South of Depoe Bay, look on your right for Rocky Creek Wayside, another cliffside picnic area. There is also a gravel pullout at Highway 101 and Otter Crest Loop that offers great sea views from your car. On the south side of Cape Foulweather, watch for the turning to Otter Rock and the Devil's Punchbowl. The trails here are mostly barrier-free but sometimes bumpy; the real draw here, though, is the Punchbowl, a large hollow in the rock that fills with churning ocean waves as the tide comes in (be aware that, due to the clifftop fence, one must be able to stand up to view the bowl). The waves here are popular with surfers, and you will likely see a few of them on the south side of the park. Driving further south, a right turn below Izzy's leads to Yaquina Head. Here, a well-kept lighthouse stands guard over seabird rookeries. Paved viewing areas provide stunning ocean views; the lighthouse itself, however, is not universally accessible. Be aware that a fee is charged for parking.
Once in Newport, the easiest way to get to the ocean is in the neighborhood of Nye Beach; just turn west on NW 3rd St. and drive to NW Coast. Pass under the Nye Beach archway to find the turnaround, with parking, benches, and easy access to the sand. This beachy community of shops and restaurants is a favorite stop for tourists and locals alike.
Drive south over the Yaquina Bay Bridge and take the first right to access Newport's South Jetty; drive around the curve and look for a left turn just before passing under the bridge. Park in one of the many pullouts to watch boats entering and leaving the bay. There is also a wide, paved path that leads for a mile through the dunes to South Beach State Park. While you are in the area, drive over to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and look at the east end of the parking lot to find the Yaquina Estuary Hike, one of our favorite hidden gems. This trail varies from smooth pavement to gravel and from bumpy, weathered asphalt to packed sand. It is barrier-free, though, and worth some effort to navigate beside the mud flats and wetlands. There is excellent bird watching here; a simple trailside picnic shelter makes a great blind.
Driving south through Seal Rock, watch on your right for Seal Rock State Park. The small parking lot is not friendly for trailers, but there is parking for other vehicles. Take either branch of the somewhat sloping, paved trail into deep, dark coastal woods to find a viewing platform tucked against the cliffside. While the beach trail from here is narrow and steep in places, the platform is a perfect spot from which to watch the wave action. Those with binoculars should scan the nearby rocks for nesting birds in spring and pelicans in autumn.
|Gazebo at Keady Wayside
|Yachats Ocean Road
|This picnic area offers graveled access and a peek at
Cape Perpetua's amazing views
Don't miss out on the coastal experience just because of small children, or mobility issues, or lack of time. Along the central coast, Highway 101 follows close beside the ocean's wild waves, offering countless opportunities to find the beautiful Pacific for yourself.
|At the Depoe Bay pull-out
|Looking south from the Otter Rock viewing area
|The Devil's Punchbowl
|Yaquina Head Lighthouse
|View from Yaquina Head's viewing area
|Newport's South Jetty
|Yaquina Estuary Hike
|Seal Rock State Park
|From Seal Rock's accessible viewing platform
|Governor Patterson State Park
|Yachats Ocean Road
|Stone shelter atop Cape Perpetua
|And finally, the Cape's famed view, accessible to all!