Summer in Gearhart Beach | Hero

How to Spend Your Summer Days on Gearhart Beach in 2024

The expansive sandy beaches of Oregon’s North Coast lend themselves to unforgettable days of fascinating fun in the surf and sand. It’s ideal for those wishing to dive in to the on-shore charm of quaint coastal communities and the beach lifestyle. One of the most renowned is of course Gearhart Beach, a sandy stretch just north of Seaside. This beach is known for its expanse, its weathered driftwood, delicious clams, and coveted sand dollars.

Considerably less crowded than some of the nearby beaches, Gearhart offers approximately eight (8) miles of sandy coastline. Gearhart by the Sea, a popular oceanside resort with a dynamic assortment of rental properties, offers unfettered access by way of a sandy trail that passes through tallgrass dunes to a seemingly endless paradise on the Oregon Coast. 

To help give you some ideas on how to spend your days in the sand, we put together a quick guide to Gearhart Beach and ways to occupy your time. 

Gearhart Beach Access

If arriving from Highlands Lane, you’ll be allowed motorized access, meaning you can drive onto the beach and drive as far north as Warrenton! If you don’t feel comfortable taking your rig out on the sand, you can access Gearhart Beach from the Pacific Way entrance, where you’ll have access to restrooms, basketball and tennis courts, and picnic areas. From kite flying to volleyball (bring your nets), visitors to Gearhart quickly learn that there is a myriad of outdoor recreational activities to be had on this sprawling section of the Oregon Coast. 

Things To Do at Gearhart Beach

Gearhart Beach plays such a pivotal role in the local leisure and recreation scene, so it’s fitting that spending time on the coast is one of the most popular things to do in Seaside, Oregon. The options for activities range from relaxing on the sand to more active pursuits like flying kites, surfing, and clamming. Gearhart Beach is also a great place to go for a walk, jog, or finding sand dollars. And in the evening, visitors can enjoy a bonfire on the beach or stargaze. There are also many restaurants and cafes in the area where you can grab a bite to eat. 

Here is a handy list of Gearhart Beach activities enjoyed by locals and travelers alike.

Flying Kites

Flying kite at Gearhart Beach
Photo by:

Gearhart Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline in Oregon, and it’s a great spot for flying kites. There’s something about the ocean breeze that makes kites fly with extra vigor, and the wide open beach gives you plenty of room to let your kite soar. Gearhart Beach is also a great place to watch other people flying kites. You’ll see all sorts of creative designs and colors dancing in the sky, and it’s always impressive to see how high and far some of the kites can go. 


Seaside, Oregon offers some of the most entry level surfing in the Northwest. Similarly, people come to Gearhart Beach to learn to surf because of its beginner friendly waves – especially in the summer months. The wave formations are caused by the way the sandbanks meet in the ocean. These conditions make it one of the best places to learn to surf on the Oregon coast.

Surfing at Gearhart Beach, Oregon coast line

When the waves are just right, new surfers can ride them for a long time. This is why more and more people say that surfing at Gearhart Beach is a great place to begin. If you are not planning to bring your surfing gears, or dont want to the make a splash too early, you can check out nearby Seaside Surf Shop for boards and accessories rentals.

Wildlife Viewing

Gearhar Beach is one of the best spots on the Pacific Coast for wildlife viewing. This large, open beach is home to a wealth of different animals that can be spotted along its sandy stretches and rocky coastlines. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just curious about marine life, a day spent at Gearhart Beach is sure to leave you with some memorable wildlife sightings.

Elks on Gearhart Beach

Some of the more common animals found at the beach include seabirds like gulls and terns, as well as marine mammals such as seals and sea lions. The coastline itself also tends to attract a few diving birds like cormorants and scoters. And don’t forget about the numerous shorebirds that frequent the beach, including sandpipers, plovers, and oystercatchers. 

If you’re really lucky, you might even spot some whales or seals frolicking offshore! Whatever your interest may be, there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing along its scenic shores. 


Clamming at Gearhart Beach

The clamming season usually starts in early May and lasts through mid-July. During this time, the water is warm enough for clams to be active, but not so hot that they start to bury themselves in the sand. To go clamming, you’ll need a permit from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Once you’ve got your permit, you’ll need a bucket and a shovel. The best time to go clamming is during low tide. This is when the clams are exposed and easier to dig up. To find them, look for small holes in the sand. Dig around the hole until you find the clam. Then, just pull it out and put it in your bucket. Clamming is a great way to get outdoors and collect your own fresh seafood. So why not give it a try? You’re sure to have a lot of fun.

Razor Clamming

Razor clamming on the Oregon Coast is a popular pastime, offering both seasoned and novice clammers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest. The best time of day to venture out is during low tide, when the ocean recedes to reveal the sandy flats where these elusive bivalves burrow.

Clammers use specialized equipment like clam tubes or clam shovels to dig into the sand, following the telltale ‘shows’—small dimples or holes that indicate a clam’s location below the surface. Remember sometimes you need to pound the sand for the clam dimples to show.

