Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Rockaway Beach, OR

  • Published 2022/11/17

Rockaway Beach is situated on the northern Oregon Coast and is a popular tourist destination for visitors looking for a slice of beach paradise.

This charming coastal city is home to some of the most breathtaking views on earth—from picture-perfect beaches to lush urban forests.

The seaside splendor includes seaside shops, local restaurants, and quaint art galleries that capture the town’s charm.

So if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life, Rockaway Beach is the perfect destination for you!

Read on for the 20 best things to do in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

Hit Rockaway Beach’s Seven Miles of Sand

People around the Rockaway Beach.

Ramblin Rod /

Rockaway Beach is surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of the glistening, blue waters where the mountains meet the coast.

Explore the seven-mile stretch of sandy beach, breathe in the relaxing sea breeze, and dive into adventure.

If wading the waters is your thing, you can try plenty of water sports like jet skiing, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, and many more!

Footprints on the sand of Rockaway Beach.

Redrock Photography /

As you wait for the sun to set or rise at any spot in this seven-mile stretch of beach, you’ll surely marvel because it’s nothing short of stunning.

A trip to the city of Rockaway Beach won’t be complete without hitting the beach, of course!

Make sure to pack your sun protection beach essentials, and head out for a vibrant day by the beach at Rockaway Beach!

A couple walking with their dog along the shore of Rockaway Beach.

Bob Pool /

Go Crabbing at Kelly’s Brighton Marina

Amp up your trip to the coast with fun adventures offered at Kelly’s Brighton Marina, located in the premier spot for adventures along US-101!

Kelly’s Brighton Marino offers a fun crabbing experience where you can go boating and catch fresh crabs for a feast.

They offer a 2-hour boat rental with three baited crab rings and a trained guide to teach you how to fill your buckets with fresh catch.

Aside from the fun crabbing experience, you’ll surely enjoy a taste of fresh seafood like crabs, clams, and oysters and have your fill in their gorgeous marina picnic area.

Kelly’s Brighton Marina is more than just a marina, so make sure to make new memories in this treasure in Rockaway Beach!

See the Iconic Twin Rocks of Rockaway Beach

The iconic Twin Rocks in the middle of the water.

Andriy Blokhin /

A trip to this coastal city in Oregon means hitting the beach and seeing one of the Oregon Coast’s most recognizable rock formations.

Get the best view of this majestic rock formation in the Minnehaha Street Access, which offers the closest view of the rocks.

People playing at the beach with the Twin Rocks at the background.

Bob Pool /

This majestic rock formation was created by time, pressure, and pounding waves in its current magnificent structure.

If you’re a geology enthusiast, a travel photographer, or want to see this fascinating natural creation, Twin Rocks is a must-see!

Two people playing volleyball on the beach with the Twin Rocks on the background.

Bob Pool /

Hike the Trails of Cedar Wetlands Preserve

With so much to offer to its visitors, Cedar Wetland Preserve will introduce you to the natural wonders of Rockaway Beach.

This scenic nature respite is set along South Island Street and East Washington Street to take a quick nature trip.

The Cedar Wetland Preserve features an easy wooden path leading to the ancient cedar bog in the city.

This urban forest is the perfect spot in Rockaway Beach to enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life.

If you’re into nature trips and relaxing adventures, make sure to spend a day hiking through the Cedar Wetland Preserve.

Cast Your Lines and Reel in a Fresh Catch at Lake Lytle

Fog covering Lake Lytle.

Barry Savage /

If your definition of a perfectly spent day is to be surrounded by beautiful valley vistas while fishing at the calm waters of the lake, then you should go on a fishing trip at Lake Lytle!

Located just off Highway 101 is the small, 65-acre lake where you can enjoy a good fishing day or go paddling in the calm waters.

This little coastal lake is stocked in trout, bass, and perch that’ll surely delight fishing enthusiasts.

Aside from fishing, the calm waters of this lake make for the perfect paddling area where you can explore the lake without so many obstacles to get through.

Don’t forget to bring some snacks to munch on while you wait for a trophy fish and take your camera along with you to capture the fun memories you’ll make at Lake Lytle!

Play Mini Golf at Troxel’s Rock Garden

Do you want to do something fun and unique that’ll delight the young and the young at heart?

Then, you should visit Troxel’s Rock Garden, located north of Highway 101.

This quirky, funky park on the coast offers a unique experience for everyone!

You can go rockhounding and find the rock that interests you the most, play mini-golf, and rent a bike to explore the area.

Troxel’s Rock Garden is a wonderful roadside attraction with a quirky charm that’ll truly fill your day with fun.

Marvel on the Beauty of The Three Graces

Scenic view of The Three Graces.

JPL Designs /

Gazing over the glistening, blue waters also offers one of the most iconic sights in Rockaway Beach.

