Yet another gorgeous beach! Nehalem Bay, OR

Yet another gorgeous beach! Nehalem Bay, OR

We’ve managed to drag ourselves ~40 miles further south on the Oregon coast from our last stop. It was an exhausting effort, as you can imagine, especially when faced with yet another fabulous state park and yet another pristine 6-mile stretch of paw-friendly beach. Sometimes I wonder how we cope?

But today’s post is not about our awesomely-perfect location. No, it’s far, far larger than that. Our story goes back just over 100 years to a rather visionary man called Oswald West, a {{gasp}} politician and the 14th governor of Oregon, no less. In the midst of a time where land in the west was open for the taking, Oswald West had other ideas. He saw the Oregon coast as a natural gift and decided to preserve the entire area by declaring it a “public highway”.  The bill passed in 1913 and it was a brilliant move. Not only did it protect the existing coastline, but it prevented commercial & private development which, in turn, paved the way to the 1967 Beach Bill that made public access to the shoreline permanent.

Nature as it was meant to be

Nature as it was meant to be

It is because of this man, because of these actions that the Oregon coast is ours today! Over 362 miles of wild, untamed, unmarred coastline every inch of which is open to you, your paws, your kids and the infinite generations that will follow. 100% public, 100% forever. In today’s day and age where almost every piece of pristine beach on earth has been taken, restricted or claimed to some degree, this is quite astonishing.

Shorty's at low tide

“Shorty’s” at low tide

We spent most of yesterday visiting the State Park that is dedicated to Oswald West. It lies just north of our current spot at Nehalem Bay and covers 2,484 acres of gorgeous coast with over 20 miles of hiking trails that run along the cape and up the mountain. In the middle of the park lies Short Sand Beach or “Shorty’s” as it’s known locally, which is a popular surf-spot and rather thin beach at high tide (thus the name) that opens up to a wonderfully wide, flat beach with access to tide-pools and waterfalls at low tide.

We managed to hit the spot at just the right time. As we hiked through the old-growth forest, past bubbling streams and lush green undergrowth, over sweet-scented trails moist and green from the recent rain, through to stunning views of this…yet another fabulous beach, we paused to thank the man and history that made this possible for us.

We were not part of the history that made it happen, but we sure are happy to reap the rewards today. I tip my hat to you, Oswald West!

The tide-pools at Oswald West State Park

The tide-pools at Oswald West State Park

Shorty's at low tide

The public coast!

Starfish collage at low tide

Starfish collage at low tide

Lush green old-growth forest on the trail

Lush green old-growth forest on the trail

Yet another gorgeous beach!!

What can I say but…perfection!

Natural waterfall at Short Sand Beach

Natural waterfall at Short Sand Beach

53 Responses to A Hat Tip To Oswald West (And Yes…YET Another Amazing Beach)

  1. Allison says:

    Oregon is pretty amazing in their preservation of beach and river access. I forget which mayor of Portland it was, but she managed to buy up much of the riverfront that runs through downtown, making a beautiful linear park that is much used and well loved. I love Oregon.

  2. Nan and John says:

    We are looking forward to the Oregon coast. Have been inland to Bend, Sisters, etc., but not the coast. Thanks so much for opening our eyes to the beauty of the OR coast.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Lots to see and do on the Coast. I highly recommend it. Starting this week-end the kiddies are out of school so our RV campground is (for the 1st time) crowded! But if you go mid-week or plan to come after kiddies go back to school it’s a very relaxed and laid-back place.
      Nina

  3. Upriverdavid says:

    Years ago there was a campground on the East side of the highway. I was able to park my van and walk 20′-40′ to a table fire grate and spend the night..I haven’t tent camped since the boy scouts….er..U.S. Army..
    The beach is a walk from the road but well worth it..
    You are hitting all the great places..Yippie!!
    David

  4. Upriverdavid says:

    Oops, Just remembered a spot you’ll drive by that you should check out.
    Cape Perpetua campground it’s N.F.S. facility and the campground is on the left side up a pretty canyon. There are two sites with electricity 1st come 1st serve. If the weather is bad at the shore it’s usually nice up this protected area. The one I have been always lucky to snag is over 40′ and back-in. There is a nice creek and trails up to the visitor center and some blow holes a little South of the center on the beach…
    Enjoy!
    David

