The Cape Arago Beach Loop explores 3 state parks, the largest haul-out of seals and sea lions on the Oregon Coast as well as breathtaking vantage points. The drive itself does not take long, but save some time to soak in the natural beauty.
Driving Directions: From Hwy 101, head west on Newmark Avenue (just south of the Mill Casino). Follow the road until you reach the Stop sign at the End, follow the signs and turn left onto Cape Arago Hwy. Follow this road, once you cross the bridge into Charleston, the road will fork; veer to the right to head for the docks, or veer to the left to follow the Cape Arago Beach Loop. This road will eventually loop back around. Enjoy the views and pull over often!
1. Bastendorff Beach
Bastendorff Beach is a favorite among surfers, kiters, beachcombers and locals and tourists alike. You’ll find an uninterrupted beach and ocean views can be enjoyed here. Bastendorff Beach is defined by Yoakam Point and the south jetty at the entrance of the bay. Located 1/4 mile off the Cape Arago Highway, approximately 2 miles west of Charleston. Never crowded and always beautiful, Bastendorff Beach is a must see for beach enthusiasts.
2. Sunset Bay State Park
Sunset Bay Park features beautiful sandy beaches protected by towering sea cliffs. A favorite among locals and tourists, Sunset Bay State Park is protected by towering sea cliffs and features beautiful sandy beaches, amazing tide pools, picnic facilities, restrooms, and campgrounds. Beach goers will find easy access for beach combing, bird watching swimming, and boating.
3. Cape Arago Lighthouse Viewpoint
The original structures were built on this site in 1866 and 1908 but were moved because of erosion into the island. The current tower was first illuminated in 1934 with a unique foghorn. There is no public access but there are great views from the viewpoint located on the Oregon Coast Trail. More information…
4. Shore Acres State Park and Botanical Gardens
The jewel of the South Coast, Shore Acres State Park is perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean. Shore Acres is an unexpected combination of beautiful natural and man-made features. Once the famed estate of Louis Simpson, Shore Acres features lushly planted gardens with plans and flowers from all over the world. There’s something blooming every day of the year.
5. Simpson Beach
Situated directly below Shore Acres, a winding path takes you to this secluded ocean cove. You’ll find crashing waves, migrating whales, and views of hundreds of seals and sea lions and other wildlife. Please do not bother the seal pups you may find on the beach. They are not lost, only waiting for mom to return. More Information…
6. Shell Island Interpretive Stop
Part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Shell Island and the surrounding reefs provide breeding and rest areas for sea birds and Marine mammals. Gray whales, Northern Elephant Seals, Harbor seals, sea lions, Stellar sea lions, Black Oystercatchers, Great Blue Herons and Pelagic Cormorants can all be viewed here. Because of the abundance of wildlife on Shell Island, there is no public access to the island itself, but viewing points can be found at Shore Acres, Simpson Park Overlook and viewpoints along Cape Arago.
7. Cape Arago State Park
At the end of Cape Arago Highway, you’ll find easy access to both the North and South Coves of Cape Arago. Tucked away below the cliffs, a short walk along the steep trails will take you to a secluded cove where tidepools and fossils can be found. Visitors can also enjoy whale watching, fishing, and scuba diving. Two trails can be found here for excellent hiking opportunities; the south trails leads to tidepools full of a variety of sea life, and the north trail lets visitors view offshore colonies of seals and sea lions. The north trail is closed from March – June to protect the seal pups during birthing season. Picnic and restrooms and available. More Information…