This is an awesome video that shares a perspective of the Oregon Coast most people do not see. Exploring the tide pool zones of the rocky shores are an excellent family fun activity. There is always so much life to observe, however once the water rises up and the waves start crashing all kinds of life start to pop out from their hiding places. Crabs, starfish, sea anemone’s sculpins and other little fishes all make the tidal zone their homes.
The Nehalem state park is located just north of the Nehalem jetty where the river enters the Pacific Ocean. To access the state park you need to turn off highway 101 just outside of the town of Nehalem before reaching Manzanita. The state park is a day use fee park, so everyone that parks a car in the lot is required to pay the $5 fee unless you have a state park permit.
The best feature of the park is the massive number beach access points. Unlike other sections of the Oregon there is no homes built out onto the Nehalem spit and so the views from the sand dunes hiking into the beach are really impressive. The line between the Oregon coast forest and the Oregon sandy beaches is so defined here, it is really impressive.
The park is home to several facilities for people that like to horseback ride can use. Including large number of trails and stalls for stable a horse for a temporary time during the day.
This specific state park also has a 2 lane boat ramp and is a nice alternative to the public county ramp located further up the river or the often overcrowded private ramps located right next to the mouth of the bay. Nehalem Bay is well known for its spring and fall runs of salmon and exceptional crabbing at certain times of year. The bay is also loaded with several species of clams that can be harvested during the low tides. The mud flats that line the shores of the bay side of the state park are perfect places to go for a dig. Cockles, Gapers, and Purple Varnish are the most plentiful ones that most people find.
This park gets a lot of seasonal use so expect to not be alone during the peak season or during really nice weather days on the weekend year round.
Remember to get your day use permit, the park is regularly patrolled by the local law enforcement. Here is a list of all the park fees on the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Website: Nehalem Bay State Park fees
Looking for a great place on the Oregon Coast for a camping trip, this might be the right destination for your family. The huge beach is an amazing playground for summer fun and the bay side offers opportunities for clamming, crabbing, boating and fishing. There is something for everyone that likes the Oregon Coast outdoors at the Nehalem Bay State Park. This park even has a primitive airport camp something not found in the other large camping sites nearby.
- Approximately 265 electrical sites with water
- 18 yurts (two pet friendly)
- Hot showers and flush toilets
- Horse camp with 17 primitive sites
- Hiker/biker camp
- Airport camp with primitive fly-in sites
- RV dump station
- Meeting hall
The Winter this year has had several nice long spurts of decent weather, a few days even have felt warm out in the sun. This has made enjoying walking on the beach and getting outdoors along the coast for a hike a possibility without having to endure getting drenched on your weekend adventure. These couple of pictures were taken south of Cape Meares lighthouse, the tide was exceptionally low and it was possible to walk all the way through the tide pool areas to where the beach meets the cliff that leads up to the area where the Octopus tree is.
Get out and enjoy the Oregon beaches. Even when it is a little stormy the coast can make for fun exploring and if you luck out on a warm winter day, it is a true treat.
Public Crabbing Locations on the Oregon Coast
You don’t need to have a boat in order to catch dungeness crab on the Oregon coast, you will need crab traps or rings and some bait, but that is all that is required to get a few for dinner. There are several piers, docks, and bridges that provide excellent places to try your luck at crabbing. The best times of year to give it a go are generally from the middle of summer until the heaviest of winter rains are upon us in mid to late December. The areas that are most accessible for people bound to shore also tend to be in the bays which get inundated with fresh water which the crab naturally move away from as the rains get more intense. Going 2 hours before the high tide and staying until 1-2 hours after generally is the best time of day to give it a go, but some places you can leave your traps in overnight and be surprised with a loaded pot first thing in the morning. If you do not own your own crab rings there are a few places that will rent them for a nominal fee as well so even if you are just heading to the beach for the weekend you can still get out and relax at the pier and go crabbing.
1. Crab Pots – Most people will use crab rings which are best pulled every 15 – 20 minutes, however you can also use the square or circle pots that can be soaked for 45 minutes to overnight in between checks.
2. Crab Bait – Almost anything will work, the most common types of bait though are fish carcasses which can be purchased from some of the marinas and chicken is a popular alternative.
3. Measuring Stick – You can only keep male crabs that are at least 5 3/4 inch in size, the measure will have a picture of how to tell the difference between male and females and where to place the measure device to make sure you only keep legal sized ones.
4. A Bucket – You need to have something to keep your catch in so they do not walk away on you.
The following are a few of the most popular shore crabbing locations. There are others, but this should get you started.
Seaside, Oregon – 12th Street Bridge
An alternative location on Nehalem Bay that also has all of the carbbing supplies available to rent is Kelly’s Brighton Marina
View Larger Map
Both of the locations in Nehalem bay also offer boat rentals if you want to give it a try from the water for a half or full day.
Garibaldi, Oregon Tillamook Bay – Old Coast Guard Pier
The Garibaldi Marina rents boats for getting out into the bay and there is also a dock at the south end of the port area that is great for tossing a pot in the water.
