9 Best Beaches in Oregon

Updated On October 4, 2023

Oregon may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about beachgoing.

However, with over 300 miles of coastline, there are many beautiful beaches you can enjoy.

All Oregon beaches are public, and there is also a multitude of coastal towns to visit while enjoying the sand and surf. 

Best Beaches in Oregon 

Oregon passed its first public access beach law in 1913, which declared the entire wet sand coastline as a public highway, ensuring public access.

A few more bills strengthened this protection. 

If you are an Oregon resident, or planning an Oregon vacation, you’ll need to know which beaches are the best to visit.

Let’s take a look at the best beaches in Oregon. 

Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach

1. Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is a beach in Northwest Oregon, as well as a city.

It’s widely considered the most famous beach in Oregon, and it was listed as one of the most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic in 2013.  

The biggest attraction in Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock.

The massive rock seems to rise out of the Pacific out of nowhere.

You can stroll down the beach and catch a glimpse of Tillamook Lighthouse.

You can also camp on the beach, which allows you to decompress away from the amenities of modern life. 

Before you go, visit the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum.

The museum features many pieces of historical memorabilia, as well as recorded oral histories of the area. 


2. Oceanside

Oceanside could also be called Hillside.

You’ll find a charming town that’s built on a steep hillside, which then turns into a beach.

At the Northern end of the beach, you’ll find a tunnel that goes over the beach, called Maxwell Point.

Stroll through the tunnel during low tide, and you can reach Tunnel Beach. 

You can find passages that lead to rocky points, secret coves, and pristine secluded beaches.

You will need to watch the tide, so you don’t get stranded. 

Three Arch Rocks are located off the shoreline.

It’s a national wildlife refuge.

You can view the imposing rocks, and spot rare birds and other wildlife from the beach or many areas in town. 

You can enjoy agate hunting in the winter.

During the summer, you can swim, comb the beach for shells, or check out the tide pools. 

Cape Kiwanda
Cape Kiwanda

3. Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City

Cape Kiwanda’s claim to fame is that it’s made of sandstone.

It’s the only cape on the mainland that is sandstone, and it provides some unique activities and experiences. 

While there, climbing the cape is a must.

Once you climb to the top of the sandstone cape, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean.

You can make your way back down on the southern side via a massive sand dune.

If you are adventurous, you can also paraglide back to ground level. 

Whale watching and surfing are popular activities at this beach as well. 

Manzanita Beach
Manzanita Beach

4. Manzanita Beach, Manzanita

Manzanita is near Cannon Beach, only a 15-mile drive south.

You’ll find a small town and a lengthy 7 miles of beach.

Visitors love the quaint town shops.

They also mention that this beach is never crowded.

It’s a great place for a beachside stroll.

It’s bordered by Neahkahnie Mountain on the north side.

Hike the mountain and enjoy an incredible view of Manzanita and the Pacific.

In addition to beach strolls, it’s a popular location for fishing, crabbing, and clam digging.  

Secret Beach, Brookings
Secret Beach, Brookings

5. Secret Beach, Brookings

Imagine a small beach that is mysterious and not well known, and you can picture Secret Beach.

To get there, you’ll need to find the unassuming parking area off Hwy 101.

From there, you’ll hike 3/4 a mile. Be prepared, the trail is pretty steep. 

When you reach the beach, you can see Miller Creek.

The creek turns into a waterfall, which cascades into the ocean.

The sea stacks and sea walls make the beach feel even more secluded. 

During low tide, you can access a cove, which many consider to be the true secret beach.

After all, it’s a secret within a secret. 

Nye Beach, Newport
Nye Beach, Newport

6. Nye Beach, Newport 

Nye Beach is at the heart of Newport, on the Central Oregon coast.

You’ll find a charming coastal town.

The town has its roots firmly planted in its history from the 1800s when it became a popular tourist destination. 

You’ll find plenty of shops, places to eat, and even art galleries right along the coast.

