November 2, 2003
The official website contains such a completely inadequate description that I can’t see it making anyone want to go out of their way to visit this beach. Especially not with places like Yaquina Head nearby. That’s a shame. Ona Beach State Park is one of coast's best-kept secrets and my favorite section of coastline. It has a very unique landscape; a long stretch of fascinating rock formations that you can explore.
Beginning at the parking area, with picnicking facilities and meadows adjacent, a short hike through woods and over a bridge above the creek leads to the sandy beach. To the south you’ll be able to make out the rock formations, but you wont be able to appreciate them until you approach closer. Then, of course, you’ll find it hard to walk away. Each twist of your head or single step changes the view and reveals something new and fantastic. There is very little sand within this rocky area. The images below are of rock sculpted by time and tide still attached to the larger rock base below. Look for what appears to be a whale's fluke protruding from the rock below, it seems that while the whale was diving both mammal and water transmogrified. It also makes a handy seat.
There are pools left behind by the retreating tide, but generally these don’t contain larger creatures, although occasionally there is a surprise. What you will more normally see are tiny little fish frantically seeking somewhere to hide when they see you. I’ve tried sneaking up on them, it can’t be done. The problem for them is that, in most of the pools, there’s nothing to hide under, so they just zip round and round until you feel exhausted for them.
As always at an Oregon Beach you can look for agates or other interesting things along the shoreline, watch people playing with their dogs or kids in the surf, or just walk.
It is important to go when the tide is out or the rock formations will be inundated. Occasionally, after a large storm, the rocks are encroached upon by sand. The oblique western light in the later part of the day is best for photography as the shadows cast allow the rocks more definition. The cliff face blocks direct eastern light early in the day.
Open: Dawn to dusk.
Oregon State Parks: 1-800-551-6949
From journal In and Around Newport, on the Oregon Coast