Dramatic Winter Storm Watching on the Oregon Coast

Posted by TravelCoosBay on October 28, 2014

The Oregon Coast is famous for drama-the good kind!  Fall and winter is the best time to watch dramatic waves reaching up to 120 feet high resulting from winter storms on the Pacific during the months of November through March.

As Oregon Coast experts, we can assure you that it doesn’t matter how many times you have witnessed Mother Nature’s fury over the mighty Pacific, storm watchers have a different experience each and every time.

Wouldn’t you love to take photos or video like this?

Oregon Winter Storm Watchers

Here are a couple of tips to have the best winter storm watching experience.

IMPORTANT: Watch for dangerous sneaker waves!  NEVER turn your back to the ocean and don’t climb on beach logs.


The safest areas to view winter storms are at the storm watching hut at Shore Acres State Park, the bluff overlooking Bastendorff Beach, and Sunset Bay State Park.

The Cape Arago Beach Loop will take you to beaches and state parks where you can take in the breathtaking vantage points and see the famous seals and sea lions on the Oregon Coast.  Here are 3 spots we recommend stopping for great storm watching along this famous drive:

  1. Driving from Charleston out Cape Arago Highway, your first storm watching spot will be Sunset Bay State Park. This park features a protected beach, with tidepools exposed at low tide. The beach is probably the safest beach to walk on in winter, due to its geography, with land on three sides and an island that slows incoming waves. Often in the winter, the roots of ancient trees are exposed on the beach. Very cool! Do lock your car and hide valuables at all state parks when you’re out hiking.
  2. Shore Acres State Park is your next storm watching spot along this section of rugged coast. The trails along the rocky cliffs make this one of the top destinations for viewing incredible wave and storm action. Storm watching at Shore Acres is a wintertime favorite with local folks.
  3. From the overlook head south to the end of the roadway at Cape Arago State Park, another great spot for storm watching. It is a prime place to view migrating California gray whales. And do watch for black oystercatchers and other birds feeding in the sea spray along the rocks.


Though visitors will experience days with great weather any time of the year, half of our rain falls in November, December and January so make sure you’ve got good rain gear to waterproof yourself and your loved ones.  Dress in layers as the temperature will fluctuate!  Light, waterproof jackets and sweaters help to keep the cool damp wind out. If you plan to hike and explore, we encourage you to also bring hiking boots!

Here’s a good tip we found on www.nwtripfinder.com

High rain boots with good traction are a must for exploring on a wet, sandy beach. My favorite women’s rain boot is made by Kamik, and it comes in a plume of gorgeous colors. The insulated lining keeps your feet and lower legs warm, and the traction is as good on wet beach rocks as it is on wet city pavement. Their kids’ boots are great, too, and come in bright, bold patterns.


You will most definitely want to snap some pics of the storm.  It is not a bad idea to invest in a quality digital camera that is completely waterproof. Binoculars are also a good idea if you have them. Bring money for parking at different destinations (it’s $5 to park at Shore Acres). Avoid bringing valuables that could be lost or damaged like small electronic devices and computers.


It doesn’t have to be storming or wet outside to enjoy the wave. Just pick a day when swells are predicted to be high. A storm watching hut is available at Shore Acres State Park to enjoy wave watching no matter what the weather. Be sure to check the local, extended forecast.