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Smugglers Cove, Oregon - Visitor's Guide | Surfing and Beachcombing

Smugglers Cove is a bay and popular surfing area along the Oregon coast, just north of Newhalem. It is adjacent to Oswald West State Park.

The sandy inlet of Smugglers Cove is popular with tourists and locals alike as a surfing and swimming area. It's accessible via Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park.

What is Smugglers Cove?

Although Oregon may not be on the top of your list when it comes to surfing, it is a worthy destination with an absolutely gorgeous backdrop. If you live near the Oregon coast or are visiting the region for any reason and enjoy surfing, smugglers cove is worth checking out.

Throughout much of the year, the area is cold and rainy, with water temperatures that are hard to fathom enjoying. But, in the summer, smugglers cove and short sand beach or a hidden gem tucked away behind rocky bluffs.

Looking out at Smugglers Cove from Short Sand Beach
Looking out at Smugglers Cove from Short Sand Beach

Getting to Smugglers Cove

Excitingly, Smugglers Cove is only accessible by foot. This makes it far less likely that you're going to have to fight the crowds to get a great spot on the beach. You may even have the water to yourself.

Short Sand Beach
Short Sand Beach

But, hiking to a surf spot does have its downsides. You have to carry your surfboard through the forest and although it's a short hiking trail, it can still pose something of a challenge if you have even more to carry.

The same can be said if you're just hiking in for a day at the beach. Make sure you get everything out of your car on the first trip; you're probably not going to want to go back and forth multiple times.

Is it Worth Visiting?

Yes, if you don't mind the hike in, Smugglers Cove is worth visiting. Anyone who has visited the beaches around the town of Cannon Beach knows this area of the Oregon coast can be incredibly busy. Rather than dodge the kids, dogs, and many visitors to Cannon Beach, try out this little adventure and see what you think!

Best Time of Year to Visit Smugglers Cove

The best time of year to visit the cove is in the summer. Throughout much of the rest of the year, it's going to be too cold to enjoy being there. The peak season is between June and the end of August.

Smugglers Cove
A unique view of Smugglers Cove

Weather at Smugglers Cove

The cove can have some fickle weather. In summer, the high is around 70-75 degrees F. In the winter, don't expect temperates any higher than 50 degrees F. Lows in the summer reach around 45 degrees F, and in the winter can drop as low as 30 degrees.

Looking towards Smugglers Cove
Looking towards Smugglers Cove

What to Do Near Smugglers Cove?

If you want to make your trip to Smugglers Cove longer, there are several different areas you might visit nearby.

Blumenthal Falls

If you know Oregon, you know that the state is not lacking when it comes to incredible waterfalls. Blumenthal Falls is no exception. It's at the end of the same stretch of beach at the north end (to the right when you get out of the woods). It's only 45 feet tall, but its location makes it quite unique.

Cape Falcon

The view from Cape Falcon
The view from Cape Falcon

Cape Falcon is a peninsula about five minutes from Short Sand Beach. It's a gorgeous spot to get a near-panoramic view of the ocean. Plus, you can hike the Cape Falcon trail and give some of your surfing or swimming muscles a break.

Oswald West State Park

A surfer at Oswald West State Park
A surfer at Oswald West State Park

Short Sand Beach is part of Oswald West State Park, but there is a whole lot more to see! It stretches for 4 miles along the coastline and includes many more secluded beaches and trails. It's only 15 minutes from the town of Cannon Beach and two hours from Portland.

Elk Flats Rock

An exciting coastal viewpoint with a huge drop into the ocean. The cliff is incredibly sheer (stay well back from the edge!!). It is located along Highway 101 and less than 15 minutes from Cannon Beach, and is accessed via a short hike.

Other Great Surfing Spots in Oregon

You might be surprised to learn that Oregon has many more surfing spots to offer. They include:

Indian Beach

Indian Beach
Indian Beach is a great surfing area for beginners

A great choice for beginners. The beach is part of Ecola State Park and is many people's go-to for any surfing day. The beach is sheltered from the heavier winds, and the breaks from the right are fairly predictable.

Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach with Indian Beach in the background

Cannon Beach is another beginner-friendly surfing destination. It's the best-known beach in Oregon and one of the most famous along the entire west coast.

Pacific City Beach

Pacific City Beach
Locals and tourists alike love surfing at Pacific City Beach

Surfing here is generally somewhere between easy and moderate. The waves can be really big at times, over 12 feet high, but most of the time, you can find many tamer offerings.

Otter Rock

Otter Rock Beach
Otter Rock Beach is a great surfing beach out of the wind

Otter Rock is another good choice that lends itself to beginners. The area is protected by bluffs from the strongest winds and can be surfed throughout the year.


Is Smugglers Cove good for surfing?

Yes, Smugglers Cove is good for surfing! It's well-known as one of the better surfing locations along the Oregon Coast. It's also more secluded than the more popular Cannon Beach.

Is there anywhere to surf in Oregon?

Yes, some of the most popular places to surf in Oregon include Cannon Beach, Otter Rock Beach, Pacific City Beach, and Smugglers Cove. The surfing may not be world-class, but it's better than you might think!

How to get to Smugglers Cove?

To access Smugglers Cove, you'll need to hike in from Oswald West State Park through the woods for about 0.5-miles. The cove is adjacent to Short Sand Beach and Blumenthal Falls.

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