It’s a well-known secret amongst locals on the Oregon coast that during winter you can find some of the coast’s best treasures. The truth about this time of year is that there are a surprising amount of really nice, even warm days on the coast, with its temperate climate generally making it even warmer than the valley. The locals call this “mini-summer” and it’s a perfect time to visit Hallmark Resort Newport. The Oregon coast is a treasure all year round – especially during the winter. We’ve listed just a few of those treasures below:
Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, February 23 – 26
Two of the things that Oregon is most treasured for: Oregon coast seafood and premier wineries! The 47th annual Newport Seafood & Wine Festival returns in-person this year and will bring wine and seafood connoisseurs from around the world to celebrate Oregon’s bounties. It’s likely the single biggest event on the Oregon coast as renowned chef-prepared foods are paired with our famous Oregon wines. Buy your tickets now to join the biggest party of the year, held on the South Beach waterfront (and don’t forget to reserve your room at Hallmark Resort Newport!).
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
If you’re looking for some of winter’s most spectacular nature, Yaquina Head is the perfect place to visit. This small area on the coast is perfect for wildlife watching, tide pooling, hiking or storm-watching. It is also home to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Although the resident gray whales can be spotted year-round, during December, January and March, you can also spot the migratory whales in the area. It’s also a great place to see seabirds, harbor seals, bald eagles and you may even find peregrine falcons.
Yaquina Head is also a great place to catch tidal monsters during storms as the tip of the headland is especially conducive to gargantuan waves. Nye Beach is a great spot to catch the perfect Oregon coast storm, or you can also wander the quaint streets of the area, and grab a cocktail, some warm clam chowder and some treasured Diablo Bites at Pacific Kitchen.
Shhh. What locals don’t tell you about the Oregon coast is that there can be some rather warm spells that hit in February. They call it “Mini-Summer” when there can be several days scattered throughout the month that are usually close to the mid-60s and feature bright, sunny windless days. Learn more about coastal weather and some of the Oregon Coast Weather Secrets.
Discover Ghost Forests
One crazy winter treasure that only appears if sand levels get low enough during the colder months (they don’t every year), is the ancient stumps of the area. These stumps are around 4,000 years old and can pop up several places around Newport during the winter months. You may find these at Holiday Beach, just south of South Beach behind an unmarked gravel patch or around Seal Rock, approximately 15 minutes south of Newport. At these beaches they will look more like stumps. At Moolack Beach just north of town, you’ll see octopus-like root systems
which make these petrified specimens look extra eerie (and cool.) Learn more about the Oregon coast’s ghost forests, including the two on the coast that are visible year-round.
Search for Agates
Although agates can be found year-round on the Oregon coast, some say that the best time to find them is during the winter months between December and March. During this time, the beaches are windswept and the loss of sand can reveal various layers of rock. Agates can be many colors from clear to dark blue, but are often shades of yellow or even deep red. These can be distinguished from other beach rocks by their translucence. When you spot an agate in wet gravel, it will be the one that appears to be lit from within, and if you hold it up to a light, you’ll be able to see it glow.
Some of the best agate hunting on the entire Oregon coast is located around Newport. Although Agate Beach is named after these, there is no real formula for finding these treasures as gravel beds open up randomly in the area. Besides Agate Beach, Nye Beach or even the beach in front of Hallmark Resort Newport are good places to regularly check. Learn more about agates and why they’re a year-round treasure.
Visit the Newport History Museum
Did you know that Newport is blessed with not one, but two museums? They’re located less than a block apart, but a lot of people tend to miss one or the other. Learn about the development of Newport as well as Native American traditions and cultures when you visit the Burrows House Museum and the Log Cabin Museum.
The Burrows House is an affiliate of the Oregon Historical Society, and contains hundreds of objects from the Lincoln County Historical Society’s collection with more than 40,000 artifacts in all. Although each exhibit contacts a card with a story, you’ll learn even more about the quilts, antique pianos, and parts and pieces of shipwrecks if you take a tour with a volunteer. The Shipwreck exhibit remains a favorite with visitors as it includes and entire hall of old schooners to more modern wrecks (mainly the New Carissa.)
The Log Cabin museum features the early history of Lincoln County along with the reservation history from the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz. It also includes information about the covered bridges in the area, the fishing industry, the settlement history, as well as a hands-on room for kids where they can do their own research. Both museums have limited hours, so call or visit their website for current hours.
Life’s Greatest Treasure
One of the best things about the Oregon coast—and its true year-round—is that it’s the special moments we create with our loved ones that we’ll always remember most. Go for a family swim in the saltwater pool or spa, turn on the fireplace, watch a movie and enjoy this time together. Winter is really the perfect time to make cozy memories at the coast.