The Best Coastal State Parks in Oregon
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
Waves buffet a broad, often misty beach, sliced by fantastically eroded sandstone formations. A fleet of flat-bottomed dories launches from here daily, catching salmon by hook and line.
Bob Straub State Park
Named for the 1975–1979 governor who championed public beaches, the Pacific City park spills visitors onto a sand spit. To the east flows the Nestucca River, known for legendary 50-pound Chinook (king) salmon.
Bullards Beach State Park
Two miles north of southwest-Oregon's Bandon, this campground park snuggles among shore pines and includes 13 yurts (three pet-friendly). Don't miss the Coquille River Lighthouse and 4.5 miles of open beach.
Cape Blanco State Park
The state's southernmost lighthouse–and far western edge–presides over groves, wetlands, and outrageously lavish ocean vistas. Stop into the 1870 tower, which has historical exhibits, yet still broadcasts a light visible 22 miles at sea.
Cape Lookout State Park
This sand-spit campground unveils splendid ocean views. Beachcombers gravitate here to seek (and often find) Japanese glass fishing floats: prized collectibles. Keep an eye on the water as you wander–high tides swallow some areas completely.
Ecola State Park
This scenic swathe lounges along nine miles of coast, including Tillamook Head between Seaside and Cannon Beach. Sitka spruce give way to grassy bluffs and then secluded coves punctuated by tide pools and sea stacks. Look for migrating gray whales offshore throughout winter and spring.
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
Oregon's second-largest state park protects ranks of dunes and two natural freshwater lakes. Watch for rhododendrons in spring, huckleberries in autumn and—year-round—audacious sandboarders from the nearby town of Florence, the sport's alleged birthplace.
Oswald West State Park
Temperate rainforests cloak this four-mile park with staggering views of the Pacific from cliffs of sandstone and volcanic basalt. Fittingly, it's named for the governor who pioneered the preservation of Oregon's beaches for the public.
Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint
Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint
A river snakes through the dunes, where a soldier once lost his gun during the Rogue River Indian War (hence the park's name). Watch for waterfowl, shorebirds, and wings of different feather: the sails of champion windsurfers offshore.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Seal Rock State Recreation Site
This sanctuary has viewpoints overlooking the beach and large, evocative rock formations offshore: home to birds, seals, and sea lions. Explore the tide pools or picnic among a stand of salal, spruce, and shore pines.
Shore Acres State Park
A pioneer timber-baron built a great estate here, including formal rose gardens–all set atop wave-lashed cliffs. The holiday season sets the park ablaze with lights.
Sunset Beach State Recreation Site
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint
One of the coast's most photographed icons, this 1894 tower rears 205 feet above the ocean. The state's brightest beacon shines 21 miles into the Pacific, but also sleeps 15 B&B guests in the Victorian keeper’s cottage. Just north lies the secret-but-signposted Hobbit Trail and its tree tunnel.