We are drawn to the ocean, and Sunset Beach is a splendid place to take in a Pacific panorama.
It's also one of the best local beaches for walking, sunset viewing and picnicking and is popular with clammers and horseback riders.
For hikers, Sunset Beach is one of the main trailheads for the Fort to the Sea Trail and several shorter hikes. The Fort to the Sea trail is a 6-mile-long hike on improved and unimproved trails. It passes through terrain that Corps of Discovery members traveled, as well as Clatsop village sites.
Have less time or want a shorter hike? Consider taking the end of the Fort to Sea Trail, which is a 1-mile roundtrip from the parking area to a viewpoint above the dunes, with a sweeping vista ranging from Cape Disappointment to Tillamook Head. This makes a great destination for a beach picnic or play, and is accessible for all users.
You also might want to try the Sunset Beach to Sunset Lake Loop, a roundtrip of about 2 miles. It begins at the Sunset Beach parking area and follows the Fort to Sea trail back through the dunes and beach woods. There are numerous mushrooms underfoot and many birds overhead. Elk, favored for their meat and hides by the Corps of Discovery, sometimes tramp through the woods. Notice the bird life around Sunset Lake, including belted kingfishers. At the Sunset Lake bridge, turnaround and head back to the parking area.
MAGIC MOMENTS: Sunset Beach was named for its sunsets, but on a brisk day it's also a great place to fly a kite.
IF YOU GO: To reach Sunset Beach from north or south, travel to just past Milepost 13 on U.S. Highway 101 and turn onto Sunset Beach Lane. Drive to the Sunset Beach/Fort To Sea Trailhead parking lot. Restrooms are available.