Our stay in Florence also gave us great opportunities for some adventures. First and foremost was tidepooling. One of our top desires for experiencing the Pacific Northwest was to be able to check out the tidepools. Tidepools are small worlds full of abundant colors and creatures dependent on the ebb and flow of the tide to refresh their saltwater environs. There are many tide pool areas along Oregon’s coast, and we chose two of them near Florence for further exploration. Both spots we chose fell under federal management, which meant that our America the Beautiful/Annual National Park Pass worked at both. Here are the details of each spot to help you choose what is best for you…
Cape Perpetua – The tide pools here require a little work on the part of the visitor. There is a bit of a hike down to them, and they are harder to get around. The craggy rocks and ever present crashing waves make this experience a little more dangerous, but also much more authentic. Even if you choose not to visit the tide pools here, Cape Perpetua is a must see on the Oregon Coast. The visitor center has beautiful windows that overlook the ocean below and are perfect for spotting whales (which were there during our visit). They also have several trails and feature some very large Spruces. Their main claim is the highest point on the Oregon Coast accessible by road. The view here is stunning.
Yaquina Head Nature Reserve – The tide pools here are much easier to access. There are a few flights of stairs down and then you are on the pebble beach with the tide pools directly ahead. This is a great spot for young children, as it is more protected from the ocean, and the lay of the land is easier to walk. Also, you may touch the creatures in these tide pools, just not the sea stars – we were told they are sick and, therefore, not to be touched. Honestly, I did not touch a thing. I was happy to watch them in their natural environment without interfering. The rangers also have guides available to help you identify the creatures you find. This spot is smaller and much more crowded. In addition to the tide pools, there are seals here basking on the rocks and also many common murres and other birds. There is also a light house that may be toured as well as beaches. Here is a video of our experiences…
Let’s also take a look at some of the preparations for tidepooling:
- Check the tides. You can check online or call the visitor centers, and they will be glad to tell you the best time for tidepooling, which corresponds with low tide.
- Wear sturdy shoes. This is no sandy beach experience, you will need to be able to walk on uneven rocks, and you don’t want to fall in this cold water.
- Dress in layers. We found this to be true about all of Oregon. It may be hot at the campground, but once you get to the coast, the strong wind will drop the temps rapidly.
We had so much fun sledding at White Sands National Monument back in New Mexico, that once we heard about the Sand Dunes in Oregon, we knew we wanted to find some time to enjoy them. We have never sandboarded or snowboarded before, but we were both athletes and our general coordination skills allow us to pick things up quickly. We rented sandboards and took them to Honeyman State Park just South of Florence, where we spent the afternoon on the slope. Enjoy the fun with us…
Tips for Sandboarding:
- Go in the afternoon, when the sand is driest. The wind will also be at its peak too, so expect blowing sand.
- They will give you wax with your rental, and we used it before each trip down.
- Wear sunglasses to keep the sand out of your eyes.
- Oregon sand is very fine and soft, so exposed skin won’t have a problem; but walking in it is a bear because you sink very easily – it will feel like a never ending stair machine at the gym.
- Most people go barefoot, but we found that wearing our socks actually helped us walk back up the dunes better – think of it like webbing.
- Expect to have sand in every single part of your body.