The best photography spots on the Oregon coast. The Oregon Washington coast offers a vast expanse of pristine coastline with rugged cliffs, wild waves, and majestic views of nature.
Anyone who visits the Pacific Northwest needs to make a trip along this coast to catch a glimpse of these states’ natural beauty. If you’re wondering where you should start, look no further than this list of some stunning locations to photograph along the Oregon Washington Coast.
The gear we recommend to photography the best photography spots in the Oregon coast is a good camera and the holy trinity. A wide-angle lens. 14-24mm or something similar. A 24-70mm or something similar and, of course, a 70-200mm or something similar.
If you do not have these particular lenses, do not worry; something similar will be just fine. It would be best if you also had a tripod.
Oregon coast photography guide
1. Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park is known as a hiking mecca. This location has archaeological significance through its association with the Tillamook people. Photographers can visit this area to find signs of once semi-permanent villages as well as explore the beautiful beach that presents visitors with looming images of towering rock formations off the shore. The best lens to use is a zoom lens or a wide-angle lens. The best time to shoot is at sunset.
2. Heceta Head Lighthouse
This white lighthouse is said to sit on one of the most photographed vistas in the state of Oregon. The stark white building stands amidst a 1,000-foot rocky cliff and gives photographers plenty of landscape to practice with, offering dynamic shots of crashing waves, forests, and offshore crags. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. The best time to shoot is at sunset.
3. Astoria-Megler Bridge
This bridge sits at the mouth of the Columbia River and has some truly breathless photography opportunities when you visit at the right time. To get that perfect shot of the bridge towering above the body of water, make sure to plan photo sessions at sunrise or sunset.
4. Peter Iredale Shipwreck
This dilapidated, washed-out, and rusted-over shipwreck is one of the most popular places to visit along the Oregon-Washington coast. This ship has been entrenched in the sand since 1906 and gives visitors a look at a bare-bones ship that once stood majestic and strong.
5. Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock is the most iconic sea stack in Oregon. Standing at 235 feet, this is unofficially known as the third-largest intertidal sea stack in the entire world. This area of Cannon Beach gets particularly crowded for obvious reasons so try to plan your trip right at the crack of dawn.
6. Cape Kiwanda
For those looking to capture the perfect photo, Cape Kiwanda is the place to be. With plenty of legendary sand and rock formations as well as endless amounts of the sea reflecting a variety of colors at sunrise or sunset, this location is the place to beat when looking for picturesque photo locations.
7. Shore Acres State Park
A less crowded stretch of coast to visit for photographers wanting the time and space to explore the area is Shore Acres, State Park. The best time to visit is during the winter months as waves can kick up to over 10 feet in height against the rocks.
8. Oswald West State Park
Oswald West State Park is the location to head towards if you’re looking to capture some striking pictures of the massive, ancient Sitka trees. This trail is surrounded by coastal-old growth forests that speak to the centuries of history the area holds.
9. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
The 12 miles of shoreline this scenic corridor offers is a vast expanse of ocean and land that can be daunting for photographers to capture. It can be hard to represent such an immense amount of seascape in one photo, but to take your best shot at it, head to Whaleshead Island for one of the most photogenic viewpoints of this corridor.
The best photography spots on the Oregon coast
10. Lincoln City
This beach location is a hidden gem. While it presents an average sand beach, it offers some extraordinary photo opportunities for those willing to search. This beach is littered with giant mussels, tiny clams, and plenty of sandpipers. Those lucky enough to be there when the ocean currents are just right may come across washed up jellyfish called Valella Valella or “by the sea sailors.”
11. Depoe Bay
The great photo opportunities offered at Depoe Bay are not in the bay itself but from the scenic viewpoint above called Boiler Bay. You could sit here for hours practicing with shots of ocean waves crashing against the jagged rocks.
Newport is a small village that gives you the exact scenes you are looking for that fishing village vibe. Photograph traps and floats that create cool images of life by the sea. There is even a sea lion dock located in this village, which can be captured from many perspectives.
