Discover The Best Activities In Rockaway Beach Oregon

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon

Exploring Rockaway Beach, Oregon can be overwhelming with so many activities to choose from. Trust me, it’s easy to feel lost in all the options. But after spending time in this charming coastal town and doing some digging, I’ve got you covered.

This guide will walk you through the best things to do in Rockaway Beach, from outdoor adventures to local eats. So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and let’s discover the hidden gems of this Oregon Coast treasure together.

You’ll be planning your trip before you know it!

Key Takeaways

  • Rockaway Beach boasts 7 miles of sandy shoreline perfect for beachcombing, kite flying, and watching sunsets.
  • Popular attractions include Kelly’s Brighton Marina for crabbing, the International Police Museum, and the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.
  • Annual events like the Kite Festival in August and Pirate Festival in June offer family-friendly entertainment.
  • Local eateries serve fresh seafood, with favorites like chowder at Old Oregon Smoke House and corn dogs at Original Pronto Pup.
  • Visitors can choose from various accommodations including hotels, vacation rentals, and campgrounds near the beach.

Exploring Rockaway Beach

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon - A seagull perched on driftwood with waves crashing - serene day at Rockaway Beach.

We love exploring Rockaway Beach! It’s a charming spot on the Oregon Coast with plenty to see and do. From its seven miles of sandy shores to its quaint downtown, this small town offers a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

Top attractions in the town

Rockaway Beach offers a wealth of attractions for those seeking a quiet coastal getaway. Let’s explore some of the top spots that make this small Oregon town a hidden gem.

  1. Rockaway Beach Wayside: This seven-mile stretch of sandy shoreline is perfect for beachcombing, kite flying, and watching stunning sunsets. The beach access points are well-maintained, making it easy for visitors of all ages to enjoy the Pacific Ocean views.
  2. Kelly’s Brighton Marina: A favorite among locals and tourists alike, this marina offers crabbing adventures and fresh seafood. You can rent gear, buy bait, and even have your catch cooked on-site for a true Oregon coast experience.
  3. International Police Museum: This unique attraction houses an impressive collection of law enforcement memorabilia from around the world. It’s a fascinating stop for history buffs and anyone interested in learning about police work through the ages.
  4. Cedar Wetlands Preserve: Nature lovers will appreciate this serene area filled with native plants and wildlife. The boardwalk trail provides an easy way to explore the wetlands without disturbing the delicate ecosystem.
  5. Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad: Take a step back in time with a ride on this historic railroad. The scenic journey offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is a relaxing way to see more of the area.
  6. Rockaway Big Tree Trailhead: This short but rewarding hike leads to an ancient Sitka spruce, estimated to be over 500 years old. It’s a great option for those looking to stretch their legs and connect with nature.
  7. Little White Church Antiques: Housed in a charming historic building, this antique shop is a treasure trove for collectors and casual browsers alike. It’s the perfect place to find a unique souvenir from your Rockaway Beach visit.
  8. Saint Mary’s By the Sea: This picturesque Catholic church, built in 1914, is worth a visit for its beautiful architecture and peaceful surroundings. It’s a lovely spot for quiet reflection or simply admiring the craftsmanship of a bygone era.

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon – Nearby points of interest

We’re excited to share some fantastic nearby points of interest around Rockaway Beach, Oregon. These spots offer a perfect blend of natural beauty and small-town charm for those seeking quieter destinations.

  1. Nehalem Bay State Park: Just a short drive north, this park boasts miles of sandy beaches, hiking trails, and a campground. It’s ideal for bird watching, crabbing, and kayaking in the bay.
  2. Manhattan Beach State Recreation Site: This hidden gem lies about three miles south of Rockaway Beach. It’s less crowded and offers great views of Twin Rocks.
  3. Tillamook Bay: Head south to explore this large, shallow bay known for its excellent clamming and crabbing opportunities. The nearby town of Garibaldi is worth a visit too.
  4. Cape Meares Lighthouse: This historic lighthouse, built in 1890, sits on a scenic headland about 30 minutes south. The site offers stunning ocean views and short hiking trails.
  5. Oswald West State Park: Located north of Rockaway Beach, this park features lush forests, secluded beaches, and the popular Short Sand Beach, a favorite among surfers.
  6. Hug Point State Recreation Site: This unique beach area showcases tide pools, sea caves, and a seasonal waterfall. It’s a great spot for beachcombing and exploring at low tide.
  7. Cannon Beach: While more touristy, this charming town is worth a visit for its iconic Haystack Rock and art galleries. It’s about an hour’s drive north of Rockaway Beach.
  8. Manzanita Beach: This quiet, three-mile stretch of sand offers a more laid-back beach experience compared to busier coastal towns. It’s perfect for long walks and stunning sunsets.

