Pacific City

“A Little Ocean Getaway”

In an area once known as a thriving fishing port, center for farming, and dairy industry, Thomas Malaney platted the town of Ocean Park in 1893. The town gained its modern name of Pacific City in 1909 to avoid confusion with a Washington town also called Ocean Park. By the 1920s, when fish (mostly salmon) became depleted by overfishing and the business less profitable, tourism became the mainstay of the local economy. Less than two hours from Portland (and even less from Salem) it has been a special getaway place for generations. Pacific City is casual, low-key and quiet, but still manages to have all the amenities and lots of stuff to do. Perhaps that’s the inspiration for their motto: “”Pacific City, Oregon, It just doesn’t get any better than this.””

Pacific City Beach Access…

Pacific City has three beaches. In the south is Bob Straub Park – which is the best place to explore the sand spit created by the Big Nestucca (access is pedestrian only). In the middle, Pacific Aveneue (after crossing the bridge) is used mainly by pedestrians, but 4X4 vehicles are welcome to climb the dunes for beach access. Lastly, The most popular is the Cape Kiwanda at the most northern end of town. There you will find easier access for vehicles. This is also where you will find the Cape Kiwanda Marine Gardens with tidal pools and interesting sandstone formations.  The ramp from the parking lot down to the water should be easy access for handicapped and wheelchairs.

Lots To Do…

  • Beach Combing – Everyone’s favorite pastime. Find your share of treasures washed up from around the world.
  • Bicycling – There are bike paths through town for safe navigation and Bike Rentals down at the cape.
  • Bird Watching – Bald Eagles, Puffins, Sea Gulls, Crows and Ravens, Pelicans, Herons, and migrating Canadian Geese call this area home at various times of the year.
  • Camping – There are several county, state, and private campgrounds right in town.
  • Canoe, Kayak, and Motor Boating – The Big Nestucca which is slow running with plenty of room for either canoeing, kayaking, or motoring.
  • Clamming – The only easier way to get clams is to go to the market. Take your clam fork or shovel during a minus tide and help yourself.
  • Crabbing – Most crabbers are nearly embarrassed at how easy it is to gather a daily limit of dungeness crab.
  • Fishing – Pacific City is renown for it’s fishing. We have an abundant spring and fall run of Salmon in the Big Nestucca right in the middle of town.
  • Fly a Kite – A mild wind in the afternoons is generally perfect for kite flying.
  • Golf – There are two golf courses within a 10 minute drive south from Pacific City to the quaint village of Neskowin.
  • Hang Gliding and Paragliding – Almost anyone can learn to hang glide and paraglide with proper assistance and supervision.
  • Hiking and Backpacking – See the forest service site for details. Cascade Head is one of the local favorites and very rewarding.
  • Horseback Riding – Pacific City welcomes all horses and their people. Bob Straub State Park is the perfect staging area with a large asphalt parking lot with designated parking for horse trailers. There are trails all through the park which which access the beach and wind through the spit.
  • Marine and Mammal Animal Watching – Sit on the beach and watch a parade of marine animals swim and frolic in the surf including seals, sea lions, otters, and porpoises.
  • Monolith watching – Of the two “”Haystack Rocks”” on the Oregon coast, Pacific City’s is the largest.
  • Nothing in particular – Just sit and relax, this is a favorite pastime of just about everybody who comes here.
  • Off Roading – Vehicles on Pacific City beaches must be licensed and legal for road – a couple of miles to the north is Sandlake ORV Recreational Area with dunes the size of mountains.
  • Picnicking – Food always tastes a little better with fresh air in the mixture.
  • Photography – With some of the most photogenic views on the coast, and the most spectacular sunsets sinking behind Kiwanda Rock.
  • Sandboarding – The latest and coolest sport on the Oregon Coast and it is a popular sport among snowboarders who cannot wait until winter to board.
  • Sand Dune climbing – You can’t miss the mega sand dune which is the backdrop of Cape Kiwanda and makes for a fun (and challenging) climb.
  • Shopping – There are about a dozen galleries, gift, collectibles, and antique shops in town. 
  • Surfing – Pacific City has become well known for surfing. As the waves roll in around Kiwanda Rock, they form some unique curls. Of course, the best action is just after a storm.
  • Whale Watching – Climb atop of the cape and enjoy the spectacular view. Best sightings in March and May (then again in late fall).

Dining and Accommodations…

Generally, national chains have largely passed by Pacific City. But there are many charming and picturesque restaurants, cafes, bistros to dine at and several independent, hotels, motels, inns, and B&Bs to stay in to accommodate every budget.   It’s a casual and family-friendly and hospitable town. See our recommendations.