Oregon Coast Shipwrecks: The Graveyard of the Pacific

Ships Keystone Vacations

Oregon’s spectacular coastline is very enticing. Its miles of sandy beaches, quaint seaside villages, and stunning ocean views mask the dangers that these waters hold for ships. With over 3,000 shipwrecks along the Oregon coast, the name “Graveyard of the Pacific Coast” is certainly appropriate for these waters.

For hundreds of years, every imaginable ship traveled up and down the Pacific. They came from around the globe and included schooners, square-riggers, and steamers. Unfortunately, not all arrived at their destination. Some were never found, some lie on the ocean floor, and a few others still sit on Oregon beaches for you to see.

Start your visit with a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. The “Secrets of Shipwrecks” entertains and uncovers the fascinating world of shipwrecks, particularly on the Oregon Coast. This eye opening exhibit shows you why the Oregon coastline is so difficult to navigate and explain the loss of so many ships over the years. Even with today’s technology, sailors much stay alert to possible threats in powerful waters. The exhibit includes artifacts from a few of the most notable wrecks including the Spanish beeswax galleon and the Emily G. Reed.

Emily G. Reed

The Emily G. Reed pops up occasionally on the shifting sands at Rockaway Beach. The Emily G. Reed was a “down Easter” sailing schooner laden with 2,100 tons of coal. She crashed into the mouth of the Nehalem River in 1908. She’d lost her way in heavy fog and rain at night and hit the beach when trying to correct her bearings. It was the middle of the night in a very sparsely populated area, and the ship fell into pieces. Some passengers clambered onboard the lifeboat and believed the others on the ship were lost in the boiling waters.

Miraculously, all but seven survived the harrowing storm onboard the ship. When dawn arrived, they saw the ship sat in shallow water and they waded safely to the shore. Only one passenger on the lifeboat perished after he drank sea water. The others suffered from exposure and dehydration from their arduous 200 mile, 78 hour journey northwards.

Whether you’re lucky enough to see some of the remains of the ship is up to Mother Nature. No one can predict the sand levels and the ship continues to shy away from attention. The sands revealed about 100 feet of its hull in 2010, and before that it was last seen in the 70s.

George L Olsen

Another powerful storm drove the 223-foot-long wood-hulled schooner George L. Olson onto Coos Bay’s North Jetty in 1944. It stuck the jetty with such force it broke apart and the lumber it carried swept away in the raging waves. It sat on the spit for years and locals used it for picnics, but by the 1960s sand covered it and it was forgotten.

In 2008, winter storm waves revealed it again and now over 10,000 visitors have traveled the sand road to see its remains on Horsfall Beach in North Bend. You must access the beach on foot at low tide and it takes 75 minutes to get to the wreck.

J. Marhoffer

You can also see the remnants of the steam schooner J. Marhoffer at Boiler Bay. In 1910, the ship caught fire and everyone abandoned ship. However, the ship continued on towards the shore, made a sweeping circle, and then exploded. It spilt in two and the forward section ended up on shore and decayed. Eventually, the only thing left was the ship’s boiler – hence the name Boiler Bay. You can still see it at low tide. There’s also information about the ship at the Lincoln County Historical Society in Newport.

You can explore these and many more Oregon treasures and stay in comfort in oceanfront vacation rentals in the Lincoln City and Depoe Bay areas. They offer all the amenities and a superior experience to hotels.

Fascinating Oregon Lighthouses

Lighthouses Keystone VacationsLighthouses offer a unique glimpse into Oregon’s past and emphasize the importance of the sea for West Coast residents. They guided mariners along Oregon’s steep and scenic coastline and were very important, because protected harbors are very scarce.

These towering lighthouses perched on spectacular headlands, saved souls and marked the boundary between sea and land. Each is a distinct marker that tells tales about the lifestyle and residents of the area, and Oregon abounds with them.

Twelve lighthouses dot the Oregon Coastline and a lightship rests in Astoria. Two of these were privately built and remain closed to the public. However, seven are open to the public and most are still active.

Yaquina Head

This lighthouse tower is the tallest on the Oregon Coast. At 93 feet tall, it warned vessels from as far away as 19 miles of coastal dangers. Resting on a basalt headland within the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, this spectacular lighthouse also offers views of gray whales, harbor seals, and migratory birds.

