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“Not what we expected”

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Ranked #1 of 48 things to do in Newport
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: From exploring tide pools teeming with life to witnessing Oregon's tallest lighthouse, there is something for every visitor at Yaquina Head. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since the light was first lit on August 20, 1873. The offshore islands are a year-round refuge for harbor seals and a spring-summer home for thousands of nesting seabirds. Gray whales can be spotted during their annual migrations to Mexico (late fall-early winter) and Alaska (late winter-early spring). During the summer months some gray whales take the opportunity to feed in the shallow waters around the headland. Cobble Beach is compiled of millions of round basalt rocks that produce an applause-like sound as the waves roll in. When the tide is low a vibrant ocean floor is revealed—pools of colorful animals including orange sea stars, purple sea urchins, and giant green anemones. Rangers are at hand to answer questions and point out all of the amazing plants and animals that call the tide pools home. Visit the Interpretive Center and discover 140 years of lighthouse history and thousands of years of natural and cultural history. Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses, a non-profit organization, offers site-related books, maps, and postcards in their interpretive store. Whether you want to see raging winter storms batter the Oregon coast, learn about the role lighthouses played in the westward expansion of the United States, or watch peregrine falcons at play, visit Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and experience something wild.
Houston, TX
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not what we expected”
Reviewed August 1, 2010

We looked up the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area's website ahead of time and arrived early in the morning to see the tide pools. We were expecting paved walkways as the website had said, but it turns out that area got overtaken by sand and had nothing living anywhere except catarpillars crawling on the hand rails. There were tidepools to see at the "Cobble Beach" area, but it was VERY difficult to get to them as the beach is made up of very large stones that quickly shift as you walk on them. A little steep too. and the rocks surrounding the tide pools were slippery. Also beware that there is a rotting seal on the beach right now that is pretty stinky and will not be removed by the park. The ranger told us that it would stay there until it was bones! There were critters to spot in the pools though. If you are young and able - Go for it!

1 Thank leavinonajetplane675
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
85 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Much More to see than just the Lighthouse!”
Reviewed July 30, 2010

The full name of this beautiful place is "Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area", the hightlight, of course, being Oregons tallest lighthouse, which stands at an impressive 93 feet, with 110 steps for the determined visitor to conquer. Actually, I'm a wimp, and I didn't consider it a difficult climb at all. There are a couple landings where you stop and let a group go down, which allows you resting time. You are only able to go halfway into the lamproom itself, however. They allow guests up the final steps one at a time, and you stand on the last step, which puts you waist-high in the room. It is a working light, and Oregons second oldest, built in 1872. But don't stop with the lighthouse, on the way to or from the light, take one of the trails down to the water, where you will find a cobble beach, and fascinating tidepools, which my teens really enjoyed. The cobble beach is difficult to walk on, however, you tend to slip on the round stones. There is also another trail, Communications Hill, that leads you up a kind of steep, pretty, wooded path to the top where the Coast Guard maintains some communication equipment. And do not miss the outstanding Interpretive Center, with its' wonderful displays, murals, historical photographs and educational presentations. There are restrooms and a gift shop, also.

3 Thank Makelifefun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lansing, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
468 reviews
219 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 783 helpful votes
“Tidepools are the highlight”
Reviewed June 19, 2010

Located just North of Newport, this park is most famous for its lighthouse, which can be seen many miles away as you are driving southbound on US 101. While the lighthouse is in a beautiful setting and contains a first order fresnel lens, what we enjoyed most were the tidepools.

The tidepools are located on Cobble Beach, which is just below the ligthouse parking lot, in which a wooden staircase leads you down to a very rocky beach. At the edge of the rocks are these beautiful tide pools, which contain huge starfish, sea urchins, and colorful anemones. The catch is you have to go at low tide. To find out when it is low tide, you can do an internet search (hmsc.oregonstate.edu/weather/tides/tides.html), or find the local paper, which lists the low tide time on the front page.

Beyond the tide pools and out in the cove, are huge rocks that contain rookeries for murres. Also on the rocks are seals, comorants, and surf scooters. This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and costs $7/vehicle to get in. This admission is good for three days.

8 Thank Jason P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weiser, Idaho
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“AWESOME tide pool experience”
Reviewed June 8, 2010

Happened upon this lighthouse after seeing it in my guide books, and boy am I glad we stopped. There is a fee for entry in to the park - $7 - but it was SO WORTH IT. The tide happened to be out, so we were able to take the stairs down to the beach and wander the tide pools. Saw so many colorful sea stars and anemones, crabs, mussels, and a bunch of other stuff I don't even know the names for! There were seals sunning themselves on rocks just a stones throw from where we were, and there were several babys among them - too cute!! Sadly a dead seal had washed up on shore, but the parks staff had it barricaded off. It was sad, yet it was neat to be able to get a close look at the seal. I'm sure later in the day you wouldn't have wanted to get too close. I will definetly be going here again - the sooner the better!!!

1 Thank Gypsyfrau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Lebanon, Ohio
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Loved it”
Reviewed June 1, 2010

I love lighthouses and this is one of my favorites. $7 per car load to get into the park, which includes the lighthouse, exploring the natural habitat of the area, sea life, birds and wild flowers. If the weather wasn't so challenging, I could have spent the better part of a day there. The lighthouse is well maintained and staffed by knowledgeable staff. The original lighthouse is on the other side of town, just north of the bridge, which is free and worth a trip as well.

Thank JRBOhio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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