the wandering chick
and Heceta Head
The Heceta Head Lighthouse

All along the Oregon coast, traveling from the north to the south, I've been in awe of the beauty of the rugged coastline and the charm of the seaside towns. Florence is no exception. Larger and more spread out than some of the others, its old historic district and port make it a favorite. Between the Heceta Headland which rises 1000 feet above the ocean to the lower-lying dunes that make up Florence's beaches, the area is filled with things to see and do.

Pictures on this page start with the picturesque lighthouse on Heceta Head and continue through Florence with its old town port, the dunes that line the shoreline, the jetties that protect the river and yet another Conde B. McCullough bridge as it spans the Siuslaw River, in itself an important piece of daily life in Florence.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse sits prominently 250 feet above the Pacific Ocean on Heceta Head. Its beam is the strongest on the Oregon coast. A gradual uphill walk from the beach to the lighthouse passes by the keeper's house which is now a bed and breakfast.
Heceta Head and the Lighthouse on it
The Heceta Head Lighthouse is considered the most photographed of all of Oregon's lighthouses. It's no wonder since it sits so perfectly atop a cliff that is equally as scenic. There are a couple of viewpoints on the 101 from which to get photos. You can also see it from the Sea Lion Caves, but ithat's a bit further away.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
The lighthouse was built in 1892. Its light power, like many of Oregon's lighthouses, extends to the horizon, or the curve of the earth, which is some 20 miles.
view of coast from lighthouse
Heceta Head beach
View of the coast looking south from the lighthouse
coastline looking south
beach at Heceta Head
Heceta Head beach
The beach at the foot of the Heceta Head is a favorite to tourists and locals alike.
Heceta Head beach with lots of people on shore
coastline showing beach and dunes
sea stacks on Heceta beach
Upon leaving Heceta Head and following the 101 into Florence, the rugged coastline gives way to low-lying dunes and a long, long beach which ends at the north jetty of the Siuslaw River. The dunes are just a glimpse of what is to come south of Florence as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area dominates the coastline.
soft waves coming into shore
sunset between dunes grass
dunes coastline
sand dunes
sand dunes
A few pix of the wonderful shapes and curves of the smaller sand dunes on Heceta Beach in Florence
sand dunes
sand dunes
footprints in sand dunes
sand dunes
sand dunes
sand dunes
sand dunes
sand dunes
sand dunes
sun setting behind dunes grass
sand dunes
sand dunes
the arches under the Siuslaw River bridge
Siuslaw River bridge
Siuslaw River Bridge
A well-known name up and down the Oregon coast is Conde B. McCullough. He was responsible for the design and building of 14 elegant bridges along the 101 between Astoria and Brookings. The bridges were built between 1919 and 1935 when McCullough was State Bridge Engineer . Many replaced ferry boats that had become outdated.
fishing boat at Florence port
Florence's port in Old Town is a fun place to watch boats and river otters come and go. The port is on the Siuslaw River.
boat in port
river otter in water
dunes lining the Siuslaw River
Cormorants monopolize pilings along the Siuslaw River; sand dunes are in the background.
Florence port
great blue heron scouring for food in the marsh
So much wildlife, including herons, can be found everywhere along the Siuslaw River banks, this one at the Florence port.
great blue heron with wings spread
the Siuslaw River
Speaking of the Siuslaw and wildlife: A short trip up the river on Highway 126 will take you along the quiet river where you might be lucky (and surprised!) to see crawfish (below).
red crawfish in river
crab dock on the south jetty
Crabbing is an industry as well as a past time in Florence, and a good place to go for it is the crab dock at the south jetty. Dungeness crab is the catch, and the crabbers are well aware of the rules and regulations regarding what can be kept and what must be thrown back in. Never, anywhere along the coast, did I see a crabber without a measuring tool used to confirm a keeper or a returnee. Male crabs five and three-quarters inches or larger can be kept. Anything smaller (and all females) must be returned to the ocean.
crabber takes gear to dock
grassy dunes closeup
It usually takes either two people or trips to the car to move all the gear that goes along with crabbing, especiallly if you're throwing more than one pot, as this guy is.
Florence's north and south jetties are a wonderful place to spend an afternoon of beaching, fishing, boating or walking. The dunes of the south jetty and the driftwood of the north were both great experiences.
jetty dunes
jetty dunes
pair of girl's silver ballet shoes on driftwood
beach driftwood
beach driftwood
beach driftwood
red crawfish on river rocks
the rare plant Darlingtonia closeup
hooded plant closeup
A rare plant seen only along the southern Oregon and northern California coast is this insect-eating plant called the Darlingtonia Californica. Insects are lured by nectar to the part of the plant under the hood. Once they get inside, they become confused by all the transparent veins and can't find their way out. Downward pointing hairs inside the plant keep the insects trapped, moving them lower into a pool of liquid where they become digested as food by the plant.

To see more of Oregon's fascinating locations, please return to the Oregon home page.

Or, you may wish to visit a destination below.

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