Spring has sprung in Lincoln County, and with it, so many incredible outdoor opportunities to explore! From Lincoln City to Yachats, there is always somewhere to explore, whether it is the sandy shores or the river’s edge. In this second of three articles, we will be exploring a few locations near our south campus, from Seal Rock to Yachats.   To check out the first article of this series, which showcases some of the central coast, click here!

The southern Lincoln county coastline is a mix of rocky shoreline and sandy beaches, with numerous sea stacks and plentiful marine and coastline life to discover. Get out and see what might be happening in your own front yard! 

Low tide brings an abundance of marine life into view! Photo: E.Bjornsgard

Seal Rock State Recreation Site, Seal Rock 

Seal Rock State Recreation Site is an amazing beach to explore! Check the local tides (NOAA is a great resource in that department, link to be added) and find a time when the biodiversity of the intertidal zone is on display! From the small barnacles to the large kelps, the anemones to the fish, each tidepool holds incredible organisms ready to be observed! 

It is important to note that while adventuring through the intertidal zone is an amazing experience, there are some things to remember to keep yourself, and the animals living there, safe. Whenever possible, walk on bare rock and sand, to avoid stepping on soft and delicate animals. Never step where you cannot see the bottom, such as onto floating surfgrass or kelp, because the pool might be deeper than you think. For more information about Oregon Tidepools, click here.

Harbor Seals hauled out on the sand bar under the Alsea Bay Bridge. Photo: E.Bjornsgard

Alsea Bay Bridge, Waldport 

While many Lincoln county residents and visitors drive across the Alsea Bay Bridge in Waldport, far less walk across and take in the views that are to be seen! Parking is available at either end of the bridge, and the walkways are separated from the four lanes of cars crossing the bridge.  

Turkey Vultures are migratory visitors to the coast! Photo: E.Bjornsgard

To the east, there is a tremendous view up the Alsea river, and if it is nearing low tide, you may see Harbor Seals hauled out on the sand bar that develops in the center of the River.  Binoculars or a long-range camera will assist you with identifying the animals if you so choose. Look for a variety of birds, whether they are floating on the water, fishing along the edge, or soaring above you. There have been several Turkey Vultures seen throughout the area recently! 

Waves are pushed through the rocky crevices and up into Thor’s Well, creating quite a show! Photo: E.Bjornsgard

Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Yachats 

Near the Lincoln/Lane county border, highway 101 breaks out of Yachats and heads south toward Florence. One of the must see locations along this stretch is Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, part of the Siuslaw National Forest. While the Cape Perpetua Lookout and Campground require fees to access, there are plenty of exciting views in the surrounding area. Just south of Cape Perpetua lies Thor’s Well, the Spouting Horn, and Cook’s Chasm, which together guarantee a fantastic show no matter the tide! 

There is no sandy beach access, but rock shores carved and reshaped by the endless waves of the Pacific. This continual process creates some intriguing crevices, resulting in breaking waves and shooting water in peculiar ways. As with other rocky shores, avoid getting close to the edges. These rocks can be extra slippery due to algae growth. If you decide to investigate the rocky shores, watch the waves before heading out, to determine where the waves regularly crash and avoid those areas. For more information on beach safety, check out the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of this series, where we explore Northern Lincoln County!