Rockhounding & Beachcombing | Oregon Coast

Rockhounding & Beachcombing | Oregon Coast

Bob Creek Agates

Beachcombing is a popular activity for those who enjoy spending time at the seashore while searching for treasures that the ocean coastline reveals. A variety of items can be found on Oregon’s beaches – sea glass, pieces of driftwoods, Japanese glass floats, shells including popular sand dollars, and other fossilized marine creatures.

However, the ocean beaches of Oregon are famous and extremely popular for beach-tumbled agate, jasper, and petrified wood.

Due to beaches being accessible to the public at all times, beachcombers can keep their treasures with some exceptions. Always check the Rules and Regulations before you go to the beach.

The winter months are a good time to hunt for agates. Generally, between November and March, sometimes April. During the summer, agate deposits are covered by sand. The winter storms help to remove the top sandy layers revealing the treasure beneath. Be on the lookout for loose gravel atop sand. No real technique and no equipment, though a gem scoop and geology pick can be helpful. All you need is a fun spirit and some water resistant warm clothing.

Along the Oregon Coast, there are multiple excellent spots for agate, jasper, and marine fossils beachcombing.

The best time: November – April, after big storms and during outgoing high tide at low tide.

How to Spot Agate on the Beach

Due to agate and jasper can be found almost everywhere along the 300-mile Oregon’s Coast shoreline, beachcombing for these colorful gemstones is very popular in Oregon. Mineral and fossils are lying on the surfaces of beaches and in gravels of the riverbanks or creeks that enter into the Pacific Ocean, so no hard work is needed to get them.

Pick a rocky beach. Most of the time the gemstones are covered by sand but after strong storms especially winter storms the rock beds are exposed. Often you can find beautiful agates or jaspers on gravel beds, near ledges, and stream gravels. The main characteristics of agate – transparency, color, and banding patterns will be helpful for finding and identification. When the waters have freshly preceded, the sunlight will cause agates to sparkle making them easier to spot. Also, it is easier to see a brightly colored agate or jasper when it is wet.

Restriction: No more than 1 gallon per day and 3 gallons per year for collecting agates on the beaches.

Beachcombing on the North Oregon Coast

A wide variety of agates, jaspers, petrified wood, and fossilized agate are found on the North Oregon Coast. The best places for beachcombing are located north of Pacific City – Netarts, Oceanside, Rockaway Beach, and Manzanita; north of the Cape Falcon and the area extending between Arch Cape and Cannon Beach which also includes the Arcadia and the Hug Point.

Between Cannon Beach and Manzanita

Minerals: agate, jasper, petrified wood, and fossilized agate.
Access to the beaches:

  • Tolovana Wayside State Park is located at Highway 101, milepost 22
  • Arcadia Beach Recreation Site is at Highway 101, milepost 32
  • Hug Point State Park lies at Highway 101, milepost 33
  • Cove Beach is situated at Highway 101, milepost 37, Falcon Cove Road
  • Oswald West State Park is at Highway 101, milepost 39.

Rockaway, Netarts, and Oceanside Beaches near Tillamook

Good-quality multicolored jaspers and sagenitic agates are found on the Tillamook beaches.

Minerals: agate including sagenitic and iris, jasper, bloodstones, petrified wood, zeolite, and fossilized agate.
Access to the beaches:

  • Manhattan State Park is at Highway 101, milepost 49
  • Short Beach – from the south end of Oceanside, take Cape Meares Loop and drive about 1.3 miles north.
  • Tunnel Beach – accessible from Oceanside Beach.
  • Netarts and Oceanside – from Highway 101, take Highway 131 west in Tillamook

Short Beach Agate

Beachcombing on the Central Oregon Coast

The Central Oregon Coast provides great opportunities to find high-quality agates including carnelian, black-blue, enhydro, moss and sagenitic, jaspers, petrified wood, and fossilized agates. The beaches stretching from the Road’s End to Siletz Bay in Lincoln City, the coastline near Newport, Yachats and Florence are considered to be the most productive areas for collecting gem quality minerals.

Over 7.5-mile beaches of Lincoln City produce agates and multicolored jaspers. The 5-mile stretch of Moolack Beach from Otter Rock to Yaquina Head, roughly 3 miles north of Newport, is good for agate, carnelian, jasper, petrified wood, and fossils hunting. Marine fossils such as shells and the bones of sea lions and whales have been found near Beverly Beach, Newport. High-value bloodstones, carnelian, moss, and sagenitic agates containing needle-like inclusions have been found south of Yachats. Check the areas along the mouths of creeks entering to the ocean – Big, Bob’s, China, Cummins, Tenmile, and Squaw.

Lincoln City

Minerals: agate, jasper, petrified wood, and fossilized agate.
Access to the beaches: There are numbers of the beach public access in Lincoln City along Highway 101.

  • Roads End State Park in Lincoln – Highway 101, between 112 and 113 mileposts, turn onto Logan Road
  • Nelscott Beach between D River Wayside State Park and Siletz Bay Park in Lincoln City – Highway 101, mileposts 115-118
  • Gleneden Beach – Highway 101, between mileposts 122 and 123
  • Fogarty State Park lies at Highway 101, milepost 125.

Newport and Vicinity

Minerals: agate, jasper, carnelian, petrified wood, and marine fossils.
Access to the beaches:

  • Otter Rock &Devils Punch Bowl State Park lies at Highway 101 between mileposts 132 and 133
  • Beverly Beach State Park lies 6 miles north of Newport at Highway 101, milepost 134
  • Moolack Beach is located 4.5 miles north of Newport at Highway 101, between mileposts 134 and 136
  • Lost Creek – Highway 101, at milepost 147
  • Ona State Park is located south of Newport at Highway 101, mileposts 149
  • Seal Rock State Recreation Site – Highway 101, milepost 151

Between Yachats and Florence

Minerals: agate and jasper including prized moss and sagenitic agates, bloodstones, and carnelian.
Access to the beaches: