Oswald West State Park Travel Guide

  • Winter waves crash over Cape Falcon
    Winter waves crash over Cape Falcon
    by mtncorg
  • Cape Falcon under attack - from Short Sand Beach
    Cape Falcon under attack - from Short...
    by mtncorg
  • Proof there is no beach during winter storms!
    Proof there is no beach during winter...
    by mtncorg

Oswald West State Park Things to Do

  • SHORT SAND BEACH - SMUGGLER'S COVE

    Smuggler's Cove is a name that can be found repeatedly around the World - in fact, there is more than one along the Oregon Coastline - but this might be the only such cove that is also home to the Short Sand Beach. This is one of those perfect idyll places upon which you just want to sit and watch the World at. The headlands of Cape Falcon to the...

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  • Highway 101 Overlooks

    There are a series of wide spots in Highway 101 along the cliffs of Oswald West State Park. This is one of the more spectacular views available from Highway 101 on this section of the coast. They exist entirely on the west side of the road, so if it is a busy weekend your best best is to be headed south through this area. This allows you to get...

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  • CAPE FALCON

    You can reach Cape Falcon by foot either from the trailhead parking on US 101 or from Short Sand Beach by turning north on the Oregon Coastal Trail - there is a sign pointing towards Cape Falcon. The trail is about four miles out and back from the highway and gains about 300 feet over sometimes muddy terrain. You get a very nice view over...

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  • Build a Sandcastle

    Warm sun and fine sand on a long, shallow beach with creeks running nearby. These are the ingredients for a perfect afternoon of building sand castles. For those with children beside them or still within it is hard to find anything more therapeutic than spending a couple of hours creating dreamscapes out of sand in a beautiful setting.Use yogurt...

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  • Have a Picnic

    Bring your beach blanket and basket and set yourself up for a picnic in style. Short Sands has all of the features one expects from a NW beach -- sand, rocks, driftwood, forest, creeks, headlands, tide pools, marine mammals and plenty of room to spread out. Throw in the surfing show and you've got yourself a winner. Even if you're just cruising...

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  • Explore the Tidepools

    When the tide is out you can explore the tidepools at either end of the beach. Even if you've fogotten your Tevas the sandy bottom makes it easy to wade over to the rocky homes of sculpins, crabs, sea stars and their bivalve prey.

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Oswald West State Park Restaurants

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    The Big Wave Cafe

    by Jonathan_C Written Mar 21, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Big Wave Cafe is one of those great places that caters to locals but is friendly towards those just passing through. Clean and wholesome, this is the kind of place that every small town would love to have. We came here three mornings in a row to get away from the rain and the waitress knew us all by the third time. It's great to become a regular that fast. It was also no surprise that we met our camping neighbors, the Vermont musicians, on one of those mornings -- Oswald West and Manzanita are pretty small places.

    Favorite Dish: Any breakfast here is awesome and they serve breakfast all day.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Surfing
    • Camping

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Oswald West State Park Shopping

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    S'mores

    by Jonathan_C Updated Apr 3, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you've forgotten anything for your camping trip then Fresh Foods will have it for you. They're your typical small town everything store.

    What to buy: You can make do without a lot of things in life. Part of the joy of traveling is learning what's really important and what's not when you forget something. But there are some things that you simply cannot do without when you're camping and chief among them is S'mores -- gooey marshmallows toasted to perfection, placed on a graham cracker with a square of chocolate and a graham cracker lid. How could you possibly crawl into your tent for the night without America's favorite camping nightcap?

    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park

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Oswald West State Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Dryers when you need them.

    If you get caught camping in the rain -- not unheard of on the rainforest coast -- you'll want to have access to a laundromat to run your and your kid's clothes through a dryer before you drive home. Luckily, your prayers are answered at the Cannon Beach RV Resort just off 101 at the Elk Creek Road exit in Cannon Beach.

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  • Rain

    We ended up at Oswald West in late August because it was the last weekend before school starting and we hadn't been on our beach trip yet -- Horrors! Our own Washington coast was forecast to have some serious rain so we headed to Oregon to try to avoid it. We were largely successful and had lovely sunshiny afternoons but it rained every morning...

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  • Oswald West State Park Hotels

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Oswald West State Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Surfing

    Short Sands Beach -- the beach at Oswald West -- is an incredible place for beginning and intermediate surfers. Protected by two headlands and graced with a sand bottom, Short Sands is the jewel of surf spots on the northern Oregon coast. Midweek we found the best of surfer culture with many folks offering tips and encouragement to our family of...

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  • SurfingGear

    This tip is just to make sure that everyone knows the gear that's involved. In the picture you see a long board, a boogie board and a skim board standing up next to eachother with our wardrobe of wet suits on the log behind.On wet suits: Yes, you pee in them while you're in the water.On skim boards: This was an amazing new discovery for us that...

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  • Boogie Boarding

    While surfing may not be appropriate for all depending on your age or athletic ability, boogie-boarding is definitely a sport for everyone. We saw kids as young as six with their own boards and even younger ones being floated on boards by parents. With a flotation device attached to your ankle and your body encased in neoprene blubber there's very...

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Oswald West State Park Favorites

  • Walk-in Camping for Packrats

    One of the great things about walk-in campsites is that it forces others to leave behind much of the unnecessary paraphernalia they bring to in drive-in campsites. One of the drawbacks, however, is that it forces you to leave behind some of your indispensable items. Oswald West finds a happy comprimise by providing whellbarrows to help you get your...

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  • Background Viewing: Step Into Liquid

    To get yourself completely immersed in the best of surfer culture and to see some of the most gorgeous cinematography ever you should rent a copy of Step Into Liquid. Whether you intend on surfing or not, Dana Brown's 2003 documentary will leave you in awe of the beauty and power of water and equally in awe of human ingenuity and spirit. This movie...

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