The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area offers something for every visitor, from exploring tide pools teeming with life to witnessing Oregon’s tallest lighthouse.
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area extends out from the Oregon coast, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. Standing 93 feet tall at the westernmost point of the basalt headland, the lighthouse has been a bright beacon of the night, guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast since the light was first lit on August 20, 1873.
The offshore islands are a year-round refuge for harbor seals and a spring-summer home for thousands of nesting seabirds. Gray whales can be spotted during their annual migrations to Mexico (late fall-early winter) and Alaska (late winter-early spring). During the summer months some gray whales take the opportunity to feed in the shallow waters around the headland.
Cobble Beach is compiled of millions of round basalt rocks that produce an applause-like sound as the waves roll in. When the tide is low a vibrant ocean floor is revealed—pools of colorful animals including orange sea stars, purple sea urchins, and giant green anemones. Rangers are at hand to answer questions and point out all of the amazing plants and animals that call the tide pools home.
Visit the Interpretive Center and discover 140 years of lighthouse history and thousands of years of natural and cultural history. Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses, a non-profit organization, offers site-related books, maps, and postcards in their interpretive store.
Whether you want to see raging winter storms batter the Oregon coast, learn about the role lighthouses played in the westward expansion of the United States, or watch peregrine falcons at play, visit Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and experience something wild.