Two boats met their demise transporting supplies during construction. Three keepers manned the station and in 1873, the lighthouse was finally lit. It weathered strong coastal winds, but in 1920 lighting struck it. Nonetheless, this sturdy lighthouse persevered and you can wind up the circular stairs to see the massive lens and 1000 watt bulb to enjoy a panoramic view of coastal Newport.

Yaquina Bay

This lighthouse had to fight for existence. It was only used for three years, and almost demolished several times. Originally, it guided settlers to the growing Yaquina Bay and the Newport area. It is unusual, because it looks more like a house with a light tower on the roof.

From the onset, the lighthouse seemed plagued with problems. Residents argued over a location and it was finally built and lit in 1871. By 1874, the light was out and the lighthouse abandoned, favoring Yaquina Head.

The eerie vacant structure sparked a fictional short story published in 1899 of a sea captain’s daughter never seen again after entering the abandoned lighthouse. Even though the story was fictional, a 1975 article stirred up notions that a ghost may be haunting the lighthouse. The article recounted a story of a young hitchhiker who stayed a night in the abandoned lighthouse. He claimed he saw a young woman floating outside one of the windows.

Fortunately, the lighthouse was fully restored. The lower area offers a fascinating look at Oregon’s maritime past and memorabilia, but the lantern room isn’t open to the public. The lighthouse is on the southern end of Newport, near the Yaquina Bay Bridge and entrance is by donation.

Heceta Head

If you want a spectacular view of the Pacific, visit Heceta Head. It is a state scenic viewpoint perched on a rocky promontory in a cove at the mouth of Cape Creek, and the most photographed lighthouse on the Pacific Coast.

Built in 1894, this towering lighthouse housed families in a very isolated area. It once had a keeper’s house too, but it was later demolished. Its claim to fame was its role during World War II. The Coast Guard sent 75 men to guard the area against Japanese attacks. It is the most powerful lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, it is still active, and it shines 22 miles out to sea.

Lighthouse tours are available 7 days a week. Heceta Head Lighthouse is above the Sea Lion Caves, also worth visiting. You’ll find it 12 miles north of Florence, off Highway 101. For comfortable, affordable condominium accommodation in the area, check our Depoe Bay fully-equipped condos here.

Birds, Beer & Treasure: 3 Unusual Oregon Coast Spring Activities

The Oregon Coast offers a variety of unusual spring activities sure to captivate and enchant. This year, partake in one of these three remarkable activities and uncover the flavor and diversity of west coast life.

April and May offer some of the best migratory bird watching you’ll see in North America. We’re not talking about a few feathered friends, but pods of pelicans, convocations of eagles, and volts of vultures. The entire coastline teems with a myriad of aviary amigos. During breeding season, they’re also sporting their most colorful plumage.

Birding is a combination of sleuthing, analytical skills, and intimate interaction with nature. You don’t need a license and you see these spectacular creatures in their natural habitat. It’s the perfect activity to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few hours, or even a weekend.

The Birding & Blues Festival in Pacific City is your go-to event if you want to learn about birding and birds. You can hook up with an experienced birder, watch presentations, or enjoy great blues music. You can also tour area capes, or venture out on a field or kayak trip. The festival runs April 29th through May 1st.

Later in May, bring your dog and venture into Newport for the 10th Annual Brewer’s Memorial Ale Fest on May 21st. This dog-friendly event pays homage to the Rogue’s Brewery’s founding dog; Brewer. It’s the largest dog-beer festival in the world. Last year 3,200 people and 810 dogs attended.

You’re able to sample over 50 microbrews on tap and listen to live music, but your pooch never sit on the sidelines. This fun, interactive dog festival includes doggie musical chairs, dog dances, and your pooch can vie for top prize in the celebrity dog look-alike contest. No one can say the Oregon Coast is boring!

Did you know you can search for treasure on the Oregon Coast too? Florence is now part of the world geocaching network. If you don’t know what geocaching is, think treasure hunting using GPS. You set out to find a set of coordinates and hidden treasure. You never know what’s inside until you find it, and if you take something out you must leave something of greater value!

Geocaches vary from easy-to-find to complex, with clues or puzzles to solve to locate the treasure. In the Florence area, you could scale sand dunes, peer over ocean cliffs or wander down miles of sandy beaches pursuing the elusive geocache. You might ramble through Florence’s historic Old Town or explore a hidden trail around a coastal lake. Some geocaches are also underwater, so the diverse tidal pools along the coast are fair game too.

The Florence area has 36 caches, but you only need to find 24 to “officially” complete the tour. Beginner geocachers can visit the Adventure Center to garner tips and tricks for success.

When you’re in the area, you’ll want to stay in comfortable accommodations. We offer beachfront condos with all the amenities in nearby Depoe Bay. The Oregon Coast is your destination for remarkable spring adventures.

3 Quirky Oregon Coast Sights You Must See

The Oregon Coast is home to spectacular beaches and wildlife, but it has some quirky sights worthy visiting too. For those who love history, the short drive from Lincoln City to McMinnville is well-worth the effort.

Must See - Spruce Goose

McMinnville houses Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, a gigantic flying boat built during WWII. The Allies needed a way to transport large payloads across the ocean. Eccentric billionaire Hughes and his engineers responded to a 1942 U.S. government request to build a cargo and troop carrier less detectable by Axis submarines without using critical wartime materials.

Hughes and his engineers designed a flying boat to carry 750 fully equipped troops or two Sherman tanks over long distances. They crafted it from laminated birch, but the press gave it the inaccurate nickname, Spruce Goose. Hughes felt the name insulted the feat of the engineers and builders, and eventually renamed it the H-4 Hercules. Nonetheless, the name Spruce Goose stuck, despite his best efforts.

Within two years, the U.S. government spent $22 million and Hughes spent $18 million of his own money on the project, and still the plane was not finished due to Hughes perfectionism. The war ended, and so did the need for the aircraft. However, Hughes doggedly continued with the project. When completed, it was the largest flying boat and aircraft of the time.

Many thought the plane would never fly. After all, a gigantic wooden aircraft wasn’t the norm. It was five stories tall with a wingspan longer than a football field. Despite naysayers and the aircraft’s monumental dimensions, Hughes proved the plane could fly on its maiden voyage in 1947.

The Spruce Goose flew for one mile for less than a minute and then landed, never to fly again. Hughes obviously wanted to get it off the ground again as it was constantly maintained and in flight-ready condition tucked it away in climate-controlled storage for 33 years, but he died in 1976.

The aircraft passed through many hands and eventually came to rest in the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. You can view this amazing specimen from American aviation history in McMinnville, and even tour the cockpit. This is one Oregon sight you must see in person to appreciate the scale of Hughes’ accomplishment.

Must See #2 – D River in Lincoln City

The D River in Lincoln City is also worth a visit, but this is one sight you might miss if you’re not careful. The Guinness World Records lists it as the world’s shortest river, but it’s nestled in the heart of Lincoln City and worth seeing.

Even though the river is only 440 feet long, the beach area offers some of the strongest, steadiest winds in the world, perfect for kite flying. Two of the world’s largest kite flying festivals and a summer professional kite festival make the D River State Recreation Site one of the best places in the world to watch or participate in this mesmerizing past-time.

Must See #3 – Devil’s Punchbowl

Farther down the coastline, another must-see is the Devil’s Punchbowl. Devil’s Punchbowl State Park is at Otter Rock, about four miles south of Depoe Bay and nine miles north of Newport. This natural wonder created from two collapsed sea caves eventually eroded to form a foamy cauldron where waves crash and boil, spewing seawater upwards for an unforgettable show. If you’re careful, you can even stroll inside the cavern at low tide. This area is also one of the top ten places to spot whales on the Oregon coast, especially from late March to June.

When visiting the Lincoln City and Depoe Bay area, many beautiful oceanfront and ocean view vacation rentals are available so you can appreciate Oregon’s beauty in comfort. These condos are rated “excellent” by Tripadvisor and FlipKey, sleep 4 to 6 guests, and make your visit to the Oregon coast affordable, comfortable and superior to a hotel stay.