    • libertatemamo says:

      Cheers for the tip! We haven’t stayed at any of the NFS campgrounds on the coast, although I know there are many which are just lovely. AND we haven’t seen Cape Perpetua yet. So, two good reasons to go! If we manage to hit the spot this trip we will definitely go check it out.
      Nina

  5. PENNY LYNCH says:

    I so love your pictures and your writings. You certainly know how to live and enjoy life. Thank you so much. I so want to hit the road full time as you do.

    Date: Sat, 15 Jun 2013 00:04:43 +0000 To: pennylynch@hotmail.com

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks Penny. We certainly enjoy the lifestyle. Wouldn’t be able to keep blogging about it if we didn’t :)
      Nina

  6. Isn’t this the greatest beach?? love the walk down to it. I was there in March and April this year, totally different views!! Our Governor, Tom McCall, was instrumental in getting the bill passed, making the beaches for the public, forever. It is a GOOD thing !! :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      This is our first time here and we’re really liking it!! I love the fact that we can walk the beach to town, or to the bay…and a short drive takes us to mountain hiking. Pretty neat spot!
      And yes, I’ve got to thank Tom McCall and everyone else who contributed to the 1967 Beach Bill. Quite the monumental achievement.
      Nina

  7. Not sure how far south you’re planning on going… But if you make it as far south as Brookings there’s an awesome little pizza place there. I believe it was called Zola’s and it’s down in the marina. It’s TINY but amazing brick oven/wood fired pizza! Awesome selection of micro-brews too. :-) We we’re there last year.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Cheers for the tip! We’re hoping to make it down to Brookings after our summer jobs. It’s the one part of the coast we haven’t seen.
      Nina

  8. Melissa says:

    We were at Nehalem Bay State Park just last April. The beach is beautiful. “I come to the sea to breathe” has become my favourite saying. Enjoy. Love reading your blog.

  9. Ray Burr says:

    Beautiful job on the photos Nina, they look great. Love the first one with the low cloud bank, the color and texture of the sand and the reflection

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks Ray! I’ve had fun with the changing weather, clouds, sun and fog these past few days. Makes for challenging, but interesting photography.
      Nina

  10. geogypsy2u says:

    So glad that West protected the entire Oregon coast in his foresight allowing access to all. Gorgeous!

  11. Sheila says:

    Nina, love the photos. I had a hard time choosing a favorite this time, but I think it is Paul and Polly – “What can I say… ”

    Beautiful all of them!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks Sheila! That was Paul’s fav too. I don’t always manage to capture those “back-lit” photos, but when they turn out I really like them.
      Nina

  12. Sue says:

    Hats off to Mr. West! And hats off to you for showing us another beautiful spot to come back for. Sue

  13. Ralph says:

    Just another example…. as to why the Oregon coastline is considered one of the most beautiful on the planet!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, I have to admit there’s not many coastlines I’ve enjoyed more. There’s simply so much variation here, and the fact that it’s ALL open to the public makes it even more attractive.
      Nina

  14. Ken Schoening says:

    Great photos! And good writing! I really enjoy your posts.

  15. Desert Diva says:

    Life is a beach – at least in Oregon! :-)

  16. mjgilles says:

    Absolutely just outstanding posts and writing that inspire the best in everybody! Thanks so much for the inspiration!! Maybe someday we all can cross paths!

    Anddrinkplentyofit

  17. mjgilles says:

    You might want to consider the hike out to Cape Lookout, it has to be one of the best hikes I’ve done since the Grand Canyon! The B -17 history is so interesting. We did it when we were into geocaching. You are headed that way.

  18. Betsy says:

    Your photos are always wonderful! I’d love to have them all in a coffee table book – hint-hint!!

