Short Sands Beach

Short Sands Beach stands as a testament to nature’s beauty and the allure of coastal landscapes. This hidden gem, also known as Short Beach or Oswald West State Park Beach, is a pristine stretch of shoreline that captivates visitors with its unique blend of natural wonders, recreational opportunities, and a tranquil ambiance. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the captivating features that make Short Sands Beach a must-visit destination for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Location and Accessibility:

Situated within the Oswald West State Park, Short Sands Beach is conveniently located just 10 miles south of the charming town of Cannon Beach, Oregon. The park itself spans over 2,448 acres, encompassing a diverse range of ecosystems, including old-growth forests, lush coastal landscapes, and the picturesque beach that draws visitors year-round.

Reaching Short Sands Beach involves a scenic journey through the Oswald West State Park, with parking available at the trailhead. From there, a well-maintained trail leads through the verdant forest, treating visitors to glimpses of towering trees and the sweet serenade of birdsong. The relatively short, 0.7-mile hike adds an element of adventure, making the arrival at Short Sands Beach all the more rewarding.

Natural Beauty and Unique Features:

Upon emerging from the forest, visitors are greeted by the breathtaking sight of Short Sands Beach. The crescent-shaped shoreline is embraced by rugged cliffs and adorned with golden sands, providing an idyllic backdrop for a day of exploration or relaxation. The beach is flanked by towering headlands, creating a sense of seclusion and intimacy that sets it apart from more crowded coastal destinations.

One of the unique features of Short Sands Beach is the presence of Neahkahnie Mountain to the north, a majestic peak that adds a dramatic touch to the surrounding landscape. The juxtaposition of the mountain against the expanse of the Pacific Ocean creates a captivating visual spectacle, especially during sunrise and sunset.

Surfing Paradise:

Short Sands Beach is renowned among surfers for its consistent waves, making it a popular destination for both seasoned riders and those looking to try their hand at surfing for the first time. The beach’s geography, with its sheltered cove and reef break, creates ideal conditions for surfers of various skill levels.

Local surf shops offer rentals and lessons, making it accessible to beginners eager to ride the waves. The surfing culture adds a dynamic energy to the beach, with enthusiasts congregating to share the thrill of catching the perfect wave. For those more inclined to watch from the shore, the surfers carving through the waves provide an entertaining spectacle against the backdrop of the ocean.

Wildlife Encounters:

Short Sands Beach is not only a haven for human visitors but also serves as a habitat for various forms of wildlife. Birdwatchers will delight in the opportunity to spot coastal birds such as gulls, cormorants, and even the occasional bald eagle soaring overhead. Tide pools along the rocky edges of the beach reveal a fascinating world of marine life, including sea anemones, starfish, and small fish.

The adjacent old-growth forest is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. Hikers exploring the park may encounter deer, elk, and a variety of bird species. The harmonious coexistence of land and sea ecosystems within Oswald West State Park adds depth to the overall experience, showcasing the interconnectedness of nature.

Family-Friendly Atmosphere:

While Short Sands Beach is a favorite among surfers, it also caters to families seeking a peaceful day by the coast. The gently sloping shoreline and relatively calm waters near the shore make it an ideal spot for children to play and explore. The sandy expanses offer ample space for beach picnics, sandcastle building, and leisurely walks along the water’s edge.

Picnic areas with tables and restroom facilities are available within the park, enhancing the overall family-friendly atmosphere. The park’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty ensures a clean and well-maintained environment for all visitors to enjoy.

Conservation and Preservation:

Oswald West State Park, encompassing Short Sands Beach, has a rich history rooted in conservation efforts. The park is named after Oswald West, Oregon’s 14th governor, whose dedication to preserving the state’s natural beauty led to the establishment of the park in the early 20th century.

Today, the park continues to prioritize conservation and sustainable practices. Visitors are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles, respecting the delicate balance of the ecosystems within the park. The commitment to preservation ensures that future generations can continue to experience the unspoiled beauty of Short Sands Beach and its surroundings.


Short Sands Beach stands as a testament to the harmonious relationship between land and sea, offering a haven of tranquility and natural beauty. Whether you seek the thrill of surfing, the joy of family-friendly activities, or simply a serene escape into nature, Short Sands Beach has something to offer. Its unique blend of coastal charm, diverse ecosystems, and commitment to conservation make it a destination worthy of exploration. As you traverse the trail through the old-growth forest and emerge onto the golden sands, you’ll find yourself captivated by the timeless allure of this Pacific Northwest gem.

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