Lincoln City, Oregon located right on the beautiful Coastal Highway 101, with 7.5 miles of lovely beach, year-round gorgeous weather, several resorts, an outlet mall, at least one golf club, a friendly Mo’s and much more, offers plenty to visitors.
So, what brought my friends and me to Lincoln City on such a fine winter Monday in February? A treasure hunt brought us here. We were looking for the Finders Keepers glass floats hidden along Lincoln City’s miles of beach. Started in the year 2000, each year since artists have hidden decorative glass floats for beachcombers to find and take home. Sponsored by the city, the ongoing treasure hunt goes from mid-October to Memorial Day with a few of the 2,015 floats being put out each day.
I thought the idea sounded great, and it certainly did its job with my friends and me. The thought of finding a one-of-a-kind glass float drew us away from our previously favorite beach, Cannon Beach. It lured us to explore the beaches of historic Lincoln City.
Despite diligent searching, none of us found a much sought after float. In searching the internet and talking to locals, it seems that you can walk the beach for years and never come across an elusive float, or you can be a lucky comber who finds one practically every visit. The rumor is that the artists float fairies hide the floats first thing in the morning – like between 6 and 9 am. Some say if you get to beach at dawn you can watch for beach walkers fairies carrying brown paper bags. If you follow those brown bags, you will see floats pulled out of them and placed in safe grassy spots, away from the tide’s reach.
Knowing that actually finding a float might be challenging, we found another way to better our chances of bringing home a glass float. In order to do this, we collected beach trash as we float searched. For collecting a bag of beach trash, the Visitor’s Office (540 NE Hwy 101) will enter your name in a monthly drawing for a glass float. Sadly, the Visitor’s Center office closes at 4pm on Mondays, and we arrived to enter our names at exactly 4:09pm.
Although we didn’t find any floats, I have to say we certainly did find a good time!
Lincoln City felt like a real working kind of town and not just a tourist town. Sure, there were touristy looking gift shops and advertisements geared to those there just for a visit, but from other evidence, if all the tourist simply stopped coming Lincoln City would keep on existing.
Because we wanted to find a treasure and did not plan of buying a treasure, my friends and I spent most of our day at Taft beach, near Mo’s. A beautiful spot, with many attractions.
Across the water of Siletz Bay, the beach is not as accessible. There on the sand banks a colony of harbor seals sunned themselves and entertained observers with their seal antics. According to the Beach Connection, “aside from the Sea Lion Caves near Florence or the Bayfront in Newport, it’s the closest you can get to these boisterous creatures.” Driftwood covered the upper side of Taft beach just below the sandy grass covered dunes, making great seal watching seating and resting spots.
Now, maybe I’m a bit strange, but I find sand fascinating. Along Taft beach it varied from very course in sections to squeaky fine in other places. At the water’s edge, the course sand had a muddy-squish like that of wet dirt, but without the wet-slimy feeling. It was such fun to smoosh through! Then at one point while walking along the tide’s edge, I noticed a tiny little conch-looking shell. I would not have seen it had I not been so enthralled by the sand. The tiny shell was beautiful and perfect. All of a sudden we began seeing many little shells embedded in the sand. I filled my pocket with little shells – a natural treasure!
On our way home and after dropping by the closed Tourist office, we stopped by the Diary Queen and stumbled on the President Abraham Lincoln Memorial. What a big and life-like statue! Donated by an equine artist, Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1965, the statue was impressive. Apparently before becoming president, the Oregon Territory offered Mr. Lincoln the governorship, and the city was named in his honor. Who knew!?