Oregon Coast is a seaside region of the U.S. state of Oregon, which is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Oregon Coast Range. It is about 362 miles from the California state border in the south to the Columbia River in the north. This region includes the Columbia River Estuary, and it is not a particular geological, political, or environmental entity. It is regarded as three distinct sub-regions traditionally which are the North Coast, the Central Coast, and the South Coast.
The largest city in Oregon Coast is Coos Bay, and it has a population of 16,000 people. There are also more than 80 state parks and recreation areas in Oregon Coast. Aside from that, it also includes western Douglas Country, Clatsop County, Curry County, Coos Country, western Lan Country, and Tillamook County.
Today, let us know more about the history of the Oregon Coast, and as well as the current popular attractions you can visit here.
History of the Oregon Coast
There were several tribes and families formed along the coast, and some of the major groups are the Tillamook, Alsea, Clatsop, Coquille, Coos, and Siuslaw. Their lifestyles were very similar and sometimes interwoven with the defining differences being the languages they spoke. Due to the abundance of food resources in the region, most people who find it settle there permanently. The majority of the tribes survived primarily on seafood like seals, salmon, and clams.
In the 18th century, the European exploration of the Oregon Coast began. From Mexico, Spanish mariners sailed northward to explore and later stake claim to the region. The exploration was led by the claim of theexplorer, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, of the whole Pacific and shores in the name of the Spanish Crown.
However, the earliest expedition recorded along the Pacific Northwest coast was in 1774 which was led by Juan Jose Perez Hernandez, a Spaniard aboard the sloop Santiago. His findings were kept a secret, and the credits for his findings were credited to later explorers. Soon after, that expedition was followed by the 1775 expedition which was headed by uan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra and Bruno de Heceta, where Perez was the pilot. These explorations led to many discoveries along the Washington and Oregon Coasts.
At the same time, during the Spanish expeditions, some British mariners began to explore the region. These mariners were led by explorer Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century, and by George Vancouver and James Cookin the 18th century. The British expeditions also made lots of discoveries in the region. Drake referred to the area as New Albion. However, the exact location of New Albion is not known.
American Captain Robert Gray, while aboard the sloop Washington in his 1788 voyage to the west coast of the Americas, visited the Oregon Coast. He attempted to gain entrance to the mouth of the Columbia in August 1788. However, the sloop Washington was accidentally grounded on a sand bar where the ship was attacked by natives and one of the crew members was killed while another one was wounded.
In 1792, Gray returned to the Oregon Coast aboard the Columbia. There, he met with British Captain Vancouver of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. When Gray mentioned the river to Vancouver, he named it the Columbia. This claim by Gray was quietly dismissed by Vancouverbecause he thought that the Columbia was part of the Juan de Fuca channel. Vancouver was unwilling to later admit Gray’s correct discovery of the Columbia River.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
With the successful buying of the Louisiana Territory from France, President Thomas Jefferson ordered an expedition to the west coast in 1803. It was led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, that’s why it was called the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In the early winter of 1805, the expedition reached the Oregon Coast where they built Fort Clatsop near present-day Astoria. Many remarks about the landscape and local life were made by the Corps of Discovery during their stay. Aside from that, they also established relations with the local Clatsop Indians.
In March 1806, the expedition began their return trip to Washington D.C. Even though the heavy settlement of the Oregon Coast would not come until have a century later, this expedition would have long-lasting effects for the Pacific Northwest and began the settlement of the U.S. west coast.
Settlement of the Pioneer in Oregon Coast
The employees of John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company set up trading posted in 1811 at the mouth of the Columbia River. There, they set up the first permanent U.S. settlement which was Astoria. But, the settlement was not as cost-effective as Astor thought it would be. In 1812, it was sold to the British North West Company and became a part of the Columbia District.
