Nestled between Oceanside to the south and Cape Meares to the north, Short Beach in Oregon is a half-mile stretch of coastal paradise, with two waterfalls (one man-made), sea stacks, tide pools, and plenty of sea life. The quiet, secluded beach on the northern Oregon Coast is accessible only via a short hike that leads through a dense coastal forest. In this article, we’ll fill you in on all the details about hiking to Short Beach in Oregon.

A sea stack off the coast at Short Beach in Oregon

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Short BEach oregon

A quiet hidden beach in a less visited section of the Oregon Coast, Short Beach is a little gem between Oceanside and Cape Meares. Here you will find not only a lovely beach, but also two waterfalls, an enormous sea stack, and beautiful cliffs along the coast.  

What keeps Short Beach somewhat off the beaten path is that you have to hike a short distance to get there – you can’t actually see the beach from the road. Walking through the dense coastal forest to get there is half the fun, though! And this quiet little scenic beach is certainly worth the short walk to get to.

Stretching only about half a mile in length, Short Beach is well suited to its name. However, the beach is actually named not for its length, but rather after a local resident.

A staircase winds through a dense coastal forest on the trail to Short Beach in Oregon
A sea stack off the coast at Short Beach in Oregon

Other oregon Resources

Looking for more to do on the Oregon Coast?! We’ve got lots of resources to help you plan your trip!

Highlights

  • Lovely and quiet beach with unique natural beauty, including sea stacks and waterfalls.
  • Tends to be fairly uncrowded.
  • Quick and easy hike to get there.

Lowlights

  • Beach is narrow and rocky, especially at high tide.
  • Sea stacks aren’t as impressive as other beaches in the area, like Oceanside & Tunnel Beach

Where is short Beach?

Houses perched up on a hillside in Oceanside, Oregon
Short Beach is located minutes from the cute little coastal town of Oceanside

Short Beach is located just a few minutes from the quaint little Oregon Coast town of Oceanside and about 20 minutes from Tillamook.

Because it’s a slight detour off of Highway 101, Short Beach remains a little off the beaten path of most Oregon Coast road trippers. That being said, it’s not so far out of the way as to be terribly inconvenient. 

Short Beach sits just south of Cape Meares and makes for an easy stop if you’re driving the Three Capes Scenic Loop.

To the south of Short Beach sits Lost Boy Beach, a secluded beach that can be dangerous (if not impossible) to access unless the tide is really low. In fact, legend has it that Lost Boy Beach was named after a boy drowned there after getting stuck when high tide came in. 

Just below Lost Boy Beach are Tunnel Beach and Oceanside Beach, which are accessible via a beach access in Oceanside. 

Oceanside, Oregon is one of our favorite towns on the coast. It’s incredibly scenic with beach houses perched along a hillside overlooking the beach, but remains surprisingly sleepy by Oregon Coast standards. It’s worth visiting in its own right, and visiting Short Beach is certainly one of the best things to do while you’re there.

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How difficult is the hike to short Beach?

  • Distance | 1.4 miles roundtrip, including the entire beach
  • Elevation gain | Approximately 100 feet
  • Difficulty | Easy

Accessing Short Beach requires hiking a short but steep distance, essentially down a long set of stairs. It’s only about 100 feet in elevation down to the beach, but will certainly get your heart racing on the way back up.

The stairs to reach Short Beach are a fairly recent addition, as of the early 2000s or so. Previously, getting to Short Beach required scrambling down a rather steep and treacherous trail. Local residents installed the wooden stairs and railings to help prevent injuries on the trail. 

Today, hiking to Short Beach is fairly easy and should be manageable for most people. The entire hike round trip including the entire length of Short Beach is only about 1.5 miles.

view of Short Beach and Lost Boy Beach from Cape Meares State Park

Where to stay near Short Beach

Because its so close to Oceanside, this is the best place to stay for visiting Short Beach. Below are a few great hotel options in Oceanside.

Featuring well-appointed king rooms with huge ocean-view windows in a prime location.

Located right on the beach, you cannot beat the location of these super cute, rustic cabins in Oceanside.

This stunning oceanfront condo sleeps 6 and features a huge deck right over the beach with sea stack views

Camping near short Beach

There aren’t any campgrounds immediately around Short Beach, but there are a couple within a half-hour drive:

  • Cape Lookout Campground | Located in Cape Lookout State Park, about 15 minutes from Short Beach, this campground has 170 tent sites and 38 full hookups. Sites may be reserved up to 6 months in advance. 
  • West Winds Campground | Located 30 minutes from Short Beach, this National Forest Service Campground has 20 sites that are available only first-come-first-serve.
  • Sandbeach Campground | Minutes from West Winds Campground, Sandbeach Campground in Siuslaw National Forest offers 81 sites that can be reserved on recreation.gov up to 6 months in advance. 

When is the best time to visit short beach?

Like the rest of the Oregon coast, temperatures at Short Beach hovers between the 50s and 60s (F) year-round. Rain and fog are a common sight. 

