I’ve been through Waldport many times – “through” being the operative word here since Waldport is most often viewed from the car while heading to points elsewhere. Alsea Bay Bridge always gets “oohs” and “ahs” on the way, but – no offense to Waldportians – other nearby coastal venues just get more recognition. Who hasn’t heard of Newport? And although Yachats has less than half the population, even if you mispronounce the name you’ve likely stopped there. Waldport though? Unless you’re a coastal denizen or bridge aficionado…probably not.
Despite its obscurity, or perhaps because of it, my husband and I chose to make Waldport the destination of a recent summer outing. We snacked at a highway-side turnout, checking out the bay as it melds into the ocean (this may be a future 100 Steps addition), and I then suggested we find the Port of Alsea. I love boardwalks, I love bobbing boats in dock or out, and being near, on, or over the water is sublime. Ports usually encompass at least some of these elements, so I was hopeful of a pleasant outcome.
We never actually made it to the Port. Its entrance has two options: turn right for the Port or left for what we discovered was called Robinson Park. I would say the “park” title is a bit generous; it consists of a few picnic tables and some scruffy grass. But it’s near Alsea Bay Bridge, a bay beach, and the bay itself. If you’re seeking somewhere off the beaten path to enjoy a waterfront picnic or great bridge photo ops, this little park is worth it.
I was gladdened to see this picnic table so close to the bay. I sat facing the bridge, the gentle breeze just right to cool the heat of the summer day. The north end of Alsea Bay Bridge juts from behind a fish cleaning station to the west. East is the flat blue of Alsea Bay. The occasional boat speeds from the adjacent Port of Alsea, passing under the bridge to the occupants’ favorite fishing or crabbing spot in the bay mouth or out at sea. It’s not much walking, but perfect to unwind with a packed lunch or to revive you on a day you’re up for an outing but not much movement.
While I enjoyed the bayside table, my husband headed up a little knoll just past the west side of the parking lot to get an unobstructed photo of Alsea Bay Bridge. As he reached the desired location, he discovered a perfectly placed picnic table. When he reported this find to me, I left my bayside perch with enthusiasm for this closer bridge-side seat. What a view!
The trail continues from the table, looping back to the lot. It passes two funky wooden chairs, and later two additional picnic tables, no more than 100 steps between each seating option. Another choice is a narrow path not far from this table that heads down to the bay beach. Best accessed at low tide, it’s not far, but the path is irregular for footing. Since I had reached the view nonpareil of the area, I was satisfied to return by retracing my original route.