Last updated: November 30, 2023
The Oregon Coast is everything you might look for in a coastline – rugged beauty, captivating landscapes, and breathtaking vistas. It has endless possibilities for adventurers and those looking for natural treasures. Hug Point Beach, however, is by far my favorite coastal gem.
Located just south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point Oregon is an adventure on its own. Sometimes crowded, sometimes not. It depends entirely on the season, the weather and the tides. My family and I stop by this most charming of beaches every time we’re in the area, even if it’s not low tide.
Hug Point Beach: A Hidden Gem
Tucked away along the beautifully scenic Pacific Coast Highway, Hug Point Beach Oregon is a relatively lesser-known destination. Its proximity to Cannon Beach makes it more of an afterthought that fewer people seem to think about after visiting the more popular beach in Oregon.
Know Before You Go to Hug Point State Park
*Low tide is the best time to make the most of your experience.
*Tides can be determined online.
*Parking is free, though the lot is small.
What to See and Do at Hug Point Beach
As you step onto the sandy shores of this beautiful beach, you are immediately greeted by the majestic beauty of the Pacific Ocean stretching out endlessly before you.
One of the most captivating features is the towering sea stacks that rise from the ocean in different directions and distances from the beach.
Tide Pool Creatures
The remnants of the old logging road, revealed at low tide, is where you’ll see a variety of tide pool invertebrates including starfish, anemones, crabs, and sometimes colorful sea slugs. You can also see some of these guys as you explore the southern end of the beach as well.
Hug Point Waterfall Hike
One of the highlights of this beach is the enchanting waterfall that cascades onto the beach from the little cliff above. Accessible by a short walk along the northern edge of the beach, this waterfall is a must-see attraction when flowing strongly. Darling, even when the flow isn’t so strong.
Hug Point trail, while so short it doesn’t seem like one at all, is a refreshing walk nonetheless.
Hug Point Cave
The cave is accessible only during low tide, as the tide recedes and exposes the sandy shoreline.
You can enter the damp cave and walk in a bit, experiencing the dramatic interplay of light and shadows. The beach view from inside the cave is simply magical.
It’s important to exercise caution and be aware of tide times, especially when visiting the cave at Hug Point Beach.
For those who have extra energy and a little bit of skill, this beach has a few opportunities for climbing on the rocks, especially during low tide when more of the rocky shoreline is exposed.
Climbing on coastal rocks can be hazardous however. The rocks are slippery, and the ocean waves can be unpredictable. It’s essential to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions if you decide to climb on the rocks at Hug Point Beach.
- Do not climb over anything living. You are a guest, not an intruder.
- Before exploring the rocks, check the tide tables for the area to ensure you’re visiting during low tide. This will give you more space to safely navigate the rocky terrain.
- Sturdy, non-slip footwear with good traction can help you navigate the uneven and potentially slippery surfaces.
- Only attempt climbs that you feel confident and capable of completing safely. Avoid risky maneuvers or climbs beyond your skill level.
- Carry a first aid kit, with antiseptic cleanser and band-aids most importantly.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands.
The Historic Hug Point Stagecoach Road
As you wander north along the shoreline at low tide, you’ll also stumble upon an interesting piece of Oregon’s history – the remnants of the Hug Point Stagecoach Road.
This historic road dates back to the late 1800s when travelers had to navigate the treacherous coastal terrain by horse-drawn stagecoaches. You can still see the wheel ruts embedded in the sandstone rock, serving as a reminder of the challenges faced by those early pioneers.
Beachcombing and Photography
Hug Point Beach is a haven for beachcombers and photographers. The ever-changing tides provide a variety of delightful treasures, including seashells, driftwood, and polished stones.
Take your time to explore the beach’s nooks and crannies, as you might stumble upon hidden treasures washed ashore by the whims of the ocean.
Photographers will find plenty of opportunities to capture breathtaking shots of the sea stacks, waterfall, and the dramatic coastline. The soft golden light during sunrise and sunset enhances the natural beauty of the beach, making it an ideal time to capture stunning photographs.
Wildlife and Birdwatching
The Oregon coast is not only home to fascinating marine life but also a hub for various bird species. As you stroll along this beach, you might spot seagulls soaring above, pelicans gliding along the coastline, and sandpipers scurrying at the water’s edge.
Keep an eye out for other wildlife too. You may come across deer above the waterfall, raccoons, and other small mammals that occasionally venture onto the beach from the nearby forests and dunes.
Hug Point Beach is perfect for a leisurely picnic with friends or family. Pack a basket with your favorite snacks, fruits, and sandwiches and settle down on the sandy expanse for a delightful afternoon amidst the ocean breeze.
