The Longest Beach in Oregon Plus Several Other Gorgeous Oregon Beaches
The Longest Beach in Oregon Is 18 Miles of Splendor
By Stella Bouldin
September 17, 2023
If you’ve been to the Oregon coast, you know it holds a vast, wild beauty. The longest beach in Oregon is over 18 miles, with a total of 363 miles of shoreline welcoming everyone. The Oregon Coast Visitors Association calls Oregon’s beaches “The People’s Coast”.
From Brookings to Warrenton – and everywhere in between – public access to the beach is widely available. Each beach is filled with opportunities for recreation and appreciation. Today, we’ll explore an incredibly special beach in Oregon.
Nestled along the Pacific Ocean, Oregon’s coastline is a rugged stretch of natural beauty that beckons travelers from far and wide. With its diverse landscapes, pristine beaches, and unique flora and fauna, the Oregon coast offers a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and beachgoers alike.
In this comprehensive guide, delve into the state’s coastal wonders, with a particular focus on the longest beach in Oregon—stretching over 18 miles—the mesmerizing Cannon Beach. We’ll also explore some of the most notable points of interest (POI), marine life, and plant species that make Oregon beaches a destination worth visiting.
Oregon’s Coastal Diversity
Oregon’s coastline spans approximately 363 miles, from the northern border with Washington to the southern border with California. This diverse expanse of shoreline offers a wide range of experiences. From the windswept dunes to the iconic rocky outcrops and sea stacks further north, everyone will find something to love.
Cannon Beach: Oregon’s Longest Beach
Cannon Beach , situated on the northern coast of Oregon, claims the title of the state’s longest beach. Stretching over 18 miles, this breathtaking stretch of coastline is known for its wide, sandy shores, dramatic sea stacks, and the iconic Haystack Rock. The impressive monolith that rises 235 feet above the shoreline. The active voice in describing Cannon Beach’s features enhances the clarity and vividness of the description.
Points of Interest (POI) at Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock : Dominating the landscape, Haystack Rock is the undisputed star of Cannon Beach. It is home to a diverse range of marine life, including tide pool creatures like starfish , anemones, and barnacles. During low tide, visitors can explore these fascinating tide pools, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.
Hug Point State Recreation Site : South of Cannon Beach, you’ll find Hug Point State Recreation Site. The name originates from the carved out section of rock. Early travelers used to hug to get around the point at low tide. Explore sea caves, waterfalls, and sandy coves that make this spot an explorer’s paradise.
Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site : This is an ideal location for beachcombing and picnicking. For those seeking a peaceful escape, head to Tolovana Beach for a tranquil experience.
Additional Beaches of Interest in Oregon
While Cannon Beach is certainly a highlight of Oregon’s coastline, the state offers a multitude of other stunning beaches. Each, of course, present its own unique charm. Let’s explore a few more beaches of interest that are worth adding to your Oregon coastal itinerary:
1. Seaside Beach
Located just south of Cannon Beach, Seaside Beach is a family-friendly destination. The beach is known for its wide sandy shores and classic coastal town atmosphere. The historic Promenade, a picturesque boardwalk, stretches along the beach and offers panoramic views of the ocean. Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities here, from kite flying and beachcombing to surfing and clam digging. Don’t forget to visit the Seaside Aquarium, where you can get up close and personal with local marine life.
2. Pacific City Beach
Pacific City Beach , situated on the northern coast, is a hidden gem known for its stunning landscape, including the iconic Cape Kiwanda dune. The beach is a surfer’s paradise, offering consistent waves and breathtaking scenery. Hike to the top of Cape Kiwanda for panoramic views, or enjoy a meal at the Pelican Brewing Company while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
3. Bandon Beach
Heading south along the coast, you’ll find Bandon Beach , a place renowned for its striking sea stacks and dramatic coastal cliffs. It’s a prime spot for photographers and beachcombers, with unique rock formations and tide pools to explore. Be sure to visit Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, where legend has it that the rock formations resemble the faces of ancient mythological characters.
For a more secluded and nature-focused beach experience, Beverly Beach State Park offers a serene setting nestled between lush forests and the ocean. The beach is known for its agate-hunting opportunities, and the park offers excellent camping facilities, making it an ideal spot for a weekend getaway. Explore the scenic hiking trails within the park and enjoy the sound of the waves as you unwind.
