Rockaway Beach Travel Guide

Read this comprehensive travel guide to Rockaway Beach, Oregon for an unforgettable trip filled with natural wonders, cultural attractions, and delicious cuisine.

Introduction to Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach is a charming coastal town nestled in the Northern Oregon Coast region. It boasts stunning natural beauty, from sandy beaches and craggy rock formations to lush forests and cascading waterfalls. Visitors to Rockaway Beach can also admire the town’s rich history and culture through its museums and historical attractions.

This guide will help you plan your ultimate trip to Rockaway Beach, covering everything from what to see, do, and eat to where to stay and how to get there.

List of Places to Visit in Rockaway Beach

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad: Take a ride on a vintage train from Rockaway Beach to Garibaldi while enjoying picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean and coastal scenery.
  • Garibaldi Museum: Learn about the maritime history of the Oregon Coast through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and photographs at this informative museum.
  • Tillamook Air Museum: Marvel at the vintage aircraft and military vehicles on display at this fascinating museum housed in a World War II-era blimp hangar.

Natural Attractions of Rockaway Beach: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Rockaway Beach State Park: Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, go for a swim, or take a stroll along the sandy shores of this scenic state park.
  • Twin Rocks: Admire the impressive rock formations rising from the ocean that inspired the town’s name.
  • Neahkahnie Mountain: Hike to the top of this mountain for breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding forests.
  • Tillamook State Forest: Explore the miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through this lush forest filled with waterfalls, streams, and wildlife.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Rockaway Beach

  • Twin Rocks Beach Trail: This easy one-mile trail takes you through beautiful coastal vegetation to the base of Twin Rocks.
  • Nehalem Bay Trail: This 4.5-mile trail loop takes you through scenic forest and wetlands and offers stunning views of Nehalem Bay.
  • Cape Meares Loop: This 4.3-mile loop trail takes you through old-growth forest and past the historic Cape Meares Lighthouse.

Best Things to Do in Rockaway Beach: Activities and Tours

  • Fishing: Go on a deep-sea fishing trip or cast your line off the pier for your chance to catch salmon, steelhead, and more.
  • Whale watching: Take a trip from nearby Depoe Bay to see gray whales migrating along the coast from April to December.
  • Kayaking: Rent a kayak and explore the tranquil waterways of nearby Nehalem Bay.
  • Surfing: Catch some waves at the popular surf spot at Oswald West State Park.
  • Horseback riding: Take a leisurely ride along a scenic beach with Rockaway Beach Horseback Rides.

Week-Long Itinerary for Rockaway Beach

Day Activity
Day 1 Relax on the beach and take a walk along the Twin Rocks Beach Trail.
Day 2 Take a ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad and visit the Garibaldi Museum.
Day 3 Go on a fishing trip or rent a kayak to explore Nehalem Bay.
Day 4 Hike the Nehalem Bay Trail and visit the Tillamook Air Museum.
Day 5 Take a day trip to explore the nearby Tillamook State Forest.
Day 6 Take a horseback ride along the beach and go whale watching in Depoe Bay.
Day 7 Go surfing at Oswald West State Park and explore the charming town of Rockaway Beach.

Food and Drink Scene of Rockaway Beach

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fish and chips: Sample some of the best fish and chips in the area at Offshore Grill and Coffee House.
  • Clam chowder: Enjoy a bowl of creamy clam chowder at Grumpy’s Cafe or Upper Crust Pizza.
  • Dungeness crab: Feast on fresh Dungeness crab at Kelly’s Brighton Marina or The Fisherman’s Daughter.

Local Beverages

  • Tillamook County Creamery Association: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop of delicious ice cream from this local creamery.
  • Pelican Brewing Company: Try some of the excellent craft beer from this award-winning brewery.
  • Nehalem Bay Winery: Sample some of the locally produced wine at this charming winery.

Where to Stay in Rockaway Beach: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Inn at Rockaway: This cozy Inn offers comfortable accommodations and easy beach access.
  • Sea Haven Motel & Guest House: This oceanfront property offers charming guesthouses and stunning views of the Pacific.
  • Ocean Rogue Inn: Stay in a bright and airy room with ocean views at this modern inn.

What to Buy in Rockaway Beach: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Saltwater taffy: Stock up on the colorful and tasty saltwater taffy from one of the local candy shops.
  • Handcrafted gifts: Browse the selection of handmade ceramics, glassware, and jewelry at the various local art galleries.
  • Local produce: Visit the Rockaway Beach Farmers Market during the summer months to purchase fresh produce and artisanal products from local farmers and artisans.

Local Culture and Customs of Rockaway Beach

  • Respect the Beach: Keep the beaches clean and free of litter, and stay off the dunes to preserve their natural beauty.
  • Slow Down and Take it Easy: Embrace the laid-back coastal lifestyle and enjoy taking things at a slower pace.
  • Be Friendly and Kind: The locals are known for being warm and welcoming, so be sure to return the favor!

Best Time to Visit Rockaway Beach

The best time to visit Rockaway Beach is during the summer months, from June to August, when temperatures are mild and the weather is generally clear and sunny. However, the spring and fall seasons can also be pleasant times to visit, with fewer crowds and lower accommodation rates.

Do’s and Don’ts of Rockaway Beach


  • Do explore the many natural wonders and cultural attractions of the area.
  • Do take time to relax and enjoy the laid-back coastal lifestyle.
  • Do respect the local customs and culture.


  • Don’t litter or harm the natural environment in any way.
  • Don’t ignore local warnings and regulations, especially when it comes to water safety and beach access.
  • Don’t forget to be courteous and friendly to the locals.

Safety and Health

Safety in Rockaway Beach

  • Always follow the safety guidelines posted at the beach, including rules about swimming and surfing.
  • Be aware of the risk of sneaker waves and never turn your back on the ocean.
  • Stay on designated trails and avoid wandering off into unmarked areas when hiking.

Health in Rockaway Beach

  • Drink plenty of water and protect yourself from sun exposure when spending time outdoors.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia when swimming in the ocean or engaging in water activities.
  • Seek medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms or health issues during your trip.

Getting to Rockaway Beach: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Rockaway Beach

The nearest major airport to Rockaway Beach is Portland International Airport, located approximately two hours away by car.

Bus Stations Near Rockaway Beach

The nearest bus station to Rockaway Beach is located in Tillamook, approximately 20 minutes away by car.

Other Options

Many visitors to Rockaway Beach choose to drive or rent a car to explore the surrounding area. Some also opt to book a tour or shuttle service to get around.

How to Get Around in Rockaway Beach

The best way to explore Rockaway Beach is on foot, by bike, or by car. Parking is generally available at most attractions and accommodation options.

Where to Go Next from Rockaway Beach: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Cannon Beach: Visit the scenic town of Cannon Beach, known for its iconic Haystack Rock and charming downtown area.
  • Astoria: Explore the historic city of Astoria, located at the mouth of the Columbia River, and visit its many museums and attractions.
  • Pacific City: Enjoy the stunning scenery and outdoor adventures in the cozy town of Pacific City, located just south of Rockaway Beach.


Rockaway Beach is a hidden gem in the Northern Oregon Coast region that offers plenty of natural wonders, cultural attractions, and delicious cuisine. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to plan your dream trip to this charming coastal town and make unforgettable memories along the way.