  19. Rob says:

    40 miles on the Oregon coast in the summer time can be a long ways to go!
    We always stop at the cheese factory in Tillamook when we go by there, I like watching them make the cheese and the samples are worth the stop. It is always a good place to stock up on cheese I don’t usually see anywhere else, like the natural extra sharp cheddar & the cheese with the habanero peppers in it.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We hit the “cheesy” parts of Tillamook yesterday and certainly enjoyed it. There will be a blog post coming soon.
      Nina

  20. Charlotte says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!! How can you ever leave such a beautiful place? Thank you for sharing. Another one for my list!

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s certainly not easy to leave. It’s part of the reason we’re spending the whole summer here. When the weather is as good as it is now, it’s quite the special spot.
      Nina

  21. It’s hard to beat Oregon’s rugged coastline in the summertime…and the endless string of colorful harbor towns, creaky old fishing boats, and the smell of salt air. Wonderful.
    Box Canyon Mark

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup. It’s got all the cute & pretty attributes of a coastline without that overbuilt tourist feel. Really love the laid-back feel out here.
      Nina

  22. Janet says:

    Thank you for putting Oregon on our radar. For some reason we have not really considered it, in the past, as a place we had to get to……I think you’ve changed that now with your great photos and great tips and reviews. Thank you for sharing them all!

    • libertatemamo says:

      The summer is excellent out here. Usually it’s rainy right up until June, but then the weather becomes quite nice and it will stay cool almost all summer. ALL the State Parks are excellent and ALL the beaches equally so. Can’t go wrong with any of them. My only recommendation is to make reservations for the week-end while kiddies are out of school. During the week you are generally OK, but over the week-end everything gets booked out. Once summer vacation is over, things open back up again.
      Nina

  23. We haven’t made it to Oregon yet, but thanks for all the ideas for when we do finally get there.

  24. I need to take my dog Shorty to Shorty’s beach! Ha! Great post as always….and yes you are helping me feel better about leaving Colorado and heading that way. If you’re still there in July/August we’d love to track you down and say hello!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ll still be on the coast, but further south. All July/Aug we’re going to be lighthouse hosts at Coquille River Lighthouse in Bullards Beach State Park (just near Bandon, OR). Come on down and see us!
      Nina

  25. dawnbmoore says:

    Love your blog! I’m a native Oregonian & grew up on the coast, which I realize now was quite a privilege really! In addition to Oswald West, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tom McCall, Oregon’s governor in the 60′s. Thanks to Tom, every beach in Oregon is public property & accessible to anyone from mean high water down to the ocean! What a legacy we all enjoy! Washington state, where I live now, continues to have ‘private beaches’. But then Washington has always been a bit behind Oregon!

    BTW, I am also my family’s biting-insect-magnet. Our cat is a flea factory & every one of them loved me! I finally began taking 2 B-Complex vitamins & a B-12 every day & no more insect bites! It really works! I also heard from a trusted source who is very tuned into natural things that she gives her pets nutritional yeast with every feeding & they no longer have fleas! We’re in the early stages of this experiment with our dog & cat but so far, so good.

    We hope to join you as PT boondockers when I retire in 3 years! Happy trails!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Lovely to “meet” you on the blog! You know I never really knew much about Tom McCall, but yesterday evening PBS just happened to show a full-length documentary on him. I didn’t know Oregon came so close to losing it’s public beach access, and how instrumental he was in preserving it. Plus all the other things he did, including cleaning up the Willamette River. A very inspiring man and a dedicated environmentalist. I truly enjoyed learning about him!

      Good info on the B-complex. I do take a multi-vitamin with good B-complex in it, but I may have to look into it a bit more.

      Nina

      • dawnbmoore says:

        Ironic that PBS had a documentary about Tom–will definitely check that out! I found that just the multi with B vits was not enough to keep me bite free! Cheers!

  26. […] ← A Hat Tip To Oswald West (And Yes…YET Another Amazing Beach) […]

  27. LuAnn says:

    Nehalem Bay sounds fabulous, and must be, given your stunning photos. This is yet another reason to go back to OR and explore further. Sad there are not more visionaries in this country like Oswald West and Tom McCall.

  28. […] really cute town with a good selection of food and atmosphere, plus just north of that is gorgeous Oswald West State Park for more rigorous hiking. For bigger day-outings you’re also only ~20 miles north of Tillamook […]

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