Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is one of the most rugged sections of the Oregon Coast. I visited this state park for a day of adventure in late-2020 and she did not disappoint! In this article, I would love to share with you my experiences and provide a couple of key recommendations for your visit. Before I do so, please allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Kylie Martin from the Instagram @wiilldatheart. I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ property. They lived out in the country on 18 acres of land, 17 of those acres being in the woods. I would adventure through the woods with my dog Sam at the time and always wanted to be outside with nature.
I used to climb trees, shoot a bow and arrow, and play around in mud pits. I really was an outdoor child and certainly wasn’t afraid to get dirty! Funnily enough, I found out that I was actually allergic to pine when I decided to climb a pine tree in my grandparents front yard. Thankfully, though, I grew out of that allergy – especially while living in the Pacific Northwest.
Moving to Washington State Two Years Ago
After I graduated from college, I moved to Florida where I lived for about seven years. However, I started to miss the woods. Florida definitely has its own beauty but there was something missing. I wasn’t getting the same euphoric feeling that I used to get when I was outdoors living in Michigan.
So I decided to move out to Washington State where I have lived for two years. It has been the best decision I have ever made. Nature really cleanses my soul. I feel most at home when I am in nature. I love the nomadic life and enjoy a different type of freedom when I encompass myself in nature.
Anytime I am going through a hard time, nature has been there for me to clear my head. I have also been a photographer for seven years. It has been a cool outlet for me and has helped with my mental health over the years.
Being able to document beautiful scenery and share it with others is also what inspires me more to go exploring. It’s also important for me to try to educate others on the subject of climate change and give them different ways to combat it in their own life. I also do that on my Instagram platform.
I run two Instagram accounts and have met an amazing community through that process. It’s all been a very exciting journey – especially in the last two years. I hope to turn my passion for photography into a profession in the future while still continuing to fight for Mother Nature.
Falling in Love with the Oregon Coast
I live in Seattle and am in love with the Oregon Coast. The vastness of this coast is something incomparable to the rest of the Pacific Coast. I went on a ten week road trip a few years back when I was living in Florida and we went up the Oregon Coast. All in all, we hit up about 23 national parks. I was in complete awe of the Oregon Coast and couldn’t stop talking about it!
Once I moved to Washington, I knew I had to come back. Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is about nine hours from Seattle and so I wanted to spend a few days there. This trip wasn’t exactly planned. My friend and I were heading to Cannon Beach but we only had a few days.
We stopped at the Wreck of the Peter Iredale and then on a whim we decided to drive another six hours to Samuel H Boardman. We were there for only a day and a half. This goes to show you how beautiful the place is and how it’s worth making a nine hour drive for just over a day’s visit!
Our accommodation involved car camping that weekend. We woke up about an hour and a half before sunrise. The best part was that we didn’t realize that we would be waking up to such a vast and stunning scenery.
We then drove all the way to Lone Ranch Beach and made our way up the coast through the state park. We stopped at Cape Ferrelo, Whaleshead Viewpoint, Thomas Creek Bridge, Natural Bridges, Secret Beach and Arch Rock. The weather gods blessed us with a beautiful sunrise and a clear day.
My Experience at Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Being a photographer, I have a lot of places on my bucket list. Natural Bridges in Samuel H Boardman had been on my list for a while. So when we decided to take this trip spontaneously, I was incredibly excited!
Overall, it was an amazing experience. Samuel H Boardman is one of the most rugged and beautiful sections of the Oregon Coast. I wish we could have spent more time here because you could easily spend a day at each location. We started our exploration at Arch Rock as there was no one in the parking lot. We had the viewpoint to ourselves which was epic!
Then we drove to Lone Ranch. We spent three hours there walking on the beach and exploring the tide pools. We even spotted seals sunbathing on the rocks! The rocks out there reminded me of an adult jungle gym. There is so much to discover and learn about on the coast. Most of the sea stacks on the Oregon Coast are millions of years old. That is mind boggling to me.
We then stopped at Whaleshead Viewpoint for a few minutes before visiting Secret Beach (a place I was most excited about because of the power of the ocean there), Thomas Bridge and Natural Bridges. The latter is an exciting place. At the viewpoint you can look out at sea arches.
