If you were to search for popular places to explore along the Oregon Coast, on nearly every list are places like Haystack Rock (Cannon Beach) or Yaquina Head (Newport). These are considered some of the best tide pool areas in the state. Yaquina Head’s full name is Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and with good reason.
Yaquina Head offers a lighthouse as a backdrop for those who fancy looking at lighthouses, and tide pools to explore. The best of both worlds, don’t you think? And yes, Cannon Beach also has a nearby lighthouse, but it’s way off shore on a giant rock. You would need binoculars and a clear day to get a good view of Tillamook Lighthouse. Still, the tide pools are nice.
However; there is a wide spot in the road along Highway 101 between Florence to the south and Newport to the north called Bob’s Creek. Personally, it’s my favorite. The tide pools are easy to reach from the parking area. You don’t have to hike down long, winding pathways or deal with cliffs or rocky ledges. During low tide, the small pools are teaming with life. Early morning before the sun’s glare hits the pools, crabs are busy feeding on the algie. You might even find a small crab scurrying along on the sand from one pool to the next.
There is much to explore on a beach that isn’t overly crowded. Sea urchins and starfish, slugs that live in tiny shells and crabs that can be a bit crabby if bothered. The crash of waves, the wind and salty smell in the air. Birds circling overhead. You can easily lose track of time, and maybe even forget the world beyond this tiny waystation along the highway.
For us, spending an afternoon and another morning exploring the rocks of Bob’s Creek was time well spent.