It was serendipitous…the quest for a pit stop between Cape Lookout and Tolovana Beach landed us at Rockaway Beach Wayside. I soon concluded that if I lived anywhere near Rockaway Beach, this would be my go-to place for walking and lunching. It was obvious that was the case for those we ran into while stretching our twelve legs: two each for us humans, the other eight allocated to our pair of pups. A young man was dragged by his own canine companions, his just itching for their leash-free sandy romp. An older gent, newspaper under his arm, beelined it to what was clearly his regular beachside table. A set of friends paused their gabbing to greet us gaily as they strode by. All had relaxed smiles, clearly appreciating the sun-filled late December day as much as us.
We enjoyed the area so much we returned later the same day, again benefiting from the facilities, but this time that was secondary rather than the goal. Extending our stay longer than the first, this time we admired the brick paver parking area, the colored cement compass in its center, and several other features overlooked initially. I definitely recommend this lovely wayside!
Just steps from the fancy parking lot, benches and tables let you imbibe in the coastal outdoors while seated. In addition to a bountiful expanse of navy Pacific, a pair of immense boulders dots the water just off shore to the south, one of them ocean-sculpted with large arch. Less obvious scenery includes the statements of love and wit, remembering loved ones and celebrating the living, engraved into small plaques on each seating option. Even for those not sentimental, a tour to read them is bound to produce a grin or two.
This wayside was an unexpected detour both visits that day. Heading north I was determined to stroll Tolovana Beach, which I had missed the previous year. Returning south, I had had my fill of beach walking so chose only to partake of the view. But this beach has only a brief, if somewhat steep, descent to reach a lengthy, broad stretch of fine Oregon sand. So it’s a prime candidate for ocean-front wandering.