We were at a high scenic overlook in Oswald West State Park when he spied it.  “We need to get to that road,” my husband emphatically stated.   He was pointing down the coast toward a long gray span running parallel to the beach, from our vantage right next to it.  I was game.  After we finished our outing-in-progress and were returning to our campsite, we turned west on Nehalem Road, which appeared a likely candidate for our goal.  As we’d hoped, we were soon adjacent to an expanse of beach with easy access – Manzanita Beach.  Due to the lack of a fore dune, a benefit not regularly found along the sandy Oregon shoreline, seascape viewing is unobstructed even from the car.

As a side note, Manzanita is an adorable town.  Tourist-style shopping typically has little draw for me, but even I was enticed.  A blend of tasteful, artful, and wholesome, the storefronts invite entrance to browsing and buying delights.  If weather prevents an outdoor stroll, or you have seen enough sights for the day, the streets in town may offer a pleasing pastime.

Public entrance

50 Steps Wheels:

December winds and drizzles did not seem to dampen activity on this broad swath of sand.  Even at dusk when the temperature rapidly plummeted, singles, pairs, and families, dotted this stretch of beach.  Cheeks rosy under beanies and over scarves, many tossed balls and sticks for their happy dog companions.  This lively display of northern Oregon beach lovers was as rewarding to watch as the rolling waves and billowing cloud formations.  We returned to this beach many times during our short northern Oregon stay.

The step count above is to reach the bench near the beach entrance.  Within another 50 steps you will be on the open sand, and can continue your excursion as you choose.

Walk Details for Public entrance
Terrain: Entrance is flat sidewalk with a ramp to the sand. Beach is loose sand until within the tide line, where it is more firmly packed.
Seating: One bench, and several shaped rock seats prior to reaching the beach. None. Careful selection may find a driftwood log resting option, but beware of it rolling.
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: No
Directions: From Manzanita the main road through town, Laneda Avenue, ends at this beach entrance (where it meets Ocean Road). From the 101 north of Manzanita, Nehalem Road will veer south into Ocean Road, which also ends at this beach entrance.

Parking is tricky since there is no actual lot. You need a bit of luck to park in one of the 6 or so spots on the street close to the beach. You may also park on the shoulder on the west side of Ocean Road.

Dune entrance

25 Steps Wheels:

Farther from town, less busy, and closer access from your car, this entrance hits the northern portion of Manzanita Beach.  A great setting for a more introspective, private stroll, with the vastness of both the ocean and nearby cliffs reminding one of their place amongst these enormities.  Relax and luxuriate in the seaside surroundings while breathing deeply the ionized, salty air.

The step count above is to reach the open sand.  The length of your actual beach stroll is at your own discretion.

Walk Details for Dune entrance
Terrain: Level access to loose sand until within the tide line, where it is more firmly packed.
Seating: None. Careful selection may find a driftwood log resting option, but be beware of it rolling.
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: No
Directions: From Manzanita, Laneda Avenue heading west ends at Ocean Road. Follow Ocean Road until you reacha stop sign, then jog to the left on Beulah Reed Road. From the 101 north of Manzanita, turn west on Nehalem Road, then right on Beulah Reed Road when you reach the Y.

Once on Beulah Reed Road, drive between the low foredune and houses, selecting a beach entrance (the middle of the 3 seems easiest at the time of our visit). Flip around and park off the road on the sand-covered shoulder.