Transportation options

Getting to Rockaway Beach is a breeze with several transport options. We can take The Wave, Tillamook County’s bus system, which connects us to nearby towns and attractions along Highway 101.

For those flying in, the Port of Tillamook Bay Airport is the nearest air hub. Train enthusiasts will enjoy the scenic ride on the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad.

If we’re coming from Portland, it’s an easy 85-mile drive west. For a unique experience, we might consider arriving by water through the Port of Garibaldi. These diverse travel choices make Rockaway Beach accessible for all types of visitors, whether we’re looking for convenience or a bit of adventure en route to this charming coastal town.

Best Small Towns in Oregon

Oregon boasts charming small towns that offer a quieter pace of life and unique experiences. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best small towns in Oregon for those seeking a peaceful getaway or a new place to call home.

  1. Astoria: This coastal gem sits at the mouth of the Columbia River. It’s known for its Victorian-era homes, maritime heritage, and the iconic Astoria Column.
  2. Hood River: Nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s famous for windsurfing, hiking, and its fruit orchards.
  3. Jacksonville: This historic gold rush town in southern Oregon is now a National Historic Landmark. It’s home to beautiful Victorian architecture and the Britt Music Festival.
  4. Joseph: Located in the Wallowa Mountains, Joseph is an artists’ haven. It’s surrounded by stunning natural beauty and features bronze foundries and galleries.
  5. Yachats: This small coastal village offers dramatic ocean views and excellent hiking trails. It’s a perfect spot for storm watching and exploring tide pools.
  6. Sisters: With its Old West-style facades, Sisters is a gateway to the Cascade Mountains. It hosts the annual Sisters Quilt Show and offers great skiing nearby.
  7. Cannon Beach: Known for its iconic Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach is a picturesque coastal town. It’s filled with art galleries, boutique shops, and beautiful beaches.
  8. Baker City: This eastern Oregon town preserves its gold rush history. It’s home to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and beautiful Victorian buildings.
  9. Silverton: Often called Oregon’s Garden City, Silverton is home to the Oregon Garden. It’s also the gateway to Silver Falls State Park, known for its stunning waterfalls.
  10. Florence: This coastal town is known for its historic Old Town district and nearby sand dunes. It’s a great place for crabbing, fishing, and enjoying fresh seafood.

Activities and Events in Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach buzzes with fun all year round. From beach bonfires to kite festivals, there’s always something exciting happening. We’ve got the scoop on the best outdoor adventures, local eats, and annual events that’ll make your visit unforgettable….

Outdoor adventures

We love exploring the great outdoors in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Our favorite activities combine natural beauty with excitement and relaxation.

  • Hiking trails: We enjoy scenic walks through lush forests and along coastal cliffs. The Twin Rocks Trail offers breathtaking views of the famous rock formations.
  • Kite flying: The steady ocean breezes make Rockaway Beach perfect for colorful kites. We often see families flying kites together on the wide, sandy beach.
  • Whale watching: During migration seasons, we spot gray whales from shore. The best times are December-January and March-June when whales pass close to the coast.
  • Beach bonfires: Nothing beats gathering around a crackling fire as the sun sets. We roast marshmallows and swap stories under the stars.
  • Fishing: Whether from the shore or on a charter boat, fishing is popular here. We’ve caught salmon, rockfish, and crab in the productive waters.
  • Tandem biking: We love pedaling beach cruisers along the flat, 7-mile stretch of sand. It’s a fun way to take in the ocean views.
  • Mini golf: For a change of pace, we play a round at the local putt-putt course. It’s great for all ages and skill levels.

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon – Annual festivals and events

Rockaway Beach comes alive with exciting events throughout the year. Our small coastal town offers a variety of festivals and celebrations that showcase our community spirit and natural beauty.

