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Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor – Oregon Coast

The Southern Oregon Coast offers some of the most diverse landscapes you could ever want to experience. Towering Sitka spruce, Coast redwoods, osprey, sea lions, otters, wildflowers, and whale-watching are just a few of the delights you could experience with very little effort spending time in this part of the world. Traveling the Southern Oregon Coast from the border of California to Gold Beach, you realize Oregon is a feast for the eyes and the soul. One way to explore this rugged coast is to take advantage of the many trails and viewpoints on the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor, along a twelve mile section of Hwy 101 starting from Brookings, Oregon. You can download a brochure and detailed map from the Oregon State Parks and Recreation website. 

The Samuel Boardman Corridor hugs the coast, alternating with forests and coastline. There are a number of pull-off spots and parking areas clearly marked to stop and enjoy the sweeping vistas or to gain access to the Oregon Coast Trail. If you plan to make the most of this scenic drive, plan on spending the better part of a day exploring a few of the trails, beaches, and picnic areas.

Some of our favorite stops along the Samuel Boardman Corridor

  • Whaleshead Beach – Perfect stop to get your feet in the sand and have a picnic or snack.
  • Indian Sands-Very steep walk out to the dunes but a glorious view of the coast. This takes a little more effort and time but is well worth the stop. My teenage boys vote this the best hike on the S.B. Corridor.
  • Thomas Creek Bridge – Stop and walk over the tallest bridge in Oregon with a fantastic view.
  • China Beach-Want a beach all to yourself? Hike the short, steep trail and enjoy the wide sandy beach and off-shore rocks. We found this to be the perfect spot for watching osprey hunt in the surf.
  • Natural Bridge and Thunder Cove Rock- Short, easy hike to see the rock formations through a lovely forest with lots of summer wildflowers.
  • Arch Rock – Easy stop and a great place for a picnic. (Pick up picnic supplies in Brookings-Fred Meyer supermarket right on Hwy 101 has everything you need at a reasonable price.)

If you are traveling the Southern Coast of Oregon and come in through the California border, take time to stop at the Crissey Field State Park/Oregon Welcome Center. (No fee- 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM)  It is right off Hwy 101 and will give you a chance to collect information, brochures, maps, and a feel for all that Oregon has to offer. There is also beach access, hiking trails, and a small nature center and store. We found the Rangers there to be extremely helpful in planning a few days exploring this magnificent area of the world. You can also get information for near-by Redwoods National Park.

If you are looking for places to stay while on your trip, you can choose to stay in Brookings or Gold Beach, Oregon. We prefer to camp and Harris Beach State Park is our favorite spot on the whole Oregon Coast. If you are looking for lodging in Brookings, we like the Wild Rivers Motor Lodge.  In Gold Beach, try the Gold Beach Inn.

Barb McCoy- Harmony Art Mom writes about their family’s outdoor adventures on her blog, Handbook of Nature Study. She also is the author and host for the Outdoor Hour Challenge and a series of ebooks helping families get started with simple nature study. Her home base is Northern California but she also writes about their continuing adventures in Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona. Barb also founded Harmony Fine Arts which helps homeschoolers with their art and music appreciation.

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