Things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Picture of By Visit Oregon

By Visit Oregon

May 15, 2024 / 1:31 am

Share this article on social media!

Are you looking for a charming little place where you can explore untouched nature, enjoy yourself, and be a part of a magnificent tourist destination that will take your breath away? We are always happy to provide you with many options, especially in Oregon, and this one is no exception!

Meet the city of Rockaway Beach. Located about 25 miles south of Cannon Beach, it has been a favored vacation spot for many ever since the early 1920s. While it has been incredibly popular in the past, it might not be the first choice for many – and that’s why we recommend it! There are a lot of things to see and to do there, and you can take advantage of the city not being incredibly crowded. It is truly one of the hidden gems in Oregon, and we can’t wait to show it to you! The laid-back status will give you the ultimate coastal refuge you need. You can take a lot of scenic trips during the day and revel in the sandy beaches.

Considering this, keep reading – and discover our list of the best things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

1. Seven Miles of Sand

This sounds like an exotic spot, and we can assure you it is! As the name suggests, Rockaway Beach is best known for its seven-mile-long dune. What we love about it the most is that every inch of this beach is open to the public. There are about 20 access points to it, and this is what makes it one of the best beaches in Oregon. So, if you don’t know where to begin your journey, this might be the absolute best starting point.

2. Kelly’s Brighton Marina

Out of all the fun things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, we’re mentioning this first because it is such a sought-after activity. For one, this charming town is known for crabbing, an activity where you have the opportunity to catch crabs. If you want to discover some spots that have excellent crab-catching conditions, then we recommend you turn to Nehalem Bay, Tillamook Bay, and even Netarts Bay (which is a little bit more to the south). These three bays are excellent spots for catching the clawed sea-water animals throughout the year. If you are concerned about the gear, don’t worry! The marinas around the bays offer gear, bait, and docks so you can toss a crab pot. We accentuated Kelly’s Brighton Marina here because it offers guided crabbing tours. It is truly a fun activity in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

3. Cedar Wetlands Preserve

For those who are always astounded by the great outdoors, this is probably the perfect place to visit. When looking for things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, the Cedar Wetlands Preserve will probably turn up no matter where you look. It is located in the town’s southern part, and it is a unique cedar bog with some trees that have been there for quite a while. The Cedar Wetlands Preserve spans 45 acres and is the home to a unique and native forest that prevented any type of development or industrialization of the town. Its largest resident is a western red cedar that is thought to be more than 500 years old.

4. Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

This is another fun thing to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad stretches from Rockaway Beach to Garibaldi in the south and is akin to Highway 101. The train goes about 10 miles per hour, and this kind of slow pace is excellent for tourists, especially because there is open-air boxcar seating. This top-rated attraction runs every day of the week during the summer months. The one-way trip is about 90 minutes long.

5. Three Capes Scenic Route

The Three Capes Scenic Route is about 22 miles south of Rockaway Beach, and it includes some of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever see! It is about 40 miles long, and it goes along the three capes – Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout, and Cape Meares. Whenever you are looking for the best things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, put this on your list and allow yourself to be swept off your feet.

6. Nehalem Bay State Park

What will probably interest you nature lovers the most is whether there are conditions nearby to camp. Located about 15 miles from Rockaway Beach, the Nehalem Bay State Park offers the best campgrounds you will find in Oregon. There are 265 standard campsites with electricity available. You can also find special accommodations and even a site dedicated to those who are equestrian campers. The terrain available to you once you set up your tent is amazing! You can explore the secluded sand spit, shoreline, and oceanfront. And if you have always wanted to go horseback riding as an activity in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, you can do this here, too!

7. Kilchis Point Reserve

History buffs who want to make the most out of their trip and learn something new, this is the place to visit. It is 10 miles south of Rockaway Beach and boasts a large historical significance because it was the former home of the large permanent settlement of the native population. Nowadays, the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum protects the land. You can discover its importance by walking on the three hiking trails, focusing on significant areas. There is both natural and cultural history there – a little bit for everyone!

8. Get something to eat

As you are probably aware by now, we love food and always want to nudge you to try the local cuisine. This destination is no exception. While you’re taking a break from the things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, you might want to give the fantastic local meals a go. What we love most about this city is the variety of family-owned and specialty restaurants, with seafood everywhere you turn. Many of these places are in the town center, and that’s where we suggest you go. Whether you want good pastry or seafood chowder, or you have a sweet tooth, this town offers everything. Whatever you do, be sure to try the meaty albacore tuna – you’ll thank us later for this one!

9. Whale watching

There are many fun things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, and whale watching is one of them! These large mammals migrate once in winter and again in spring. The best time to do some whale-watching is either in January or from March to May. If you really want to admire the magnificence of these animals, then we recommend you opt for a higher vantage point to get a better view. With that in mind, we recommend Cape Meares and Neahkahnie Mountain.

10. Visit the local museums

If you come across a cloudy or rainy day, you might want to take cover and enjoy some incredible indoor exhibits. We are talking about the two most famous museums here – The International Police Museum and the Garibaldi Maritime Museum. The first one is family-friendly, and it shares some of the most unique uniforms from the USA and worldwide, as well as various firearms through the years. On the other hand, the Garibaldi Maritime Museum is ideal for nautical fans. Opened in 2004, this museum showcases the Pacific Northwest’s maritime heritage and the Golden Age of Sailing during the 18th century.

11. Lake Lytle

You got to experience crabbing just a few points above, but if you have always been a fishing aficionado, then you can visit Lake Lytle and fish there. People consider visiting this lake to be one of the best things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. It’s a 65-acre lake on the north side of Rockaway Beach, and it is filled with rainbow trout in the spring and largemouth bass in the summer. While you can fish from the shore, you can also get a personal boat and fish from it. People in this area take pride in focusing on non-motorized boating. A note to remember here – if you are over 18 years old, no matter where you are on the lake, you need to have a fishing license before casting your line. Oh, and don’t worry if you’re a beginner – the waters are quite rookie-friendly!

12. Manhattan Beach State Recreation Site

This beach seems like you stepped inside a romantic movie – it stretches so long that it will give you the perfect backdrop for your picnic. This State Recreation Site is in the town’s northern part. People visit this spot on non-windy days and revel in the broad beach and the ocean. Those who want to rest and have a good time consider this to be one of the best things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
There it is – the complete list of things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. We hope that you will bring this list with you and cross off everything on it! Oh, and to make things even better for you, we have an Oregon travel guide ready for you – download it!

Get Your Free Oregon Travel Guide

Get Your Free Oregon Travel Guide