On the Oregon Coast, the weather forecast is calling for 75 mile-per-hour winds. While that might cause some travelers to pack up their bags and head home, I’m settling into my room at The Coho Oceanfront Lodge and couldn’t be more pleased. Watching the crashing surf and listening to the wind howl is why I came to Lincoln City. With my phone’s weather app tuned into the latest updates, and snacks, a camera, and a warm blanket at hand, I’m ready to watch the ocean turn and churn all from the comfort of my hotel room. When I want to feel the power of the wind on my face and the sting of sand on my checks, I’ll make the short three-minute trek to the beach.
As a longtime resident of Washington State, I know spring and winter storms are part of the coastal landscape and a year isn’t complete without one, or two, or three. For travelers, storms provide a unique experience; one that is as much of a draw as a beach getaway or mountain retreat.
In the region, several hotels and inns are ideally situated along the coast to view these squalls. Storm watchers like me are attracted to the long stretches of beach with pounding surf and offshore rocky formations that catch the clash of water against rock and show Mother Nature at her mightiest.
No matter where you choose to storm watch, always be aware of the tide and your surroundings, and keep in mind the local saying, “Never turn your back on the sea.” If your travel plans include a stormy coastal adventure, pack up your rain jacket and boots, and check into these Pacific Northwest hotels.
4 Storm Watch Hotels in the Pacific Northwest
The Coho Oceanfront Lodge
Set on a cliff above Lincoln City, Oregon’s seven-mile beach, The Coho Oceanfront Lodge has thoughtfully appointed rooms made with reclaimed materials and unobstructed views of the open ocean. The studios and suites with fireplaces and private balconies with views of the sea are perfect for storm-watching. For those on a romantic getaway, book the sunset suite with an additional jetted tub in the adult-only part of this boutique hotel.
“Our location provides some of the most spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean in all of Lincoln City,” said Diana Steinman, General Manager of The Coho Oceanfront Lodge. “We also offer many amenities conducive to indoor activities such as complimentary games, puzzles, and a DVD library. Guests love our French press coffee and wine offerings where they can sit on the deck or patio and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.”
With the hotel’s luxe amenities, such as a deluxe continental breakfast, heated pool, hot tub, sauna, beverages and snacks in the lobby, a spa and in-room massage, you are set to take shelter from the tempest. When the time comes to brave seeing the waves up close, put on your rain boots and jacket and head to the beach. While there, keep an eye out for one of 3,000 hand-blown glass floats dropped on the beach from mid-October to Memorial Day. If you find one, you get to keep it!
trivago Tip: When hunger strikes you won’t have to miss the action at these ocean view restaurants: Kyllo’s, Fathoms Penthouse Restaurant & Bar, Mist Restaurant & Lounge, and Chinook’s Seafood Grill. Oregon-raised beef burgers, Dungeness crab cakes, and locally-caught seafood are specialties.
The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa
The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa in Astoria, Oregon stands out for its one-of-a-kind storm-watching experience. Built on the site of a former fish cannery, the hotel sits at the mouth of the Columbia River, and the view includes the four-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge, the Washington and Oregon coastline and shipping lane activity up and down the river.
Lavishly appointed rooms include storm-watching perks such as cozy fireplaces, private balconies, Pendleton blankets, and wet bars. Most importantly every single room has a water view and binoculars to check out the waves, sea life, fishing boats and large cruise ships as they make their way to and from the Pacific Ocean. If a storm is on its way, they often offer special rates.
Start your day with a complimentary continental breakfast in the river-facing lobby. Then head back to your room to watch the action. When there’s a break, soak in the hot tub overlooking the river, relax in the Finnish sauna, or book a spa treatment. As evening begins, join other travelers at the hotel’s happy hour with wine and hors-d’oeuvres in the lobby, and then ride in style into town in the hotel’s chauffeured Cadillac.
trivago Tip: For dining and drinks, Bridgewater Bistro is within walking distance of the hotel. Arrive early to enjoy a drink next to the glass floor and peer down into the water and be sure to try their award-winning cranberry cheesecake. More choices along the Astoria Riverwalk with river views are Baked Alaska, Inferno Lounge, and Buoy Beer Co.
The Inn At Discovery Coast
Surrounded by grassy dunes along one of the world’s longest beaches, the Inn At Discovery Coast in Long Beach, Washington has the best ocean views on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. This small inn is modern and cozy with fireplaces and private balconies. It is also all about being green with its reclaimed materials for furnishings and recycle bins in every room. Storm watching perks include rooms with an honor bar, and for breakfast, you can use the dining credit at neighboring Pickled Fish that comes with every room, or opt to have breakfast in bed.
A visit to the peninsula isn’t complete without walking its miles of shoreline or the Discovery Trail. Both are steps away from the inn. One of my favorite things to do is check out the complimentary beach cruisers or drive my car onto the beach.
For more storm-watching action, Cape Disappointment State Park is a 10-minute drive away, and at Waikiki Beach, you’ll see some serious wave spray. Also at the park is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center where you can learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, including the rough weather they faced, and from its vantage point on top of a cliff, you’ll see where the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean meet.
trivago Tip: For dining, drinks and live music, Pickled Fish has the best ocean view. While these establishments don’t have a water view, I highly recommend The Depot Restaurant, The Shelburne Inn & Pub and 42nd Street Café and Bistro. If you love bivalves, be sure to try local oysters, clams, and razor clams.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort
Known for being Canada’s number one surf destination, Tofino is also a prime playground for storm watching. The Pacific Sands Beach Resort puts you right in the heart of the action on scenic Cox Bay Beach. Choose the lighthouse suites, oceanside suites, and beachfront suites, which all come with kitchenettes. Larger groups or families will want to consider the luxury beach houses with a fully stocked kitchen, and a large living and dining area. With the self-catering units and onsite amenities, such as board games, DVD movies, beach toys, surf lessons, and bike rentals, you’ll be content to stay close to the resort.
“Storm watching is so popular here,” said Sabrina Donovan, Guest Services Manager of Pacific Sands Beach Resort. “We have people who visit Tofino from Europe who come here just to see the storms.”
To make the most of your experience, book their storm watching package that includes a bottle of wine, daily hot chocolate, unlimited DVD movies and popcorn, a discount at the café, and rain jackets for taking your adventure outdoors. Explore the beach and hike the nearby trail to Pettinger Point. From here, you’ll see waves crashing against the rocks, breakers, and surfers in Cox Bay. When the gale clears, the point is also a favorite spot for watching the sunset. If you want to do more off-site exploring, drive 15-minutes to Pacific Rim Park and stroll along its famous Long Beach or a little further to Ucluelet’s trails at Amphitrite Point Lighthouse.
trivago Tip: At the resort, Surfside Grill serves up locally caught seafood, and has views of the beach and outdoor fire pits. I recommend the taco trio. For more ocean view dining, check out The Great Room at Long Beach Lodge Resort and The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickanninish Inn. At the Inn, head up to the third-floor library and view the wave action through a telescope. I also recommend Shelter Restaurant, Tacofino, and if you love avocado toast, Wolf in the Fog’s is the best I’ve ever had.
Feature image courtesy of Pacific Sands Beach Resort