Upcoming Events in Lincoln City, Oregon

During the month of February there are several upcoming events or festivals in Lincoln City you may want to check out during your stay.

Concert – Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Rising

This Bluegrass Group was recently nominated the best of the year by the International Music & Entertainment Association.   They will be preforming at the Lincoln City Cultural Center at 7 pm on February 6th.  More information about the group and their upcoming events can be found at www.phoenixrisingband.org

Finders Keepers – Special Drop

Coinciding with Antique Week, over 300 antique Japanese glass floats will be hidden along Lincoln City’s seven miles of beaches.  When you find a float you can keep it.  You can also contact the Visitor and Convention Bureau to register the float, receive a Certificate of Authenticity as well as learn about the artist who crafted the float.  This is a wonderful family activity that keeps the kids busy hunting for floats and the adults enjoying long walks on the beach.  Please do note that floats will never be hidden in dangerous areas or up on the bluffs/cliffs.

Upcoming Events Not to Miss!

The 39th annual Seafood & Wine Festival will be taking place starting February 25th in Newport, about 30 minutes south of Lincoln City.  The festival will include over 150 premier Northwest wines, culinary professionals displaying a wide variety of seafood and other mouth watering dishes and many arts & crafts.  Drawing roughly twenty-five thousand visitors each year, you may find yourself staying for the whole festival as you discover new dishes, favorite wines and new friends.  More information can be found about the festival at www.seafoodandwine.com

Another festival our guests enjoy each year is Winterfest. Presented by the Siletz Bay Music Festival, Winterfest is host to a variety of talented musicians each displaying their musical ability starting February 20th at the Salishan Resort.

View more information about upcoming events on our website.


Winter Activities to Enjoy While Visiting Lincoln City

Lincoln City Activities

During the winter months one can often imagine a coastal town in Oregon maybe quite dull.  People spending time indoors with very little to do or see.  Fortunately for those traveling to one of our Lincoln City vacation rentals that is not the case!  The city is alive with a wide variety of activities and entertainment for all ages to enjoy.  Even if a storm is head our way, you can enjoy one, two or all the activities you can fit in during your stay.  You may even want to take some time to sit back, relax and watch the storm as many people specifically come to see Mother Nature put on her own show.

Saturday Morning Cinema at the Bijou Theatre

One of our recommended activities for weekend guests at our Lincoln City vacation homes would be catching a classic film at the Bijou Theatre.  For around $2 one can enjoy classics such as The Maltese Falcon or The Jackie Robinson Story.  The theatre is located along Highway 101 and close to our Pacific Winds complex.  More information about upcoming screenings and show times can be found at Saturday Morning Cinema.

Pacific Trombone Quartet at the Lincoln City Cultural Center

Featuring some of the finest players in the Northwest, the Quartet has played for symphonies and bands all over the region.  Their music includes Bach, Ellington and much, much more.  Rain or shine, an evening couldn’t be better spent.  Afterwards enjoy dessert at the Blackfish Café or a full buffet at the Chinook Winds Casino.

A Fun Activities for the Whole Family – Antique Week

Starting February 5th, the annual Antique Week features citywide specials and deals accompanied by a special glass art drop for those who want to not only hunt for great deals indoors, but also search the seven miles of beaches for more treasures.  Throughout Lincoln City and Depoe Bay there are a variety of specialty shops with an array of collectibles and keepsakes that may be perfect for your home.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming activities that we will either post to our events page or talk more about here.

Holiday Tradition – Shopping in Lincoln City

Lincoln City Shopping

For many families shopping and Thanksgiving are synonymous.  After enjoying a large, home cooked meal and maybe a football game or two on the TV, many find themselves browsing through that morning’s newspaper with its stacks of coupons, advertisements and Black Friday savings announcements. Once great gift ideas have been identified, brave shoppers venture out into the evening to either wait in line or wade through the multitudes looking for the best door buster deals.

For those who will be enjoying one of our Lincoln City vacation homes this Thanksgiving, we thought it would be helpful to point out some great locations to shop and find that perfect gift.

