Storm watch in Lincoln City during King Tides - Photo credit Angie Wright

The Oregon Coast is known for its extravagant headlands, rugged shores and dramatic scenery. It draws visitors from all over the world to experience its beauty, often during spring and summer months where the sun peeks through the clouds and you can get outside without getting soaked during rainy seasons. Although many people come to play on the beaches of Lincoln City in warmer months, storm watching in the winter has its own part to play in the magic of the Coast. Particularly in December, January, and February, ferocious Pacific Ocean waves roll in to pound the Oregon Coast. When the storms are at their peak, howling winds and towering waves drive spectacular walls of water onto the beach and against the bluffs. Storm watching has become a beloved pastime for all ages, and in Lincoln City, there are many oceanfront locations where you can enjoy them safely (and warmly!).

In addition to Lincoln City’s stormy weather, King Tide season is right around the corner. King Tides, officially known as perigean spring tides, occur when the Moon's orbit is closest to the Earth, the Earth's orbit is closest to the Sun, and when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are in alignment. This alignment increases their gravitational pull, which affects the tides. These extreme tides are quite the sight to see and bring visitors to the coastline to photograph, view and bask in the amazing power of the ocean. During a few days in November, December, and January, you will witness the three highest tide sequences of the year. Like with storm watching, Lincoln City is a great place to observe this show of power. Safely watch from your vacation rental, hotel room, or during a meal at restaurants with a view like Fathoms, located on the 10th floor of the Inn at Spanish Head, Kyllo’s Seafood & Grill, or Chinook Winds Casino Resort. While it is a wonderful sight to see, it is imperative for spectators to experience this sight from a safe distance.

During King Tides and severe storms, beach accesses can be closed, and for good reason. The water can approach out of nowhere, a phenomenon known as sneaker waves. The US Coast Guard warns that sneaker waves are one of the largest weather threats to those on the beach. Typically, there is a period of calm that results in people relaxing their awareness, and oftentimes results in beachgoers caught off guard and swept off their feet, sometimes into the ocean. During these dangerous conditions, large pieces of driftwood and other objects are effortlessly rolled, which can put both individuals and rescue teams in danger. Protect yourself, your family, pets, and even your car by avoiding low lying coastal areas and obeying beach access closures.

When the storm is over, tides recede, and it is safe to stroll the beach again. The incredible power of the waves always brings treasures to the sand you won’t want to miss. You’ll find agates, shells, petrified wood and if you’re really lucky, maybe even an authentic antique glass float. Help keep Oregon’s beaches pristine and pack some garbage out too. Not all that's washed ashore is a keepsake. 

To learn more about winter adventures on the Oregon Coast, visit ExploreLincolnCity.com.

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