Without a doubt, the Oregon coastline is one of the prettiest and most geographically diverse shores in the country. With majestic sea stacks, expansive sand dunes, colorful tide pools and rugged cliffs that dive into the ocean, the entire 363 miles of pristine shoreline stretches from the California border near Brookings, all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria. Aptly named “the People’s Coast,” Oregonians and visitors alike can enjoy the entire stretch of Pacific Ocean Coast due to legislation making it public land several decades ago. Starting South and heading north, here are some of the most impressive stops along the way.
Southern Oregon Coast
Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor near Brookings @catebattles
Perhaps the most photogenic stretch of shore can be found along the Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor, between the town of Brookings and Gold Beach. Known for its impressive sea stacks, natural arches, and rugged beaches, in this area, you’ll find waterfalls cascading down onto the beach, sea caves lined with anemone and starfish, and best of all, it garners a fraction of the crowds you’ll see up North. Harris Beach State Park is a favorite for camping families. But for those who enjoy a bit more solitude, Lone Ranch Beach and Whales Head are nice alternatives. For those who enjoy hiking, one of the best trails on the coast starts at Whales Head, where the hike leads you past fern blanketed forests, ocean vistas, and a natural bridge at a place named Indian Sands. For those wanting to escape the full sun or cool ocean breeze, Brookings is home to Oregon’s only Redwood groves, which are found along the Chetco and Winchuck Rivers. Additionally, just across the border, you can enjoy the Jedediah Redwoods and the Smith River and take the scenic drive on Howland Hill Road that meanders through the old-growth forest.
Cate and Chad’s Argosy parked at Meyer’s Beach @catebattles
Heading north, the next stop is Gold Beach, the mouth of the wild and scenic Rogue River. In the mid 19th century, gold was discovered in town and prospectors moved to the area in droves. To this day, folks pan for gold on the beach, and rock hounds search for agate and jasper. For those who enjoy fishing, king salmon and Dungeness crab are popular catches in the area. If you forget to bring your gear, you can buy fresh local seafood at the docks or hire a private charter to take you fishing. For a scenic river trip, Jerry’s Rogue Jet Boats offer rides upstream where you’ll traverse through canyons and rapids. Next door to Jerry’s, and adjacent to hwy101, is the moss-covered sunken ship, Mary D. Hume, a steamer built in 1881 that holds the record of the longest-serving vessel of the Pacific Coast.