Turning off Highway 101, just miles north of Lincoln City, is the coastal town and beach recreation area of Neskowin, Oregon. Hawk Street takes you right from the highway and then Salem Avenue by the public parking (with public restrooms!), past the bus stop, over Hawk Creek and straight through the small town.
Across from the day use parking are the Trading Post Deli and the Hawk Creek Café. For those continuing to drive into the community, sassy and eye catching homemade signs encourage drivers to proceed “at a snail’s pace” and welcome those who want to “watch the flowers bloom”. Other than maybe a hundred or so beach houses, Neskowin boasts a few small resorts, an RV campground and a hotel. Camping is not allowed on the beach. While certainly not deserted, the population seems to be one of those that flows with the seasons.
From the public parking lot the short trail, along Hawk Creek, to the beach is clearly marked. One of the first things noticed when you arrive on the beach is the gorgeous monolith. Unlike famous Haystack, this one has no signs instructing investigators to stay off. Leaving its ecological safety to the honor system, its raw beauty inspires those lucky to enjoy it. From it, the coast stretches clearly north for several miles with a great distance of sand between.
Despite the winter wind, enough walkers and dogs comb the beach keeping it alive and friendly. The Sunday I visited, the sun, glittering and twinkling on the wet sand, warmed our chaffed and salted faces. It sparkled on the foam edges of each wave fizzing and sliding up the sandy coast. While roaring and rolling in the distance, the water calmly darkened the sand as the tide rose. Soft sand in varying shades of tan, dry squeaked under my rapid steps and then lightly squishing wet as I loped along.
Days like these make wonder why people reserve the beach only for summer play.