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Storm watching on the Pacific Coast

Enjoy the calm during the storm -- or not

The Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach is ideal for storm watching. Photo courtesy The Ocean Lodge

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From British Columbia to Northern California, storms bash the Pacific Coast in late fall and winter, which creates the perfect opportunity to take advantage of off-season rates on accommodations while taking in nature at its wild-weather best.

If you truly want to be at one with this dynamic waterfront weather, gear up with Gore-Tex and soak in the elements from a prominent cliffside spot. Or maybe you want to simply slip into a robe and enjoy the dramatic scene fireside from your room with a glass of wine. Perhaps you're even more inclined to take it all in from the safety and comfort of a hot tub.

Everyone has their own style when it comes to storm watching -- and their choice in lodging. Luckily, places to stay range from rustic to regal, with inns, resorts and cabins all along the coast providing various paths to an intense weather experience.

Yes, storm watching really is a thing. If you're already familiar with the pursuit, it's likely because of the publicity buzz generated by the folks at British Columbia Tourism (, where they embrace their gnarly winter weather as a local attraction. Rightly so, as B.C.'s rugged, natural beauty transitions intuitively into temperate winter pastimes that embrace the elements.

Enjoy luxury lodges and cozy cottages from winter through early spring along the province's Vancouver Island coastline, in addition to its miles of mainland beaches. Revel in nature's fury at spots like the Pacific Sands Beach Resort (, near Tofino, B.C. Situated on 41 acres adjacent to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the resort has 2,500 feet of oceanfront along Cox Bay, the high surf and salt spray from which can be witnessed from suites and luxury beach houses. Nearby Tofino offers a variety of quaint shops and restaurants, even a hometown brewery, Tofino Brewing Co. (

Just to the south of the Canadian border, Washington state's rocky, jagged coastline shares similar storm topography to its northern neighbor. In the remote Northwest corner of the state, near the tiny Native American fishing village of La Push, the tribe's Quileute Oceanside Resort ( offers beachside rooms with picture windows just made for taking in a squall. Rooms with Jacuzzi tubs allow you to take in the view while soaking. This is truly remote, however, with no in-room TV, wi-fi or phone service, so you must be intent on really getting away from it all. Storm-watching special packages are offered weekdays from late fall through early spring.

Dramatic, rugged coastline is abundant in Oregon, as well, and one of its most iconic features is 235-foot Haystack Rock, a spikey monolith just off Cannon Beach. Prime accommodations in this coastal town include The Ocean Lodge (, where in-room fireplaces are perfectly positioned for taking in the tempest outside -- including intense surf pounding into spray off landmark Haystack Rock. Stay in the handsome main lodge, or detached private studios and suites, all with spectacular views. Cannon Beach also happens to have some of the best dining and boutique shopping options on the coast.

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