  1. Kite Festival (August): This colorful event fills the sky with kites of all shapes and sizes. Live music, food vendors, and kite competitions create a festive atmosphere. Kids can join kite-building classes to craft their own flying creations.
  2. Fourth of July Celebration: Our patriotic parade marches down the main street, featuring local groups and floats. As night falls, a dazzling fireworks show lights up the beach, reflecting off the Pacific Ocean.
  3. Pirate Festival (June): Swashbuckling fun takes over Rockaway Beach for a weekend. Costume contests, treasure hunts, and mock sea battles bring out the buccaneer in everyone.
  4. Rocktoberfest (October): We celebrate fall with this Bavarian-inspired festival. Craft beer tastings, traditional German food, and live polka music create a lively atmosphere on the Oregon coast.
  5. Holiday Tree Lighting (December): The town gathers to kick off the holiday season. Carolers sing as the community Christmas tree bursts into light, followed by hot cocoa and cookie decorating.
  6. Crab Races (February): A quirky local tradition, these races pit local Dungeness crabs against each other. Proceeds benefit marine conservation efforts.
  7. Beach Cleanup Day (April): We take pride in our coastline with this annual event. Volunteers gather to remove debris from the beach, followed by a community picnic.
  8. Sandcastle Contest (July): Amateur and professional sand sculptors compete to create stunning works of art on our beach. Spectators vote for their favorites in various categories.

Local restaurants and food

We love exploring the local food scene in Rockaway Beach. Here’s our guide to some of the best eateries and dishes you’ll find in this charming coastal town:

  1. Old Oregon Smoke House: A must-visit for seafood lovers. Their fish and chips are legendary, but don’t miss out on their oysters, chowder, and crab melts.
  2. Original Pronto Pup: Home of the corn dog’s invention in the late 1930s. Grab one of these crispy, battered hot dogs on a stick for a true taste of Oregonian history.
  3. Barview Jetty Taqueria: Fresh Mexican fare with a coastal twist. Try their fish tacos for a perfect blend of local flavors.
  4. Beach Bakeshop: Start your day right with freshly baked pastries and strong coffee. Their cinnamon rolls are a local favorite.
  5. El Trio Loco III: Authentic Mexican cuisine in generous portions. Their burritos and enchiladas are crowd-pleasers.
  6. Grumpy’s Cafe: Don’t let the name fool you – this place serves up smiles with its hearty breakfast options and friendly service.
  7. Kelly’s Brighton Marina: For the freshest crab, this is the spot. You can even catch your own if you’re feeling adventurous.
  8. Lakeside Hideaway Restaurant: Offers a cozy atmosphere with comfort food classics. Their burgers are particularly popular.
  9. Littoral Bar: A newer addition to the scene, serving craft cocktails and small plates. Perfect for a relaxed evening out.
  10. New Taste of India Food Truck: Brings spice to the coast with its flavorful curries and naan bread.
  11. Sassy Express Thai Fusion Food Cart: Offers a unique blend of Thai and Pacific Northwest flavors. Their pad thai is a local hit.
  12. Upper Crust Pizza: For those pizza cravings, this place delivers with its crispy crusts and generous toppings.

Accommodations in Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach offers a range of places to stay for every taste and budget. From cozy beach cottages to modern hotels, visitors can find the perfect spot to rest after a day of coastal fun.

Hotels and motels

Rockaway Beach offers a variety of cozy lodging options for visitors seeking a peaceful coastal getaway. We’ve compiled a list of top hotels and motels to help you find the perfect spot for your stay.

  • Inn at Rockaway Beach Unit 7: This charming inn provides a homey atmosphere with ocean views. Its central location makes it easy to explore the town on foot.
  • The Surfside Resort: Boasting an average score of 8.0, this resort offers comfortable rooms and amenities. Guests love its beachfront location and friendly staff.
  • Silver Sands Motel: A budget-friendly option with clean rooms and basic amenities. It’s ideal for travelers who plan to spend most of their time exploring the area.
  • Tradewinds Motel: This motel features updated rooms and a convenient location near local attractions. Many guests appreciate its quiet setting.
  • Sea Haven Motel & Guest House: A family-run establishment known for its warm hospitality and well-maintained rooms. It’s a great choice for those seeking a personal touch.
  • Ocean Break: This property offers vacation rentals with stunning ocean views. It’s perfect for groups or families wanting more space and privacy.
  • King Crab Retreat – Combo: A unique lodging option that combines comfort with coastal charm. It’s ideal for those looking for a home-away-from-home experience.
  • King Tide: This property provides modern amenities and easy beach access. Guests often praise its cleanliness and attentive management.
  • Driftwood: A rustic-chic option that captures the essence of coastal living. Its decor and ambiance reflect the laid-back vibe of Rockaway Beach.
  • Beach Bliss: True to its name, this lodging offers a blissful stay with its comfortable rooms and proximity to the beach. It’s a favorite among return visitors.

Vacation rentals

Vacation rentals in Rockaway Beach offer a home-away-from-home experience for visitors seeking a peaceful coastal getaway. We’ve compiled a list of top options to help you find the perfect spot for your Oregon coast adventure.