13. Bullards Beach
If you happen to get tired of rocky beaches, Oregon coasts have much more up their sleeves to offer. Bullards Beach is different from other beaches because its landscape is filled with agates, driftwood, and grassy dunes. This is also the location of a stunning, red lighthouse that sits at the edge of the water.
14. Bandon Beach
The iconic rock formation here is what captures the attention of most visitors. Face Rock has been formed by waves throughout the years to resemble a human profile when looked at from the right angle. Along with the jutted rocks and promontories, this location presents images that resonate with the beauty of the Oregon coastline.
15. Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a strait that separates two islands in the northwest corner of Washington State. This bridge has over 2 million visitors annually, and along with the amazing views of vistas, old-growth forests, and the Salish Sea, you can also use this as an opportunity to embark on a whale watching tour to catch some pictures at sea.
16. Olympic Wilderness Coast
Tidepools, smooth beach rocks, and impressive sea stacks are what you can expect to find on the Olympic Wilderness Coast. Sunset is the best time to visit as the glowing reflection of the sun’s rays against the painted sky is a gorgeous sight you cannot miss.
17. San Juan Island
Another location to check out if you want to find some of nature’s most majestic animals. Besides the scenic views and lighthouse the island offers, you might encounter orca whales breaching the water from your whale watching tour.
18. Yaquina Bay Bridge
This bridge is one of the most recognizable architectural landmarks on U.S. Route 101. This area has remarkable views of the Yaquina Bay, and the busy boat basin surrounding the bridge makes it one of the top photography sights in Oregon.
19. Port Townsend
A classic city by the sea town, this port location has Victorian architecture and endless expanses of ocean scenery complimented by boats, piers, and mountainous backgrounds. Port Townsend is also a great rendezvous point if you also want to check out Olympic National Park or the San Juan Islands nearby.
20. Cape Disappointment
Don’t let the name deceive you. Cape Disappointment is far from disappointing. Instead, this stunning environment is where you’ll find the meeting point of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Spend your time photographing the historic lighthouse or seeking out Deadman’s Cove for scenic shots.
21. Gig Harbor
The quaint and peaceful town is the product of the fishing industry. Gentle purple clouds dance across the skies at sunrise and reflect beautifully against the clear waters of the harbor. If you happen across the perfect spot on the harbor on a clear day, you have a chance of capturing Mount Rainier in the background of your pictures.
22. Second Beach
Olympic National Park has a first, second, and third beach, all of which are adjacent to one other but do not provide access from one beach to the next. Visit the second beach, which is less crowded than the others while still easy to get to for beautiful coastline views flanked by mountains, trees, and sea stacks.
23. Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach is another place to visit if you are keen on capturing those magical sunset shots featuring plenty of sea stacks. This beach is along Highway 101, making it an easy stop on your way along the Oregon Washington coastline.
24. Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach, or third beach, is situated north of the first and second beach in Olympic National Park. Remember, these locations are not accessible from each other, so you’ll have to backtrack to get to Rialto Beach. However, the rocky beach covered with moss and algae makes this trip worth the time and effort.
25. Ebey Landing on Whidbey Island
If you are looking to escape from the typical Pacific Northwest backdrop, eBay Landing on Whidbey Island will transport you to an entirely different country. These cliffs and coastlines are reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. It is a beautiful place to photograph at any time of the year, making any drives this far out the city an easier trip to those without flexible schedules.
26. Cape Perpetua (Thor’s Well)
This forested headland has a great trail that leads to an overlook of the entire bay. Capture Oregon’s hilly forests against its rocky shores and waves from this vantage point. When you’re done, hike back down to the beach and explore the variety of plant and animal life in the area’s tide pools during low tide. This is where you will find the famous Thors Well. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
27. Arch Rock
Arch Rock is a beautiful arch sitting on the coast that you can shoot from many different angles. You can get this particular shot from the Arch Rock picnic area. The best time to shot is at sunset, the best lens to use is a zoom or a wide for up close.
28. Cannon Beach
Cannon beach on the coast of Oregon is full of epic rock formations that create stunning compositions. These are great to shoot at sunset with a super wide. The closer you get to the rock formations the best compositions you can get.
These are the Best Photography Spots on the Oregon Coast
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