Earlier this week I posted a summary of our two-day adventure along the Oregon coast from Coos Bay up to Newport. I wanted to post a few more in-depth guides to the specific places we stopped along the coast, with tons more pics of our adventures!
Today I have a bunch of pictures from all the beach combing we did on day one. We started out in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a forty-mile long coastal playground extending north of Coos Bay. You can swim, kayak, surf, hike, go beach combing, sandboard, rent a dune buggy, or just roll out your beach towel for some lazy sunbathing.
The dunes are a mix of white sand and long, coarse grass, but they’re also surprisingly forested, with Sitka spruce and other weather-beaten trees offering shelter from the stiff sea winds. Getting to the beach in most areas involves a short hike up and down over a stretch of dunes and down to sea level on the beach. Hiking in sand is no joke—prepare for a workout! But the wide open stretches of beach that await are worth all the effort.
Coco Bean had a blast running on the beach and chasing seagulls. It was her first time at the ocean and she wasn’t too impressed to discover the water was salty and not drinkable! Other than that, she was a pretty happy dog. If you bring your dog to the beaches, make sure you bring drinking water and a bowl, and bags to pick up their waste. (Side note: we were surprised that so many beaches have pet waste bags readily available, but no trash cans. So be ready to double-bag your dog’s doos until you find a proper place to dispose of it!)
Beach combing leads to all kinds of interesting finds—shells, pebbles, and even seaweed that looks suspiciously like a sea monster! (I was 100% convinced this was some kind of strange aquatic monster until we saw a placard at Yaquina Head identifying it as a type of ocean flora.)
Another of my favorite spots from this trip was the Hobbit Forest just north of Heceta Head State Park. The half-mile trail from highway 101 down to Hobbit Beach winds through magical forest full of twisted trees with branches that look like octopus tentacles.
The trail through the Hobbit Forest is short but steep, and winds down to a gorgeous beach backed by high sandstone cliffs. This is a gorgeous place to hike down for a day of picnicking and frolicking, but be mindful of everything you pack down, because it’s going to feel extra heavy on the return trip!
Last but not least on the beach combing circuit, we enjoyed hanging out on the shore at the South Beach campground south of Newport. Multiple trails lead from the campground to the shore and there’s an ADA-accessible boardwalk that leads to a viewpoint over the beach. (If you’re lucky, you might just spot whales in the sea!)
If you go, make sure you wear layers, since the temperature varies wildly between the campgrounds and hiking trails and the shoreline. When we were in the Hobbit Forest we were in shirtsleeves but down on the beach itself we pulled our jackets back on because of the strong wind coming off the ocean. Also, wear sturdy shoes for the hikes themselves (the trails are muddy and full of rocks and tree roots), but be ready to carry your shoes once you hit the sand—a trip to the coast just wouldn’t be the same without running barefoot on the beach.