Life In The Oregon Coast Tidepools

oregon coast tide pools

There is so much fun to be had exploring Oregon Coast tidepools. Imagine a zoo with no cages, barriers between you and the animals and no entrance fee. Not to mention, the lack of over-priced food!

Oregon tide pools are amazing to explore because of the vast amounts of life within each one. Life that is colorful, vibrant and exciting.

What types of things can you see in a tide pool? Well, I'm glad you asked. Life is going to vary in each one and every tide pool is as different from one another as a snowflake. 

Some of the interesting animals you will find are Hermit Crabs, Giant Green Sea Anemones, Purple Sea Urchins, Sunflower Sea Stars, Blue Top Snails and so much more.

Some of the creatures are so strange that it's hard to believe that they are actually alive and not a figment of someone's bizarre imagination. 

Here are some important things to remember when you're out visiting the Oregon Coast tide pools:

  • Watch where you step. Many of the sea creatures hide under marine plants such as seaweed in an effort to avoid the heat of the sun and their predators.

    Rocks can be slippery and that's another good reason to step gingerly. Bring two pair of sturdy tennis shoes. One to keep you from slipping on the rocks and the other to change into when you get the first pair wet. ;)

  • Exploring some of the Oregon Coast tidepools can put you in the direct path of waves, bluffs and unstable headlands. Always be aware of where you are and what is happening around you. I don't want to lose you! ;)

oregon coast tide pooling
  • Where appropriate clothing for the season and expect to get wet. If you end up getting soaked, dry off as soon as you can. Dress in layers and wear a nice pair of sturdy, tennis shoes or non-slip boots.

  • Don't ever pry an animal from a rock. They attach themselves there to keep the ocean from sweeping them out to sea. If you pull them off, you're endangering them. Also, be sure to return any animal to the exact place that you found them.

  • If you look at animals that have found shelter under rocks or seaweed, make sure to recover them so that they stay protected from the sun's heat.

  • If you spot harbor seals and their pups and sea birds and their young, stay a good distance from them; at least 50-feet away. Enjoy them, but try not to disturb them.

  • Oregon Coast tidepools are best explored at least one hour before low tide. You can download a tide table guide in PDF format from my Guide Book section.

  • The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations protect tidepool creatures. Check the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations (free at most stores selling sporting goods) for rules about collecting creatures.

    It's always best to just bring a camera and take some shots, leaving the animals alone so that others can enjoy them.

Great Spots To Search For Oregon Coast Tidepool Life

tide pools

Some of the Oregon Coast tidepools at the places listed below are a bit harder and some a bit easier than others to get to.

That said, they are all accessible. 

When you're heading to tide pools that may be a bit off the beaten path, be extremely careful.

Rocks can be slippery and the waves can rush in when you least expect it.

  • Ecola State Park - Two miles north of Cannon Beach. Just take Hwy 101 to Cannon Beach and follow the signs.

  • Haystack Rock - Located in Cannon Beach. Just look for the largest rock you can see. ;)

  • Oswald West State Park - 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, along Hwy 101.

  • Cape Meares - 10 miles west of Tillamook on the south side of the Cape.

  • Maxwell Point - Located next to Oceanside, 9 miles west of Tillamook.

  • Cape Lookout - 18 miles south of Tillamook, on the south side of the Cape. Just take the Pacific City Loop off Hwy 101.

  • Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area - This is one mile north of Pacific City. Take Hwy 101 18 miles north of Lincoln City and then turn west on the Three Capes Scenic route.

  • Otter Rock - Take 101 to the Devil's Punchbowl, 9 miles north of Newport. Turn off between mileposts 132 and 133.

  • Yaquina Head - Four miles north of Newport. Turn west off 101 at Lighthouse Road in Agate Beach.

  • Seal Rock State Recreation Area - 12 miles south of Newport, off of Hwy 101.

  • Yachats State Recreation Area - North of the Yachats River. Take 101 and turn west on 2nd Street or Ocean Drive.

  • Cape Perpetua - Follow 101 two miles south of Yachats. The Visitor's Center is between mileposts 168 and 169.

  • Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint - These accessible Oregon Coast tidepools are located three miles south of Yachats, off of Hwy 101.

  • Bob Creek to Bray Point - This adjoins the southern boundary of Neptune State Park. Access to the intertidal area is south of Bob Creek.

  • Sunset Bay State Park - Nine miles south of Coos Bay and less than ½ mile south of the Cape Arago Lighthouse.

  • Cape Arago State Park - 11 miles south of Coos Bay.

  • Five Mile Point - To find these Oregon Coast tide pools, you need to take Seven Devils Road 13 miles south of Coos Bay, off of 101. Use the public access road at Whiskey Run Beach.

  • Coquille Point - Located just west of Bandon.

  • Cape Blanco State Park - About 10 miles northwest of Port Orford. Turn off 101 north of Port Orford and simply follow the signs.

  • Port Orford - Once in Port Orford, go west on 9th Street off of Hwy 101. The main inter-tidal area is north of the boat dock.

  • Rocky Point - Located three miles south of Port Orford, off 101.

  • Arizona Ranch Beach - 12 miles south of Port Orford, adjacent to the Arizona Ranch Campground. There is a fee to get into the campground where the Oregon Coast tidepools are accessible from.

  • Lone Ranch Beach - Five mile north of Brookings, off of Hwy 101.

  • Harris Beach State Recreation Area - Just north of Brookings and west of the campground.

  • Winchuck Beach - Access is from the road parallel to the north side of the Winchuck River. This inter-tidal area is located ¾ of a mile north of the parking lot.

There is a nice, long list of the best places to view the awesome sea creatures that make up the Oregon Coast tidepools. I'd like to thank the Oregon State Parks for some of this great information. Grab your coat, bring a camera with you and have a fantastic time! ;)

sea gull

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