Favorite Place at Samuel H Boardman: Natural Bridges
Natural Bridges was definitely my favorite place at Samuel H Boardman. It’s such a cool destination to experience! When you are by the bridge looking down and out, you feel so free. The coast seems to be never-ending and the power of the ocean rushing through the sea arches reminds you of just how lucky we are to live on such a beautiful planet.
This place made me thankful for that particular trip. It can also be surreal to visit other spots on your bucket list, especially for photographers. The Pacific Northwest has called me for years and I love calling it home now.
Best Places to Visit at Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Natural Bridges to me was absolutely the number one spot. There is a trail that leads down to the lookout point but be sure to have good shoes and stay steady on your feet. You will be guided by ropes. The trail down was an experience in itself and then it opens up and you can just see for miles.
There are miles of rock structures, sea caves and the beauty of the blue ocean (while the sun reflects off it) to see. If you are a photographer, make sure you visit early for sunrise or later for sunset. When we got here the sun was right over the water and there was a haze that I couldn’t shoot around.
Then there is Lone Ranch Beach. If you are rock obsessed like me, this beach is a must-visit. You can walk along the beach for hours and feel like a kid. You will be surprised by what you find along this stunning beach.
Secret Beach is another fantastic beach. The massive rock formations here make you feel tiny. There are little coves that fill in with the raging power of the sea. I dangled my feet over and felt the power of the waves as they hit the rocks and splashed me a bit. It was exhilarating to say the least! There is also a waterfall that flows into the sea. Just be careful with high tide.
Arch Rock is probably the second most popular spot that you see on blog posts. Again, I would recommend catching this place at sunrise or sunset. The rock formations here are beautiful and great for taking photos.
Lastly, I recommend visiting Whaleshead Beach in Samuel H Boardman. This is a popular beach for lunch or even if you just want to wander around with a gigantic rock formation in front of you that resembles a whale’s spout! The peace and serenity on offer at Whaleshead Beach is unmatched.
Memories on the Oregon Coast
My funniest memory from this trip to Samuel H Boardman was at around sunrise. I had these red leggings on. I would wear these leggings for my photos so it added a pop of color for my Instagram. I also decided to keep my Birkenstocks on instead of putting on some hiking boots. Of course, I was being a little cocky and said to myself: “Everything will be fine”.
We were by Arch Rock and I was trying to get a framed photo. I slipped and slid right into some clay! Mother Nature said: “You will not be wearing these leggings and you need to have better shoes, Ma’am”. The big brown stain on my leggings was not in my plan for the day (it looked dodgy)!
I ended up having to change but my friend and I laughed for a solid few hours from that moment because of how bad the stain was. While that was a hilarious moment, the best part about this adventure to Samuel H Boardman was just the whole day trip. Each stop had its own uniqueness and added to the whole experience. I would love to do it again.
Car Camping near Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor
I don’t usually stay in hotels/airbnbs when I am out on my adventures. I almost always go car camping or standard camping. Car camping along the Oregon Coast was so much fun because of the many pullouts. You can get a better view for free and wake up somewhere beautiful with pastel colored sunrises. So if you can swing car camping, I highly recommend it.
If you do choose to go car camping, make sure you utilize the pullouts along the coast except for the ones in the park itself. The park is only 12 miles long and you won’t have a problem finding spots outside the park.
Other Places to Visit in Oregon
One spot that I wish we visited was Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. If you have the time, make sure you stop by on your travels. We weren’t able to hit this spot because we were trying to visit Thor’s Well. I have been here before though and found some high elevation spots that gave me surreal photos. You feel like you are standing on top of the world.
Thor’s Well and Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area are also cool spots on the Oregon Coast. But they are three hours away. So visiting these places will depend on where you are coming from and how many days you have.
Need to Know Before you Go
Don’t rush through the different spots, especially if you are enjoying your time at one specific destination. There is a lot to see but slow down and enjoy the moment. It can be easy to get wrapped up in hitting every spot.
If you are a photographer, keep an eye on sunrise and sunset times as they will provide you with the best photos. Always check for low or high tide. The ocean’s tide can change swiftly and unexpectedly. Don’t get caught in an area that you can’t get out of. But above all, enjoy the sights!