  • Carshell’s Condo #1: This cozy unit provides ocean views and easy beach access. It’s ideal for couples or small families looking for a quiet retreat.
  • Whale Watcher Condo #2: As the name suggests, this rental boasts prime whale-watching opportunities. Its large windows frame stunning views of the Pacific.
  • Koral Retreat: A spacious option for larger groups, this house features modern amenities and a short walk to the shore.
  • Sea Star Rockaway: This charming cottage offers a blend of coastal decor and comfort, perfect for those wanting a true beach town feel.
  • Beach Bliss: Living up to its name, this rental provides a serene atmosphere with its calming color scheme and beachfront location.
  • Salty Air Oasis: Embrace the coastal lifestyle in this well-appointed home, complete with a wraparound deck for enjoying the ocean breeze.
  • Towne Cottage Rockaway Beach: Situated in the heart of town, this quaint cottage allows easy access to local shops and eateries while maintaining a peaceful ambiance.

Campgrounds and RV parks

We’ve got some great options for camping and RV stays in Rockaway Beach. Let’s explore the top spots where you can park your rig or pitch a tent for a relaxing coastal getaway.

  • Valley’s Edge RV Park: This park offers a quiet retreat near the beach. You’ll find well-maintained sites with full hookups and easy access to town amenities.
  • Bayshore RV Park & Guest Suites: Boasting beachfront sites, this park is perfect for ocean lovers. Full-site hookups make your stay comfortable, while the sound of waves lulls you to sleep.
  • Echoes of the Sea: A versatile option with RV spaces, campsites, and beach-themed guest rooms. It’s ideal for groups with mixed lodging needs.
  • Timberlake Campground & RV Park: Set in a forested 22-acre park, this spot offers a more secluded feel. It’s great for those seeking a balance of nature and nearby beach access.
  • The Waterfront at Potlatch: This waterfront motel and cabin resort also welcomes RVs. You’ll enjoy stunning views and easy water access.
  • Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman: While not in Rockaway Beach, this nearby park spans over 500 acres. It features RV sites, campsites, and mountain bike-friendly trails for the adventurous.

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon – Insider Tips and Recommendations

Our insider tips will help you make the most of your Rockaway Beach visit. We’ve got the scoop on hidden spots and local favorites that’ll take your trip from good to great.

Must-try local foods

Rockaway Beach offers a delightful array of local culinary treasures. We’ve compiled a list of must-try foods that capture the essence of this charming coastal town.

  1. Old Oregon Smoke House Chowder: This creamy, flavorful soup is a local favorite. Packed with fresh seafood and rich spices, it warms the soul on cool beach days.
  2. Original Pronto Pup Corn Dogs: A Rockaway Beach staple since 1939. These crispy, golden-brown treats offer a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors.
  3. Fresh-caught Seafood: Local restaurants serve up bold dishes featuring just-caught fish. Try the grilled salmon or halibut for a true taste of the Pacific Northwest.
  4. Thai Fusion Seafood: Several eateries offer unique Thai-inspired seafood dishes. The blend of aromatic spices and fresh ocean fare creates unforgettable flavors.
  5. Artisanal Pizza: Local pizzerias use regional ingredients to craft delicious pies. Wood-fired ovens give these pizzas a distinctly smoky flavor.
  6. Mexican Seafood Tacos: Many spots serve up tasty fish tacos with a south-of-the-border twist. Fresh salsa and locally-sourced fish make these a must-try.
  7. Indian-inspired Seafood Curry: Some restaurants offer innovative Indian-fusion dishes. The combination of aromatic spices and fresh seafood is truly unique.
  8. Local Craft Beer: Pair your meal with a pint from nearby microbreweries. These beers often incorporate local ingredients for a true taste of Oregon.

Hidden gems to visit

We’ve uncovered some hidden treasures in Rockaway Beach that many visitors overlook. These off-the-beaten-path spots offer unique experiences and stunning views for those seeking quieter adventures.

  • Lake Lytle County Boat Ramp: This serene spot is perfect for kayaking. The calm waters provide a peaceful escape from the bustling beach scene. We love watching the local wildlife while paddling across the glassy surface.
  • Manhattan Beach State Park: Just north of Rockaway, this wide sandy beach is often less crowded. It’s an ideal place for long walks, beachcombing, or flying kites from Flamingo Jim’s nearby shop.
  • South Jetty of Nehalem Bay: A great spot for picnicking and fishing. The jetty offers excellent bird-watching opportunities and panoramic views of the Pacific. On clear days, we can see all the way to Cape Lookout.
  • Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad: From May to September, we can hop aboard this 46-mile historic railroad. The journey takes us through lush coastal forests and along scenic shorelines, offering a unique perspective of the area.
  • Old Oregon Smokehouse: This unassuming eatery serves some of the best seafood on the northern Oregon coast. Their smoked salmon and clam chowder are local favorites we always recommend to visitors.
  • Pronto Pups: For a taste of nostalgia, we head to this iconic corndog stand. It’s been a Rockaway Beach staple since 1946, serving up crispy, golden corndogs that transport us back in time.
  • Hotel Garibaldi: While not in Rockaway Beach itself, this charming hotel in nearby Garibaldi offers a glimpse into the area’s rich history. The building dates back to 1907 and provides ocean views that can’t be beaten.

