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Arizona Beach on S. Oregon Coast: Cloistered, Sheltered from Wind, Delightfully Mellow

Published 03/05/22 at 4:22 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Arizona Beach on S. Oregon Coast: Cloistered, Sheltered from Wind, Delightfully Mellow

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(Port Orford, Oregon) – Sheltered, cloistered, tucked away from the masses and yet greatly prized to those who are in-the-know. Arizona Beach and its surrounding park Arizona Beach State Recreation Site are a tad off the main drag of 101, and a little hard to see the sign if you're going fast. It's a bit of a struggle to find this singular south Oregon coast wonder. But as you emerge from the downhill section of Humbug Mountain, and the thick line of trees begin to give way to more and more open stretches, glimpses of the sea explode and you know you're getting close. (Above: Arizona Beach via drone, courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more)

Arizona Beach is one of the coastline's more intriguingly mellow hangouts, and it's worth the time to look. A creek runs through it: namely famed Myrtle Creek, so look for that landmark to help spot this exceptional place.

Upon first entering Arizona Beach State Recreation Site, you'll be greeted by a vast, lush green space punctuated a fishing pond. On occasion, larger wildlife like elk abound here with their majestic horns and an imposing stature, causing much dropping of the jaws when they show up.

Courtesy Oregon State Parks

Darker sands hint at the possibilities of gold, just like parts of the region south of here, but they're not dark enough. Still, rather large, coarse grains make for interesting patterns along this south Oregon coast beach near Port Orford.

One thing you'll find fascinating at times is the way these larger chunks of sand break off, revealing stratified layers that look like those time-revealing lines in regular soil that go deeper into the past the farther down you look. It's a bit of an unusual appearance: like faux geology / archaeology. The sand underneath gets honyecombed for some reason, something you don't see on other parts of the Oregon coast.

Courtesy Oregon State Parks

To the north, one small promontory cuts off all access to anything north of there, but provides intriguing shapes with rocky pointed spires and and other designs of indistinct but complex blobs. The mini-headland here soars upwards and looks like some Gothic castle from famous literature should be perched on top. Add some dramatically-crashing wave conditions and you have a truly atmospheric scene. Not to mention the wave drama here can be spectacular with all those obstacles to cause wild, watery explosions.

To the south, another headland juts out along with two conjoined sea stacks, and towards that area are more small rocky blobs around tideline of Arizona Beach.

Courtesy Oregon State Parks

Together, the two areas create a rather windless situation, blocking them from the north and the south. Hence, the name Arizona Beach, according to Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department: the lack of wind can keep the temps up like something from the desert state.

Arizona Beach State Recreation Site has some camping available, but there very limited facilities. Showers area a few miles away at the Humbug Mountain campsite and restrooms are a good away from the beach area. The pond here is stocked full of trout – although it is for those 17 years of age and under only.

All those black and gray rocky areas reveal insane amount of color, however. Tide pool life abounds on many of these rocks, with sea stars creating explosions of bright reds, pinks, purples and oranges, along with myriads of other shades.

To the south of here is enigmatic Sisters Rock, another state-run site that's not exactly in the state park system but close.

The cove that comprises Arizona Beach State Recreation Site is about two-thirds of a mile long, but if conditions are calm enough you can hike around the final point and it takes you about a mile to reach Sisters Rock.

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Arizona Beach via drone, courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

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