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Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
No
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Oceanside is an idyllic coastal community located along the Three Capes Scenic Loop,* a 25-mile byway off of US Highway 101 between Tillamook and Pacific City.  Perched up on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific, this town of little more than a few cafes and vacation rentals is the perfect spot for travelers who prefer to avoid the crowds that head to more popular northern Oregon coast communities.  Oceanside Beach State Recreation Area sits at the doorstep of the small town, and it is the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon beach combing or exploring the rugged rock formations at the beach's northern end.

The unassuming Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge sits farther off-shore.  Established in 1907 and designated by Theodore Roosevelt after persuasion from conservationists William Finley and Herman Bohlman, Three Arch Rocks was actually the first National Wildlife Refuge west of the Mississippi.  The refuge is home to Oregon's largest seabird nesting colony, including more than 100,000 nesting common murre and the largest colony of the iconic tufted puffin.  The refuge is also a pupping site for the federally protected Steller sea lions, the larger of the two types of sea lions found on the Oregon Coast.  You'll have to bring your high-powered binoculars or a telescope, however, because the rocky islands are a half-mile out at sea and completely restricted to all human activities; even boats must remain 500 feet away.

* When visiting Oceanside, be sure to visit all three of the scenic headlands off of the byway, including Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Open sandy beach. Quaint town.

Cons

Bird watching is long-distance.

Features

Lodging
Bird watching
Wildlife

Location

Field Guide

Comments

09/23/2016
We visited Oceanside while staying at Cape Lookout and caught the sunset. Roseanna's Cafe in this little town has great views and awesome food!
09/06/2015
Had an amazing time in Oceanside over the weekend. If you've never gone through the tunnel on the north headwall, its a must! The beach and rock stacks on the other side are incredible. Arguably the better beach. Also, certainly with more wildlife and tidepool viewing opportunities.
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A profound concept originally envisioned by governor Oswald West, in 1967 the Oregon legislature ultimately realized his vision of making the entire Oregon Coast forever open to the public in a piece of landmark legislation titled the Oregon Beach Bill, officially making all 363 miles public land. "The People's Coast" is truly a one-of-a-kind coastline, a unique blend of mountains and rocky stacks, towering old growth forests, marine sanctuaries, tide pools and kelp forests, charming towns, historic fishing communities, world-class golfing, breweries, and simply jaw-dropping scenic beaches. We encourage you to plan your next trip at visittheoregoncoast.com or by calling (541) 574-2679.

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