Hug Point Beach in Winter
While summer might be the peak season for visiting Hug Point Beach, winter also holds its own unique allure. The beach takes on a different character during the colder months, with stormy seas, dramatic skies, and occasional rain showers. Perfect for waterfall viewing!
For those seeking solitude and a more intimate connection with nature, winter can be a fantastic time to visit.
Storm-watching is a popular activity during winter at Hug Point Beach and most of the Oregon coast. The powerful waves crash against the rocks, and this raw power of the ocean can be both humbling and awe-inspiring.
Getting to Hug Point Beach
Hug Point Beach is conveniently located along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 101), making it easily accessible by car. If you are coming from Cannon Beach, it’s just a short 5-mile drive south. Alternatively, if you are traveling from Tillamook, the beach is approximately 30 miles north.
As you approach Hug Point Beach, keep an eye out for the road’s turnout, which leads to a small parking area. From there, a few steps and a short trail will take you down to the beach.
Best Time to Visit Hug Point
Hug Point Beach is a year-round destination, each season offering its unique charm. The mild climate of the Oregon Coast means you can enjoy the beach in every season. However, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before your visit.
Summer is a popular time to visit, as the weather is generally warmer and more predictable, making it perfect for picnics, beachcombing, and tidepool exploration. The longer days also allow for more time to explore the beach and capture stunning photographs during golden hour.
If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall. This is my favorite time to visit just about anywhere. The crowds are thinner, and you may have the beach almost entirely to yourself.
Springtime brings blooming flowers and vibrant greenery, while autumn offers stunning foliage colors and a sense of tranquility.
During winter, Hug Point Beach transforms into a magical place, with crashing waves, dramatic storm-watching opportunities, and a sense of solitude that allows you to connect with nature on a deeper level.
However, be mindful of storm conditions and heavy rainfall, as they can create hazardous conditions on the beach.
History of Hug Point Beach
Before European settlers arrived, the area around Hug Point Beach was inhabited by various Native American tribes. These indigenous communities lived along the coast, relying on the ocean for sustenance and resources.
European traders and explorers came around in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition (1804-1806), for instance, is known to have passed through the region.
As settlers moved westward, the Oregon Trail brought pioneers to the area in the mid-1800s. The beach gets its name from when travelers had to “hug” the rocky headland at the point during low tide in order to continue along the coast.
As transportation and infrastructure improved, the Oregon coast became a popular destination in the early 20th century. Hug Point Beach, with its unique rock formations, tide pools, and caves, began to attract visitors looking for natural beauty and outdoor experiences.
Over time, there was a growing recognition of the need to preserve the natural beauty and ecological value of places like Hug Point Beach. Efforts were made to protect these areas from excessive development and environmental degradation.
Today, Hug Point Beach continues to be a popular spot. People come to enjoy the scenic beauty, explore the caves, enjoy the waterfall and rock formations, and experience the unique coastal environment that the beach offers.
How to see the waterfall at Hug Point Beach?
The waterfall is unique in that it fluctuates heavily depending on weather conditions. The best flow can be found in the spring and after a heavy rain.
How to get to Hug Point Waterfall?
To reach Hug Point Falls, simply take the steps down to the beach and walk toward your right, to the north. Depending on the flow, you’ll either see a lovely waterfall or just a trickle leading out to the ocean.
Things to Bring to Hug Point Beach
Like any outdoor adventure, being prepared can be a game changer.
- Water shoes
- Gloves for climbing
- Rain jacket
- Dry bag
- Healthy snacks
- First aid kit
Hug Point Weather
Generally, this area enjoys mild, wet winters and cool, comfortable summers.
During the winter months (December to February), temperatures typically range from the mid-40s to mid-50s Fahrenheit, with frequent rainfall and occasional storms.
Spring (March to May) sees gradual warming, with temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit. Rainfall continues, but becomes less intense.
Summer (June to August) brings cooler temperatures compared to inland areas, with highs ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit. Fog and marine influence keep temperatures moderate, making it a popular time to visit.
Fall (September to November) sees gradual cooling, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit. Rainfall increases again.
Tides at Hug Point
Hug Point Beach, like other coastal areas, experiences regular tidal fluctuations due to the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun. The tides at Hug Point can vary greatly throughout the day and between different times of the month.
Hug Point High Tide
During high tide, the beach may become narrower, and some areas might even be partially submerged, limiting access to certain parts of the beach and rock formations. Such as the cave and the old wagon road.
