Exploring the Top 3 Tide Pools in Newport

The beach in front of Yaquina Head Lighthouse during low-tide with the sun setting in the background

Fewer tourists, but just as much as many aquatic inhabitants!

The Oregon Coast, and especially the area around Newport, offers many fascinating tide pools that could rival some of California’s tide pooling meccas, such as La Jolla or Point Loma.

There are three tide pools in Newport. They are quite small but contain the same, if not more, marine than other locations along the Pacific Coast.

1. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

Yaquina Head is a black-sandy beach that extends one mile long from the Oregon coast into the Pacific Ocean. The sand is rocky, so you may need to wear proper shoes when strolling around the beach. The park offers many activities for visitors of all ages, from hiking, cycling, picnicking, and exploring the interpretation center.

This park is well-known for its towering lighthouse, which can be seen from many miles away. While the lighthouse is stunning and contains a first ordeal Fresnel lens, what draws many people to the beach are its tide pools.

The tide pools are situated on Cobble Beach, just below the lighthouse. Make sure to visit during low tide for the best visibility. The tide pools are outstanding, with abundant marine life. Go early as it gets crowded quickly, especially on the weekend.

Animals and plants you can spot here

  • Sea urchins
  • Anemones
  • Starfish
  • Cormorants
  • Crabs
  • Nudibranches
  • Eels

The beach offers an excellent opportunity for watching wildlife. Some Seals are usually found sitting on top of rocks or swimming around. Keep an eye out for Peregrine Falcons roosting up the cliffs. If lucky, you may see some whales and dolphins breaching on the horizon.

Amenities

  • Ample parking
  • Restrooms available
  • Visitor center
  • Gift shop
  • Lighthouse
  • Picnic benches
  • Park rangers on duty

Additional info

  • Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash

Other recommended activities

  • Hike the trails nearby
  • Visit the Yaquina Head Interpretation Center

Getting there

Yaquina Head is located on the north end of Newport. To get to the beach, turn right onto Lighthouse Drive on Highway 101, around 0.5 miles south of the Newport city limit sign. There are signs on the highway to help direct you to the beach.

A short paved path on the parking lot leads to the lighthouse and the visitor center. Go down the stairs near the lighthouse to reach the water and tide pool area.

The beach is open from 8 am to 5 am, and the interpretive center from 10 am to 4 pm. The entrance costs $7 for a 3-day pass. Check the complete list of fees and annual and lifetime passes.

2. Seal Rock State Recreation Site

Seal Rock is a small coastal park with stunning ocean views. It has an excellent mix of a clean beach, coastal forest, small rocks and streams for kids to play in, and a rugged coastline for photography! This beach is excellent for sunbathing, picnicking, strolling, and tide-pooling. The water tends to be cold, even during summer. Bring a wetsuit if necessary.

The beach is very picturesque, with many fantastic rock formations. These rock formations create some tide pools during low tide. The tide pools are exceptionally lively and protected from the waves, with abundant marine life.

Animals and plants you can spot here

  • Anemones
  • Mussels
  • Chitons
  • Starfish
  • Hermit crabs

True to its name, the beach has many Seals sunning up on the rocks. You will also see several types of birds nesting on the rocks and flying up in the sky.

Amenities

  • Free, dedicated parking lot
  • Restrooms 
  • Picnic tables
  • Observation decks
  • Trash bins
  • Paved ADA path

Additional info

  • Dogs are allowed but need to be on a leash

Other recommended activities

  • Get some ice creams from the ice cream shops nearby
  • Hiking the trails nearby

Getting there

Seal Rock is open every day during the day. It is located 10 miles south of Newport. The beach has easy access. While the trail to the beach is steep in some areas, it has an ADA-accessible viewpoint at the midway point overlooking ocean views and tide pools. 

3. Yachats State Recreation Area

Yachats State Recreation Area is situated up against the bay, overlooking the mouth of Yachats River. The beach has plenty of little trails for walking, tables for picnicking, and sands to sit and enjoy the ocean and the waves. Many grassy areas are available for kids and dogs to play in. The constant wind and waves make it great for surfing and kite surfing!

There is a viewing platform offering a 180 degree of the ocean. You can take the steep path to the rocky beach near the platform during low tide. Low tide exposes craggy crevices and pools full of marine life.

Animals and plants you can spot here

  • Anemones
  • Starfish
  • Sea shells
  • Hermit crabs

Go to the viewpoint decks to see the occasional whales off of the coastline. If lucky, you may encounter gray whales coming close to the shore. Seals and seagulls are often chilling in the rocks.

Amenities

  • Free parking
  • Public restrooms
  • Picnic benches
  • Viewing platform with a 180-degree view
  • Park rangers on duty

Additional info

  • Dogs are allowed, but not off-leash
  • Dress in layers; it can get windy
  • Great beach for surfing and windsurfing

Other recommended activities

  • Check out the town
  • Visit the shops and restaurants nearby

Getting there

Yachats State Recreation Area is located in the heart of Yachats, around 30 minutes drive from Downtown Newport. It is easily accessible from Highway 101. You can find the beach at the west end of 2nd Street Yachats.

The beach is open for day use all year round. You must walk down the steep trail on the viewing deck to get to the beach and the tide pool area.

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