When Charles Wilkes landed on the Oregon coast on a voyage commissioned by U.S. Congress in 1838, he raised the American flag. During that time, British claims were slowly lost with the increasing number of pioneers going to Oregon along the Oregon Trail. After eight years, the Oregon Treaty was signed with Britain. This treaty ended the half-century claims to Oregon and the Oregon Coast by the British.
Oregon Coast from 1860 to Present Time
In 1859, after the completion of railroads throughout the Coast Range, the development of land quickly started along the many Coasts bays and rivers. Soon, commercial fishing and logging became the primary industries in the Oregon Coast. A number of ports were built to facilitate both industries. The first lighthouse at Cape Blanco was built in 1870. Soon after that, it was followed by the Yaquina Bay Light in 1871, and Yaquina Head Light in 1873. In 1934, the last Coast Guard operated light called Cape Arago Light was built.
The Oregon State Land Board started selling public tidelands to private landowners in 1874. Soon enough, there were resorts built alongside the beaches in town such as Rockaway Beach, Seaside, and Newport. The completion of railroads marked the beginnings of tourism along the coast.
Governor Oswald West was elected in 1911, on the promise to reclaim Oregon’s beaches as public land. The legislature favored the privatization of the lands, but the West was still able to make an argument for public ownership which is based on the need for transportation. In 1913, the entire length of the ocean shore from the Columbia to California was declared as a state highway by the Oregon legislature. Aside from that, the legislators also created the State Highway Commission, which started the creation of U.S. Route 101 along with the cost.
The land was bought by the Parks and Recreation Department to turn into 36 state parks along the coastal highway. When the state parksand highways were completed, coastal tourism hit the roof. However, in recent years, there was a drop in both fishing and logging industries due to the changes in the U.S. economy and as well as the changes in regulations about the harvest of fish and timber.
In 1966, the public lands claim of Oregon was challenged when a motel owner fenced-off the beach area to be used privately by his guests. In response to the citizen complains, the Oregon Beach Bill was put forward by the state legislators. This bill proposed to reestablish the status of the beaches as public land. This meant that all wet sand within 16 feet vertical feet of the low tide line belongs to the state of Oregon. However, the bill’s passage was threatened by concerns about private property rights.
In response to this, on May 13, 1967, Governor Tom McCall staged a dramatic media event where two helicopters fly to the beach with a team of surveyors and scientists. The media coverage resulted in awe-inspiring public demand for the bill. On July 6, 1967, it was passed and was signed by McCall.
Current Popular Attractions in Oregon Coast
Here are some of the current popular attractions and restaurants you can visit in Oregon.
This is a city in Clatsop County in Oregon Coast. It is a prosperous resort destination and a popular weekend getaway spot for Portlanders due to its proximity to Portland, Oregon. It is recognized by a popular landmark which is the Haystack Rock, an igneous rock that is often accessible at low tide.
Some of the interesting cultural events being held on this beach are the annual sandcastle-building contest in June, the annual Fourth of July Parade, the “Spring Unveiling” arts festival on the first Sunday in May, and the yearly late-fall festival in November called the Stormy Weather Arts Festival.
Salishan Resort is a luxury destination resort on Oregon Coast. It is located in 7760 North Highway 101 Gleneden Beach, Oregon. It is a woodsy lodge that is secluded between Siletz Bay and Pacific Ocean views.
If you are looking for a place to relax and unwind, this is a wonderful resort to visit. It can also be an excellent place for a destination wedding, team building, retreat, or for a little time for yourself. Some of the things and activities you can enjoy in this resort are golf, luxury spa, aerial park, swimming pool, fitness center, on-site restaurants and wine cellar, and beautiful views of Siletz bay.
Another beautiful place to visit in Oregon Coast is Astoria. It is a port city and the seat of Clatsop County, and it the oldest city in the state of Oregon. It was the setting of the film The Goonies in 1985. Aside from that, other popular movies filmed here are The Black Stallion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Guardian, Kindergarten Cop, and Green Room.Some of the things you can do in Astoria are, visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, climb the Astoria Column, attend a festival, tour the Flavel House Museum, see a show at the Liberty Theater, and so much more.