We’d recommend visiting Short Beach in the summer months when temperatures will be a bit higher (mid to upper 60s) and there is a higher likelihood of sunshine. That being said, don’t expect to be laying out on the beach in a bathing suit getting a sun tan here!

Again, rain, clouds, and fog can roll in at anytime so be prepared for wet and windy conditions any day you’re at Short Beach.

What to pack for hiking to short Beach

  • Packable Towel | Since you’ll be hiking to reach Short Beach, this little towel packs down tiny and is perfect to bring to sit out on the beach.
  • Rain jacket | Even if it’s sunny when you start, it’s always a good idea to pack a rain jacket when hiking on the Oregon Coast because the weather can be crazy unpredictable! My Patagonia Torrentshell is my all-time favorite rain jacket for hiking.
  • Hiking Sandals | The trail to Short Beach is pretty mild, so you could definitely hike in a pair of comfortable sandals with good traction like Chacos.
  • Pullovers (Hers: Smartwool Merino Quarter Zip, His: Smartwool Merino Quarter Zip) | Be prepared for heavy wind once you reach Short Beach. Trust us, you’ll be happy you packed some extra warmer laters.
  • Backpack with water bladder | Great for packing your towel, snacks, lunch and plenty of water.

Short beach, Oregon | Hike Details

With logistics out of the way, let’s get into details about what to expect at Short Beach and the hike to get there!

Short beach Trailhead & parking

The trailhead for Short Beach is pretty subtle and would be super easy to drive right past. From Oceanside, it’s only a 3 minute drive to reach the trailhead. The trail to Short Beach is located on the left hand side of the road coming from Oceanside. 

There’s also no established parking lot. You will park in a little pull-off on the side of the road. Because Short Beach isn’t super popular, it’s typically not a problem to snag a spot to park.

If you’re navigating with Google Maps, search for Short Beach Trailhead (not Short Beach, as this won’t bring you to the trail).

Hiking to short Beach

The beach access point for Short Beach trail
The beach access point for Short Beach trail

To get to Short Beach, you’ll quickly descend a set of wooden stairs that lead down the cliffside through a dense forest of trees with limbs so intertwined that they almost appear to have grown together as one.

Like many forests on the Oregon Coast, the trail to Short Beach has a bit of a magical, enchanted feel to it and the vibrant, lush, green foliage is so thick that Short Beach itself is completely concealed.

Short Beach

The unnamed sea stack off the coast of Short Beach in Oregon
The unnamed sea stack off the coast of Short Beach, Oregon
Short Beach is enclosed on both sides by massive cliffs

After just a couple minutes, you will emerge from the forest and arrive at the beautiful Short Beach. At first the beach is rather rocky, but the rocks slowly disintegrate and fade into sand as you approach the ocean. 

The most prominent feature is the large sea stack off the coast, which becomes an island at high tide. This sea stack is unnamed and belongs to the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

waterfalls at short Beach 

A man-made waterfall tumbles over the cliff onto the rocky beach at Short Beach in Oregon
A man-made waterfall tumbles over the cliff onto the rocky beach at Short Beach in Oregon
Short Beach is home to two waterfalls, one man-made (pictured here)

There are two waterfalls to see on Short Beach. The first is a manmade waterfall right at the bottom of the trail leading down to the beach. The waterfall plunges off a cement drainage canal down to Short Beach below. 

The second waterfall is called Larson Creek Falls, and is located a little further north along Short Beach.

Tide pools at Short Beach

If you walk to the southern end of South Beach, you’ll find a rocky area teeming with little tide pools, home to various little sea creatures like sea anemones, star fish, clams, crabs and more. Please remember to be respectful of these creatures and their home and walk with caution. 

Agate Hunting

A person crouches down searching for agates at Short Beach in Oregon
Short Beach is aa popular spot to go hunting for agates

Short Beach is known for being a great spot to search for agates. Agate is a semi-translucent volcanic stone that comes in various shades of yellow, dark red, orange, and even mossy green and is commonly found along the Oregon Coast.

The best place to look for agates is generally right along the high tide line, where you’ll find a build up of rocks.

Return hike

The winding staircase through a dense forest to Short Beach

Once you’ve finished exploring Short Beach, head back to the staircase to return to the Short Beach trailhead.

view of short beach from cape meares

view of Short Beach and Lost Boy Beach from Cape Meares State Park
View of Short Beach and Lost Boy Beach from Cape Meares State Park

After hiking to Short Beach, you don’t want to miss out on nearby Cape Meares State Park. Cape Meares is best known for its beautiful lighthouse that sits at the tip of the cape and its uniquely shaped Octopus Tree.

However, one of our favorite things about Cape Meares is the incredible view it offers overlooking Short Beach and Lost Boy Beach to the south. To see Short Beach from a different angle, we highly recommend making your way to Cape Meares State Park after the hike.

Our favorite view is located at the cliff’s edge just past the Octopus Tree.

Seagulls along the shore at Short Beach

Other Oregon Resources

Looking for more incredible hikes and things to do in Oregon? You may also be interested in the following:

Questions about visiting Short Beach in Oregon or other things to do in the area? Let us know in the comments section below!

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