Must See: Cape Arago State Park

Posted by TravelCoosBay on February 10, 2015

Cape Arago State Park

“Favorite secret beach”.

“Rugged Oregon coast beauty”.

“a mesmerizing, spiritual view of the wild Pacific Coast”.

These are just a few things travelers have said about their visit to Cape Arago State Park. While the Oregon Coast offers plenty of spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, there is something very special about this scenic headland located at the end of Cape Arago Highway about 15 miles southwest of Coos Bay.

Cape Arago State Park is one of our favorite places to experience nature while taking in the beautiful coastal forest, dramatic cliffs, crashing surf, and amazing views of the Pacific. It’s also one of the best spots in Oregon to see migrating whales and other marine mammals, as well as fishing boats and ships entering and leaving Coos Bay.

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Two trails can be found here for excellent hiking opportunities.  A short walk along the steep south trails will take you to a secluded cove where beautiful tidepools full of sea life  and fossils can be found. Visitors who hike the north trail are rewarded with a view of offshore colonies of sea lions, seals and other wildlife at Shell Island, a designated National Wildlife Refuge. The north cove trail also provides access for fishing and beach combing. Please note however, the north trail is closed from March – June to protect the seal pups during birthing season.

Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your trip to

  • VERY IMPORTANT! Do not touch any of the wildlife.  Please do not bother any seal pups you may find on the beach. They are not lost, only waiting for mom to return.
  • If you plan to hike, be sure to wear good hiking boots as the trails are a bit steep and you may encounter slippery rocks.
  • Be sure to bring your binoculars and a camera.
  • Dress in layers, the weather can change quickly on the coast.
  • Pack a lunch! Picnic tables, restrooms and a gazebo shelter are available for daytime use.
  • For Winter Storm watching, check the NOAA surf/marine forecast to time your visit with the biggest waves
  • Starting in late March and continuing through June, visitors to the Oregon Coast will get an up close experience to view whales on their migration from Mexico to Alaska.
  • Simpson Beach You’ll find crashing waves, migrating whales, and views of hundreds of seals and sea lions and other wildlife.

How to Get there:
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!