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The Oregon coast offers world-renowned views, hikes and outdoor activities, but unlike some coastlines, ours can be unpredictable and even dangerous at times. Even on relatively calm days, ocean patterns, waves and currents can quickly change, so it’s important to stay alert while experiencing the coast.
The Oregon Coast’s rugged beauty is thanks to the fact coastal lands have been left mostly undisturbed by people. This means that natural ocean debris, rocks and logs are scattered across Oregon’s coastline. Visitors traversing coastal terrain will need to tread carefully and be on the lookout for any natural hazards or barricades
OCVA is committed to working with our emergency response teams, land management agencies and local communities to promote public safety and natural resource protections.
Different audiences, whether they live at the coast or are planning their visit from elsewhere, will be in different stages in the visitor and planning process, so timing information in this guide are loose recommendations based on the occurrence of the seasonal impact on the Oregon Coast.
- Prior to peak storm season (October): Though weather and tide patterns can always change on the Oregon Coast, the winter months are definitely the most tumultuous. To prepare for the stormy months ahead, you may want to share cautionary messaging about navigating the coast during the winter. This messaging doesn’t need to be negative! It can be mixed in with language painting the picture of how a winter visit to the coast boasts fewer crowds, and often thrilling storms.
- During peak storm season (November – March): Providing messaging about ways to experience the coast during what are traditionally off months, such going crabbing or clamming, lighting a bonfire, taking advantage of discounted activities and lodging, peaceful beach walks,and storm watching, can easily be mixed in with ways to enjoy the Oregon Coast safely—even during inclement weather.
- Year-round: Beach safety is a pressing issue no matter the time of year. During busy summer months, tips and advice will always be relevant. You can include content on the best places and times to participate in beach activities (the more personalized the better) while integrating content on safety. During more popular tourist times,consider highlighting general swimming, surfing and ocean safety, as well as reminders about safely navigating beaches with the often rough and slippery terrain.
Fast Facts For Visitors
- Check weather patterns, tide schedules and fire restrictions before exploring the coast. More tips can be found at Oregon State Park’s Beach Exploration Page.
- Storms can occur year-round at the coast, but they are especially common in the winter. Those wishing to spend time on the beach are asked to exercise common sense and caution during stormy weather, and to consider staying home on more risky, stormy days.
- Sneaker waves are forceful waves that can suddenly roll onto beaches carrying anything in its path out to sea, so keep an eye on the surf and make sure small children are within arms reach. A good rule to follow is never to turn your back on the ocean. They are a common occurrence from October to April in Oregon.
- Those surfing, swimming or walking close to the ocean should also look out for signs of rip currents, which can be unpredictable and powerful. It’s also helpful to know the tidal predictions for that day.
- Oregon Coast visitors should take the time to carefully navigate the often rough and slippery coastal terrain and to refrain from climbing on driftwood logs, rocks and jetties.
- For safety, avoid standing close to the edge or below cliffs, as coastal cliffs are susceptible to erosion and large portions of earth or rocks could crumble free.
- Beach campfires may be started on open sand, away from driftwood or vegetation. People are asked to use water, not sand, to extinguish fires by pouring water around the base of the firepit, instead of directly on hot coals.