With a bit of skill and a splash of luck, you can gather a bountiful harvest, making razor clamming not just a means of connecting with nature, but also a way to bring home a delectable seafood feast. 


If you are a seasoned jogger, you will love nothing but hitting the open road and diving into your favorite workout along the Gearhart Beach coastline. You’ll be surrounded on all sides by breathtaking ocean views. The sparkling water stretches out as far as the eye can see, dotted here and there with islands and distant mountains. 

During your jog, you might pass a small wooden pier that juts out into the ocean and provides a perfect spot for fishing or simply admiring the brilliant sunsets. There is another popular attraction along this stretch of coastline–the massive concrete ship known as the USS Chilliwack. 

This abandoned vessel was originally constructed during World War II, but it has since become an iconic landmark and a major tourist attraction in Gearhart. Whether you’re jogging for exercise or simply taking in the sights, there’s no doubt that this stretch of land is unlike any other in the world. 

What are Sand Dollars? 

Sand dollars are flat, round sea creatures that live on the ocean floor. They are related to starfish and sea urchins. When they are alive, they are covered in tiny, velvety spines and can be dark in color. Once they die and their spines wash away, they turn white and smooth, which is how we often find them on the beach. Sand dollars eat by catching tiny food particles floating in the water.

Fun Fact: Sand dollars have a pattern on their back that looks like a flower, which is actually part of their breathing system!

Finding Sand Dollars

Gearhart beach is a great place to find sand dollars. Every year, thousands of people come to the beach to look for these fascinating creatures. Sand dollars are small, round, and flat, with a textured surface that resembles the ruffles of a skirt. They are usually white or pale yellow in color, but they can also be brown, gray, or black. While sand dollars are often found washed up on the shore, they can also be found buried in the sand. 

Finding sand dollars at Gearhart Beach
Photo by: Flickr

The best time to look for them is at low tide, when the water is shallow, and the sand is exposed. To increase your chances of finding a sand dollar, it is helpful to bring a small rake or trowel with you to loosen the sand. Go out with a bucket and collect some souvenirs provided by Mother Nature!

Building a Beach Fire 

Beach fire with sunset view at Gearhart Beach

This renowned Oregon beach has miles of stunning coastline, and its wide, flat sands make it the perfect spot for a beach fire. Whether you’re cooking up some s’mores with friends or just enjoying the colorful sunsets as they paint the sky, Gearhart is definitely a place not to be missed. 

Whatever your beach fire building preferences may be, you’ll find everything you need at this location. The fiery oranges, passionate reds, and deep purple hues that fill the skies are simply unforgettable. Please keep in mind that the use of driftwood is prohibited and make sure you follow any seasonal laws and regulations.

Stroll or Hike around Gearhart

Strolling is one of the best ways to take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful coastal area. You’ll pass several picturesque places where sunbathers, surfers, and swimmers gather to enjoy the sand and waves, and you’ll also spot seabirds soaring high above and darting among rock formations as they search for prey. 

Along the tide pools, you can stop to observe wide-eyed starfish and other sea creatures clinging tenaciously for survival. And if you keep an eye on the horizon, you might even catch a glimpse of whales or dolphins swimming by on their migration route. 

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging than a leisurely stroll along the beach, there is a wide range of hikes around Gearhart to choose from. 

2024 Events In and Around Gearhart

2024 Columbia Cup at Gearhart Golf Links: If you’re a golfer or just a lover of the sport, and happen to be staying in Gearhart around July 13th-14th, why not register yourself for the 2024 Columbia Cup. Held at the stunning Gearhart Golf Links, this course is steeped in history as it was established in 1892, making it one of the oldest golf courses in continuous operation in the United States.

Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival (April 26 – 28, 2024): A short drive from Gearhart, this event is a celebration of coastal flavors, featuring trend-setting vintners from the Northwest and a plethora of live music. It draws about 16,000 visitors each year, showcasing around 175 vendors​

Soccer in the Sand (June 15th-16th): Soccer in the Sand brings an exciting two-day beach soccer tournament to Seaside, featuring 5v5 matches right on the sand. Participants can also enjoy a free beach soccer clinic on the tournament’s Friday evening. Each team is guaranteed at least 3 games, offering plenty of opportunities for players to get touches on the ball and practice new skills in a fun setting. Families are welcome to join in, watch the games, and enjoy the beach atmosphere.

Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals

There’s something to be said about heading to the beach with no real agenda and a few general ideas in mind. The carefree nature associated with beach life makes for a relaxing mindset perfect for any type of Oregon Coast vacation. 

Whether you are a romantic couple seeking a quiet retreat or a family looking for their new favorite escape, Gearhart by the Sea has an ideal property waiting to be your home away from home. For more information on Gearhart by the Sea facilities and reservations, please visit us online or call 1-800-547-0115.