Updated: Feb 23, 2021
I've had a lot of people reach out to me lately asking advice on where to go for an Oregon Coastal getaway. If you know me, you know I love the outdoors and I especially LOVE Oregon. If you're looking for some spectacular coastal views and off the beaten path trails then read on!
When people ask me where to go on the coast my mind immediately turns to Brookings, Oregon. We lived there for over a year so it obviously left an impression on us, but trust me when I say - Brookings is a very special place. It is extremely isolated and a little hard to get too but an amazing coastal town that stands out amongst the rest.
It’s known as the “Banana Belt” because the weather is often much sunnier and less rainfall than its other surrounding coastal cities. Also, you should know the locals of Curry County have this saying, “No hurry in the Curry”. Meaning things move a liiiittle slower here - which is what you want on a holiday right?
Lone Ranch Beach
Most tourists make a beeline for Harris Beach State Park when they arrive in this gorgeous Southern Coastline. Personally, I think it’s a little overrated (Still worth seeing though...but we will get to that later). Although I’m never going to discourage people from checking out Harris, I would strongly advise to do Lone Ranch Beach instead.
This place is often less crowded and packs way more a punch in that Oregon coastal beach beauty. Loads more sea-stacks (huge rocks erupting from the beach), tide-pools and gorgeous trails to explore.
If you come here I recommend getting there early and parking to the north end of the lot.
Take the north trail to the beach and you’ll see a little detour that’ll take you to a short forest walk next to a creek.
Continue to the beach and check out all the gorgeous sea-stacks and ride pools. Kiddos love to play in the stream that empties out into the ocean.
If you’re up for a hike after relaxing a bit on the beach walk to the far north side of the beach and take the Cape Ferrelo Trail to the top of the cape lookout. It’s a great view and not a hard hike! In the summer you’ll see loads of wildflowers and tall gorgeous grass. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a whale!
If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can take that trail to a secluded secret beach and some pretty stellar viewing points. You’ll find other trails that branch off from Cape Ferrelo that lead you to the coastline north of Lone Ranch and rocky lookouts like the one above. Make your way down to the beach on that side and you'll get a private beach to yourself!
Grab some breakfast at First Rise Bakery to taste some pretty dang delicious breakfast sandwiches and tempting baked goods.
This place. Guys... this place. I almost hate to share where this is because I love it so much and want it to stay secret. BUT! Okay we're going to share the wealth. If you're coming here DON'T MISS THIS BEACH.
This is a local favorite and well kept secret from most of the tourists driving through. It's a "secret" because the pull off for this particular beach is pretty inconspicuous - its an unmarked pull-off, and if you blink you'll miss it. Lucky for you Google maps has finally got it on its radar and you can look up the location easily.
Most definitely get here early - it's stunning to watch the sunrise over the cliffs here AND it's best enjoyed when you have the beach completely to yourself. Sometimes in the fall/winter you can enjoy an entire day by yourself here. Summertime however there's usually people coming in around the late morning-afternoon.
Pack a lunch. You'll want to stay awhile. Trust me.
Try to come when you know there will be a low tide. If you come during low tide you can access an entirely new part of the beach. Just walk south and you'll discover the SECRET beach of secret beach. Here you can catch stunning views like the one above of Thunder Rock Cove, find huge starfish, a sea cave and lots of tide pools.
Thunder Rock Cove trailhead is another place you can start hiking down towards this beach. This will make for a longer hike but it truly is a stunning hike with some great overlooks. If you're willing to spend a little extra time I'd start here.
You will need to do a steep hike down as well as a short bouldering section. My little boys can do it just fine, but for those who have handicaps or unable to maneuver down a rock, this might not be the beach for them.
Treat yourself to some delicious pretzel 🥨 sticks and cheese dip, along with some great dinner selections at my friends restaurant Oxenfre. It's the best place to eat in town hands down.
Jedidiah State Park
Although, not in Brookings, this enchanted forest is just a short drive away and a must on any proper Southern Oregon visit. Jedidiah State park is home to some of the most peaceful and stunning redwood forests you'll ever see. Lush ferns, ancient giants and peaceful trails await. Plus, the added bonus of some pretty epic natural playground fun (as you can see my boys above).
