Rockhounding Oregon Beaches

Deep green jasper, translucent agate, and petrified wood are some of the most sought after prizes in every beginning rockhound’s collection. Fortunately, if you live in the state of Oregon there is a plentiful supply that can be found with just a little knowledge and virtually no tools required. Several of Oregon’s beaches are well known for the rich deposits of prized stones like agate and jasper in sizes from a half inch to two or three pounds.

While nice agates may be found on any Oregon beach there are a few select beaches that deliver a bounty virtually every year. The main beach near the city of Bandon is a perennial favorite and can be accessed by taking the road to the Coquile Lighthouse off of Highway 101. There you will find several miles of smooth beach dotted with rocks. The downside to Bandon’s beach is that it is a very well known and fairly busy rockhounding spot so you may have to hunt a while to find some prize specimens. The outgoing tide always leaves a new assortment so you will have your best luck by going then.

Another excellent location for finding agates, especially rarer agates like pink, blue, sagenite and black agates, as well as some really nice jasper (“Oregon jade”) samples, are the beaches around the town of Newport. These beaches are also known for fossilized whale and dolphin bones and even more common samples of fossilized clams and snails. The most well known of these beach locations is the aptly named Agate Beach, but this is also one of the busiest rockounding beaches. On a day with nice weather, you will see many fellow rockhounds scouring Agate Beach. If you want a less crowded field try Beverly Beach or any of the other beaches you can access off of Hwy 101 in Newport.

Winter tends to be the best time for hunting rocks on the Oregon coast. The rougher ocean water during the winter tend to churn up more rocks that find their way to the beach surface. If you plan a trip at this time of year, come prepared for cold and wet weather. Dress in warm and waterproof gear, wear gloves, and, as always, be careful and keep one eye on the water at all times. “Sneaker waves” are not uncommon especially with an incoming tide. Never turn you back on the water when you are near the breaking surf and watch any children closely. And once you have collected your bounty of agates and jasper, you can crash in one of the fine hotels in Bandon or Newport and enjoy a hot meal at one of the great local restaurants. It makes a creative romantic weekend or family getaway.

Oregon beach agates, jasper and petrified wood are some of the best found anywhere in the world. One of the reasons is that most have been rolled smooth in the surf over time and many look very good picked right off the beach and take only a short time in a polisher to look fabulous. By going at the right time of day, when the tide is receding, you are almost certain to find some great samples for your own collection. If you considering purchasing Central Oregon real estate, rockhounding is just one of the many fun activities you can participate in.

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