Are you planning a road trip to see some of the best of Oregon’s beaches? You have a wonderful trip ahead of you! The great thing about Oregon beaches is that the west coast is full of beautiful places and a road trip along Hwy 101 is always going to be full of beautiful views. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about sunny days or rainy ones, the beauty of the Oregon coastline is second to none. If you really want to see the best that this great state has to offer, check out the following list of beaches in Northern Oregon!
I have traveled quite a bit throughout the United States and the Oregon coast has always maintained its place at the top of my list of the most spectacular views I have ever seen while on the road. I also think that the northern coast of Oregon is where you’ll find some of the best views in the entire state. Another thing I love about road-tripping through the Northern Oregon coastline is the lovely little touristy towns that you drive through and the welcoming, small community feel that you always seem to experience when visiting.
25 Beaches in Northern Oregon That You Must Visit
The following list of popular beaches in Northern Oregon is full of great beaches that all deserve a visit! I did include some beaches that are more toward the central Oregon coast because they are so great, they deserve to be on this list!
Short Sand Beach
Short Sand Beach is located in Oswald West State Park. This is one of the best beaches in the state for surfers! The cove offers weather protection to the waters around the beach, while the breaks are consistent and perfect for surfing and boogie boarding.
Lincoln City is a great coastal town with multiple public parking lots with beach access. You’ll see these parking areas as you drive through town. There is also one beach in Lincoln City that allows you to drive onto the beach for parking (this is located on 15th).
Another thing about the beaches in Lincoln City is that most of the parking areas have public restrooms available for use. This isn’t always the case for beaches in Northern Oregon.
Cannon Beach is widely known as one of the best beaches in all of Oregon. As a matter of fact, Cannon Beach and its famous Haystack Rock actually made the National Geographic list of the World’s 100 Most Beautiful Places.
When you talk about beaches in Northern Oregon you cannot miss this one!
Hug Point State Recreation Site
Just a short drive from Cannon Beach is a wonderful beach that needs to be visited! Hug Point State Recreation Site is home to a beautiful waterfall on the beach (we devoted an entire post to Hug Point here) and is easily on the list of the best beaches in Oregon.
Hug Point offers easy access to the beach just a short walk from the parking area.
Rockaway Beach is a lovely little coastal town filled with miles of beautiful sandy beaches and amazing views of the Pacific. This is also the location of the Twin Rocks, which are two giant rock formations in the Pacific. This is a great area for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.
Ecola State Park
This park encompasses 9 miles of coastline surrounding the areas of Tillamook Head, Cannon Beach, and Seaside. This is an ideal beach area for sightseeing and many recreational opportunities.
Nehalem Bay State Park
Nehalem Bay State Park is located near the towns of Nehalem and Manzanita on the Nehalem Spit. The Nehalem Split is a sand spit west of Nehalem Bay.
This is a great beach area for horseback riding and you’ll find many riders along this area.
McPhillips Beach is our family’s favorite beach in all of Oregon. Here you are able to actually drive down on the beach, but I must warn you, the road to the beach area is a rocky one. While I have seen people do it, I would not attempt this in a passenger car, I would stick to a 4wd with plenty of ground clearance. McPhillips Beach is on the northern side of the large sand dune of Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City.
This beach offers 2 miles of sandy beach area that is driveable. It is surrounded by cliffs and rock formation which helps in blocking the winds. We love to pack up a lunch and head to this beach for a day spent on the Oregon coast. It’s beautiful, peaceful and so much fun.
Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park is one of the largest public campgrounds in the nation and for good reason. This park is filled with awesome recreational opportunities. Here you have opportunities for swimming in freshwater lakes, beachcombing, fishing, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing and you’ll even have the opportunity to view a historic shipwreck!
Tillamook Head is actually a hike rather than a beach, but let me tell you, there is almost no better view of Oregon beaches than the one from Tillamook Head. This hike will open your eyes to absolutely stunning views of the Oregon coastline.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
In the lovely coastal town of Pacific City, you’ll find Cape Kiwanda. We may be biased because we love the area so much, but I truly do think that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the state. It’s a popular location for surfing and boogie boarding or just walking along the beach.
