I’ll start with a little background about the area. Lincoln City is one of the top 10 places to visit in Oregon. For the most part, it is centrally located on the Oregon Coast, just an hour and a half from Portland, and an hour from Salem. It is also close enough to to Eugene and Corvallis for a day trip. Lincoln City is named in honor of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and is comprised of 6 small communities turned into one town. From South to North there is Cutler City, Taft, Nelscott, Delake, Oceanlake and Wecoma. Some of the old downtown districts are highlighted by artistic archways over the road. The population of Lincoln City is around 8,000, but during tourist season can grow to a staggering 40,000 on the weekends! The city is stretched out along 7 1/2 miles of the beautiful and winding Pacific Coast Highway, or US 101, and is a popular vacation destination due to the 7 miles of unobstructed clean, sandy beaches to explore. In Oregon, the entire coastline from California to Washington, is state park and open to the public. Entry to certain locations may be limited though, due to availability of public access. There are so many beaches here to explore and so many views along the highway itself, it makes for a once in a lifetime road trip!
Lincoln City has a very mild climate, with summertime highs only reaching 60-70 degrees on the beaches and increasing to 80-90 degrees a few miles inland. Tourists coming here will be more likely to bring a light jacket instead of a swim suit as the mild temperatures are not comparable to summer elsewhere, and water temperature in the Pacific Ocean only averages around 50 degrees. The views more than make up for a little swimming in the ocean. The temperatures are just now getting down into the 50’s during the day. Last week we had temperatures in the high 60’s! I’ll take that anytime in mid-November. Many visitors may not know we have a beautiful lake here as well. Devils Lake is 680 acres and offers some of the most incredible views and has lots opportunities for recreation and fun. At Blue Heron Landing, you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, wave runners, and motor boats! If you have kids, Regatta Park is also one of Lincoln City’s best kept secrets and is rated 5 stars for a reason!
We have been coming here for years and only discovered it as we had time to explore. My little boy loves Regatta Park! It is a custom playground made mostly of wood and tires and is very unique. There are walking trails, a boat launch, restrooms, and a swimming beach. It is also home to one of the oldest trees in Oregon, a 400 (estimated) year old Sitka Spruce, more than 200 ft tall and 35 ft around at the base. The park is built into the side of a large hill and has a perfect view of beautiful Devil’s Lake.
The Salmon River Estuary and the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area are to the North of Lincoln City and the Siletz Bay and Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge are to the South. Precipitation averages 76.3 inches per year, most rainfall occurs during the winter months. Winter time is amazing here. The beaches are free of crowds and the storms bring lots of great wave watching and beachcombing. Lincoln City is one of the best places in the world to fly a kite due to a consistent ocean breeze. The smell in the air is unforgettable. I remember every time we would visit, the first thing we did when we stepped out of the car was take a big breath of the fresh scent of the ocean and the lush green vegetation. The forests here are the southern extent of the Pacific Northwest Rainforest zone that extends all the way up to Olympic National Park in Washington. Lincoln City also offers world-class surfing and kite-surfing. We also enjoy two Kite Festivals a year, one in the summer (June) and one in the fall (October). Both are held at the D River Wayside State Park. There’s a great outlet mall here featuring over 40 designer and name brand stores. Not to mention the endless outdoor adventures, which are the main reason people come here. I’ll be covering those in future posts.
Okay, truth be told, this is what you all have really been waiting to hear about. One of the great tourist attractions Lincoln City has to offer is Finders Keepers. Every year from October to Memorial Day there are nearly 3,000 hand blown glass floats crafted by local artists hidden for you to find and keep!! How exciting is that?! They place the number of floats for the year it is, so in 2016 they will place 2,016 floats, and in 2017 they will place 2,017 floats, and so on. They are beautiful in the least, and it is the most exhilarating feeling when you find one posed on a perfect piece of driftwood in the sunset. The “float fairies” secretly hide glass floats along the 7 miles of public beaches between the Siletz Bay (south end of town) and Roads End (north end of town) for YOU to find and KEEP! They are placed at random locations and times of the day but only hidden during daylight hours. So, you’re probably wondering what’s the best time of day to find one? We have found them at all different times of the day. It’s all about being persistent in looking. They do want you to find them so you don’t have to dig too deep to find them if they’re around, they will be hidden in plain site. Start at public beach access points and make sure to look in grass clumps and under the edges of logs. They can even be found just laying in the sand in the open. I found a glass sand dollar in the middle of 20+ people that were enjoying the ocean scenery and didn’t even notice it laying in plain sight. They will not be placed near cliffs or dangerous places to get to, and they will be hidden above the high tide line. You can usually tell where this is because of the grass and debris line on the upper area of the beach.
Glass floats are hidden every day rain or shine, so if it’s raining, don’t be afraid to get wet! When conditions are deemed unsafe due to weather or ocean conditions, on rare occasion, cancellations will be made on social media and the Finders Keepers website. When you find an official, numbered float, look on the bottom on the “button” for the registration number and call it in to register your float. When registered, you will receive a biography about the artist who made your float and a certificate of authenticity. It’s pretty neat to know about the person who put the effort into making such a beautiful piece of art to be found by you. Unnumbered glass art pieces and floats cannot be registered. For holidays and special occasions, you can also find a combination of glass floats and special glass art pieces, such as shells, star fish, sand dollars, crabs, and coins. There are many glass art studios where you can purchase a glass piece of your own if you just can’t leave without one. The Finders Keepers (Lincoln City) participating studios include Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio, Mor Art, Flanigans Glass Gallery, Glass Fusion, and Alder House Glass Blowing. In the past, people would find floats used by the Japanese fishing boats to float their nets, ranging from 2 inches to 2 feet in size and were blue or green in color. They have been admired and sought after treasures for many years. Present day fishermen use plastic floats and buoys. Finders Keepers was originally thought up in 1997 by local artists as a way to launch the new millennium by using glass floats. The project was sponsored by Lincoln City who hosted the initial season in 1999-2000. It drew in tourists from all over the country to find their own prized, numbered and signed glass float. If you want another chance at one of these beauties you can also bring a bag of trash that you found on the beach to the Visitor Center located at 540 NE Hwy 101, and fill out an entry form to win a glass float as part of Trash for Treasures. There is also a monthly drawing for people with disabilities to enter and win a glass float. When looking for glass art, please remember to be aware of what the tide is doing and watch for sneaker waves! Be safe, have fun and good luck finding your own hidden treasure!! Have you ever been here and if so, what would you say is Lincoln City’s best kept secret?