The Three Graces is a picturesque rock formation near the shore leading from Garibaldi to the North Jetty and the Pacific Ocean.

This natural rock formation was formed over time and under pressure as the earth’s tectonic plates crashed into each other forming coastal mountains.

Waters around The Three Graces.

Jeffrey B. Ross /

The fascinating sight of The Three Graces is a travel photographer’s dream because you’ll get to capture the painterly scenery of this natural wonder.

Don’t forget to gaze down the sparkling waters and explore the shallow tide pools teeming with aquatic life.

The Three Graces is a must-see on your trip to Rockaway Beach to enjoy the scenic natural offerings of this small city in Oregon.

A seagull on a rock near The Three Graces.

Min C. Chiu /

Spend a Fun-Filled Day at Phyllis Baker City Park

If you’re visiting Rockaway Beach with the entire family, a trip to the park should be on your itinerary list.

Located in North Falcon Street, Phyllis Baker Park is the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon.

The park features an expansive, grassy area and a picnic pavilion where you can enjoy a nice picnic with the family.

There’s also a play area for the youngsters to have a blast playing around the park.

This park is also home to local events where you can meet new people and have great fun.

Make it a point to stop by Phyllis Baker City Park to kill some time and have fun with the entire family.

Support Local Artists at Washed Ashore Arts, Crafts, and More

Washed Ashore Arts, Crafts, and More is another quaint art gallery tucked in US-101.

You can shop for one-of-a-kind artisan items, find amazing treasures, and marvel at the talents of local artists.

Washed Ashore Arts, Crafts, and More is an abode for several local artists looking to share their arts with the world.

Whether you’re looking for a small knick-knack, a large piece of art to decorate your home, or a unique piece of furniture, this place has got you covered!

Make it a point to stop by this charming art gallery and store to bring home a unique gift from your trip to Rockaway Beach.

Book Your Stay at the Surfside Resort

If you’re looking for a place to stay on your trip to Rockaway Beach, then you should book your stay at Seaside Resort!

This charming hotel is located off US Highway 101, which overlooks the beach and is close to fun destinations in the city.

Seaside Resort offers all the amenities you’d want in a vacation—furnished rooms with comfortable beds, Wi-Fi, cabled TVs, fireplaces, and so much more!

The hotel is set right in front of the beach, which means you have access to the beach whenever you want to wade the shores.

Aside from the beach access, you can also have a dip in their heated indoor pool if you want to chill out.

If you’re having a hard time looking for pet-friendly accommodations in Rockaway Beach, look no further than Surfside Resort because they offer pet-friendly rooms so you can be with your furry friends.

This hotel offers the best accommodation in the city, so make sure to reward yourself with a relaxing stay at the Surfside Resort on your trip to Rockaway Beach!

See the Fascinating Art Pieces at Oregon Du Drops

Are you looking for a unique souvenir that captures the charm of Rockaway Beach?

If so, you should visit the Oregon Du Drops located along Oregon Coast Highway.

This art gallery is an absolute gem in Rockaway Beach, where you can see the works of James Stephen Du Bois.

The artist combines recycled light bulbs, brass temple bells from India, and Oregon rain to create a unique and sentimental one.

You can tour the gallery to see the fascinating works of James Stephen Du Bois and shop for a unique Oregon Du Drop.

Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or you want something customized to commemorate a special memory, Oregon Du Drops has got you covered!

Fly Your Kite at the Annual Rockaway Beach Kite Festival

A giant cat kite during the Annual Rockaway Beach Kite Festival.

Png Studio Photography /

Watch the skies come to life with beautiful colors and shapes in the Annual Rockaway Beach Kite Festival, where you can enjoy the fun summer festivities by the beach!

This kite-flying festival has been a tradition in Rockaway Beach for over 40 years, bringing colors to the vibrant coastal city.

The festival is sponsored by the American Kite Fliers Association, where professional and amateur kite fliers can share their passion with everyone.

The Annual Rockaway Beach Kite Festival is also a great avenue for artists and art enthusiasts to channel their artistic skills.

Enjoy live music, be fascinated with kite exhibitions, learn how to make your own kite, shop for unique artisan items, and delight yourself with great foods.

This annual spectacle is a must-see for every visitor going to Rockaway Beach every summer; you’re sure to enjoy the fascinating sight of the skies painted with a flight of colors!

Shop and Dine at Rockaway Beach’s Main Street

A trip to Rockaway Beach won’t be complete without spending a day strolling through the laid-back Main Street!

This part of the city is filled with specialty shops, restaurants, and interesting spots that are sure to keep your afternoon stroll enjoyable.

You can shop for unique crafts, buy a souvenir, or have something special personalized for you at the shops on Main Street.