I recommend checking out the Stout Grove hike because of its perfect length and beautiful trails. Another bonus is the drive is almost as stunning as the hike. To get to Stout Grove you'll drive through a spectacular road through the redwoods where you'll get one of the best driving tours of a redwood forest!
The road through the redwoods is an unpaved, narrow road. So be sure to have something you're comfortable driving that through - I see plenty of lower profile cars on these roads, but just be forewarned that its not paved and sometimes can get muddy.
Be sure to take your time through the drive to Stout Grove - it really is so special to drive through a forest like this. It'a a neat way to take in a lot of the forest in the comfort of your car.
If you're coming during the summer take a dip in the Smith River at the local favorite Myrtle Beach afterwards!
While you're in Crescent City and want to do something a little touristy but fun check out Ocean World. Our boys love going there (5 and 6)! You'll get to learn and see some of the local fish life, pet a leopard shark and see a cute seal/sea lion show.
Afterwards definitely check out Sea Quake for some wings, culinary pizza and cool atmosphere. Bonus for families: they've got a little kid corner to play at AND some outdoor cornhole to play.
Off the beaten path and often overlooked is the trail Indian Sands. Here you'll be rewarded with huge rocky cliff lookouts, sandy hills to slide down and some fun sea storm wave watching if you come in the winter.
Instead of starting at the Indian Sands parking lot check out this insider tip for a beautiful coastal hike: Right in between the Whale's Head and Indian Sands parking lot theres a dirt road turnoff. Park the car and start the hike here.
around mid-August to mid-September you can pick Huckleberries on this trail. Close to the dirt turn off that you'll park on theres several bushes right by the trailhead. Oregon Huckleberries are quite small but still delicious!
If you have little kiddos be warned that there are VERY steep cliffs on this hike. If you feel at all anxious you might not want to try this one.
There are SO many great views on this hike once you get to the cliff section lookout (you'll know you're there because it opens up and starts to get sandy) but I definitely recommend hiking down the sand hill and up towards the north of the trail to the north lookout point.
Loeb State Park
Definitely a BIG local favorite and sometimes it can be crowded in the summer, but this is one of the best swimming holes in Brookings and you can have a lot of fun here! If you're coming in the summer you can go for a dip in the blue waters, kayak down the Chetco river or take leisurely float in inner tubes. Camping spots can be reserved here (tent, motorhome or cabin) with flushable toilets, showers and access to water.
There's also some great hikes in Loeb State Park including one of our family favorites the Redwood Trail which features some of the most northern redwoods on the west coast.
Once you arrive to Loeb State Park you'll take the main entrance road all the way down a hill that will lead you to the rocky beach itself. The local tradition is to drive your car to a spot on the river of your choice. You will be driving your car on uneven natural rocky terrain so keep that in mind.
After your dip in the blue waters of the Chetco dry off by taking the Redwood trail through a peaceful walk. If you're looking for a more private beach spot you can take this trail to access more secluded rocky beaches.
There are lots of water salamanders to be caught in these waters too! Which is a family favorite for our little boys.
If you're wanting to rent some kayaks I suggest renting from the Riverside Market which you'll pass before reaching Loeb. They even offer a shuttle service and it's owned by a really nice couple!
Do grab some ice-cream afterwards in the Harbor at the local favorite Slugs n' Stones. Delicious ice-cream selections and it's just the quirkiest little ice-cream shop, you can't help but love it.
If your aim is to get off the beaten path an explore somewhere you can have on your own but its still AMAZING come here! I suggest starting this hike on the beach and then working your way up the Cape to the viewpoint above. At the beach parking lot below the main Cape Sebastian you can find a secret rail that leads you up a gorgeous secluded path. Not only have I never bumped into someone here but the beach is also very secluded and has untouched tidepools.
Harris Beach State Park
Although riddled with tourists in the summer this beach really is quite lovely to see - especially during sunset. I have a couple suggestions though to beat the crowds. Don't go to the lower parking lot (where most people go) stay in the upper and you'll be rewarded with a quieter beach as well as lots of blackberry picking on the way down come July and August.
I hope this post helps you to make the most out of your Oregon adventures! There is SO much to see and take in here - you'll be blown away by the beauty so be sure to take a camera so you can capture stunning moments like this one...
Wake up early to catch the sunrise and stay out late enough to see the sunset. Happy Exploring!