Super Scenic Stops
By Erin J. Bernard
Published: 06/21/2016  Updated: 08/15/2019
Photo by Beth Wise
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Yaquina Head: The Awesome Outcropping

This rocky promontory, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area offers the best year-round wildlife viewing on the Central Oregon Coast.

Casting about for the finest wildlife-viewing the Central Oregon Coast has to offer? Park yourself along this rocky promontory, which extends a brisk, foggy mile into the Pacific Ocean and plays host to a truly fantastic year-round show. Each winter and spring gray whales traveling to and from their Bering Sea feeding grounds pause to refuel in the headland’s shallow waters. Closer to shore, harbor seals vie year round for prime lounging spots atop nearby islands. Gulls, murres and cormorants of all kinds also flock to the area to nest and nurture their young, and they’re joined in summer by swallows, pelicans, vultures and bald eagles. At low tide, the tide pools of Yaquina’s Cobble Beach are bursting with marine life, including urchins, anemones and brilliantly cast sea stars. Splash around, then take a moment to listen closely: the beach’s round basalt rocks are said to produce an “applause-like” sound when the water washes over them. With a natural spread like this waiting right at your fingertips, you’ll soon be clapping, too.

Find It:
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is located a scenic three-mile drive north of Newport along Lighthouse Drive.

Visitor Tips:
Save time for a peek at the nearby Yaquina Head Lighthouse (its Oregon’s tallest) and the Interpretive Center, each worthy of a visit their own right. Entrance fee is $7.
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Super Scenic Stops