The Oregon Coast is home to some of the world's best beaches for agate collection. From Astoria in the North to Brookings in the South, you can find plenty of treasure in sandy and gravel spots - throughout the whole coastline. Whenever you come across agates, chances are jaspers are nearby, too. Both gemstones are formed in a similar fashion and thus can often be found together.
Most agates range from pea-sized to walnut-sized. However, it is not uncommon to find much larger specimens. Colors of agates also range widely - from clear, yellow, red, and orange to purple, deep blue, and almost black.
While we cannot collect agates for you (We already got quite a few - your turn now!), we can certainly save you time by giving some pointers
Below, you will find a list of spots. Some of them are less sandy; some are more. Some are straight gravel, and some are a mixture of sandy areas and gravel bars.
For more rocks, look for less sand and more gravel. Sandy beaches can also be productive. Our advice is to visit such locations at low tide after a storm. The ocean will remove layers of sand so that you would not have to dig the minerals out of it. This extra planning will undoubtedly translate into less frustration. Your back will thank you later, too.
Wintertime, however, can level the playing field a bit. Storms and king tides remove the top layers of sand thus bringing the oceanic treasures to the surface. While many beaches are productive year-round, winter is hands down for any type of locations.
Bottom line: Gravel bar in winter is your ultimate best friend. Besides, if the beach you are rockhounding at has a creek or a river, look for rocks there, too. The stream tends to move the rock and minerals toward the ocean, so be sure to check the water and along the banks.
With the theory out of the way, lets move onto the best beaches in Oregon for agate hunting!
How to Spot Agate on the Beach
Pick a rocky beach. Most of the time the gemstones are covered by sand but after strong storms especially winter storms the rock beds are exposed. Often you can find beautiful agates or jaspers on gravel beds, near ledges, and stream gravels. The main characteristics of agate - transparency, color, and banding patterns will be helpful for finding and identification. When the waters have freshly preceded, the sunlight will cause agates to sparkle making them easier to spot. Also, it is easier to see a brightly colored agate or jasper when it is wet.
Restriction: No more than 1 gallon per day and 3 gallons per year for collecting agates on the beaches.
Where to Hunt for Agates - The Best Oregon Beaches
Agates, jaspers, petrified wood, and fossils are plenty along the North Oregon Coast. You will not be disappointed by rockhounding on the beaches around Oceanside and Netarts, especially Short Beach and Tunnel Beach. Other locations, such as Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, north of Cape Falcon, and the area between Arch Cape and Cannon Beach, are better for wintertime rockhounding.
Short Beach is a well-known place that is popular among agate hunters. The examples of minerals you can find are agate, jasper, calcite, petrified wood, quartz, and zeolite. Agates and jaspers are especially common and may be found along the entire length of the beach. Most agates you will find there have abraded surfaces and dull coloring.
Tunnel Beach is popular among rock collectors due to the peculiar specimens can be found here. During winter, waves and king tides remove the top layer of sand, revealing coastal treasures underneath.
This tranquil beach with unique rock formations has an extended high bar of lava cobbles. The bar can be great for rockhounding, especially after winter storms. Beachcombing is also a productive activity with a variety of driftwood, shells, and sea glass scattered across the sand and cobble.
Most of the year, agate hunting opportunities are relatively limited here. The beach is covered by a thick layer of sand with little cobbles along creeks and headlines. However, it may be worth checking the area during winter, when storms and king tides wash sand away.
The Central Oregon Coast provides excellent opportunities to search for jaspers, petrified wood, fossils, and agates, including carnelian, black-blue, enhydro, moss, and sagenitic. The beaches stretching from the Road's End to Siletz Bay in Lincoln City, the shore near Newport, all beaches around Yachats, and all the way down to Florence are very productive for agates. Be sure to check out the area near Newport, where you can find the ultimate treasure - blue agate.
Roads End Beach can be a great place to fill your collection with beautiful rocks and other beach treasures. The most common and sought-after mineral here is agate ranging from clear to yellow and even orange.
Most of the beach is sand with some productive gravel bars along the Schoolhouse Creek. You can find beautiful gemstones there, including agates, jaspers, and various fossils. This place gets much better during winter and low tides, though.
Nelscott Beach is a remarkable destination for rock collecting. You can still find plenty of minerals even during summer when the beach is covered with sand. Winter months, when tides and storms move layers of sand, are incredibly productive.
Agates, jaspers, and petrified wood are most plentiful here. Beverly Beach is covered with sand during summer, hiding minerals underneath. The best time to hunt for agates and jaspers here is, therefore, winter. Check the gravel bars too - they accumulate an abundance of rocks and can yield larger pieces.
Fogarty Beach is a good place to search for agates. Be on the lookout for jaspers, petrified wood, and invertebrate fossils, too. The beach is mainly composed of coarse sand with gravel bars at the creek and the northern cliff. The best time for rock hunting at the beach is between November and April, when winter storms and king tides remove the top layers of sand.
Moolack Beach is one of the best locations for gemstones on the Central Oregon Coast. During wintertime, storms and king tides take out a lot of sand, opening ancient treasures. Here, you can search for agates (including carnelian), jaspers, and fossil shells. Moolack, Coal, and Spencer Creeks are good places to look for larger pieces.
Neptune Beach sits right in the heart of the agate and jasper collecting area. Here you can find agates (including carnelian and sagenitic), jasper, petrified wood, shells, sea glass, and other interesting items for your collection. You get the best chances to find unique rocks when the tides are low. Please mind the beach’s status as is a marine reserve and stick to surface collection only.
The beach of Strawberry Hill is another location in the heart of the prime agate collecting area that stretches from Yachats for 6 miles down to Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park. Like other beaches of the Central Oregon Coast, Strawberry Hill is an excellent source of agates, jaspers, petrified wood, fossil shells, and other interesting rocks. expect to find agate, jasper, petrified wood, fossil shells, and other interesting rocks.
This picturesque section of the coastline looks stunningly dramatic with its basalt slabs, tidepools, cliffs, and caves. Here, you can find jasper, petrified wood, shells, sea glass, interesting rocks, and other items that can become a valuable addition to your collection. Be sure to check the tide charts - you have better chances of finding unique rocks when the tides are low.
The northern part of the Stonefield Beach is an excellent spot for rock collecting and tidepool exploring. The best time to hunt for agates is between November and April when winter storms and king tides remove sand from the treasures underneath. You can find agates (including carnelian and sagenitic), jaspers, petrified wood, shells, sea glass, and other fascinating items.
The most common minerals on Big Creek Beach are jasper, agate, and petrified wood. Among less common finds are zeolite-bearing basalt and marine fossils. While some minerals, such as agate, can be picked up from the surface, others may require more effort. Marine fossils and zeolite-filled amygdules will likely be attached to a rock or inside it. A hammer and a geology pick will help you get it out.
This section of the Pacific shoreline is an excellent spot to search for rocks for your collection. You can find agates of various colors, jaspers, and seashells. The best time for rock hunting is between November and April when winter storms and king tides remove top layers of sand. Please also note that you are not permitted to use any digging equipment, rock picks, or metal detectors in Oregon State Parks.
South Oregon Coast beaches around Bandon, Gold Beach, Port Orford, and Brookings are great to find high-quality gemstones including a variety of agates, jaspers, petrified wood, fossils, and serpentine. The closer you are to the California border - the higher your chance to find a rare nephrite jade.
South Jetty Beach is a sandy beach that extends from South Jetty southward to Coquille Point and connects with other Bandon beaches. This is a very productive rockhounding spot with the most common gemstones being agate, jasper, and petrified wood.
This is a viewpoint of Haystack Rock, which has access to the beach. Devil's Kitchen is a day-use area with picnic tables, restrooms, seating benches, and a big parking lot. Even though it is a sandy beach, you can still find plenty of fancy rocks for your collection. That is especially so during winter when storms remove the layers of sand, uncovering nature's treasure underneath.
Garrison Beach is a very productive spot for rockhounding and beachcombing, especially after big storms. Agates are plentiful here. Various other ocean treasures are waiting to be added to your collection.
The Agate Beach at Tseriadun State Recreation Site is gravel and coarse sand, making it easy to walk around. It is also a very productive spot for agate hunting. During winter, especially after storms, you can find unique pieces for your mineral collection. Agates are plentiful (hence the name) but you can also find jasper, a lot of sea shells, and other gifts from the ocean.
Battle Rock is great for beachcombing and agate hunting, especially after winter storms and during low tide. Agates in a variety of colors are the most common finds.
Arizona Beach is a fantastic place, regardless of whether you just want to stroll or wish to combine walking to benefit your health with beachcombing or rockhounding to benefit your mineral collection.
The bank and bottom of the Sixes River are made of gravel and rocks of various sizes and colors. White quartz, green jasper, red brecciated jasper, agate, and petrified wood can all be found there.
Bailey Beach, as a whole, is a hidden gem of the Pacific Northwest. Among the plentiful outdoor adventures one can enjoy collecting rocks and minerals.
Bailey Beach at Rogue River North Jetty is a very productive rockhounding spot. You can find multiple beautiful minerals here including white and colored quartz, jasper, agate, petrified wood, and more!
Beachcombers and rockhounds can find plenty of collectible rocks and minerals here, including jasper, agate, petrified wood, and various fossils.
The river gravel contains rocks that wash down from its tributaries in the Coast Range, including quartz, agate, jasper, and petrified wood. Sometimes, you can find nephrite jade too. Big white quartz, red brecciated, or green jasper chunks are abundant here year-round. The agates range from small to larger clear pieces with some banding. Occasionally, you can find carnelian agate.
Lone Ranch Beach is a secluded sandy shore just a short drive from Brookings. It offers plenty of outdoor adventures, including beachcombing and rockhounding.
McVay Rock Park is a highly productive rockhounding area thanks to the gravel bars and the Chetco River. You can start picking up agates the minute you walk onto the beach. Most materials here are marble-sized or smaller. In addition to agates, you can find brecciated jaspers, quartz, petrified wood, sea glass, and other fascinating pieces.
Oregon Coast and State Park Rockhounding Regulations
There are some general rules for beach rockhounding. You cannot remove more than one gallon of agates and other non-living items such as shells, fossils, and stones per person per day. The annual limit is three gallons per person.
Oregon State Parks allow rockhounding of small amounts of rocks, minerals, and fossils for personal collection. However, digging or otherwise disrupting park property is strictly prohibited.
Collecting larger amounts might be allowed upon approval of the park manager at some State Park locations. Collecting on the ocean shore is also allowed but within specific limits. Here are the specific State Park rules related to rockhounding.
Please note that the rules cited above are valid at the time of publication and are subject to change. Before embarking on your rockhounding journey, make sure you are aware of and follow the rules applicable to your specific journey at that time.
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Attention, Fellow Beachgoers!
Unfortunately, our beautiful Pacific Northwest beaches are stained with trash, especially plastic. We at Oregon Discovery, as well as other unaffiliated groups of nature lovers, made a commitment to do our part in keeping our beaches clean, but we need your help too!
Whenever you go out to enjoy nature at your favorite spot, please bring a trash bag or two and help us pick up garbage. Even picking up a little bit here and there will make a huge long-term difference.
Please help us save our beautiful nature for generations to come!