The best of the sea’s treasure comes ashore after a big storm. You’ll find beautiful driftwood, agates, shells, sea creatures, and if you’re lucky, a multi-colored handblown glass float from Lincoln City’s defining event, Finders Keepers.
The beach is a great place to hunt for these gemstones. 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, with some even containing 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.
Wood and Fossils
The coast does have plenty of driftwood, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. If the tide is close, stay away from the big stuff. Depending on how long ago it last touched the water, it makes for a good bonfire.
A beachcomber with a sharp eye also might spot petrified wood. Look for a dull sheen on wet rocks that have wood-grain patterns. An occasional fossilized leaf impression makes the find especially interesting.
Most of the fossils found on the Central Coast area are from 15- to 20-million-year-old sandstone layers mixed with compressed volcanic ash. These layers contain the fossilized shells of mollusks, such as clams and snails, and occasionally whale bones, fish teeth, and turtle shells. New fossils are washed onto the beaches as sea cliffs erode during storms.
In days gone by, visitors searching Oregon’s coastline often found treasures from the far-east: blown glass floats in intriguing shades of green and blue. Used by Japanese fishermen to float their nets, these spheres were as small as two inches or as large as two feet. They were collected, polished, and admired: the ultimate find for any dedicated beach comber.
Today, fishing vessels around the world use buoyant plastic, making glass floats a rare find – except in Lincoln City where these treasures can be found every October through May during the Finders Keepers season where artistic floats are carefully hidden along the seven miles of beach. Learn about Finders Keepers
Although beachcombing may be fun, it’s always a good idea to keep safety in mind when visiting the Oregon Coast. The ocean conditions can be unpredictable, which is why you should avoid turning your back to the water. Make sure to dress for cooler weather. For more beach safety tips, please visit the Oregon Parks and Recreation Website.