Second cousins Brenna Clarke, left, of Brookings and John Simper of Toolee, Utah, ride the waves on Sporthaven Beach on Thursday afternoon. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Thursday morning a layer of marine fog blanketed Brookings-Harbor causing many to wonder why they enjoy the area as much as they do, but as the fog burned off around 2 p.m., area beaches drew occupants like hummingbirds to sweet nectar.
Within 30 minutes of the sun warming up the sand on Sporthaven Beach, the people enjoying the outdoors swelled from approximately 10 people to more than 50.
“We love it here,” Butte, Mont., resident Marty Tavenner said. “It’s nice and warm.”
Tavenner, traveling with his wife Debbie and twin 17-year-old daughters Julia and Jessie, had a dream three years ago about traveling to Southern California, but decided to give Lincoln City a try first.
“It rained and was cold there the entire time,” he explained, “and we realized that we needed to go further south.”
After doing some research, he decided that Brookings might be the place to be.
“With the place being called the banana belt of Oregon and hearing about the Chetco Effect, I decided ‘that’s for me,’ ” he said.
While the Tavenners may have been the tourists from the furthest away on Thursday, there were many visitors from the Rogue Valley enjoying the weather, as well.
“We come as a family with some really close friends of ours almost every year,” Danielle Taylor, 14, of Grants Pass explained as she took a break from playing beach volleyball. “We’re on moratorium for sports right now, so its a perfect time to vacation with our friends.”
Family friend Andrew Martin, 18, is headed to Army basic training in a week and was enjoying spending time with his friends and family before he leaves for more than a year.
“We’ve been coming here a long time,” Martin said. “It’s always fun.”
Locals flocked to the beach, too, to do everything from gathering shells to boogie boarding to just simply strolling the sand.
“I come out here everyday, sometimes twice a day,” Brookings resident Rudy Spence said. “I walk from the jetty to the mouth of the cave and back.”
Spence explained that he also does some stretching and sometimes tai chi when he reaches the turn-around point of his walk.
Other locals brought their family to the beach to just enjoy the warmth and the mild waves.
“We came to the coast to see family and the ocean,” Megan Simper of Toolee, Utah said. “The views are amazing. Natural Arch Viewpoint was really cool.”
Simper, her husband John and their four kids, Jacob, 9, Joseph, 7, Isaac, 4, and Arianna, 2, drove from Utah to see her cousin Melissa Clarke of Brookings.
They had seen the Redwoods and the lighthouse at Cape Blanco, as well as numerous other sites and were enjoying their first time boogie boarding in the Pacific.
“It’s cold when you first get in,” John said of the temperature, “but once you get used to it it’s not too bad.”
With only a month left before summer break is over for many school students, the warm weather has been a welcome relief.
Sporthaven Beach runs south from the jetty for approximately a half mile.