Rockaway Beach has been a peaceful coastal town and vacation spot for almost a century. It began as a seaside resort built in 1909, named Rockaway after Rockaway Beach in Long Island, New York. The resort was connected to Portland by train in 1912, and soon afterward, urbanites were flocking to Rockaway Beach’s lovely stretch of soft sand.
This railway connection was essential for Rockaway’s success. Back then, highways had not yet been built along the Oregon Coast. Without the train, vacationers and residents would have had to use backroads to get to and from Rockaway Beach.
Traveling by train along the coast wasn’t just convenient—it was beautiful. Fortunately, instead of relying on historic pictures or secondhand accounts, you can still experience this railroad yourself. Thanks to Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, a non-profit organization, you can take a train ride between Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi, taking in gorgeous views along the way.
As the railroad brought more and more visitors to Rockaway Beach, the community grew to include other industries as well. Entrepreneurs, fishermen, and artists came to the town to set up businesses and live by the seaside.
These other industries have helped make Rockaway Beach more than just a vacationer’s town. While hospitality is a still a significant part of the community, there are plenty of activities and events for locals, too.
Residents come to Rockaway Beach for its laid-back atmosphere, outdoor activities and close-knit community. Living in Rockaway Beach is like being permanently on vacation, only with more friends and contacts in the community. If you join the town’s 1,300 residents, here are some activities and events you might pick up.
Rockaway Beach has seven miles of incredible shoreline, perfect for all kinds of beach activities. You can see people beachcombing, flying kites, and wading in tide pools during the day. Then, at night, you can sit by a bonfire after watching a sunset behind Twin Rocks.
Rockaway Beach is an especially great place to live if you enjoy going fishing, clamming, or crabbing. There are two local marinas, Jetty Fishery and Kelly’s Brighton Marina, which are both excellent spots for catching seafood. You can rent a boat or go hiking and picnicking along the shore. Either way, you can savor fresh local oysters and Dungeness crabs in the crisp Oregon wind and sunshine.
You don’t need to travel far for freshwater fishing and boating, either. Rockaway Beach is next to several lakes with healthy fish populations, including perch, smallmouth bass, and rainbow trout. These lakes are also popular areas for bird watching. You can see all kinds of waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as herons, ospreys, and eagles. Take a canoe or kayak, and you’ll be set for a peaceful afternoon on the lake.
Although Rockaway Beach is a destination for vacationers, it still has a solid community of long-term residents and local activities. You can see this community come alive during festivals, such as the Beach Kite Festival in May. During this event, the sky along Rockaway Beach is filled with a colorful array of kites. There are friendly competitions for both professional and amateur kite fliers, as well as live music, vendors, and delicious food. You can bring your own kite or buy one at the festival to join the celebration of kite flying.
Another popular event in downtown Rockaway Beach is the Pirate Festival and Treasure Hunt. Started in 2011, the festival has been a hit among kids and adults alike. You can dress like a swashbuckling pirate, dance to pirate music, and go on a scavenger hunt, or just enjoy tasty food while watching the performances.
Artists and art enthusiasts can also take part in the annual Rockaway Beach Art Fair, now in its 40th year. A farmers’ market has recently been added to this fair, so you can browse fresh local produce and handmade crafts alongside the art.
Finally, every 4th of July, Rockaway Beach organizes a fun day of festivities and fireworks. There’s a parade in the morning, then activities like a bake sale and a National Guard flyover in the afternoon. To cap it all off, there’s spectacular fireworks show by the beach after sunset.
These celebrations are possible thanks to the close community and fun-loving spirit of Rockaway Beach. Despite being a small town, it has much to offer both its residents and visitors.
Here are a few examples of homes and properties you could own around Rockaway Beach. Find out more information and see more properties on our Rockaway Beach community page.
Oceanfront lots for sale on Rockaway Beach.
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A short walk to the beach from this fantastic 3 bedroom 2 bathroom beach cottage.
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Perfect family beach home right on the ocean!
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