The Oregon Coast's Dramatically Diverse Landscapes and Ecosystems
By Gary Hayes
Published: 02/01/2011  Updated: 08/15/2019
Photo by Gary Hayes

The Northwest Coast offers a diversity like no other. Here, you'll find rainforests, dune sandscapes, incredible habitats and ecosystems and, of course, unparalleled beauty.

Some of the world's tallest trees tower skyward in the rainforests that border the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Dramatic sea stacks decorate the coastline and immense dunes create miles of surreal sandscapes. Few other places on earth come close to matching the diverse landscapes and ecosystems you can explore on the Pacific Northwest coast. Intertidal areas reveal the fascinating habitats where an incredible diversity of creatures have adapted to survive in and out of the water. Brightly colored sea stars, spiky purple urchins and green tentacled anemones seem to be a cross between bold modern art and the invention of a science fiction writer.

Beaches, bays and estuaries offer some of the world's best bird watching. Capes and headlands, some jutting miles into the churning ocean, are covered with life and are heavenly sculpted evidence of volcanic continent building and the landscape-changing forces of waves, wind and water over millions of years.

All along the Northwest coast you can experience these remarkable landscapes and ecosystems. You can hike the rainforest, traverse gigantic sand dunes and step carefully into the intertidal zone at low tide. Bring your camera. Bring your binoculars. Bring your hiking shoes. Whether you're after non-stop active adventures, just a leisurely walk on the beach or simply enjoying the breathtaking panoramas from endless viewpoints, the Northwest coast offers these experiences to even the most casual visitors.

Enjoy exploring the state parks and public beaches that have preserved these fascinating places and leave it as you found it - perfect.
The Oregon Coast's Dramatically Diverse Landscapes and Ecosystems