If you have driven along the Oregon coast highway between Manzanita and Cannon Beach then you have gone past the parking areas for Short Sand beach. The parking lot is often filled with cars and so if you do not get here early in the day you will likely be parking off on the side of the road and walking back towards the head of the trail. A popular surfing cove is located at Short Sands beach and during optimal surfing weather and surf conditions, it can be one of the busiest places on the North Coast. Lots of surfers will be out riding the waves, but even more people will just be hanging out on the beach watching the action in the water.
Despite all the visitors there are many trails and unless you are going to get in the water the extra traffic should not stop you from being able to enjoy this peaceful and beautiful place.
There are several trails that branch off from the main path, so make sure to check out the trail maps near the parking lot and down near the beach before venturing off. The creek that runs through the forestland along the trails is large enough that it splits off part of the beach. The main trail leads to the large section of the beach at the north section of the cove and will have more people. The Sitka Spruce trail heads over to connect with the South Beach access point and requires crossing over a cable bridge over a large creek. The south beach access puts you in the sand south of the creek so you can explore that side of the beach and view the impressive cliff that jut out into the ocean making the southern boundary of Short Sand beach. The various trails running through the forest are easy to moderate in difficulty, must due to the consistent moisture of the soil, good hiking shoes are a must as the trail can get muddy and slippery at certain places.
This is one of the most popular places to surf on the entire Oregon Coast, the cove is protected from lots of the weather on the coast and has the right underwater features that generate waves big enough for people to ride. Due to the limited number of awesome spots to surf on the coast, Short Sand beach should not be your first choice if looking for a place to go surf perch fishing. While the fishing can be really good in the cove, you might not make many friends chucking large weights and hooks in between the surfers.
A street view map of the Short Sands Beach trail parking and access: