I love this year-round central Oregon Coast trip because it combines a really nice campground experience (with yurts!) and plenty of good beach exploring. Devil’s Punchbowl is just to the north of the state park campground, and Yaquina Head Natural Area with Oregon’s tallest lighthouse is just to the south. And it’s right by the town of Newport, which has fantastic restaurants, shops and an aquarium.
When to Go: Summer weekends book out well in advance. That said, with the heated yurts this makes a lovely trip in fall, winter and spring where you’ll have the added bonuses of solitude, real fossils washing up on the beach (this is the best place for fossils on the Oregon coast) and passing whales.
Great for: kite fliers, families, surfers and rock hounds.
Why Camp Here: Just to the north of Newport is a fantastic but popular camping destination, Beverly Beach State Park. You’ll camp in some lovely woods on the east side of Highway 101, but only a short distance away through a tunnel is a stretch of beach that offers miles of roaming and beachcombing. Head south to search out fossils and north for Devil’s Punchbowl, a spectacular place to watch the tide come in or go out as the carved rock formations cause the ocean water to swirl violently. Splash!
Camping Details: Choose from 125 tent sites or 75 with electrical hookups ($21/$26 a night in summer, $8 reservation fee) all with picnic tables and fire grills, and a separate camping area for hikers and bicyclists. Also there are 21 yurts ($40 per night) and reservations are recommended.
Info and Reservations: Beverly Beach State Park / 1.800.551.6949.
Take a Hike: South of Beverly Beach State Park, the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area at the north side of Agate Beach is on a basalt headland that extends one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Short interpretive trails through fields of wildflowers and seagrass take you through amazing tidepools. The lighthouse, built in 1873, is the tallest on the Oregon Coast and has an interpretive center that’ll tell you so along with a bunch more maritime history of the area. Thousands of birds like Pigeon Guillemots and Common Murres take up residence on the rocks just offshore, so pack your binoculars.
Grab a Bite: The Canyon Way Restaurant and Bookstore in Newport is more than just an eatery with great homemade chowders and sandwiches, like oyster po’ boys, and of course the local specialty, crab cakes. It’s also a unique bookstore, gift shop, deli and espresso stand.
Don’t Miss: the outstanding Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for re-created tide pools, creatures like seals and sea otters, and educational presentations.