Outdoor Activities at and around Rockaway Beach

The great Oregon outdoors is where Rockaway Beach shines brightest. With our many lakes, miles of uninterrupted beaches, pristine parks and energizing hikes through untamed forests, Rockaway Beach is chock-full of activities that will satisfy every type of outdoor buff on your Oregon beach vacation.

Explore Our Map to Adventure!

Trails • Campsites • Parks • Beaches

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Train rides

Riding the train to Rockaway Beach has been a tradition for families since the 1920s. The train was once the only way to get here, and it would bring families over the mountain to enjoy a summer on the coast. Now, you can experience a taste of this tradition thanks to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

The trip begins south of Rockaway Beach in Garibaldi and stops at the Wayside several times each weekend. The romantic whistle of the steam engine can be heard miles down the road as the train brings carloads of smiling faces to enjoy the beach or catch a bite to eat.

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Whale Watching

Riding the train to Rockaway Beach has been a tradition for families since the 1920s. The train was once the only way to get here, and it would bring families over the mountain to enjoy a summer on the coast. Now, you can experience a taste of this tradition thanks to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

The trip begins south of Rockaway Beach in Garibaldi and stops at the Wayside several times each weekend. The romantic whistle of the steam engine can be heard miles down the road as the train brings carloads of smiling faces to enjoy the beach or catch a bite to eat.

Ready for some whale watching? Plan your Oregon beach vacation today!

Backpacking & Hiking

Grab your backpack, a canteen of water and your sense of adventure! Our town of Rockaway Beach may be small in size, but we more than make up for it with some of the most unique hikes on the coast, including the family-friendly Kilchis Point Reserve in Bay City, the thigh-pumping Neahkahnie Mountain near Manzanita, and a breathtaking wetlands preserve that is home to one of the largest Western Red Cedars in the state.

With a height of 150 feet and a 49 foot circumference, this mammoth cedar holds court at the end of an easy, mile-long hike that winds underneath a towering old-growth forest. A beautiful walking path and boardwalk platform let you enjoy the tree from every angle. The trailhead and the parking lot is on the corner of Highway 101 and Washington Street at the south end of Rockaway Beach.

Seven miles of sandy beach. One of the best Oregon Beach vacations around!

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Getting to Manhattan Beach:

From Hwy 101 head west on Beach Street, located just 500 yards north of NeahKahNie High School on the north end of Rockaway Beach. Go across the railroad tracks and take an immediate left into the Manhattan Beach Wayside. It’s just a short drive to the parking lot.

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Who doesn’t love hunting around the beaches looking for secret treasures in the form of shells, polished trinkets, and glass floats? Nothing is more exciting than finding a whole sand dollar, except maybe finding two or three! Our seven miles of shoreline is packed with rare finds and little beauties that make the perfect souvenir to take home.

Manhattan Beach is home to some of the best beachcombing on the Tillamook Coast. Unique driftwood, seashells, and agates love to wash ashore here, so you never know what you might find. Every trip to this beach is different.

Just remember:

  • Wear appropriate gear, like a jacket or windbreaker, and a good pair of boots. A walking stick and camera are always useful to have around, too.
  • Keep your eyes on the tide at all times. It’s best to check your tide book before going out because while low tide is the best time to beachcomb, you want to give yourself plenty of time to get back before the tide starts coming in
  • Be careful what you remove. It’s OK to take things like agates, discarded sea shells, and driftwood pieces, but if it’s still alive then please leave it be.

Oregon Beach vacations at Rockaway Beach offer wonderful bird watching opportunities!

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Bird Watching at and near Rockaway Beach

The birds love it here just as much as we do! Between the lengthy coastal beaches and rugged forested hills, it’s no wonder so many of our winged friends call this place home. During the summer migration months, more than 200 different species of birds can be spotted along our seven miles of sandy beach.

Many others stay year-round, including seabirds, shorebirds, and even eagles. A common day might include a visit from the banded tail pigeon, surf scoters, buffleheads, and northern pintails. Western sandpipers, black-bellied plovers, sanderlings, and dunlins all mingle together on our beaches, lake shores, and coastal shrubs. Towards the end of the summer keep your eyes peeled for Brown Pelicans.

The miles and miles of unspoiled beach are always a great spot to watch for these winged wonders, however, don’t forget about Lake Lytle, which is also prime bird-watching territory. Keep your eyes peeled for waterfowl, herons, ospreys and even bald eagles. Bring your kayak or canoe for the best vantage points – just remember not to disturb these creatures in their habitat.


Camping means so many different things to different people. But whether your version includes an RV, a yurt in the middle of the woods, or sleeping underneath the stars with the sound of the waves crashing nearby, our small beach town will surely exceed your camping dreams.

Find your perfect camping spot here.


The tastiest seafood is the kind you catch yourself. Rockaway Beach and our neighboring beaches to the North and South are hot to trot for catching razor clams if you have the right tools and a proper license. These clams prefer thick, sandy shorelines and the beach in front of Barview Park is perfect for these little critters to enjoy. Check your local tide book for the next minus tide and get to digging.

If you prefer the delicious delicatessen known as fresh crab, head up north a few miles to Kelly’s Brighton Marina, where you can toss a crab ring off their dock or go for a guided crab excursion on Nehalem Bay. They will even show you how to cook or store your crab, and have all the gear and equipment you could need. What could be better than that?