Cape Kiwanda is also home to a massive 240-foot sand dune that is difficult, but fun to climb! When you are done playing at the beach, you can head on in to the Pelican Brewery to enjoy a yummy dinner or some good local brew.
Nye Beach in Newport is a great throwback to the heyday of summer beach trips! The surrounding areas of the city are filled with historic reminders of the past, while the beach itself is well known for kite flying, beach-combing, surfing, visiting tide pools, building sandcastles, sunbathing, and more!
Seaside Beach is great for those that want more action in their beach trips. Along this beach, you’ll find nearby businesses (restaurants, arcades, hotels, coffee shops and more). You’ll also find sand volleyball courts along the way next to the boardwalk.
You’ll likely recognize this beautiful stretch of sandy beach as it has been said to be one of the most photographed landscapes in the state. You’ll find that the Neahkahnie Mountain is just north of this beach and the view from the beach is nothing short of stunning. This beach is relatively uncrowded, but it is very popular with hikers as the beach is surrounded by hiking trails.
Easy beach access and 3 miles of beautiful sandy shoreline await you at Cape Lookout. This is a great place to head if you love to spend a morning beachcombing, but pay attention to the tides here because some of the beaches on this strip of coastline will disappear under the water.
Idiant Beach is located a few miles north of Cannon Beach and is a great place for surfers to catch waves or hike the numerous hiking trails along the northern Oregon coast. While much of the area is filled with beautiful but rocky shores, you will find almost a mile of sandy beach to explore. Indian Beach also offers wonderful opportunities for exploring tidepools, agate hunting (for more agate-hunting beaches, check out this post), and wildlife viewing.
Pacific City has quite a few beach access points, all of which are great! They have a large parking area and offer a free trolley to those wanting to go to the beach.
Are you looking for fewer crowds and more nature? Neskowin is a great beach along the Oregon Coast that has avoided commercialization and overcrowding. You’ll find beautiful forested areas including the stumps of 2000-year-old Sitka Spruce trees along this stretch of coast.
Roads End is at the North Coast end of Lincoln City. This beach is great for avoiding the larger crowds that Lincoln City is often known for. There are quite a few private and rental homes in the area, but not a lot of hotels or retail businesses nearby. This accounts for the fewer crowds.
An unincorporated community of roughly 250 people, Arch Cape is about as peaceful as it gets for beach towns. Like Cannon Beach and Pacific City, Arch Cape is also known for the scenic and awe-inspiring coastal rocks that stand above the shallow shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Sand Lake Recreation area is roughly 7 miles north of Pacific City and 15 miles south of Tillamook. This stretch of coast is home to over a thousand acres of open sand dunes. Sand Lake is bordered on the east by forest and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. This beach is very popular with OHV riders, but you’ll find other recreational opportunities here as well.
South Beach State Park is located in south Newport and extends several miles south of the historic coastal town. You’ll find miles and miles of sandy beaches, a great campground, and lots of recreational opportunities here.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse is less one of the beaches in Northern Oregon, but more toward the central Oregon coast. Despite this, this one is definitely worth mentioning! You explore the historic lighthouse, then spend some time on one of Oregon’s best beaches! We have spent a lot of time at this beach and have had so much fun! The beach is tucked into a cove that offers protection from the windy weather that the Oregon Coast is so well known for.
We have also found some beautiful agates at this beach. We also had our first experience of seeing a bat ray at this beach.
Cape Perpetua is a great place to visit along the Central Oregon Coastline. Not only are there great beaches in the area, you can also visit beautiful gems such as Thor’s Well.
Oceanside Beach is located near the town of Oceanside and has an awesome feature to it! Visiting this beach at low tide will allow you to explore Tunnel Beach. Low tide opens up the tunnel that opens up another beach. Be sure and educate yourself on the tide tables and weather for your safety.
If you are looking for a place to go whale watching in Oregon, be sure to check out Depoe Bay.