Oregon: The People’s Beach
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Oregon’s Beach Bill, landmark legislation that dedicated the state’s entire 363-mile coast as public land. Every inch of it, from the lowest watermark up to the vegetation line, is open to all and unspoiled by development. There are no fenced-off resorts, no private docks, no maze of matching lounge chairs to navigate, just boundless beach and sea. Exercise your right to “free and uninterrupted use” by hiking the whole thing, from Ecola State Park‘s dense rainforest in the north, on through the beach town of Manzanita (stop at nearby Karla’s Smokehouse for provisions), across Cascade Head, where elk graze among 200-foot-tall Sitka spruce, then south to the reliable break at Agate Beach, on beyond the otherworldly Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (largest stretch of coastal dunes in the U.S.), and to Gold Beach, where the Rogue River hits the Pacific and you can catch dinner during a summer salmon run.
Getting there: From the airport in Portland, drive an hour and a half east to Ecola State Park. Another two hours will bring you to Agate Beach near Newport. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is another two hours south, and Gold Beach is another two hours, both of which offer camping. Fly out of Del Norte County Regional Airport in Crescent City, Calif.
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