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.
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.
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.
Catch Lovely Views at Chetco Point Park
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.
Enjoy the Colors of Azalea Park
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.
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.
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.
Check out Some Galleries
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 Art displays 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.
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.
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.
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.