An overnight option is to stay at Jetty Fishery Marina and RV Park. They have expanded the fishery from an RV park and boat rental facility to include live seafood such as Dungeness crabs and fresh local oysters, and  now feature rental cabins only a few feet from the bay.

Plan your Oregon beach vacation today!

Rockaway Beach has some of the best fishing around! Plan your Oregon beach vacation today!

Fishing near Rockaway Beach

Cast your line into one of our many lakes or rivers for a relaxing, rewarding afternoon. If you brought your boat with you, there are several boat ramps that make it easy and convenient to spend an afternoon fishing or just soaking up the sun.

Lake Lytle on the north end of town is the largest lake – spanning 69 acres and is stocked each year in March with Rainbow Trout. The lake is also home to Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, and Catfish. A public dock directly off of Hwy 101 is available to all fishers, and a boat launch and second dock can be found on the north end of the lake off of 12th& Avenue.

Lake Lytle isn’t the only body of water worth fishing in, either. All of our lakes are fishable if you’re interested in salmon, trout or bass. Be sure to check out Spring Lake, Crescent Lake, Smith Lake, Lake Marie and Nedonna Lake, all scattered throughout our Rockaway Beach community. Make sure you’ve picked up your fishing license in advance.


There is no better way that we know of to enjoy the sights and sounds of our native wildlife than from a kayak. As you glide atop the water, an entire world of fish, clams, sand dollars and other marine life opens up below you. Blue Herons and coastal shorebirds ride the wind above your head and come in for a landing on the calm waters to take a refreshing break.

Lake Lytle and Spring Lake are two favorites spots for visitors and locals in our small beach town, and you will often see kayakers and paddle boarders out enjoying the sunshine. Both lakes offer an easy yet exciting experience if you’ve never kayaked before.

Contact Kayak Tillamook for a guided kayaking experience.

Kite flying

It’s no accident that the largest kite flying contest in the Northwest happens right here in Rockaway Beach. For one, the several miles of flat beaches offer plenty of space for your kite to stretch out and explore the wind with no obstructions. And on top of that, the historical Twin Rocks create a magical background for which your kite can twist and twirl.

If you prefer just to watch these beauties dance in the wind, the Rockaway Beach Kite Festival every May is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the show. This fun family activity has been delighting folks of all ages for decades as giant inflatables and colorful kites of all sizes take to the skies.

The Wayside is right in the heart of Rockaway Beach and adjacent to the red caboose – home of the Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce. Located off Hwy 101 on First Avenue, this is also a family-friendly, firework-free zone on the 4th of July.


The parks in our tiny town of Rockaway Beach are as visited and well-loved as our wide-open beaches. Phyllis Baker Park on Coral Street is a favorite spot for family reunions, barbecues, and large gatherings thanks to the amply covered picnic area, a large grassy field, and a whimsical playground structure. This park hosts several community events throughout the year, including the Annual Dachshund Races every 4th of July, an Easter Egg Hunt in the spring and the annual Old-Fashioned Carnival in the Park.

From Hwy 101, head East on Third Avenue at the post office and then North on Coral, following the signs for City Park.

The Rockaway Beach Wayside is another spot you don’t want to miss – both for the remarkable playground and historical relevance. The playground is contained inside a nice fenced area to keep the little ones from running out into the parking lot. It’s magically-shaped like a pirate ship and you can even see the sails flapping in the wind as it sets sail for the great Pacific Ocean. For you history buffs – the salt water swimming pool from the bygone Rockaway Beach Natatorium…. is still located underneath the wayside. Our stories go back a long time – in this case, nearly 100 years.


The basic ingredients to any decent sandcastle are, of course, sand and water. It’s a good thing we have plenty of both! Add a couple of shovels, buckets, a dozen seashells and a whole lot of imagination and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

Remember, the key is to keep your sand as wet as possible, as wet sand can be molded and stabilized and dry sand cannot. You don’t want to build too close to the ocean though, so try digging a hole until you reach water and using that to replenish your water supply.

Barview Jetty and Nedonna Beach are the closest intertidal areas, offering excellent places to find tide pools at low tide.

Tide Pooling

Tide pooling offers a rare chance to see below the ocean’s surface without having to get in the water. A low or minus tide is the best time to trek out to the rockier parts of the beach and peak into the pools of water to catch a glimpse of what’s living down there. From starfish to sea urchins to piles and piles of muscles and other crustaceans, tide pooling is a fun, colorful and educational way to spend an hour or two on the beach.

Be careful where you step though. These pools, while fascinating to experience, are the home to many fragile creatures. And just as you wouldn’t want your home to get stepped on, neither do they. It’s okay to look and even get close, but avoid crushing any sea animals who are being generous enough to allow visitors into their sanctuary.

Bring your camera so you can remember the day, instead of removing anything from the tide pools. And keep your tide book close by so that you can give yourself enough time to return safely to shore before the tide comes back in.

(503) 355-2291

Rockaway Beach Oregon

Visitors Center at the Wayside
Look for the Red Caboose!

103 1st Ave
Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Visit Rockaway Beach Office At City Hall

276 US-101, Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Copyright ©2024 Rockaway Beach. All Rights Reserved. Many photos on this site are by Broken Banjo.

Visitrockawaybeach.org is the official tourism website of the city of Rockaway Beach, Oregon (Resolution #17-650)