Shopping at the Lincoln City Outlets

The Lincoln City Outlets offer shoppers a wide variety of retailers including Nike, Coach, Eddie Bauer and much, much more. The complex is open air with plenty of covered walkways to keep shoppers dry any time of year. This Thanksgiving the outlets will be open from 6 pm to midnight with special sales, rewards and prizes.

The Christmas Cottage

Located along Highway 101, and not far from our Pacific Winds condos, the Christmas Cottage offers shoppers over 25,000 different ornaments from around the world. The shop also includes specialty items including German nutcrackers, Santa figures, cards and stationary. No matter what your interests may be, their friendly staff can help you find just the right gift for that special person.

The Shops at Salishan

Located in the community of Gleneden Beach, these boutique shops include handicrafts from local artisans, fine wines from renowned vineyards, unique hand-blow glass, sculptures and paintings.  A must visit for those looking to surprises a loved one with something one-of-a-kind.

Northwest Winds and Kites

Known for their top quality kites, tails, wind décor and banners, Norwest Winds and Kites is a must stop location, especially if you have visited Lincoln City during the semi-annual kite festival. The shop also builds show kites and offers flying lessons.

The Little Antique Mall

Known as the largest antique mall on the Oregon Coast, shoppers will find primitives, furniture, pottery and gourmet coffee to taste. While browsing the many goods for sale, one can find items that conjure up memories of a wonderful family outing or favorite book or comic strip. Whether looking for a vintage dress or imagining a century-old hat hanging in the front room, you will enjoy the adventure of antique shopping in Lincoln City.

Thanksgiving Tradition #1 – Finders Keepers

Lincoln City, Finders Keepers

Since 1997, Finders Keepers has drawn tens of thousands of tourist to the beaches of Lincoln City in a quest to find glass floats hidden along the 7-1/2 miles of beach stretching from Siletz Bay to the Roads End area.  These glass floats were created by local and national artists and are individually numbered and signed.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, a special glass drop of 100 art pieces is set to occur starting November 27th. Guest staying in our Lincoln City vacation condos are ideally located near one of the convenient beach access points where the search for one of these brilliantly-colored glass floats can begin.

Some of the best spots to search are north of the access point towards Cascade Head.  Hand-crafted floats can be found between the tide line and the beach embankment.  Floats are often hidden behind or inside drift wood or in between the long shafts of brush grass that line the embankment.  Floats will never be found in or on the cliffs.

Whether or not you are able to find a glass float, the fun and excitement of searching for and potentially finding one of these unique pieces of art has quickly become a tradition for many who visit the Oregon Coast and Lincoln City during the Thanksgiving holiday.

For more information about Finder Keepers and the artists who create the floats, please visit www.oregoncoast.org/finders-keepers

Thanksgiving: Not Just a Day in the Year, but the Start of the Holiday Season

For many, Thanksgiving is not just a day in the 365 that make up the calendar year.  It is instead the start of a wonderful, and often busy, holiday season that ends with the ringing in of a New Year.

Along the Oregon Coast many families and friends have started the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving with not only the iconic family dinner and subsequent football game on TV, but also with beautiful views of a sunset over the water and long walks along Lincoln City’s seven miles of beach. 

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to post ideas and suggestions of things to do and see that may one day become your family’s Thanksgiving tradition and the beginning to a memorable holiday season.

Spring is in Full Bloom at the Oregon Coast!

Come celebrate spring at the Oregon Coast!

Take advantage of our great rates and beautiful units and while you are at the beach, take some time to relax, unwind and enjoy the Spring activities in full bloom.  Lincoln City is having its annual Community Days April 22-26th. There are activities to keep all ages entertained. Several of the activities are centrally located and within a short drive of our Lincoln City Vacation Rentals.

This Monday stop by the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Otis to enjoy a Former Sitka Center artist-in-residence Annette Bauer as she teams up with fellow Cirque du Soleil bandmate Joshua Geisler for a free concert of musical exploration. The concert starts at 6 pm and the address is: 56605 Sitka Drive. For more information feel free to call them at: 541-994-5485.

If you are staying in one of our Depoe Bay vacation rentals take a scenic drive to Newport on Thursday night for the “Anton in Show Business” featured at the Newport Performing Arts Center.