Oregon Paddling Advice

I need some suggestions for boating on the OR coast.

Looks like we’re going to make a trip to Central Oregon in May to visit an ailing relavitive. We’ll probably fly into Salem and drive south from there. We plan to drive out to the coast for at least a couple days.

I’d like to find someplace that has sheltered water with access to the open ocean so I can make adjustments depending on weather(maybe Coos Bay). If I get some promising replies I’ll bring a wetsuit but will need to rent everything else.

I’d appreciate any info on outfitters, access and places to see.



Yaquina Bay and Alsea Bay
Hi Randy,

Heading south from Salem, Yaquina Bay and Alsea Bay are the closest. They’re my stomping grounds as they’re straight out to the coast from Albany.

I’m sure Coos Bay is very nice. Probably better than Yaquina or Alsea. I haven’t paddled it though. There’s good paddling North, too. You could inquire on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PDXseakayaker/messages

For Yaquina Bay, a good put in is on the South side at the Marine Science Center. PM me if you decide to go there and want more details. There’s rock jettys at the mouth that lead to the ocean. You’re supposed to check with the coast guard before heading out. The gettys are sometimes closed to small craft because of rough water. If you venture out when it’s closed you will likely be met by a coast guard boat. There’s a coast guard tower for keeping a watch on the gettys.

Alsea Bay is also nice. A good put in is at the visitors center at the intersection of 101 and Alsea Hwy. You could get land locked there though in low tides below about +2. The channel is on the North side. Again, if you decide to go there, you can PM me for alternative put-ins. For a description of the coast, heading out of Alea Bay and North, see my post http://www.paddling.net/message/showThread.html?fid=chat&tid=633037

And then “Another lesson learned out there” way down in the thread.

I see your location, Missouri. You sound like you’ve paddled Ocean before, though. If not, I would not go out on the PNW coast, especially in the winter. Conditions can be very tricky. Here’s a wave forecast site.


I’ve heard some of the lakes on the coast along 101 on the way to Coos Bay, are nice too. I intend to paddle some of them sometime this year.

Alder Creek kayak shop in Portland is very good. Rentals are a little pricey but they have a great selection of boats in the rental fleet at their Jansen beach location.


Paul S.

Paul knows his stuff.

Coos bay is very nice. Hooking up with ‘ocean’ gear can be a problem as most outfitters, including AC, will question anyone heading to sea. It’s a scary place on any given day.


magnificant, but
Oregon Coast is a popular destination for summer travelers, and its beauty is not overrated.

But from the shore side, you are only seeing a small bit.

After years of paddling there, and other places, I still at times sunburn my tongue out there when gaping at the scenery.

It is world class scenery, and can be world class burly. The outer coast of Vancouver I is not much burlier, IMO, especially as some of the more rugged parts of VI is quite convoluted, and offers more escapes.

There are often very long distances with no landing zone, or, the landing zones you used (river bars) changed and are closed out.

In addition to decent rough water skills, good seamanship (reading the weather, planning ahead)is the skill that, when overlooked, gets people into trouble out here.

Summer can bring small swell, but there can still be fog, or, if it is warm inland, the afternoon sea breeze can build far beyond the skill of many.

Nice thing about the small swell is that one can “pick thier poison”. Check out the photo on the link below. That is Steve, AKA Flatpick, doing what he likes best, playing in the rock gardens. Most everyone else was staying far away…



Oregon paddling

– Last Updated: Apr-03-07 6:53 PM EST –

Central Oregon Coast is one of my favorite paddling places - go there every year.

For an outfitter or guide, call Bob Carr who owns the Adventure Kayak shop in Bandon, Or. - suprisingly well equipped. 315 1st St SE, Bandon, OR 97411 * Tel: 541-347-3480 He has or had a website which is down right now.

He can rent you a kayak and there is a great book on paddling destinations for that area

You probably want to visit Bandon anyhow. Bob has the book and you will definitely want it. It has many paddles in the Coos Bay area.

One of the best paddles is at the South Slough Estuarine Reserve. You put in near Charleston and proceed up the slough - can lunch on an Island if you like. Be sure to take the tides into consideration. The Reserve does guided tours in the Summertime that are really worthwhile. Be sure to visit their headquarters - very interesting displays on the tidelands.

From Bandon you can paddle Coquille River. Before you consider going out into open water in that area, find out exactly what you are in for from Bob. I just don't see anybody doing that, although I am told it has been done. Conditions there can get very serious very quickly, and as the poster above said, there are not many places to put in.

Be sure to visit Sunset Bay State Park and Cape Arago State Park in the Coos Bay area - beautiful.
The companion book at the wesite above (I think "Out our Back Door", has a lot of great hikes and scenic trips in the area. Further south, the Rogue River is spectacular, and you may want to take one of the jetboat tours. If you can't tell, this is one of my favorite areas of all.

the book …
I think the book mentioned above is called “Oregon South Coast Canoe and Kayak Guide” by Ron Wardman who lives near Bandon.

It covers the coast to the south from Florence.

Ocean paddling on the southern Oregon coast? I’m sure it’s been done but as a previous post mentioned, it is spectacular and safe places to land are few and far between.

What about a guided trip?
Randy, if you really want to get out in the ocean, I’m wondering if a guided day trip would be a good fit. A good guide would be well versed in the conditions for the area, and know where he or she might get you into the ocean safely. Also if they provided the boats and gear, it would be no fuss for you.

I’m not knowledgeable of the guide possibilities. Just brainstorming. You could enquire at the paddle shops. I would tend to trust a recommendation from Alder Creek. You could also ask a few questions at pdxseakayaker. There’s lots of knowledgeable people there.

For bay paddling, as people here have confirmed, Coos bay sounds great! For ocean paddling, I would consider north of Salem and even Washington. The Washington state line is only an hour from Salem.

To wet your appetite (but hopefully not to encourage you to go out on your own), here’s an excellent kayaking photo site from Jonathan Walpole, including the Oregon and Washington coast. You may have noticed, otterslide’s photo of flatpick was from that same site.


Paul S.

Thanks Everyone
I’ll definitely talk to the folks at Adventure Kayak, that sounds like what I’m looking for. I’ve had experience with getting gear from outfitters before and I try to check and make sure they will provide skirts etc before I pack.

As for skills that’s why I like a mix of open/sheltered water so I can adapt my trip for the conditions. I managed to get out on Lake Michigan last year with warm water and 5’ waves and it was a hoot. I also managed to get one of the few successful rolls I’ve made in about 3 footers off N Carolina last year it was a great feeling!

As for guided trips the few I’ve been on I’ve usually found if they will take someone they don’t know the trips usually aren’t very challenging. You can’t blame them for that. We did take a guided trip on the San Juans a few years ago and had Orca within 25 yds another memorable time on the water.

Thanks Again


I Love Lake Michigan
and Lake Superior, and Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay. Grew up paddling them in my little blue Romany with two white racing stripes. The Oregon Coast is awesome. Big. Messy. Beautiful.

You are in for a good time.