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The Most Valuable Lesson
Published: 09/20/2017  Updated: 09/28/2017
Shore Acres State Park
Shore Acres State Park
Photo by Gary Hayes

Exploring the Oregon Coast in fall and winter has some remarkable rewards, especially for travelers prepared for whatever Mother Nature delivers.

I've learned a few important things over my 50-plus years exploring the Oregon Coast. The most valuable lesson I've learned is that if you're planning your trip for "good" weather, you don't understand this remarkable and stunningly scenic part of the world. Sunny weather may make visiting easy for sightseers, but if you want an authentic Oregon Coast experience, pack your raingear and waterproof boots, come any season of the year and be prepared for whatever Mother Nature delivers. It might be foggy. It could be showery. It's possible it will be stormy. You might enjoy dramatic cloud formations over the spectacular landscapes or glowing atmospheric marine layer conditions that are unique to this coastline. And, yes, it could be sunny even during those months where 10 inches of rain or more are to be expected. While the weather is unpredictable any time of year, what is guaranteed is that your "off-season" visit will be inspiring and a true Oregon Coast experience. Of course, you do need to be prepared to roll with the punches. For the casual traveler, this will mean keeping your eye on the weather to choose the timing for your outdoor pursuits and being prepared to don your waterproof garments to meet the real and exhilarating Oregon. Beyond the weather, visiting during the off-season can offer other unforgettable moments you're unlikely to see during the summer. Huge waves can pound the shore. You might find yourself sharing the environment with elk, eagles or whales. You truly can find secluded beaches and trails. You can meet the locals, business owners and artisans that are part of the authentic spirit of this place. Many people just don't understand what is extraordinary about this coastline. There are many places to go for sunny beaches, but there's only one Oregon Coast. - By Gary Hayes

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