This is a tower located on Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, Oregon. This tower was built in 1926. It is made of concrete and steel and is part of a 30-acre city park. It has a 164-step spiral staircase going to an observation deck at the top where you can climb to see a fantastic view of Astoria. In 1974, the Astoria Column was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Columbia River Maritime Museum
This is a museum of maritime history which is located about ten miles southeast of the mouth of Columbia River. This museum is the official state maritime museum of Oregon. It opened in August 1963 in the Old Astoria city hall but moved to its current located in 1982. This museum has a national reputation for the quality of its exhibits, as well as for the scope of its collections. In fact, it is the first museum in Oregon that was able to meet national accreditation standards. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Drift Creek Falls Trail
If you are craving for some adventure, then you must try the Drift Creek Falls Trail. This trail is about 2.6 miles out and back through the Central Oregon Coast Range forest of Drift Creek Wilderness. Drift Creek Falls is formed west of Valley of the Giants which is the east side of Lincoln City. The trail going to the falls will require you to cross a suspension bridge that is anchored by cables and ties cemented into bluff ridges opposing one another. The trail also has one split towards a less maintained uphill. Both paths lead to the same spot, which provides more elevation gain than the main trail.
Alder House is located at 611 Immonen Rd. Lincoln City, Oregon. It is a place where you can watch professional artists while glassblowing. It is just like what you would see in Venice and other glass venues around the world. Aside from watching, you will also understand the process as they explain it in detail. You can also ask questions about the craft and science of glassblowing. There’s no admission fee here, and their finished works are for sale at reasonable prices.
Burger 101 and Steak
If you’re looking for someplace to eat while touring Oregon Coast, then you can try Burger 101 which is located at 5045 South Highway 101, Lincoln City, Oregon. It is just walking distance from Siletz Bay. This is a great restaurant for those who love to eat burgers. Their burgers are served fresh and not frozen. Aside from burgers, they also serve fries and milkshakes. If you’re with friends and family, you will be able to enjoy dining here because they also offer games such as pool table, pinball, and more.
Mangia Italian Deli
This is one of the restaurants at Salishan Resort in Gleneden Beach. They serve authentic Italian foods such as Ravioli, Manicotti, Spaghetti, and Linguine. They also have sandwiches like Italian Classic which contains salami, pepperoni, and ham, toasted sub roll with lettuce, tomato, provolone, and house vinaigrette. This restaurant is best for lunch and dinner, and it will totally satisfy your Italian food craving.
Kyllo’s Seafood and Grill
This restaurant is located at 1110 NW 1st CT Lincoln City, Oregon. It opens daily at 11:30 am. If you want some seafood and grilled dishes, then this is the perfect restaurant for you. They serve fresh catch seafood here and as well as steaks, ribs, burgers, tacos, pasta, and salads. They also have house-made desserts such as peanut butter pie and vanilla crème Brulee. They also have a happy hour at their bar from 11:30am to 4:00pm, where they serve beers, house margarita, wines, and cocktails.
Tom’s Fish & Chips
This restaurant is located at 240 N Hemlock Street Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm daily. You can enjoy here foods such as fish & chips, prawns & chips, clams & chips, salmon & chips, halibut & chips, fish tacos, and chicken tenders. They also have lots of burgers, salads, soups, and sides to choose from.
Tidal Raves is a seafood restaurant located at 279 NW Hwy 101 Depoe Bay, Oregon. They offer the freshest ingredients of the Northwest. Some of the best foods they offer are their signature Spinach Oyster Bisque, and the Red Curry BBQ’d Shrimp. You can also try their Fish Tacos and Dungeness Crab Cakes. This restaurant is open daily from 11:00am. They also have a happy hour from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
There are indeed lots of things you can do on the Oregon Coast. On your upcoming visit, which of these attractions and restaurants would you want to experience?