Yaquina Head Light and Natural Area // Oregon

Yaquina Head Light on the Oregon coast is not just a beautiful place to take in ocean views, but a great location for spotting wildlife. Both whales and seals can be found here, depending on the season.

the August weather in Taipei has been even more of a sweat box than usual. at least that's the excuse I'm giving for not getting out to do much of anything since I've been back in Taiwan. I could also give the excuse that I'm sitting on thousands of photos from my travels over the past year - Turkey, Czech Republic, Vietnam, and of course my road trip through the Pacific Northwest. of all those options... I think I'd prefer the cool weather of the Oregon coast in May.

and so, we end up at the Yaquina Head Light and Outstanding Natural Area. [and yes, that is literally the name of the park.]

I mentioned before that I visited a lot of lighthouses this summer. [you'll probably be sick of them by the time I'm done sharing my travels. or if you're into charming towers and ocean views... maybe not.] of all 12 that I saw -- Yaquina Head had the most amount of things to see, in addition to the actual light.

the point of land where the lighthouse stands is situated in an ideal location for whale watching, if you're there in the right season. you can also hike a trail to the top a a nearby hill for views up and down the Oregon Coast. we sadly missed out on the whales, and had already done a major hike that morning. but -- nearby the light is also a fantastic vantage for spotting some other sea creatures: seals!

these seals were sunning themselves in a cove just to the south of the light. the nearest one had just woken from a nap and started to splash around and wave for our cameras. they were so cute! I had a hard time dragging myself away, but we still had more of the park to explore before it got too late.

the tide pool area is sometimes closed off due to baby seal pups [I would probably die from the cuteness] but we were just a bit early in the season. we were free to wander the rocky beach and peer at anemones in the pools. there were plenty more adult seals out on the far rocks, but we couldn't get very close.

if you do venture to the tide pools, please be careful where you strep. one: you don't want to squish any of the sea life. two: the beach is made up of golfball and baseball-sized rocks and is extremely difficult to walk on.

the park also has another cove for spotting seals [we saw one but he swam away too fast] and a freshly renovated interpretive center with restrooms and exhibits. while the lighthouse itself was not my favorite that we saw, the park overall was impressive. there is enough to see on Yaquina Head that you could spend a whole day visiting.

I have to admit that I laughed when I first read this was named "Outstanding Natural Area" but having visited and seen so much wildlife and such gorgeous views... it's hard to argue otherwise.

visiting the park

a $7 vehicle entry fee will admit you for 3 days to the Yaquina Head area. since the park is run by the Beaurau of Land Management [and not the State or National Parks systems] any annual passes for other parks will not work. if you want to tour the lighthouse, check the park's website for times and information. you can also find more information on the tide pools, seals, and whale migrations.

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