A short drive north of Tillamook along Highway 101, just past the port town of Garibaldi, lies Rockaway Beach. It’s a one-road town with that road being the coastal highway. There are patches of side streets with beach homes and some permanent residents, but all side roads lead to nowhere. Highway 101 is the only way in or out. But that’s okay because the town is all about the beach.
We are not speaking of a narrow cove beach. Rockaway Beach is a long, straight expanse of white, sandy coastline where a person can fully engage themselves in the fine art of beach walking.
One of Rockaway’s endearing features is its expansive beach face. This zone, also known as the foreshore, comprises the area between the low tide water line and the base of the beach berm. The beach face is very flat, so the Pacific waters recede dramatically at low tide, expanding the walking zone hundreds of feet oceanward and providing excellent scenic material for photographs and other artistic ventures.
The image below depicts an expansive section of beach sweeping northward, with a low promontory from the Coastal Mountain Range jutting up in the background. An ocean mist drifts in from the image’s left side, and low shallow waves lap onto the shore.
The Oregon coast is chilly in March, so waterproof boots, fleeces, and rain jackets are required instead of bathing suits and shorts. But the walking is still entertaining, and the dogs don’t mind splashing in the surf.
You can wander far from the shoreline dunes and beachfront homes, taking in a panoramic view of Rockaway nestled between the cold Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Range. The picture below captures reflections in soggy sand flats at low tide.
And then there are dramatic days when dark storm clouds blow in off the ocean, and walking must be timed between the downpours.
When you are planning your walks be sure to schedule a low tide stroll to view some of the most expansive scenes Rockaway Beach has to offer.
If you are walking on Rockaway, stop at Flamingo Jim’s and take away a sculpture to brighten up your garden.