Updated at: 15-06-2023 - By: Craig Huey

The beaches of Oregon are always pleasant, so you can’t pick a bad time to visit. During the Pacific Northwest’s warmer months, visitors flock to the Oregon coast. Is there a special way to avoid the beachgoers? In the process of getting wet! You can put your board in the water and experience the power of the Pacific Ocean at any level, as there are breaks for surfers of all abilities all the way from the north to the south. Everybody from novices to seasoned pros will find useful information here. Prepare for the long drive to the coast by loading up on Dick Dale and grabbing a board (or renting one). Here are some of the top spots in Oregon for novice surfers to get their feet wet.

Gearhart Beach


A look southward from Gearhart Beach toward Seaside. Photos taken by Shane Kucera. Gearhart is a convenient alternative to the overcrowded beaches of Seaside. The beach is long and wide, making it ideal for sandcastles, beach walks, and bodyboarding. You can park your RV or other vehicle right on the sand and relax in style anywhere along the beach’s 8-mile length; there’s no need to make the long trek to the water’s edge. Get out of the water and warm up by the fire while watching the sun set. Do not, under any circumstances, light the driftwood on fire.

Indian Beach – Ecola State Park


Indian Head Beach parking lot. Photograph by Halvor Tweto. Indian Beach, which is located within Ecola State Park, is known for its mainly right-hand breaks and breathtaking views. The Tillamook Headland’s massive basalt, which formed 15 million years ago, looks incredible from a surfer’s vantage point. Many kayakers frequent this area, so please be aware of your surroundings. Visit Tillamook Rock’s lighthouse, Terrible Tilly, to keep an eye on the approaching surf. The lighthouse, which is currently decommissioned, has an interesting past.

Cannon Beach


Cannon Beach at dusk. A photo by Shane Kucera. Cannon Beach, one of Oregon’s most popular beaches, got its name after a cannon was found in the ship’s wreckage there in 1922. Since it’s in close proximity to both Portland and Salem, it’s a hotspot for Oregonians during the summer. Views of Haystack Rock, home to thousands of sea birds, can be enjoyed from the water. Windless mornings and evenings are ideal. It’s a gentle exercise that’s perfect for those just starting out.

Short Sand Beach


Condensed Sand Beach. Tyson Gillard took the picture. Short Sand Beach (also known as Shorty”s or Short Sands) is one of the more popular beginner surfing spots, so it can get crowded on the weekends during the summer. Smuggler’s Cove provides excellent consistency in the waves thanks to its protection from harsh weather. The abundance of inexperienced surfboards in the water may annoy more skilled surfers. But it’s a great place for newcomers to start out. From the park’s main parking lot, it’s only a half-mile walk to the water, where surfers can enjoy a spectacular view. The path to the shore is flanked by a forest of ancient Sitka spruce. If you’re not exhausted from all the swimming, there’s more hiking to be done in this area.

Pacific City


Pacific City, Oregon, surf scene. Tyson Gillard took the picture. Pacific City is where you want to be if you enjoy drinking beer after a day of surfing. If you’ve been in the water for a while, you can reward yourself with a cold beer at Pelican Brewing Company, which is conveniently located right on the beach (though the wait staff would appreciate it if you changed out of your wetsuit first). In the winter, swells can reach heights of 12 feet as they break over the reef and into this break. Surfers can choose from a variety of different options. A right-hand wave breaks nicely off the southern tip of Cape Kiwanda. As well as Gas Chambers, a much larger beach break further to the south also experiences hollow periods. If you’re a beginner, don’t venture too far from the parking lot, where there’s a fun, easy beach break. Motorized vehicles are permitted on the beach, but this often results in the entire stretch looking and feeling like a parking lot on popular summer weekends.

Gleneden Beach


The sunrise at Gleneden Beach. Tyson Gillard took the picture. Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site, located south of Lincoln City, features a wide sandy beach ideal for first-timers to the sport of surfing. Any beach bum would agree that this one is heaven because there are no entry fees. While sipping your morning coffee at one of the picnic tables on the bluff above the water, you can scope out the waves and see what they’re like. The waves change in size from day to day, but they are always present. If you are surfing, know your limits and stay within the surf that you can handle. Keep an eye out for sea lions and seals as you wait in line, as they are common residents of these waters.

Fogarty Creek State Recreation Site


The Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area. Tyson Gillard provided the photo. A good place to see migrating whales, this spot on Highway 101 between Lincoln City and Depoe Bay also has respectable waves. The access points to the north and south are both on the east side of the road. Tide pools, rocky cliffs, and easy access via wooden footbridges make this a fantastic destination with plenty to do and see. Also, there is a covered picnic shelter for those dreary winter days when you just have to get outside. The shorelines are forested with alder, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce trees, which serve as a haven for a variety of bird species. As with many of the other beaches on this list, when it’s busy, it’s really busy due to the limited size of the beach itself.

Otter Rock Devil”s Punch Bowl State Natural Area


We’re taking a look south toward Beverly Hills. This photo was taken by Tyson Gillard and is used with his permission. Between Depoe Bay and Yaquina Head in southern Oregon is where you’ll find Otter Rock and Devil’s Punch Bowl. Best surfing in Beverly Beach can be found at the northern end of the beach, near C Street. A wooden staircase can be found on the south side of 1st Street between B and C Streets, where parking is available. The months of late December through early January, and mid-March through early April, are peak viewing times for gray whales. There is plenty of space for both longboards and beginners to catch waves at this beach. In the winter and early spring, rip currents are especially dangerous.

Safety and Etiquette

Surfing is a lot of fun, but you need to be careful out there. Learn how to surf by reading surf reports, then check the forecast and the tides. Pack appropriately for your journey. A 4/3mm wetsuit, booties, and, in the Pacific Ocean, a hood, are all necessities. To avoid getting too chilly, it’s recommended that you head indoors. All you have to do is wait for the waves. A refresher course in surf etiquette can come in handy for inexperienced surfers. Leave no trace and always make an effort to leave the beach in better condition than when you arrived.