Cape Lookout State Park
Pacific Northwest

To the Oregon Coast!

“Maybe we’ll find some sand dollars,” I said to Bryce as we left out campsite and walked to the beach.

It was around 7:30 in the morning and while it wasn’t exactly low tide, the tide was still fairly low. We were camping at Cape Lookout State Park on the Oregon Coast.

I had spent many summers on the Oregon Coast with my family camping, exploring and road tripping. I remember walking on the beaches in the mornings and searching for sand dollars. It’d always be a competition with the seagulls, who would crack and eat them.

Bryce and I walked along the sandy beach where there were a few other early risers. One woman was running with her dog. There were a few other couples strolling as well. We also came across one man fishing.

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It was still quiet though. The air was fresh and salty. It was cool, but not cold. The sun was trying to make an appearance from behind some clouds.

We saw a lot of dismantled crabs — their shells scattered along the shore and legs strewn about. The seagulls had feasted well this morning.

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Then, about 15 minutes into our +1-hour walk, I spotted half of a sand dollar! It brought me back to my childhood. At least global warming hasn’t ended some things.

Maybe there would be more! Now I was on a serious look out.

Further down on the beach, I found two tiny sand dollars. (Tiny, as in the size of a penny!) I guess the seagulls didn’t spot these ones — or they were so small they weren’t worth trying to eat.

Cape Lookout State Park

From this beach, we could see three large rock formations in the ocean further north. They looked kind of like the rocks I remembered seeing from the beach my family and I would stay at all those years ago.

Later in the day — and with confirmation from my parents the next week — I’d learn that these were the exact same rocks! We had been camping just a 20-minute drive south of Oceanside, a small beach town where my family and I had frequented often. Oceanside is where I learned about low and high tides as a kid. We’d explore tidal pools and spot tons of starfish and touch sea anemones.

“Wasn’t there like a tunnel we would walk through?” my brother asked later in the day as we were driving right past Oceanside. After going to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we visited a nearby lighthouse. As soon as we saw the sign that said “Oceanside,” it all clicked that this was the exact place of our childhood.

(And, yes, for the record, there was a tunnel you could walk through when it was really low tide to access a “secret” beach).

We didn’t have time to stop at Oceanside, as we were with a group. We ended up spending time on either ends of it, seeing the large rocks from both the north and the south!

Next time, I’m making sure we go back to the Oregon Coast and make time to visit Oceanside. I’m sure it’s just as magical as I remember it being.

 

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