, triple rainbows! It’s a rainbow-palooza as the weather changes it’s mind every 10 minutes. Black storm clouds with piercing rays of sunshine blazing behind them ignite cascades of rainbows over the green pastures and rushing rivers. Rainbows are one of those things you can’t help but smile when you see. They make you feel special like you won the pot of gold. Every little fishing village bedecked by rainbows takes on a fairy world appeal until suddenly the hail begins to pelts down and you run for cover into the nearest bar to eat chowder and drink local brews waiting for the next rainbow to appear. Yes- that is coast life in the winter. Here are some pics to prove rainbows really do exist!
North Fork 53 is once again renting individual rooms (as low as $65 per night) and we are the perfect launching pad for all your off season coastal adventures! Give yourself the gift of whales and rainbows or just a good book by the wood stove with a cup of tea. The magic of the Oregon Coast awaits!