Storm Watching on the Oregon Coast

by Lauren Braden

in Trip Ideas

There’s a basalt outcropping on the Oregon Coast south of Depoe Bay that’s called Cape Foulweather. It was named by Captain James Cook as he searched for a passage to the Atlantic Ocean. As we know, that quest didn’t exactly work out for him, but he sure got something right. Winter storms on the Oregon Coast can be foul, and that’s precisely why weather-obsessed travelers come here.

Imagine watching frothy waves and horizontal rain as you sip hot chocolate by a wood fire in a cozy cabin, perched high on a bluff. Pretty sweet, huh? Throw in some board games and a good book, and you’ve got yourself a quintessential Pacific Northwest storm watching weekend.

Any visitor to the coast in winter should be prepared for storms. Consult our Storm Watching Essentials before you pack.

Storm-watching season has been in full swing for a few months now, but it’s not too late to catch an Oregon Coast storm from a cozy cabin or waterfront lodge. Winter storms pound the coast from November through March. Here are our top picks for places to watch those storms in Oregon.

SEE ALSO: Storm-Watching on the Washington Coast 

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1. Ocean Point Inn & Spa | (503) 436-1833

79819 Ocean Point Road, Arch Cape, OR  (MAP)

Best Places for Oregon StormwatchingOne of the most deluxe options on our list, Ocean Point Inn is a modern bed and breakfast set between Cannon Beach and Manzanita (immediately north of the beautiful Oswald West State Park). The rooms are spacious, ocean views are outstanding (especially from the upper level rooms) and breakfasts delivered to your room are gourmet all the way. Just curl up by the gas fireplace with a good book and wait for the storm to roll in.

Where to eat: For a dinner of local seafood, go south to Manzanita to the Great Northern Garlic Company and order a whole steamed crab.

No storm? Do this instead: Look for cool sea creatures in tidepools. The community of Arch Cape has its own hidden beach that leads you to rocky structures and tidepools (get access info here; you’ll need to explore this area at or just before low tide).

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2. Ocean Front Cabins 

Arch | (503) 842-6081

1610 Pacific Ave., Oceanside, OR (MAP)

Watch the storms roll in from your waterfront cabin for as low as $55 a night.

Photographer Cari Gesch of Portland took a family weekend getaway at the Ocean Front Cabins in Oceanside. She described to me how the row of cute cabins are just steps away from the state wayside, with beautiful views of Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge from both the front porch and  dining room table. “We slept to the sound of the crashing waves, and woke to the Pacific Ocean outside our window. Oceanside is a quaint little town of the beaten path, and in winter storm watching months, you almost feel like you have the entire place to yourself. Oceanfront Cabins offers clean, comfortable accommodations, with kitchens, at a price that is hard to beat anywhere on the Oregon Coast.”

At $55 – $80 per cabin in winter months, these coastal cabins might just be the cheapest sleep with a view that I’ve seen on the coast.  And, the summer rates aren’t bad, either. What a find!

Where to Eat: Head to Roseanna’s Café where the taste of the ocean is deliciously served on your plate – try fresh oysters, grilled salmon or a steaming bowl of clam chowder, and save room for cobbler made with Oregon berries.

No storm? Do this instead: Just north of Oceanside is the Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge and its three miles of hiking trails, including a path to Big Spruce, Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce tree.

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3. Nantucket Inn

The Nantucket Inn in Lincoln City, | (541) 996-9300

3135 Northwest Inlet Avenue, Lincoln City, OR (MAP)

Here comes the storm! You’ll enjoy the vast ocean view from your room here, and you’ll also enjoy the conveniences and good dining that Lincoln City has to offer. If a harsh storm keep you trapped inside, well, at least you’re trapped with a jacuzzi and fireplace, not to mention a full kitchen to cook your own meals in.

Read more: Watching Storms at the Nantucket Inn

Where to eat: For a quick, tasty meal, you’ve gotta check out P.H.A.T Benny’s BBQ in Lincoln City for tangy brisket or a meatloaf sandwich. For laid-back coastal cuisine head to Wildflower Grill for any meal of the day made with fresh ingredients.

No storm? Do this instead: Spot migrating whales south of town in Depoe Bay. Read about whale watching here.

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4. Tyee Lodge Bed and Breakfast | (541) 265-8953

4925 Woody Way, Newport, OR (MAP)

Do you like to be pampered? Sit back and relax in your cozy room by the fireplace and watch through your huge picture window as furious waves pound the rocks below. This is storm watching in style. Tyee Lodge’s innkeepers are very attentive, and breakfasts are great. Newport is a fun little beach town, with plenty of good dining options for dinner and many nearby hiking trails to explore.

Where to Eat: The Canyon Way Restaurant and Bookstore in Newport is more than just an eatery with great homemade soups and sandwiches. It’s also a unique bookstore, gift shop, deli and espresso stand.

No storm? Do this instead: The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area at the north side of Agate Beach is on a basalt headland that extends one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Short interpretive trails take you through amazing tidepools. You could also check out the outstanding Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for re-created tide pools, creatures like seals and sea otters, and educational presentations.

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5. Ocean Haven Resort | (541) 547-3583

94770 U.S. 101 Yachats, OR (MAP)

We love this place. And with or without a wild Oregon Coast storm to watch, you will, too.

Ocean Haven is perched atop one of the most scenic stretches of Oregon’s rugged coast, and the design of their rooms take full advantage of this. Big corner windows give way to panoramic ocean views, and a pair of binoculars are conveniently provided for your wildlife or storm watching pleasure. Cozy window seats put you so close to the action it feels as if the thundering waves might come into the room with you. At that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

When the storm dies down and it’s safe to make direct contact with the ocean, pick up one of the provided beach blankets and walking sticks and head down the path that descends the bluff to the beach below. Upon your return, comfortable beds, a beautiful tiled shower, and a well-stocked library of nature books await you — all lovely touches that make Ocean Haven an extra special place to stay.

The rooms have kitchens with stoves, fridges, microwaves, teapots, coffee makers, and most every pot, plate and utensil you’ll need. Any time you feel the need for a cup of herbal tea or coffee and an organic snack, help yourself — the kitchen is well-stocked with extras.

Where to Eat: Try Heidi’s Italian Dinners in Yachats for a romantic meal, though families are welcome too. Choose from delicious things like truffled ravioli, cioppino stew and Dungeness crabcakes.

No storm? Do this instead: Spend an afternoon exploring the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area just north of Ocean Haven and south of the town of Yachats, where trails take you through wild nature to views of rugged, beautiful scenery and tidepools.



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