North and south of Florence, Oregon are huge dunes and several lakes – which seem like an odd mix, but there you are.
Sutton Creek Overlook
About 6 miles north of Florence at the end of Vista Rd off Hwy 101 is the Sutton Creek Overlook. Here, I can appreciate the vastness of the dunes. And the water that makes its way to the coast.
There was the boardwalk to the overlook, a fairly short walk from the parking lot. Nearby are campgrounds and Lake Sutton with more trails. Visit the USDA Forest Service website for more information on the Sutton area trails.
Back across Hwy 101 is the Darlingtonia State Natural Site, an 18 acre botanical preserve. It’s a short walk to some amazing carnivorous plants.
A boardwalk around the deepest part of the fen allowed us to see the plants up close. The plants seem to love the wet sand environment. I was mesmerized by the translucent leaves – good thing I’m not an insect.
Honeyman Memorial State Park
Our first stop at the big dunes south of Florence was very popular with ATV riders. The USDA/Forest Service manages much of the Oregon dunes and provide places for dune riders.
Since that’s not our style of enjoying dunes, we made a U-turn and went to Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park .
At Clearwox Lake only a faint hint of roaring engines was audible. Plenty of people enjoyed themselves around the lake. We had a picnic lunch before exploring further.
Near us was a cove on the small lake, with a swimming beach and platform.
Boat rentals and information are available at the stylish park building (from the 1930s of course).
There’s a short path between the building and some of the picnic spots (including group picnic areas.) This is a true family place with all kinds of fun. On the far side of the lake, people were boarding and sliding down the dune to the lake. They were having fun without gasoline engines.
Oregon Dune Day Use
It may sound like a boring utilitarian name, but that’s what it’s called and I loved it best. Oregon Dune Day Use has a wheelchair accessible ramp
to achieve a fine view of the Oregon Dunes.
One can also hike a loop over dune and along the beach, with restriction March 15 to September 15 to protect the nesting snowy plover. (For trail and park info, click Oregon Dunes.)
For more information on the area, click Oregon Dune Siuslaw National Forest.
Woahink or Siltcoos Lakes
On the other side of Hwy 101 are two lakes. We could drive around Woahink Lake and stopped to look at a peaceful spot with some fun.
A couple of women were fishing on the bridge and welcomed us to their lake. They chatted with the kayakers paddling under the bridge.
Siltcoos Lake is larger but we could only drive to part of it. Access from the other side would be long drive on a winding road.
While it was more developed in terms of public space (picnic and marina), it did look a little silt-y with a marsh appearance in this part of the lake.
Houses clustered near the marina. This is the largest lake behind the dunes of Oregon.
What is it about a dock into water that looks so beautiful and inviting?
Guess we’ll decide the next time, which lake is more fun for us. If you can’t wait for us to decide, please visit Dune City.
See you on the lake!
Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Mike and Lynn Millar
Apologies for the delay in posting about our trip, but we’ve had a few technical ‘issues.’ I think one more in Eugene and one in Eureka, Ca should complete the trip.