Some of my favorite spots along the Pacific Coast are in Oregon, along US Highway 101. And there’s one spot where I’ve realized that I visit, over and over again. Harris Beach State Park is a great “welcome to Oregon”, and it gives you a taste of what lies ahead, on a drive up the coast. And if you’re southbound, it gives you one last chance to enjoy a great Oregon beach.
Harris Beach State Park is located on the north side of Brookings, Oregon, and about 7 miles north of the California/Oregon state line. A short side-road curves around a big hill, ending at a parking area with easy beach access.
I started my day in Crescent City, California, and headed north. Even though I had a couple of days left, my trip was winding down. I knew that this day on the coast would be the best part of the short time that remained. So I was anxious to get over to the coast, and find a few beautiful, rocky, driftwood-strewn beaches. And not long after crossing over into Oregon, I spotted Harris Beach, and decided to check it out.
Almost instantly, I knew I had been here before. I explored Harris Beach State Park back in 2013, when I was making a similar drive up the coast, also starting in Crescent City.
Harris Beach isn’t big, but it has everything you need: some brightly-colored rocks poking out of the sandy beach, with more sea stacks in the distance.
During low tide, you can probably slip around this outcropping at the southern end of the beach, and explore whatever is on the other side. That larger rock, by the way, is known as Arch Rock.
This is as far south as I chose to go, although it would have been fairly easy to climb over the rocks and continue to the south. You can also explore further north along the beach, beyond the parking area.
But for this trip, I needed to move on. I didn’t get far before another roadside trail called my name. Just north of this area, the excellent Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor begins — and I located a spot that I had never seen before.
Harris Beach State Park will likely be the first, or last, Oregon beach you visit, depending on which direction you’re driving. It’s easy to access, and it’s worth a brief stop, at the least.
Here’s a look at the time-lapse video of the drive from Crescent City to Harris Beach State Park: