: Oregon State Parks & Recreation

Accessible and Inclusive Travel on the Oregon Coast

August 30, 2021

Editor’s note: Face coverings (ages 5 and up) are required at all indoor and outdoor public spaces statewide, regardless of vaccination status. Learn more here

Outdoor enthusiasts can find a number of destinations across Oregon ideal for accessible adventures. Now visitors to the Oregon Coast can enjoy even more accessibility and inclusivity at its state parks — and more upgrades are on the horizon. Here are some of the ways you can enjoy the Oregon Coast, no matter your ability level.

A woman explores the beach in a wheelchair
Visitors can use an adaptive wheelchair to access the sand at Cannon Beach and a few other cities on the Oregon Coast. (Photo courtesy of cannonbeach.org)
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Reach the Beach in Adaptive Wheelchairs

Miles of sandy shores act as the setting for both zen moments and fun memories splashing in the waves. Visitors to Beverly Beach State Park in Newport can now use Mobi-mats, which allow people using wheelchairs and strollers to access the beach. They can be reserved by calling the registration booth, 541-265-9278, and are otherwise available on a first-come, first-served basis. “It has been really neat to see some big smiles on faces from folks who are able to experience the beach more easily,” says park manager Jered Mangini.

Beverly Beach, which already has a number of paved pathways, is the latest beach on the Oregon Coast to become more accessible to wheelchair users. Towns including Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Pacific City and Rockaway Beach have adaptive wheelchairs that visitors can rent for free.

A kayak launches from a boat ramp with a slide in feature
A new kayak launch at William M. Tugman State Park lets visitors access Eel Lake via a paved path leading to and from van-accessible parking spaces and a transfer platform with handrails. (Photo courtesy of Travel Southern Oregon Coast)

Enjoy the Water From ADA-Accessible Boat Launches

Paddling is an activity that everyone should try at least once, and the Oregon Coast is home to a number of spots that make the activity an option for everybody. The newest addition is at William M. Tugman State Park south of Reedsport, which opened an accessible kayak launch this summer. Visitors can now access Eel Lake by a paved path leading to and from van-accessible parking spaces and a transfer platform with handrails. 

Between Florence and Reedsport, the Tahkenitch Landing Boat Ramp is accessible to wheelchair users for both boat access and fishing. There are also ADA-accessible kayak launches in other regions, including the Necanicum River in Seaside and launches planned for Port of Garibaldi Marina and the Wheeler Marina, scheduled to be ready by Sept. 31. There are also a number of accessible fishing docks up and down the Coast. 

Oregon State Parks also partners with Adventures Without Limits, which provides custom recreation experiences for people of all abilities, including accessible kayak events and overnight camping trips. 

A paved path above a beach
Prepare for spectacular sights at Cape Perpetua, one of the spectacular coastal lookouts you can visit from a wheelchair-accessible path at Oregon State Parks. (Photo by Oregon State Parks & Recreation)

Get Out in Nature on Accessible Trails

There are a number of accessible trails throughout Oregon, and the Coast is no exception. In Newport the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area offers a paved three-quarter-mile path to the lighthouse and interpretive center. The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, south of Yachats, has a number of wheelchair-accessible paths perfect for enjoying the sweeping ocean views and lush rain-forest habitat. Darlingtonia State Natural Site, north of Florence, has a boardwalk path so visitors can easily witness the 18 acres of rare plants. 

A platform overlooks the ocean
An ADA-accessible viewing platform in Yachats is one of Oregon State Parks' recent additions in its mission to be more inclusive to visitors of all abilities. (Photo by Oregon State Parks & Recreation)

Inclusive Restrooms and More Improvements

You may have noticed that many Oregon State Parks are phasing out multi-stall, gender-specific restroom facilities and installing more single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms. Nehalem Bay State Park and South Beach State Park have already converted unused laundry facilities into gender-neutral, fully accessible and single-occupancy restrooms large enough to maneuver a wheelchair or other mobility equipment. 

In upcoming years, visitors to the Coast can soon expect to see more accessible parking areas, picnic areas, campsites, paths and trails, as well as benches along trails — all part of Oregon State Parks’ ADA Transition Plan. To learn about the accessibility of each state park you plan to visit, check out the park’s webpage and look for the “Tour Accessible Features” option.

About The
Author

Emily Gillespie
Emily Gillespie is a travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, CNN Travel and Afar magazine. She’s lived in three of Oregon’s seven regions, currently calling Portland home. She and her husband look for every opportunity to hike to a view, bike through wine country and eat their way through a new city.

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