Stonefield Beach – General Information
Open: Year-round, 6 AM to 9 PM
Type Of Beach: State Park
Approach: Easy to Moderate
Main Activities: Hiking, Rockhounding, Whale Watching, Tide-pooling
Popularity: Low to Moderate
Accommodations: Florence, Yachats (Lodging), Siuslaw Forest, Cape Perpetua (Camping) Highway 101 (RV Parking)
Continuing our series of amazing hidden gems on the Oregon Coast, Stonefield Beach is located between Florence and Yachats on the central Oregon Coast.
The Oregon State Parks’ website doesn’t do it justice, with the entire description reading: “Stonefield has easy beach access. Tenmile Creek is just to the north. A great place to sit in the sun and watch for whales.”
Not only does that description completely undersell the beauty and range of activities here but it isn’t even completely accurate. Tenmile Creek separates the northern and southern sections of the beach; it isn’t “just to the north”!
What to Expect
The main reason that Stonefield Beach State Recreation Site isn’t as popular as it deserves is that it is between Yachats and Florence, two popular cities with popular beaches. Cape Perpetua State Park is nearby as well, which receives many more visitors.
Between the northern and southern sections of the beach is Tenmile Creek, which can be difficult or even impossible to cross in winter when it overflows.
In all, the beach is a little over one mile long, with the rockier north section coming in at just under a mile and the smaller, sandy dunes of the southern half are only about a quarter mile in length.
Where is Stonefield Beach Located?
Stonefield Beach is about seven miles south of Yachats and a little over 18 miles north of Florence. From Yachats, head south on Highway 101 for about seven miles until you reach Tenmile Creek Road, and turn right.
From Florence, drive north on Highway 101 for about 19 miles until you reach Tenmile Creek Road and turn left.
You may need to park in the northern section and walk over if the southern lot is closed. Since the southern side is right next to the beach, it often floods during storms and is temporarily closed for clean-up, although the beach itself will remain open.
Getting to the Beach
The northern parking lot is significantly larger than its southern counterpart but unfortunately, the more desirable sandy parts are on the southern half of the beach. There is a gravel path and a short tunnel from the northern lot to the beach.
There is a short trail along the highway and across the bridge over the creek between the two parking areas that you can take, however, if the smaller lot is full by the time you arrive. The beach on the south side is just a few feet away from the parking lot.
If you’re looking to lay in the sand, you’ll want to check the tide schedule first. There isn’t much of a beach when the tide is in. The caves on the northern end are also only accessible during low tide as well.
Things to Do on Stonefield Beach
As one of the two activities mentioned on the official website (next to “sitting on the beach”), whale watching is probably the main attraction at Stonefield Beach.
In December and January, whales travel south to Mexico and return north to Alaska from March to May. You’ll want to bring a pair of binoculars although you should still be able to see them even if you forget. Your view just won’t be as good.
Agate hunters and tidepoolers will have a great time exploring both halves of the beach, primarily during winter, when the storms and stronger waves (commonly called “king tides”) uncover hidden treasures or rocks (including agates) and seashells.
On the rocky northern end, a series of small caves can be found. Most of these will be too small to walk around in but as a big fan of caves, I think they’re worth checking out anyway!
Where to Stay
There are several rental cabins and Airbnbs in the area, although if you’d prefer your lodging to be a bit cheaper, Florence has a population of just under 10,000 people and has a wide variety of hotels and motels.
You could also stay in Yachats, which is closer but slightly more expensive. RV campers have several options within a few miles, including the Sea Perch RV Resort, which is less than a half-mile to the north.
Campers can stay at the Cape Perpetua Campground, about five miles north on Highway 101. If that’s full, about 11 miles from the beach is the Tillicum Beach campground. There is also dispersed camping available in the Siuslaw National Forest as well.
Other Activities in the Area
Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint
Just a few miles north is the Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, which is covered in more detail in the Bob Creek entry of our series on lesser-known beaches.
The area also contains two other beaches (including Neptune Beach, which you’ll be able to read about here soon!) and several highway turnoffs that provide magnificent views of both the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape.
Cummins Creek Wilderness Area
Part of the Siuslaw National Forest, the Cummins Creek Wilderness Area is home to a trail about six miles in length, which is considered moderate to difficult. It rises nearly 2,000 feet to Cummins Creek Ridge.
It is a great place to view wildlife and experience solitude, as it is rather lightly traveled.
Cape Perpetua Lighthouse
Stonefield Beach is part of the larger Cape Perpetua area, including the beautiful lighthouse known as Cleft of the Rock Light or Cape Perpetua Lighthouse. It’s not open to the public but can be seen from Highway 101 and photographed from one of the many pullouts.
Tokatee Klootchman State Natural Site
About three miles south of Stonefield is Tokatee Klootchman State Natural Site, a smaller state park that is very similar to the southern portion of this beach. It also features many opportunities for bird, sealife, and wildlife viewing.
Sea Lion Caves
Just eight miles south are the famous Sea Lion Caves, the tenth-longest known sea cave system in the world. There is a gift shop onsite that provides tour groups access to the caves through an elevator. Many rare seabirds make their homes here.
Stonefield Beach is an excellent place to visit if you’re in the Cape Perpetua Area and prefer something a bit cozier and less popular than the major beaches nearby.
Please keep in mind it is part of a marine reserve, which means that fishing and removing seaweed or wildlife is illegal. Even so, there are still many great activities and adventures to be had here. Start planning your next trip here today!