There are also hotels nearby, so you can stay right on the beach. 

Enjoy the sun, swim in the ocean, explore tide pools, or go beach combing at Nye Beach.

You can also ride bikes, take a sailboat out on the water, surf, or fly kites.

Harris Beach, Brookings  
Harris Beach, Brookings

7. Harris Beach, Brookings  

Harris Beach is a popular destination on Oregon’s Southern coast, near Secret Beach.

It’s located within Harris Beach State Park.

You can lounge on the beach, and bring a picnic.

You’ll have a great view of the sea stacks, and Oregon’s largest island, Bird Island. 

Bird Island is a National Wildlife Sanctuary, and a breeding ground for rare species, including the Tufted Puffin.

You can also see sea lions, whales, and harbor seals. 

Camping is allowed in the park, but reservations need to be made far in advance.

Some sites are open year-round, while others are seasonal. 

In addition to the beach, the park offers lots of hiking trails.

The park also includes Crissey Field, which is a natural wetland. 

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Reedsport
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Reedsport

8. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Reedsport

The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is the most unique area on the Oregon coast.

As the name suggests, you’ll find numerous sand dunes.

To be more specific, you’ll find one of the largest areas of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world, with the dunes stretching more than 40 miles. 

There’s so much to do here, you’ll need more than one day to truly enjoy everything the park has to offer.

South Jetty provides access to the beach and sand dunes. 

You’ll also find island forests, camping areas, hiking, paddling, and lots of unique wildlife.

You can also go off-road in many areas, which allows you to explore areas of the park that not many visitors see. 

Fort Stevens State Park, Astoria
Fort Stevens State Park, Astoria

9. Fort Stevens State Park, Astoria

Fort Stevens State Park has a lot to offer.

Today, it’s known for being one of the largest campgrounds in the U.S.

However, it wasn’t always so welcoming.

It’s located where the Columbia River joins the Pacific Ocean.

This made it a strategic location.

For many years, it was home to a military installation. 

Today, you’ll find a military museum and some concrete buildings from the military base. 

Of course, the beach is the main reason people visit the park.

You’ll find 5 miles of beaches, with access points in several places.

One of the most popular attractions is the Iredale Shipwreck.

The Iredale set sail in 1906 from Mexico, heading for Portland, Oregon.

Pieces of the ship have been lost to the wind and waves over the years, but it’s still a stunning site. 

The park is a great place to enjoy the beach, go hiking, boating, or spot local wildlife.

You can also fish, ride horses along the trails, or bike to the park. 

There are a variety of year-round camping options.

These range from primitive camping to cabins and yurts, which are disability accessible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most photogenic beach in Oregon?

Haystack Rock, at Cannon Beach, is thought to be the most photographed beach in Oregon.

The massive rock provides an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity, while the beach itself provides plenty of room to stroll or enjoy the view.

What is the warmest beach in Oregon?

Harris Beach is considered the warmest beach in Oregon, making it a popular destination in the summer months.

You’ll find the beach within Harris Beach State Park.

Where can you find sand dollars in Oregon?

When you think about sand dollars, you may consider them to be sea shells.

However, they are actually a type of sea urchin.

You can find them washing up on many Oregon beaches, but they exist in the largest numbers at Seaside Beach.

Best of all, it’s common to find them intact here, instead of in pieces, although no one knows why.

Rarely, you may find a live sand dollar, which will be purple.

What is the most scenic part of the Oregon coastline?

The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is a 12-mile stretch along Oregon’s southern coast.

It is thought to be the most scenic area in Oregon.

Secret Beach and Harris Beach are the most notable beach along the corridor, but there are many others.

Are Oregon beaches free to visit?

Because all beaches in Oregon are technically owned by the public, you can enjoy year-round access to the Oregon coast free of charge.

1 Comment on 9 Best Beaches in Oregon

  1. Oregon’s beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about beachgoing, but with over 300 miles of coastline and all public access, there are many beautiful beaches to enjoy in this state.

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