Best times to visit

Summer brings the best weather to Rockaway Beach. From June to August, we enjoy mild temperatures and less rain. It’s perfect for beach activities and outdoor adventures. But if you prefer a quieter visit, September to May offers a different charm.

The off-season lets us experience the town’s peaceful side. Winter even has its own appeal, with storm watching and scenic views that take our breath away.

Local events guide

We’ve got the inside scoop on Rockaway Beach’s local events. Our quarterly newsletter keeps folks in the know about upcoming happenings. The Fourth of July bash is a must-see, featuring a lively parade and dazzling fireworks show.

In August, the Kite Festival takes over the town with colorful displays, live tunes, tasty grub, and friendly kite competitions.

Most events unfold at Rockaway Beach Wayside, the town’s prime gathering spot. From beach cleanups to art fairs, there’s always something brewing in this cozy coastal community. We recommend signing up for the newsletter to stay on top of the latest festivities and avoid missing out on the fun.

Towns on Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast boasts charming towns that offer a perfect escape from bustling city life. Here’s a list of some quieter, smaller coastal towns worth exploring:

  1. Cannon Beach: Known for its iconic Haystack Rock, this artsy town features galleries, boutiques, and stunning beaches. Visitors can enjoy tidepooling, beachcombing, and hiking in nearby Ecola State Park.
  2. Yachats: This tiny village offers dramatic ocean views and access to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. We love its laid-back vibe, local seafood restaurants, and nearby attractions like Thor’s Well and Devil’s Churn.
  3. Depoe Bay: Called the “Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast,” this small harbor town is great for spotting gray whales. Its Spouting Horn, a natural saltwater fountain, is another unique attraction.
  4. Bandon: Famous for its beautiful beaches dotted with sea stacks, Bandon offers golf courses, art galleries, and fresh seafood. The Coquille River Lighthouse and Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint are must-visit spots.
  5. Florence: This coastal town sits at the mouth of the Siuslaw River and is known for its historic Old Town district. Nearby attractions include the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and Sea Lion Caves.
  6. Manzanita: This quiet beach town offers seven miles of sandy shoreline and easy access to Neahkahnie Mountain for hiking. Its main street features local shops and eateries perfect for leisurely exploration.
  7. Newport: While larger than some others on this list, Newport maintains a small-town feel. It’s home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and a bustling bayfront with sea lion-watching opportunities.
  8. Gold Beach: Located at the mouth of the Rogue River, this town offers jet boat tours, fishing, and beautiful beaches. Nearby attractions include Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor and Otter Point State Recreation Site.

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon Conclusion

Rockaway Beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and small-town charm. We’ve explored its sandy shores, scenic trails, and unique attractions. From whale watching to kite flying festivals, there’s something for everyone here.

Our journey through this coastal gem reminds us why Oregon’s seaside towns captivate visitors year after year. So pack your bags and come discover the magic of Rockaway Beach for yourself!

Things To Do In Rockaway Beach Oregon FAQs

1. What are the top attractions in Rockaway Beach, Oregon?

Rockaway Beach offers many ocean-view spots. The beach resort area is perfect for relaxation. Visitors can explore Washington Park or take a hop-on hop-off tour. The area’s history, including the Siletz Indians, adds depth to your visit.

2. How can I learn about the history of Rockaway Beach?

Discover the rich past of Rockaway Beach. Learn about the Siletz Indians who once lived here. Visit local museums or join guided tours. provides helpful information about the area’s history.

3. Are there any nearby places worth visiting from Rockaway Beach?

Yes! Pacific City is a short drive away. It offers different beach experiences. You can also explore other coastal towns. Each place has its own charm and activities.

4. What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Rockaway Beach?

Rockaway Beach has plenty of outdoor fun. Enjoy beach walks, surfing, or building sandcastles. Hike nearby trails for stunning views. Fish in the ocean or nearby lakes. The options are endless for nature lovers.

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