As you cruise the Oregon Coast headed toward your favorite beach destinations, every once in a while it’s nice to stop and smell the roses (or should we say, salty sea air). Here’s a list of our top 10 most stunning scenic viewpoints in Tillamook County. Go ahead and stop, take a moment to soak in the breathtaking scenery that is the Tillamook Coast.
Just south of Nehalem off of 101 is the historic Wheeler Marina. The Marina is located where the Nehalem Bay narrows and the River begins. Nehalem River is one of the largest and most scenic rivers on the Oregon Coast. It’s common to see lots of wildlife such as Elk, Eagles, Heron, and Seals. Wheeler Marina is also a prime spot to rent fishing boats and kayaks, so stop off and enjoy the scenery or rent a boat and stay a while.
Phone: (503) 368-5780
South of Cape Meares, along the Three Capes Loop is Maxwell Point, a steep headland in Oceanside. During low-tide you can explore the historic tunnel that was created in the early 20th century by the Rosenberg family, who founded Oceanside. The tunnel is sometimes flooded, and leads to the secluded beaches to the north: Tunnel Beach, Agate Beach, and Lost Boy Cave Beach. These beaches are well worth the visit, but be sure to wait for low tide!
Also along the Three Capes Loop, located on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the Pacific Ocean is Cape Lookout. You can reach Cape Lookout by traveling along the Three Capes Scenic Loop. Enjoy beautiful waterfalls, spectacular views, and whale-watching during migration season. With over 2 miles of beach, Cape Lookout is a popular spot for beachcombing. It also has 8 miles of lush forest hiking trails to explore.
Phone: (800) 551-6949
Anderson’s Viewpoint in Oceanside is another choice stop on the Three Capes Loop. On a clear day it feels as if you could see forever, and you may catch a glimpse of Three Arch Rocks to the North, and possibly Cape Kiwanda to the South. With such stunning views, you may want to stick around for sunset.
Stretching approximately 200 acres along the Tillamook Bay is the Kilchis Point Reserve. Located in Bay City off of Spruce Street, you can stop for a quick look to appreciate the scenery or stay and walk along the 2 miles of the paved Kilchis Point nature trail. Take in the wide variety of plant and animal life that makes up this intricate ecosystem.
Phone: (503) 842-4553
Just west of Tillamook off Highway 131 is the beautiful Bayocean Peninsula Viewpoint. The peninsula is surrounded by Tillamook Bay, Cape Meares Lake, and the Pacific Ocean; and is a vital habitat for much of the county’s fish and wildlife. Walk along the sandy beach, or explore the nearby hiking trails, and don’t forget to snap a photo or two.
Also west of Tillamook on the Three Capes Scenic route is the must-see Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoint. Seated 200 feet above the ocean, Cape Meares provides a delightful view of the largest colony of nesting common murres—a penguin-like bird native to the Oregon Coast. Cape Meares is an excellent spot for whale-watching, it is also common to see seals and sea lions. While you are there take a tour of the Lighthouse, and don’t forget to stop by the Octopus tree.
Phone: (503) 842-2244
Between Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi you’ll find the Garibaldi Estuary Viewpoint, which overlooks the stunning Tillamook Bay. Since it’s in the same parking lot as the Pirates Cove Restaurant, you can stop and take in the gorgeous view and then stay for a bite to eat.
At one of the highest points of the Oregon Trail, Neahkahnie Mountain viewpoint is 1600 feet above the beach. It’s located in Manzanita off of Highway 101, 20 miles south of Seaside. Native Americans thought this was viewpoint fit for the Gods naming it, Ne—meaning “Place of” and Ekhanie—meaning “Supreme Diety”. We certainly agree it is exquisite, and a notable place for whale-watching so don’t forget those binoculars!
After you leave the Three Capes Loop, stop off at Winema Wayside along Highway 101, near Neskowin. Admire the abundant sweeping cliffs, dense forests, and magnificent view of the ocean. Then make your way down to Winema Beach to kick off your shoes, walk along the beach, and explore the curious cliff sides.