Things to do in Pacific City > Pacific City Beaches > Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area – State Park Near Pacific City, Oregon
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is a state park situated on the sandstone headland north of Pacific City, Oregon, offering some of the best viewpoints along the Oregon coast. It is one of three capes along the Three Capes Scenic Route, which also include Cape Meares and Cape Lookout One of the major features of the state park include the sand dune, and visitors can rent sandboards or explore the dunes on foot. The state park also features a number of other attractions, including a picnic area, trails for biking and hiking, and an observation deck that offers breathtaking views of the ocean. Nearby are two lighthouses – Cape Meares Lighthouse and Yaquina Head Lighthouse – which provide spectacular views and offer insight into the region’s past. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family adventure, Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area has something to offer everyone. Visitors can experience panoramic ocean views, explore tide pools filled with colorful sea life, take sun-soaked walks along the beach, or simply relax on the sand and watch the waves roll in. No matter what activities you’re looking for, Cape Kiwanda will provide a memorable experience for all.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including cormorants, egrets, seagulls and bald eagles. Birders will be delighted with the array of colorful species that frequent the area. The park also provides a habitat for gray whales, harbor seals, and other marine life. Bird watching is especially rewarding in late summer when migratory birds visit the area from parts unknown.
The Cape Kiwanda region also has an exciting cultural history. There are several Native American sites, including a petroglyph site that is believed to be around 1,000 years old. There are also several historic buildings, such as the Cape Kiwanda light station and the nearby Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can learn more about the area’s rich cultural heritage by visiting these sites or attending one of the park’s interpretive programs.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is an ideal destination for a variety of activities and explorations. Whether you’re looking for stunning ocean views, abundant wildlife, or a chance to learn about the area’s history and culture, Cape Kiwanda can provide it all. From sandboarding and birdwatching to tide pool explorations and cultural walks, Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience.
It is also one of the popular spots for surfing and kiteboarding. Surfers often hit the beach at dawn to catch some of the best waves in the area, while kitesurfing fans take to the skies for a unique view of the stunning coastline. Popular activities at Cape Kiwanda also include fishing, beachcombing, and picnicking.
Travelers from across the map head to Pacific City, Oregon year after year in pursuit of amazing views and the best of outdoor fun. That said, one of the most iconic stops that you’ll want to be sure to add to your itinerary when you’re in the area is the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. This breathtaking location is a sandstone headline that’s situated just north of the city and provides visitors with one of the most memorable and impressive coastal views imaginable. If you’re a traveler intrigued by the enormous power of the Pacific Ocean, time spent at the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area will never disappoint. The area is rich in beautiful vistas and was purchased and established as a natural area in 1973. Today, it continues to thrill visitors and locals looking for a place that encompasses the quintessential beauty of this coastal region.
What to Expect When You Arrive
The Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area can be accessed off the Three Capes Scenic Route which also hosts Cape Meares and Cape Lookout. That makes it simple to pair your visit with stops at these other two must-see destinations as well if you choose to. Once you arrive, visitors will need to make a climb up the dunes which can be relatively steep, so you’ll want to have the right shoes available. At the top, all of your efforts are made worth your while. From this point, you can take in sights of twisting rocks, captivating crevices, and waves rushing and pummeling the rugged coastline in abundance. While visitors will want to be sure not to pass the safety fencing, they’ll also want to make sure to have their cameras ready to go. From this vantage point, you can see beaches below and boats passing on the water as well. It’s an idyllic and thrilling scene you won’t soon forget.
Getting Here and More Activities to Enjoy in the Cape Kiwanda Natural Area
Most visitors to the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area arrive with a vehicle. There is a county-run parking option on-site as well as parking options at the beach just north of the lot. Once you’ve found a place for your vehicle and made the most of the view, there are other activities to enjoy here too. Many visitors pair their stop at the viewpoint with an afternoon on the surrounding hiking trails, settled into the sand on the beach, or making the most of fishing options.
Book Your Pacific City Adventure
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Reviews of Cape Kiwanda
“Nice place to visit. Surfing was a little rough out in the larger waves, but the smaller surf was really fun to surf in. There’s a subtle rip-tide close to the rocky cape (to the north), so be mindful of that (pulls that water further out). Awesome place to visit and not surf, there’s an enormous sand dune to climb and explore the upper cape area. Simple tide pools nearby the cape, and a great view of Haystack Rock. Lunch at the Pelican is nice, but between $10 for parking and going to the one restaurant around, expect to pay some. Alternatively there’s a burrito restaurant which also sells ales next to the surf shop, and I’d venture to guess that with a little walking, street parking is attainable. Hiking the sand dunes is a must, consider doing it barefoot, and running down the sand dune afterward is required!”
Cape Kiwanda Reviews
“Talk about a hike.. To see these vistas, you have to walk straight up a 200+ ft sand dune.. but it is WELL WORTH IT. Located just steps from the main drag of pacific city, this sandy, duney cliff offers some of the best view of (the better) Haystack Rock. You don’t really want to do it barefoot because once you get up there, you will find lots of little spots to explore. There are great views not just of the beach and the rock, but also crashing waves, little ocean spots, and tons interesting rock formations like caves and trenches. If you can make the trip up the hill, it is a great place to spend a few hours taking in the natural views. It is also well gated and I felt completely safe the entire time I was up there. If you are visiting Pacific City, add this to your list!”
“My favorite coast destination in Oregon? It has got to be cape kiwanda. If possible climb the huge mountain of sand and walk along the trail. The new trail has been completed and you get to safely walk to the other side for gorgeous views. Please stay within the rails and remove your trash. If you decide to run down the sand dune have someone film it… it’s hilarious to watch😂. Just go an enjoy this awesome place responsibly.”