Close your eyes and picture your perfect vacation on the Oregon Coast. You might be conjuring up images of sunshine, gentle waves lapping at your ankles, and roasting marshmallows with friends around a bonfire. Sounds delightful… Sounds like those Rockaway Beach summers we all love and enjoy.
But maybe your picture-perfect vacation includes the sound of rain pelting the window, winds so fierce they violently rip through the toughest of trees and cast aside branches, and ocean waves so tall and frequent they topple over each other and smash into the surf with torrential force. That’s OK – we love storm watching, too.
Storm watching isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. But for those brave enough to battle the wind and rain during the stormiest of days in Rockaway Beach, the payoff is worth it. Yet it’s not without certain dangers. By following these storm watching guidelines, you’ll ensure safety while also enjoying the sheer force and magnitude of the Pacific Ocean.
Pick your Spot. Storm watching is all about having the best vantage point. That doesn’t necessarily mean having to be outside. There are plenty of oceanfront hotels, motels and lodging right here in Rockaway Beach so that you can enjoy the show from the comfort of your room. If you do decide to venture outdoors, staying high up above the surf is best, and never go on the beach. Sneaker waves are real and take pity on no one. Find a bench above the action (the Wayside has a few) and avoid the temptation to go down on the beach. Storm watching can also be fun from way up high, like Neahkahnie Mountain or Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoint.
Know the Tides. It’s simple math that the best and biggest waves happen when there is the most water on the beach, so high tide is the time to go. It’s also the most dangerous, however, so make sure your viewing platform is well out of reach of the highest of tides. It’s best to arrive an hour before high tide and stay until the tides start receding again. You can pick up a tide book adjusted for the Tillamook Coast at several local merchants and hotels, or the Tillamook Chamber of Commerce office.
Bring a jacket… Or two or three. Let’s face it – you’re going to get wet. Rain jackets come in all shapes, styles, colors and sizes so there’s just no excuse not to have one with you. Consider dressing in layers, with your water proof pants and jacket over your warmer clothes, and always wear boots. Nothing ruins a good storm watching experience like wet toes.
And always remember… Don’t go near the water, and stay away from driftwood which can be tossed quickly and destructively by the waves.
Be sure to share your photos with us by tagging @visitrockawaybeach on Instagram!
Photo by Bruce Higgins.