Short Sands Beach/Oswald West State Park, Oregon
usinfo | 2014-06-10 14:37

Located ten miles south of the posh seaside town of Cannon Beach, this small, secluded cove is a fairly well-kept local secret, and the quarter-mile hike to the beach keeps this favorite surfing spot from becoming over-crowded. Former Oregon Governor Oswald West (1911-1915), the 2,484-acre park's namesake, set aside the entire Oregon coastline for public access. Maze-like trails tunnel through the dense old-growth spruce and fern forests. The beach generally doesn't have much undertow, so it's good for beginning surfers and boogie boarders. Further out, swells can reach six to eight feet, prime real estate for more experienced surfers. The rocky cliffs of Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain bookend the sandy beach, and you can take a trail north 2.4 miles to Cape Falcon or south 3.8 miles to Neah-Kah-Nie's summit. Don't be surprised to see the herd of Roosevelt elk that roams the forest, and when walking along the trails keep an eye peeled for giant banana slugs—slippery snails sans shells. Seals, sea lions, and whales are visible offshore from both lookouts. The region is steeped in legends of shipwrecks and buried treasure and there's some evidence that Vikings paddled the coast in AD 1010. On the north end of the beach sits Oswald West State Park, with about 30 first come, first-served walk-in tent sites. Rates are $14 per site through September, and then drop to $10.


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