Low Tide Hug Point
During low tide, more of the beach and coastal features become accessible, such as the historic road, sea cave, and interesting tidepool creatures. This is often a popular time for visitors to explore the area and enjoy its natural beauty.
It’s crucial to be aware of the tide schedule if you plan to visit Hug Point Beach, as tides can change quickly and dramatically. Checking the Hug Point tide chart or local tide predictions is advisable to ensure your safety and enjoyment while visiting the beach.
Hug Point Camping
Camping is not allowed on Hug Point Beach in Oregon. It’s a day-use area where visitors can explore the beach, tide pools, and coastal features, but overnight camping is not permitted on the beach itself. I’m disappointed too, because this would be amazing.
If you’re looking for camping options near Hug Point, there are several campgrounds and state parks in the surrounding area where you can camp. One popular option is Oswald West State Park, which is relatively close to Hug Point and offers camping facilities.
Where to stay near Hug Point Beach
There are many lodging possibilities near the beach, depending on your needs and preferences.
Another nearby town with lodging options is Seaside, which is a bit north of Hug Point Beach. Seaside offers a mix of hotels, motels, and vacation rentals, making it a good alternative if Cannon Beach is fully booked.
There are vacation rental properties available in the vicinity of Hug Point Beach. These can provide a more private and homey experience, especially if you’re traveling with a group or desire a longer stay.
RV Parks and Campgrounds
If you’re looking for a more outdoor experience, there are RV parks and campgrounds in the area. Be sure to check if reservations are required, as well as the availability of amenities.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have the best camping accessories if you decide to camp!
Things to do near Hug Point Beach
Here are some activities and attractions near Hug Point Beach, along with their approximate distances from Hug Point.
Ecola State Park (Approx. 8 miles north)
Enjoy stunning coastal views and an enormous variety of hikes through one of the best state parks in Oregon. See if you can spot the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse on your walk.
Cannon Beach (Approx. 5 miles north)
Explore the charming coastal town with art galleries, shops, cafes, and restaurants. Buy a delicious ice cream and people watch at the ever-popular beach.
Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site (Approx. 4 miles north)
Relax on the beach, explore tide pools, and admire the many impressive sea stacks.
Oswald West State Park (Approx. 6 miles south)
Hike a variety of trails at the park itself, including the Cape Falcon Trailhead to see the lighthouse. Short Sand Beach is another popular spot for surfing, picnicking, and hiking, accessible through Oswald West State Park.
Neahkahnie Mountain Trail (Approx. 9 miles south)
Hike to the summit of Neahkahnie Mountain for panoramic coastal views. Hiking is a fantastic way to stretch your legs and get a little exercise on a road trip.
Don’t forget: Always check current conditions, opening hours, and any restrictions before heading out to ensure the best experience.
Respect for Nature and Leave No Trace
As visitors to these lovely coastal environments, it’s our responsibility to preserve and protect them for future generations to enjoy. When exploring Hug Point Beach, please remember to practice the Leave No Trace principles:
- Pack out all your trash and dispose of it responsibly.
- Refrain from picking or disturbing any wildlife or marine life, including shells and rocks.
- Keep a safe distance from marine mammals, such as seals or sea lions, if you encounter them on the beach.
- Avoid walking on delicate dune grass and vegetation to prevent erosion.
- Stay on designated trails and paths to minimize impact on the fragile coastal ecosystem.
By adhering to these principles, we can ensure that Hug Point Beach remains a sanctuary for wildlife and a haven for nature enthusiasts for generations to come.
Hug Point FAQs
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about visiting Hug Point Beach, Oregon.
Yes, parking and beach access to Hug Point Beach is free.
The best time to go to Hug Point is at low tide, after a heavy rainfall. This way you can enjoy the waterfall, access the cave, and explore the tidepools.
You can find tidepools if you go north along the coast from Hug Point Beach, or a little ways farther going south of the beach.
Hug Point is located approximately 5 miles south of Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast.
Final Thoughts: Hug Point Beach
Hug Point Beach on the Oregon Coast is a true gem, offering a remarkable blend of natural wonders, history, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a glimpse into Oregon’s past, this coastal paradise has something for everyone.
From exploring the caves and waterfall area to uncovering the remnants of the Hug Point Stagecoach Road, this beach offers an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
Next time you find yourself on the Oregon Coast, make sure to include Hug Point Beach in your itinerary. Embrace the magic of this hidden treasure and create lasting memories amidst the enchanting beauty of Hug Point Beach.
Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape by the ocean, Hug Point Beach is sure to leave a lasting mark on your heart.