We want you to enjoy all the things the beach has to offer, but please be safe.Stay off logs and watch for sneaker waves. Tides and undertow can make a large log flip or turn and cause serious injury. Storm watching is a great beach activity too. When storms approach, watch as they come across the sea, but do it from a safe place. Read stories about Lincoln City’s treasures on Country Traveler Online.
When it’s not storming, enjoy these beach activities:
The best of the sea’s treasure comes ashore after a big storm. You’ll find beautiful driftwood, agates, shells, sea creatures, fishing boat equipment, and if you’re lucky, a Japanese fishing float shaken loose from the seaweedy depths, or a multi-colored handblown float from Lincoln City’s Glass Floats Finders Keepers Event.
For some, there’s no prize like an agate. The semi-transparent stones are pieces of quartz, carnelian, chalcedony and jasper that come loose from the headlands during storms and are left behind when the waves recede at low tide. Agates come in all colors, but most of them are clear or milky. Some even contain tiny fossils. Agates can be found along beaches and rivers where they wash out to the ocean and get polished in the surf over time. In the summer, agates on sandy beaches are deep beneath the sand. Winter storms remove sand and expose the agates underneath.
Japanese glass fishing floats are highly valued by dedicated beachcombers. Some are huge, up to two and three feet in diameter; most, however, are between four inches and a foot wide. They come in various shapes, colors and sizes. They are becoming increasingly rare as fishing boats around the world convert to modern materials like plastic or Styrofoam to float their nets. When the glass versions do appear, they are usually very old and have spent many years drifting in the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps the most fruitful season for beachcombing is the winter, after a particularly high tide and after a big storm. But beware: that’s also the most dangerous time to be on the beach.
Walking the beaches of Oregon can yield a treasure trove – agates, shells, nets, driftwood, a multitude of gifts from the sea. But in Lincoln City, beachcombers can also find brand-new art glass floats, gifts from the City of Lincoln City as part of its yearly Glass Floats Finders Keepers Event.
Do not turn your back on the ocean and never play on the driftwood logs. These logs become buoyant and can be moved around in as little as just on inch of water, which can float and roll a log over an unaware person causing injury or death. While beachcombing, avoid approaching large rocks, islands or reefs, which could contain wildlife. Please remember to leave all living animals and plants as you found them, as you are visiting their home.
Tide Pooling and Seafood Harvesting
The tide gradually recedes, leaving behind exposed rocks with many little pools of still salt water. In those pools many colorful, exotic creatures make their homes – starfish, sea anemones and urchins, and tiny fish. There are several good areas to explore tidepools in the Lincoln City area. One of the best is near the Roads End Wayside, a corner of the coast which offers intertidal life that rivals Yaquina Head and Seal Rock. Starfish live side-by-side with sea anemones and sea urchins. The starfish are red, orange and pink; the sea anemones are a rich purple and green; and the sea urchins a rich, dark purple. Tiny fish dart among the shallows. Hermit crabs dart, much more quickly than the snails they resemble, from one shelter to another. Rocky residents like mussels and barnacles thrive in the intertidal zone. Mussels have a long, tapered dark blue to black shell. The vivid, orange flesh of the mussel is edible and a prized delicacy in many parts of the world. You’re allowed to harvest mussels but only with a license. Barnacles are small, and usually white, and cluster on rocks and pilings.
Check the tide tables so that you know you are exploring in a safe time. Many tidepoolers have become trapped on the rocks when high tide starts coming in – a particular danger if you’re heading north from the Roads End Wayside.
CRABBING AND CLAMMING
Crabbing and Clamming are great activities for any group, any time of the year. The Siletz Bay at the south edge of Lincoln City is a prime spot for both. For more information on how to do it yourself, please visit our “Catch Your Dinner” webpage!
Riding the Waves
People looking for surfers, and how they operate, can spot them all along the beaches close to Lincoln City. If checking it out in person is what you’re after, visit the annual Nelscott Reef Tow In Surf Competition. For more information on this event please click the link!
Of course, those who ride the chilly Oregon waves must dress for success. The water is very cold most of the time; and wet suits, along with booties, gloves, and a hood, are necessary. As with all ocean sports, caution is key. Before heading out on the breakers, inquire about wave conditions and safe surfing areas.
In addition, there is great windsurfing and kitesurfing opportunities on the Ocean and Devil’s Lake, so if traditional ocean surfing is not your style, you can still hit the water on a board!
Looking for a place to start? Shops in Lincoln City cater to both surfing and skateboarding crowds, selling boards, wetsuits, clothing and equipment, along with lessons and lots of first-hand information:
Every spring and fall thousands of people flock to the Oregon coast to watch the Pacific gray whales migrating to and from Baja.
Gray whales were once an endangered species, but protection measures have resulted in their removal from the endangered species list in 1994. The whales migrate each year, about 12,000 miles (19,311 km) round-trip, from northern waters off Alaska to the Gulf of California in Mexico, and back.
The pods usually stay close to land, generally from one-half mile to three miles (.8 km – 4.8 km) offshore. In the fall and winter, the groups of two to 10 individuals are led by pregnant females on their route south. The whales winter over in shallow Mexican waters where the mother whales give birth to their young. In late winter and early spring the whales head back north, where the young will feed and grow in the Bering and Chukchi seas.
Some gray whales take up year ’round residence in this area. The whales live on krill, a small shrimp-like creature, that inhabits the mud flats and kelp.
During the Christmas and spring school vacations, the Oregon Parks Department and the Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife join private sponsors to conduct whale watching weeks. Volunteer interpreters are on hand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at locations on the coast to help the novices spot the whales. Look for signs that say “Whale Watching Spoken Here.” The best place to see the migration is from any elevated location in early morning, before the wind begins to blow is the best time to glimpse the shooting vapor the whales expurgate after a dive. Lucky viewers sometimes see them spy hopping (when they stick their heads out of the sea) or breaching (when the whale jumps out of the water and falls back in with a great splash.)
Explore our Tide Pooling and Whale Watching travel guide for all the information you need about local whale watching.
Good spots in Lincoln City for spotting whales are at Roads End, the NW 21st Street beach access and SW 40th Street.
Many people prefer to see the great gray whale close up. Charter boat companies in Depoe Bay conduct regular whale-watching tours, when weather permits.
Tradewinds Charters, 541-765-2345 or 800-445-8730
Dockside Charters, 541-765-2545 or 800-733-8915
Reel Nauti Charters, 541-921-1628
Helicopter Tour Flights, 541-867-4140
Whale Research Excursions 541-912-6734