See Whales, Wildflowers and Scenic “Wows!” on the Southern Oregon Coast

One of dozens of gorgeous beaches on this scenic road trip (this one near Brookings)
Enjoy pints after a day of scenic hikes at Chetco Brewing in Brookings. Image by Erik Urdahl

It only takes 30 minutes to drive between Gold Beach and Brookings, Oregon, just North of the California border, but this stretch of coastline is so spectacular it deserves a few days (or a week) to get off the road, down a trail and onto one of its secluded beaches. Lingering on this stretch of the Pacific you’ll have most of the coast to yourself, with magical coves, dramatic overlooks and rainforest capes aplenty. Sweet spots to stay, great craft beer and good eats make for a fun getaway along one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful stretches of the entire West Coast.  

Scenic “Wows!” begin as soon as you head out of Gold Beach. Just south of downtown, explore Hunter Creek and the aptly named Turtle Rock. From the highway wayside you’ll see Turtle Rock and spy Cape Sebastian looming to the south. Soon you’re in the heart of Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor, a good stop for views and hiking. Have your binoculars handy as this is a prime location for spotting whales during their migration seasons (April-June, October-December). 

The 2.7-mile out-and-back, moderate-rated hike from Cape Sebastian’s south lot down to Hunter’s Cove is well worth the trek. Gorgeous vistas give way to thick stands of Sitka spruce rainforest, then to the edge of the rocky cape. Want to go full out? Hike all the way south to Pistol River and watch windsurfers jump and bump the waves at this uncontested best windsurfing spot on the Oregon coast. 

Next up, the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, an epic 12-mile stretch of coastline with multiple vistas and trailheads each more glorious than the last. You can easily spend an entire day exploring just this scenic corridor. Hiking trails connect all of the viewpoints along the way, so you can choose any length of hike you’re up for, or simply car hop between the best lookouts. 

Must stops include Arch Rock Picnic Area, the mysterious Thunder Rock Cove ( at mile marker 345.8), the fairy tale-like Natural Bridges (selfie required!) and trails to secluded China Beach. Pack a picnic and settle in for sunset at the Lone Ranch Picnic Area with easy beach access. 

Tide Pools in Brookings by Erik Urdahl

Near Brookings, put Cape Ferrelo hiking on your must-see list, and don’t miss the teeming tide pools and bird watching at Harris Beach State Park. Wildflower season now through June makes this the perfect time to visit, with blooming rhododendrons, myrtle wood, foxglove and wild iris making those photo stops even prettier. 




Gold Beach: Endicott Gardens Bed & Breakfast Spa Retreat 

Brookings: Harris Beach State Park (Magical campground near sea stacks) 


Gold Beach: Khob Khun Thai Food Cart, Barnacle Bistro 


Chetco Brewing, Misty Mountain Brewing, Arch Rock Brewing 


Epic Kayaking Tours with South Coast Tours 

Bigfoot Blues Fest! At the Brookings Harbor Boardwalk, May 28, 2022 

International Wave/Windsurfing Tour, Pistol River, June 11-19, 2022 


See more Southern Oregon Coast trip ideas at 



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