10 Top Things to Do in Brookings-Harbor, Oregon

Secret Beach Sea Stacks in Brookings, Oregon

Lidija Kamansky / Getty Images

Just north of the Oregon-California border—where the Chetco River empties into the Pacific Ocean—you'll find the scenic beach community of Brookings-Harbor. Since it receives some of the warmer temperatures on the coast, the area is referred to as Oregon’s Banana Belt. Like much of the 363 miles of the Oregon Coast, Brookings-Harbor's top attractions include an array of city and state parks that preserve the gorgeous coastal landscape and wildlife for the enjoyment of the public. You can see everything from gray whales to acres of azalea flowers to tufted puffins here. The community also offers a historic museum and a port full of restaurants, galleries, and other businesses to explore.

01 of 10

Explore Harris Beach State Park

Harris Beach State Park illuminated by sunset with rock stacks in the distance

Sawaya Photography / Getty Images

U.S. 101, Brookings, OR 97415, USA
Phone +1 800-551-6949

Extraordinary beach scenery, hiking trails, wildlife watching (including gray whales in winter and spring), and camping are all reasons to spend time exploring Harris Beach State Park. A long stretch of sandy beach is perfect for beachcombing and flying kites. Campers, who can choose from a tent, yurt, or recreational vehicle (RV) sites, will enjoy ocean and forest views which change with the seasons, a children's playground, a bicycle trail to town, and ranger-led programs.

Harris Beach State Park looks right out at the rocky Bird Island (also known as Goat Island). The island is a National Wildlife Sanctuary that is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and a nesting site for tufted puffins and other seabirds.

02 of 10

Stroll Around the Port of Brookings-Harbor

Brookings Harbor in Oregon

jmoor17 / Getty Images 

16350 Lower Harbor Rd # 205, Brookings, OR 97415-8323, USA
Phone +1 541-469-2526

Home to commercial and recreational boats, the Brookings-Harbor waterfront marina area is a fun place to wander and stroll around. You can head out on one of the daily charter fishing trips from the port, or watch the professionals unload the freshest of ​seafood, including Dungeness crab, tuna, and shrimp.

Enjoy some of these local goodies at a waterfront restaurant such as The Hungry Clam or the Sporthaven Marina Bar & Grill. If you just want to relax and sip on some coffee, The Bell & Whistle Coffee House is a nice stop. The Brookings-Harbor shops and galleries are a great place to pick up a souvenir of your Oregon Coast getaway.

03 of 10

Catch Lovely Views at Chetco Point Park

View of Chetco Point in Brookings, Oregon from Harris State Park

Cacophony / Getty Images

Brookings, OR 97415, USA
Phone +1 541-469-1103

Surrounded by water on essentially all sides, Chetco Point Park, a Brookings city park, offers plenty of beach and lawn space to explore. At almost 9 acres, it's a perfect place to enjoy a casual picnic with friends and family or to just sit back and watch the waves and sunsets, and perhaps catch a glimpse of a whale migration or some seals on nearby rocks.

The whole family will enjoy the panoramic views of the Port of Brookings-Harbor, St. George's Reef Lighthouse, the Pacific Ocean, Macklyn Cove, and more. Be sure to check out the trails which head up a bluff leading to additional lovely views, and the tide pools.

04 of 10

Enjoy the Colors of Azalea Park

Benches and sculpture in Azalea Park

Allie Towers Rice / Flickr / CC BY 2.0


640 Old County Rd, Brookings, OR 97415, USA
Phone +1 541-469-1103

Azalea Park, another Brookings city park, is a community hub complete with kids' play equipment and structures, sports fields, a performance stage, picnic areas, and gardens. The 33 acres of native azalea flowers are particularly gorgeous during their spring bloom time when the park comes alive with bright pinks and reds. Other plantings keep the park in color through much of the year.

The park holds special music, sports, and other events that are fun for families throughout the year. During the Christmas season, the park is the site of the 45-minute walk-through light display called "Nature's Coastal Holiday Light Show" on the southern Oregon coast.

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05 of 10

Learn at Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum

Exterior of the Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum

Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum 

15461 Museum Rd, Brookings, OR 97415-9519, USA
Phone +1 541-469-6651

The historic 1857 Blake House—a pioneer-era structure and the oldest dwelling in the Chetco Valley—first served as a stagecoach stop and trading post, and later became a private home. This local museum preserves the early history of the region by displaying the artifacts and furnishings of daily life.

The Chetco Valley Historical Society Museum is a nonprofit organization. Enjoy the museum looking out on the Pacific Ocean and the Chetco Valley on weekends when it is open to visitors; contact the museum to arrange a tour.

06 of 10

Hike at Alfred A. Loeb State Park

Redwood Nature Trail near Alfred A. Loeb State Park

Rick Obst / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

N Bank Chetco River Rd, Brookings, OR 97415, USA
Phone +1 541-247-3600

Located along the Chetco River, Alfred A. Loeb State Park is a wonderful place to hike in a unique ecosystem: The park is found in Myrtlewood forest grove, the majority of the trees are more than 200 years old. The pristine Chetco River runs clear along the southeast edge of the park. The park's self-guided Riverview nature trail takes you through a forest of Oregon myrtle trees, which eventually leads to the Redwood Nature Trail and into the adjacent Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon/California.

Alfred A. Loeb State Park is also popular for camping (a few log cabins are available too), fishing, and wildlife watching.

07 of 10

Check out Some Galleries

Interior of the Semi Aquatic gallery

Semi Aquatic

If you'd like to see some locally-created art, head to Semi Aquatic, the retail gallery in downtown Brookings featuring the work of Spencer Reynolds, who also teaches and uses the space as a painting studio. Everything from paintings to cards to jewelry and clothing are for sale in his unique style, which is influenced by the ocean and the gorgeous Oregon coast.

Signatures Gallery of Fine Artdisplays art and giclées (fine art digital prints) by known national and international artists. Also in Brookings, the Brian Scott Gallery displays nearly 30 local and regional artists who design sculptures, jewelry, pottery, and glass, and paint with watercolor, oil, and more.

08 of 10

Whale Watch at McVay Rock State Recreation Site

The rocky coast at McVay State Park

OCVA / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

McVay Rock State Recreation Site is a nice, almost 19-acre park in Brookings offering many amenities from a golf course with an ocean view to a fine beach for strolling to opportunities to go whale watching, fishing, and clamming.

You may come across seabirds as you walk down the steep path leading to the beach below, and sea glass and driftwood in the sand. Dogs are allowed off-leash in the adjacent park for pups.

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09 of 10

Visit the Local Farmers Market

People setting up at the Brookings-Harbor Farmers Market

Brookings-Harbor Farmers Market

A fun activity for the whole family is the year-round Brookings-Harbor Farmers Market, where a range of items are for sale, like home decor, flowers, produce, baked goods, and more. Grab some souvenirs such as crafts or local artisan foods. The event in Brookings takes place rain or shine on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In the summer, the market serves up beer and food on Friday nights.

10 of 10

Have Fun at Whaleshead Beach

Coastal landscape with many rugged rock islands at Whaleshead

imageBROKER / Moritz Wolf / Getty Images

This unique viewpoint approximately 7 miles north of Brookings is one of the Oregon Coast's known beautiful attractions. It consists of a sea stack off the shore that resembles the head of a whale—when a wave crashes into the sea stack, the spray looks like a whale spouting. This is a good spot for hiking near the ocean and forest as well as taking photos and videos.

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Fun Things to Do in Brookings-Harbor on the Oregon Coast