View Larger Map
Newport, Oregon – The Newport Pier
If you have never participated in harvesting enough crab for a delicious sustainable Oregon Coast dinner than make sure and give this fun activity a try the next time you are vacationing at the beach. It is always rewarding to catch your dinner. If you are unfamiliar with cooking your catch ask around at the marinas as they often a crab cooker with boiling water and for a nominal charge they will cook your fresh crab for you. Otherwise a pot of boiling water and some sea salt does the trick, bring it to a boil and drop in the crab for 10 – 15 minutes. Cooking them whole is very acceptable way to process the crab. Like any delicacy there is a 101 ways to do it and if you enjoy the time crabbing and get out and do it more you can vary the way you cook and eat the crab, but a simple boil in salt water and melted butter for dipping is always a winner.
The Oregon Coast is a wonderful place to travel to and visit as there is many historic and beautiful places to enjoy. The Octopus Tree at the Cape Meare’s Lighthouse west of Tillamook Oregon is one of those places. Take a walk down to the lighthouse and take in the views, but before you leave take the short hike through the woods to see the Sitka Spruce they call the Octopus Tree, the largest in Oregon with incredible tree trunk branches coming out of the base at the ground. This tree is an impressive specimen and you get to enjoy some local history and scenic viewpoints while seeing the Oregon coast octopus tree.
Oregon Coast Day Trip
Octopus Tree and Cape Meare’s Lighthouse
Heading out of Tillamook towards Netarts you only need to keep your eyes peeled and follow the signs to the Cape Meare’s Lighthouse or check out the directions based on your location using the Google Map below.
The Octopus tree is located a short hike passed the bathrooms near the parking area. When at the parking lot you will either walk down the hill to the lighthouse or go south and follow the trail up the hill, past the restroom facilities and which leads to the Octopus tree about 5 – 10 minutes later. The hike is an easy to do walk and so it is fine taking your younger children just don’t venture too far pass the tree as the coast cliffs are close by. There is a great viewpoint set up at the cliff edge to see a breathtaking shot of the coast and the waves crashing on the rocks.
This is a massive tree!
Take a hike at Cape Meare’s and go check out this awesome tree and enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean looking south from the viewpoint near the tree.
Oregonians love the coast. It seems to be everyone’s favorite place to vacation. Winchester Bay has a lot to offer those who find it.
Winchester Bay was the ancestral home of what are now called the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua (Kuitsh), and Siuslaw Indians. Other Native Americans from along the Coast as well as those who lived inland came here to pick berries and hunt for elk. Later the locals traded with ships that stopped in the bay.
Winchester Bay is located at the mouth of the Umpqua River. It is home to less than 400 full-time residents. This seems unbelievable since it is such a hub of activity. The community has live music every Friday night during the summer. They also host some type of event almost every summer weekend.
Winchester Bay is the home of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area headquarters. The Park is 40 miles long and two and one half miles wide, and has the tallest dunes in the U.S, some that are 500 feet above sea level. What a perfect place for DuneFest 2012! DuneFest is happening now through August 5th. There are numerous events that include music, drag races, OEM demo rides, kids’ events, great food and lots more. If you are interested, you can check out the DuneFest website or Winchester Bay Events to check on events through Labor Day weekend.
The Oregon sand dunes also offer many other recreational activities. You could go for a dune buggy ride, go hiking, take pictures, or horseback riding, and even camp. You could also do a few things that might surprise you like feed the ducks, go sailing, canoeing, water-skiing, swimming, or scuba diving in many of the 30 lakes and ponds within Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
On the beach in Winchester Bay, if you have a license, you can go crabbing or how about clamming? It is fun to gather the mussels, soft-shell, bay, butter, littleneck, cockie, and gaper clams found here and it makes a tasty meal.
Of course you can charter a boat and head for the ocean for whale watching or to fish for sturgeon, salmon, or whatever fish is in season. If your fishing trip is successful, you can take your catch to Sportsmen’s Cannery to be canned or packed in ice.
The Umpqua River Lighthouse is a great place to watch winter storms. The lighthouse was first lit in 1894. It used a clockwork mechanism to rotate the Fresnel lens. When the mechanism failed 89 years later the Coast Guard wanted to replace it with a modern one. The public was not amused. The mechanism was restored, due to public demand, and returned to its place. You can visit the lighthouse from May through September each year.
The number of activities in and around Winchester Bay is astonishing, given its tiny size. Travel down and see what the south Coast has to offer.
Article written by Mary Boyer
The Rockaway Beach, Oregon fourth of July celebration is an absolute blast. There is tons to do for the whole family and if you have not stayed on the coast for a fourth of July family vacation then you should mark it down on your calendar for next year and come on down to the coast. The morning starts off with a traditional small town parade which has lots of candy being thrown out to the kids from different local companies and organizations that are participating and ends with a splash from the home town fire truck as they spray the hose into the air. This year was the 6th annual firecracker wiener dog race at the park in the early afternoon and was just hoot to watch these little dachshunds run in every direction and a few cross the finish line. Kids could participate in a treasure hunt and other activities during the afternoon down on the main beach in front of town and the day is capped off by a splendid fireworks show.
The city of Rockaway Beach does a fantastic job making the Fourth of July a family fun event. We grabbed chairs and sat at the wayside to be right in front of the firework show and it is just awesome to feel each explosion and watch them burst nearly above your head.
Here is where we sat just on the other side of the train station to watch the fire works and a few examples of the show below.
View Larger Map
Fireworks in Rockaway Beach for 4th of July 2012