Tunnel Beach - Oregon Coast

• Tunnel Beach is accessed via a man-made tunnel through a huge basalt cliff of Maxwell Point
• A hidden beach at the smallest wilderness area in America

PhotographingAgate HuntingHiking OregonWildlife Viewing

Tunnel Beach near the town of Oceanside is a hidden gem tucked away among the rocky cliffs and multiple sea stacks. This sand and cobble beach is a 300-yard long shoreline sitting south of the basalt headland of Maxwell Point between Oceanside Beach and Lost Boy Beach.

The Oceanside Beach State Recreational Site has a parking lot with a pathway leading to Oceanside Beach. Take a walk on this beautiful sandy beach, and enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze with the view of the mighty Pacific and the gorgeous Three Arch Rocks Refuge.

Walk to the north end of Oceanside Beach. There, you will see that which gave the beach its name -- a man-made tunnel carved through the base of Maxwell Point leading to a scenic coastline. This is an easy 0.8-mile round trip from the parking lot that will take you to a more rugged and secluded area.

The 90-foot-long tunnel was built in 1926 by the Rosenberg family, who owned a resort at Oceanside. The purpose was to let their guests access more of the coastal shore. The tunnel begins with a round concrete bunker-like corridor. As you move through the tunnel, concrete gets replaced with rocky walls and rugged floors. Huge boulders and driftwood are there, too -- they were brought to the tunnel by huge waves and king tides. Some light does come through, allowing minimal visibility of the trail. Having a regular or a smartphone flashlight on you is still advisable to ensure you do not walk into or step onto anything you would rather avoid.

Tunnel Beach Entrance
Tunnel Beach Entrance
Tunnel Beach - Oregon Coast
Tunnel Beach
Tunnel Beach Oregon Coast
Agate Hunting
Tunnel Beach Oregon Coast
Maxwell Point Tunnel

Once you come through the oval portal on the other end of the tunnel, you will find yourself on a secluded beach surrounded by huge cliffs and lined with numerous sea stacks. During super low tides, you can reach Tunnel Beach simply by walking around Maxwell Point.

Lost Boy Beach and Short Beach are located north of Tunnel Beach. Legend has it that Lost Boy Beach was named after a boy who disappeared in this area over a hundred years ago. This beach is a lovely 1,000-foot cove with no direct road or trail access.

The Lost Boy Beach access from Tunnel Beach or Short Beach is NEITHER safe NOR recommended. Those who choose to explore this area should use common sense to avoid getting trapped by the incoming

tide. A relatively safe exploration of Lost Boy Beach is only possible at extremely low tides, minus two (-2) feet at least.Super low tides are rare on the Oregon Coast. Access-worthy low tides at Lost Boy Beach occur only several times a year and do not last very long.


Watching Wildlife

Oceanside and Tunnel Beaches are known for their scenic interdial area. During low tides, visitors can explore the beautiful marine world, including colonies of mussels, anemones, and sea stars.

The Three Arch Rocks area, consisting of numerous sea stacks, islands, and rocks lying half a mile offshore, was designated a National Wildlife Refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. This smallest wilderness in the United States is the nesting place for many seabirds, including tufted puffins, cormorants, and common murres. The refuge is the only pupping area of the North Coast for Steller Sea Lions.

The Three Arch Rocks Wilderness is closed to public access.

Agate Hunting

Tunnel Beach is popular among rock collectors, with plenty of opportunities to find beautiful and unusual minerals. During winter, waves and king tides remove the top layer of sand, revealing coastal treasures underneath. The best time to look for minerals is at low tide. The most common are clear agates, green, blue, and yellow jaspers, zeolites, and marine fossils.

Cautions: Beware of changing tides, rip currents, driftwoods, sneaker waves.

NEVER turn your back to the ocean!

Camping, Lodging & Vacation Rentals

No camping is allowed at Tunnel Beach. The nearest campground is located at the Cape Lookout State Park.

There are multiple lodging and rental options nearby. The small towns of Oceanside and Netarts in the vicinity have a few. The larger city of Tillamook, with an even bigger choice of places to stay, is only nine miles away.

Lodging in Oceanside

Affordable vacation rentals for short and long term stay at Oceanside

Lodging in Tillamook

Affordable vacation rentals for short and long term stay in Tillamook

Tunnel Beach | Facts

Open: Year-round
Managed by: Oregon State Parks

Amenities: Restrooms
Activities: Rockhounding, hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching

Distance from the parking area: 0.4 miles
Road access: Any vehicles
Day-use fees: None

Tunnel Beach is located:

  • 9 miles west of Tillamook
  • 81 miles west of Portland.
  • 82 miles northwest of Salem.

Adventures Nearby

Attention Fellow Beachgoers

Unfortunately, our beautiful Pacific North West 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!

Every time you go out to enjoy nature at your favorite spot, please bring a garbage bag or two and help us pick up garbage. Even picking up a little bit here and there will make a huge difference long term.

Please, help us save our beautiful nature for the generations to come!

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Directions to Tunnel Beach

From US 101 in Tillamook,

  • Take OR 131 west (3d Street) and head west 8.7 miles to Cape Meares Loop
  • Bear left onto Netarts Oceanside Highway and continue 0.2 miles to the parking area entrance on the left.

Get Google Maps Directions

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