Don’t forget to have a bite of the local cuisine after your shopping spree—you can choose from many restaurants lining up on Main Street!

Make sure to spare some time to explore the Main Street of Rockaway Beach for a memorable trip to this coastal city.

Paddle Your Kayaks at Spring Lake

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and go for a quick nature escapade at Spring Lake.

This hidden gem is tucked on the east side of US Highway 101, surrounded by picturesque natural scenery.

The 13-acre lake offers great fishing and kayaking spots surrounded by lush trees and gorgeous vistas.

Spring Lake is a peaceful setting where you can enjoy fishing, kayaking, or have a quiet time surrounded by the relaxing view of the calm waters.

Head out for a quiet time without straying too far away from the city on a trip to the scenic Spring Lake.

See the Driftwood-Filled Nehalem Bay South Jetty

Rockaway Beach’s south jetty in Nehalem Bay is a popular spot. Beach Drive, reached through Beach Street from U.S. 1, is the only route to the jetty.

Take it easy as you travel along Beach Drive.

There are several dips on the route, making it difficult to travel.

There is plenty of space to park your vehicle here.

The long, broad walkway leading to the beach is marked by a memorial marker, “Nehalem Bay south Jetty, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, erected 1910-1916.”

At the beginning of your journey, the trail will fork; nevertheless, you should continue straight ahead.

Driftwood of varying sizes will soon cover the ground for a significant distance.

Your first impression could be that this is the greatest concentration of driftwood you’ve ever seen.

That is until you go around a corner and see the pile of tree trunks, enormous roots, and branches.

Picnic at Manhattan Beach State Recreation Site

This state recreation site is located on the north side of town, south of the Nehalem Bay South Jetty.

Manhattan Beach State Recreation Site is a day-use park with excellent access to the sea and a wide beach.

Though it’s rather popular, it doesn’t get as many visitors as other coastal hotspots.

Also, this site is the place to go if you’re looking for a windy picnic spot.

It’s excellent for picnics even when the wind isn’t blowing since the picnic tables are just off the parking lot in tiny cul-de-sacs made of shore pine.

If you picnic at Manhattan Beach State Recreation Site, you can get to the beach in less than 500 feet.

Miles of beach extends southward to the Barview Jetty from here.

Long hikes and beachcombing are perfect activities for this vast beach.

Learn the Contribution of Law Enforcers at International Police Museum

In the event of inclement weather, residents of Rockaway Beach and the neighboring areas have access to a wide variety of indoor entertainment options.

Even if the weather is terrible, there are still plenty of experiential learning opportunities.

You may see some very exceptional displays in the International Police Museum.

There are new exhibits at the International Police Museum, which was temporarily relocated to Wheeler in 2021 and returned to Rockaway Beach in February 2022.

The museum tells the story of law enforcement from its earliest days with volunteer”watchmen” to the present day, when it spans multiple government agencies.

Bring Home Fantastic Finds from Trash & Treasures

There’s a wide variety of new, used, and in-between items for sale at Trash and Treasures, a gift shop and thrift store.

It started operation in 1982.

Since then, it has undergone several alterations that have resulted in its current incarnation as the preeminent antique and collectible Mall in Rockaway.

Depression and carnival glass, antique memorabilia, jewelry, presents, toys, games, and greeting cards are just a few items currently for sale at our store.

Since it has an ever-changing collection, you’ll never run out of options when visiting Rockaway Beach.

Satisfy Your Sweet Cravings at The Picnic Basket

Are you taking the kids on a road trip, or having a sweet tooth?

The goods of The Picnic Basket are worthy of your attention and consideration.

The Basket is unrivaled in Rockaway since it sells only premium products.

Fast, friendly service delivers delicious treats, including ice cream, fudge, taffy, and funnel cakes.

The shop also has plenty of giftware and souvenir options.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go on a Scenic Train Ride with the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

Blue train at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

Bob Pool /

Take a trip back in time on a train ride with Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad that’ll take you through the most scenic locations along Oregon Coast.

Experience the classic Oregon Coast excursion on a historic steam train ride where you can learn about the region’s history and see picturesque locations.

A black steam train at Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

Bob Pool /

You can board the train via the historic Little Red Caboose Visitors Center located on 1st Street.

A train ride through Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad will surely be a memorable experience that’ll delight the young and the young at heart.

Whether you’re a train enthusiast, a history buff, or you simply want to see beautiful places, make sure to book a train ride on your trip to Oregon Coast.

Train driver at Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

Bob Pool /

Final Thoughts

Rockaway Beach may be a small, coastal city in Oregon, but it doesn’t lack fun, and exciting things to do that’ll make for an idyllic beach vacation.

So if you’re planning to visit this charming city soon, bookmark this list to fill your itinerary list with exciting things to do!

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