Whalen Island

June 16, 2012 (Updated June 21, 2012)

Take a deep breath and savor a place meant for the quiet times at the only Oregon state park that’s a coastal island getaway.

Wildness rules Whalen Island! Clay Myers Natural Area includes nearly two hundred acres of forest, sand and estuary and it’s a place meant for the quiet times. The state park property at Whalen Island is prized because there are few folks around.

The waterway surrounding Whalen Island is called Sandlake and it is shallow throughout; it averages just 2 feet deep at flood tide. The estuary wraps around the island on the high tide and that is the time you will find paddlers like Marc Hinz launching kayak excursions to explore the parkland.

“I like to bring folks here to enjoy the quiet, serene and secluded nature of the waterway,” said Hinz. Marc Hinz is a co-owner of Kayak Tillamook and he leads tours for a company that specializes in coastal estuary trips: “You don’t see many people here because it’s too shallow for motorized boats.”

Whalen Island is tucked between two landmark coastal features: Cape Lookout to the north, a massive forested headland that juts more than two-miles out to sea. Cape Kiwanda is to the south and where you’re face-to-face with an offshore island called Haystack Rock. There is also a giant sandy hillside that is perfect playground for the young at heart. Don’t miss the popular destination that satisfies both thirst and appetite called the Pelican Pub and Brewery.

Tillamook County manages Whalen Island Campground’s eight acres that offers 30 sites for tents or trailer. There are no water or electricity hooks ups, so your rig must be self-contained.

Back in 2000, when Oregon State Parks acquired Whalen Island, they built a trail to provide visitors access across the property. The looped trail is two and a half miles long and winds through a forest setting that – every now and then –opens to reveal stunning views to a sprawling sandy beach with breakers just beyond.

About The

Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.