Oregon Coast

The Claim

Oregon claims a unique coastline of entirely public beaches.

The Reality

Every mile of beach along the state’s coastline is public, but we’re not alone.

While Oregon deserves bragging rights for its 363 miles of public beaches—the entire length of the state’s coastline—our friends in Hawaii enjoy the same access. Hawaii is the only other state in the country with a coastline accessible to anyone willing to walk in the sand.

In Oregon, beaches became public property in 1967 when the “Beach Bill” passed the Oregon State legislature and was subsequently signed into law by Governor Tom McCall. McCall finished what Governor Oswald West began in 1913, designating all coastal beaches as public roads. “No one can actually own the beach,” says Lucy Gibson, public relations director at the Oregon Coast Visitors Association. “Everyone should be allowed to enjoy it, not just the person with the biggest pocketbook. The idea was that it would be that way forever.”

In another act of preservation, all of Oregon’s offshore rocks and islands are designated wildlife refuges. So while coastal development can happen, some things will remain untouched.



Lucy Burningham
Contributing Writer | + posts