5. Harris Beach State Park
Further south, Harris Beach State Park is another coastal gem. With its rugged sea stacks, tide pools teeming with marine life, and vibrant sunsets, this beach offers a truly immersive coastal experience. The park provides picnicking areas, bird-watching opportunities, and access to nearby trails, making it a haven for nature lovers.
6. Gold Beach
Gold Beach , located along the southern coast of Oregon, is known for its golden sandy shores and the mighty Rogue River that flows into the Pacific Ocean. This beach offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including jet boat tours on the Rogue River, beachfront horseback riding, and even fishing adventures. It’s an excellent spot to unwind while taking in the natural beauty of the coast.
Oregon’s coastline is a treasure trove of diverse and captivating beaches, each with its own unique character.
Marine Life and Animals
One of the enchanting aspects of Oregon’s beaches is the wealth of marine life and animals that call this coastal paradise home.
- Whale Watching : Oregon’s coastline is a prime location for whale watching, especially during the migration seasons. Gray whales, orcas, and humpback whales can often be spotted as they traverse the waters of the Pacific.
- Seabirds : Coastal cliffs and rocky outcrops are home to a variety of seabirds , including puffins, cormorants, and seagulls. Birdwatchers will find plenty to admire along the Oregon coast.
- Tide Pool Creatures : As mentioned earlier, the tide pools at places like Haystack Rock teem with life. Visitors can observe starfish, sea anemones, hermit crabs, and other fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.
- Sea Lions : Along the coast, you may also encounter colonies of noisy sea lions basking on rocky shores. These playful marine mammals are a delight to watch but should be observed from a safe distance.
Flora of the Oregon Coast
The coastal environment of Oregon is not just about the sea and sand; it also hosts a unique array of plant species adapted to this harsh coastal climate.
- Beach Grass ( Ammophila spp. ) : Beach grass plays a crucial role in stabilizing sand dunes. Its long, slender leaves help prevent erosion by trapping sand and forming dunes.
- Sea Pink ( Armeria maritima ) : Sea pink, also known as thrift, is a hardy coastal plant with pink or lavender flowers. It thrives in the salty air and rocky soil, adding a splash of color to the coastal landscape.
- Sitka Spruce ( Picea sitchensis ) : The Sitka spruce, with its tall, straight trunk and evergreen needles, is a common sight along the Oregon coast. These trees are well adapted to withstand the salt spray and strong winds.
- Shore Pine ( Pinus contorta ) : Shore pine, a smaller relative of the lodgepole pine, is another coastal conifer that thrives in the sandy soils of the coastline.
The Coastal Experience
Visiting Oregon’s beaches is not just about taking in the natural beauty; it’s also about immersing yourself in the unique coastal experience.
- Beachcombing : The beaches of Oregon are a treasure trove for beachcombers. Hunt for agates, seashells, and unique pieces of driftwood that wash ashore.
- Surfing : Oregon’s coastline offers excellent surfing opportunities, with popular spots like Indian Beach at Ecola State Park and Short Sands Beach attracting surfers from all skill levels.
- Photography : Whether you’re a professional photographer or just snapping pictures with your smartphone, the rugged coastline, dramatic sea stacks, and abundant wildlife provide endless opportunities for stunning shots.
- Hiking : The coastal trails, like the Oregon Coast Trail and trails within state parks, offer exceptional hiking experiences with panoramic views of the ocean and lush forests.
- Sunsets : Oregon’s coast is famous for its breathtaking sunsets. There’s no better way to end a day at the beach than by watching the sun dip below the horizon, painting the sky with vibrant hues.
Exploring Oregon’s beaches is a journey into the heart of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty. Whether you’re strolling along the sandy shores of Cannon Beach, marveling at the wonders of tide pools at Haystack Rock, or hiking through the lush forests of Ecola State Park, the Oregon coast offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler.
From the diverse marine life and coastal flora to the numerous points of interest and recreational activities, there’s no shortage of reasons to visit Oregon’s coastline. So, pack your camera, don your hiking boots, and immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Oregon’s beaches—you won’t be disappointed.
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