Storm Watching On The Oregon Coast

What Lurks Over the Horizon

Storm-watching on the Pacific Northwest Coast is almost a sport. The systems form up in the Gulf of Alaska, and can really pound the PNW with serious surf! In my 20 years of living in Oregon, I have not had a chance storm watch at the Coast.

So to celebrate six months of marital bliss, we book a midweek getaway at Pelican Shores Inn in Lincoln City for some storm watching.

More than Just Storms

Lincoln City has a lot going for it besides beach combing. You might not expect great shopping in a place like this, but there’s even a factory outlet. You can try glass blowing guided by skilled artisans. Or check into the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, if that’s more your style. In the summertime, coastal wind keeps the sky full of colorful kites.

Our Hatch to Batten

Our suite at Pelican Shores Inn has one bedroom with an ocean view. We also get a balcony, a fireplace to warm our bones during storm watching, and a kitchenette.

Pelican Shores also has a complementary breakfast. The separate bedroom adds a touch of luxury. The kitchenette will be filled with two days worth of charcuterie.

The Chill Before the Thrill

We get checked in before the next storm is about to hit, so we decide to take advantage of the shopping at the Lincoln City Outlets. There are 52 name brand shops to check out, but I am heading straight to the Sunglass Hut for a fabulous new pair Coach sunnies at a great bargain price. I just love a good deal!

A little patch of blue from our room’s view, but look what’s a-comin’!

Now it’s time to snuggle in for the first big storm. We decide to rearrange some furniture so we can enjoy the view of the ocean from cushy-cozy chairs with a table for our snacks, right in front of the fireplace.

We light some candles for ambiance and scent, and turn on some soothing music. Not too loud. We want to enjoy the crashing waves and pounding rain that is just now coming onshore.

Storm Prepper’s Basket

Let’s take a peek inside my picnic basket!

Keep color and flavor combinations in mind when you are arranging your charcuterie platter. My palette tonight will be sweet, savory, and salty. I’m adding treats in the orange hues of sunset for a visual pop.

Our spread includes fresh goat cheese, dried apricots, smoked salmon, almonds, sliced baguette, with prosciutto and mozzarella wraps as the star of this evening.

On pour, we have Deviant from Oak Knoll, a sweet, full-bodied red wine that pairs well with cheese, chocolate… and cold weather. For bubbles, it’s M. Chevallier Cava, a Spanish sparking wine with big bubbles.

Don’t forget chips and salsa and a few other cheeses, such as Manchego. Manchego cheese is always a great choice with any wine!

When you’re setting a mood, remember to include as many senses as possible. Music, wine, candles, and a warm fireplace makes a seriously cozy cave for storm watching! Now I get the allure! Especially from a cozy hotel room with your hubby.

I suggest stepping out on the balcony now and then to get a blast of storm, and calm your middle-aged hot flashes.

Safety First

Storm-watching at the Coast is fun, but it can be deceptively dangerous. So there are some safety protocols you should follow when storms are churning up big waves.

First, never turn your back on the ocean. A “sneaker wave” is a strong wave that can surge up on the beach without warning and a lot of force. If you’re standing on rocks with your back to the ocean for a selfie, you can easily be surprised by a sneaker wave, pounded into the rocks, and then swept away by the receding wave.

Secondly, stay off and away from logs on the beach. Those sneaker waves can pick up a log like a toothpick and send it crashing down. Every year, someone gets hurt (or worse) during a storm event. Even if a sneaker wave doesn’t smash you under a log, even gentle tides can move logs, causing them to shift. If you’re on them, you could be pinned or crushed.

Dawn of the Wet

In the morning, one storm down, we get in a long beach walk. Yes, I’m still searching for a glass float sea treasure, but another storm is blowing in.

We want to stretch our legs in the fresh air between the waves of storms, the air salty from the choppy surf. Trudging wet sand in search of treasure has us hungry for lunch.


Shucker’s Oyster Bar has been highly recommended to us, so we are excited! The outside does not look like much, and it’s kind of a dive bar inside. Once our eyes adjust to the ambience, we notice it’s a quirky joint with lots of artsy tchotchkes. And boy, do they know their oysters!

No worries if you don’t like the slippery bivalves. Shucker’s has plenty of other dishes. Maybe warm up with some clam chowder. For us, it’s local oysters on a half shell, oyster shooters, and some fries.

Andy gets a Deschutes Black Butte Porter and I order a pint of Guinness Stout. Yup, I don’t really drink beer, but when I do, it’s a Guinness Stout. The oysters definitely live up to their reputation!

Right across the street is Lincoln City Glass Center. You can watch glass blowing, and a cute little pug will accompany you as you acquire a glass treasure or two without getting wet!

Treasure acquired, we head south in the pouring rain.

Siletz Bay

We stop at Siletz Bay for a few scenic photos. The stark, broken trees on small islands in the bay feel particularly forlorn on this storm-darkened day.

Then on to a place we had visited the previous summer, Boiler Bay. This time we don’t have a picnic packed, but it’s just as awesome with the addition of a storm… and a waterfall!

Boiler Bay is moody, but relatively peaceful.

Further south, we find Depoe Bay Scenic View Area overlooking Pirate Cove.

Now it’s time get out and explore at the Vista Street View Area. I am really lucky my new hubby finds me attractive when I am soaking wet, cold and muddy!

I love how he dangerously perches on wet, slippery cliffs with steep drops into the ocean to get just the right photo. NOT! He scares me. This is a must-see spot though, rain or shine.

Raving Again

All that tromping around in the mud has made us hungry for an early bird dinner, so we head to Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay. As we’ve said before, this is a very popular place, and it is best to have reservations.

But once again, we just pop in. And although we look like drowned rats (or maybe because), we are shown to a great table in the dining room with a view of the ocean, Depoe View Park, and crashing waves. More wind and rain batter the cliffs as we warm up with Spanish coffee and red wine.

Now that we are warmed up, we start with deep fried oysters (yes, more oysters) with a creamy dipping sauce.

For dinner, Andy orders Asian-Flavored Shrimp, which comes on kababs over a bed of rice with colorful veggies. I pick clams in a marinara sauce with lots of pasta and garlic toast bruschetta, very comforting on a cold wet day. My dish also includes shrimp, and generous amount of parmesan cheese.

Next Wave

Now that we’re all warmed up, we head back to our hotel for the next storm watch of the evening. And a bubble bath to get off the mud. We are pleasantly full, but make sure we have wine and charcuterie to nibble on during the next blast.

It’s fun to step out on the balcony now and then to hear the crashing waves!

No Big Hurry

In the morning, all the storms have passed. We get in one last walk on the beach at Roads End State Recreation Site.

We’re going to take our time heading back to Reality, stopping for a walk at Cape Kiawanda and lunch The Pelican Pub.

Then, one last cool destination: the Cape Meares Lighthouse in Tillamook, built in 1896. It’s famous for being the shortest lighthouse. It is tiny, but huge on views! Perched 200 feet above the ocean on Cape Meares, you are treated to dramatic views up and down the coastline.

There are plenty of trails to explore. We stroll the short trail around the lighthouse grounds, and the sun even makes a appearance for us. (In the PNW, this is known as a “sun break.”)

Back to Portland

Our much-needed getaway has provided the planned relaxation we hoped for! Although this was a storm watch week, it was actually “the Calm” before huge changes are about to take place in our lives.

We have no idea that in exactly one week’s time, a whole new adventure is about to begin.