Florence, Oregon, beach access locations are genuinely one of a kind. Situated along Highway 101, Florence provides an incredible environment for exploring all kinds of beaches. Do you want surfing? Florence has it. Do you want horseback riding? Florence delivers it. Are you interested in whale watching? Beachcombing? Lighthouses? Sea lion caves? Long romantic strolls during a sunset? Florence has all of that.
Florence has been called, “Oregon’s Coastal Playground,” and for good reasons. Though there are many beaches along the Oregon coast that we think everyone should visit, we must admit that Florence-area beaches are superb, and our favorite. Once you visit them, they’ll be your favorite too. Thankfully, they are public and very low cost (if any cost at all), so keep reading to discover where you can find the best beach access in Florence, Oregon.
Strawberry Hill Wayside
This beach boasts a glorious mix of ledges, tide pools, rocks made of basalt, and strong, powerful waves. It’s the place for encountering all sorts of sea creatures. The tide pools allow viewers to discover many different creatures from the sea. You’ll also most likely be able to see seals and sea lions lounging around, as well as various birds. If you’re into wildlife, you’ll for sure want to visit Strawberry Hill Wayside.
Heceta Beach County Park
We recommend this beach access point the most to our customers. This is ideal for ease of access (no sand dunes to climb or tricky navigating). This beach is perfect for looking for sand dollars, kite flying, sandcastle making, or whale watching. It’s a long straight beach where you can walk walk walk.
Sand Master Park
The world’s first sandboard park and ground zero for the international sport of sandboarding. Great fun for families and yes, for all ages. Don’t expect on your first visit to shred the dunes or catch big air like the pros who work here and teach the lessons. But rent a board for a day or two, take a lesson, and hit the slopes (the ones at the shop or further south in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area) at your own pace.
Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park
This state park offers a great day use area, and it’s a perfect stopping point for any road tripper journeying along the Oregon Coast. You’ll be able to enjoy five miles of glorious sandy beaches. Perfect for whale watching, collecting seashells, kite flying, having a picnic with the family, and gazing at other wildlife in and around the beach. This state park, east of Highway 101, offers camping sites as well. It’s only about a 20-minute drive from Florence, so be sure to stop and enjoy the beach.
Harbor Vista County Park
This park is much more than a camping area. Harbor Vista boasts lofty views of where the Siuslaw River meets the Pacific Ocean. It is also the access point to the North Jetty Beach which is frequented often by surfers and kiteborders. If you’re a surfer, you’ll definitely want to get in the water at Harbor Vista and catch some waves. Once you’ve taken in as many waves as your heart desires, relax and enjoy the view from your campsite. The sights here are seriously priceless, and the beach is so easy to access for not only surfing but also for collecting seashells and strolling. North Jetty Beach is also famous for beautiful driftwood and for the driftwood forts made by other visitors.
South Jetty Beach
The colorful canopies of expert kiteboarders are a must-see as they challenge the many breakers and go airborne. South Jetty Beach is another favorite for beachcombers, sandcastle builders, surfers, wakeboarders, and kiteboarders. To get to this favorite spot, drive about a mile south of the Siuslaw River Bridge and turn west on Sand Dune Road/South Jetty Road. As you approach the waterline you’ll find a number of turnouts for parking, and small docks and jetties for fishing and crabbing.
This big dunes between the highway and the ocean is also a favorite spot for ATV riders to access the northern tip of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and drive the dunes southbound for nearly 40 miles.
Imagine sand dunes that are 500 feet tall. Can you picture it? Those dunes aren’t just imaginary, and you’ll find them at Winchester Bay. Named The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for a reason, because there are lots of recreational activities available. There are opportunities for hiking and photography, too. These famous and amazing dunes are a must do.
We’ve already mentioned sandboarding at Winchester Bay, but sandboarding is the most spectacular at Sand Master Park. This park boasts having the first sandboard park in the world. You have to experience it to believe it. Sandboard lessons, as well as rentals, are available for purchase. You can also rent sleds and surfboards, or even take a dune buggy ride. For those who are the less adventurous type, this park has activities for you too, such as glass blowing and sand sculpting. What else will they begin to offer? You can visit their website for more information here.
Heceta Head State Park
If you’re interested in intriguing lighthouses, then you’ll need to make a stop at this state park. Heceta Head Lighthouse was built in 1893 and has the brightest light on the Oregon coast. It’s so bright that it reaches 21 miles across the ocean. Tours of the lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s quarters are available seasonally. This state park (a quick 11 miles north of Florence) offers coastal hiking on the 550 acres it has joined with Devil’s Elbow State Park. This beach access is perfect for history buffs as well as all beach lovers. Check out the amazing and beautiful Cape Creek Bridge towering more than 100 feet above the beach.
Calling all horseback riders. You might be asking, “Horseback riding on the beach?” Yes, it’s a real thing. We promise. If you head north from Florence, for seven miles, you’ll be sure to run into this unique Florence, Oregon, beach access point. You can enjoy camping on the beach or at the nearby Horse Creek campground. Equestrians have a specific trail to ride on so as not to bring any harm to the wildlife. Even if you’re not a horse person, this is still an excellent spot to experience the Oregon coast. You’ll have the opportunity to beach comb, fly some kites, or even windsurf.
We could continue naming beach after wonderful beach, but we don’t want to overwhelm you, so we’ll leave you with these fantastic places to find beach access in Florence, Oregon. Florence, as you’ve discovered, has beaches for all types of people. However, if you need any more recommendations, we are available to provide them for you at any time.
Before beginning your travel through Florence, be sure to look into our Old Town Inn. We’d love to have you stay with us as you experience the delights of Florence beaches. Experiencing the beaches of Florence isn’t quite complete unless you stay in Florence for one or two days. Be sure and stay with us. You will love it. And you will understand why the Florence area is called Oregon’s Coastal Playground!