Rockhounders and beachcombers alike rave about Strawberry Hill, but they do it quietly. It is one of those “when you know, you know” sort of spots.
Here’s what you need to know before you go.
What You Need To Know About Rockhounding Strawberry Hill
What Is Strawberry Hill?
Strawberry Hill is the Strawberry Hill Wayside, a simple pull off area on the Oregon coast beach highway 101 north of Florence.
This is a spot best known to locals, not for stunning views, but for a unique labyrinth-like cove that is an adventure to explore when the tide allows.
Tide depending, you might have some beach to explore, but others times you might not. You’ll observe tons of rock formations in a multitude of shapes and sizes, with lots of inlets and holes for tide pools.
What Rockhounders and Beachcombers Will Be Excited To Find At Strawberry Hill
Rockhounders flock to Strawberry Hill because it is becoming known as a place to collect large and small agates, carnelian, jasper, unique rocks, petrified wood, sea glass, shells, fossils, driftwood, and more.
We’ve seen trip reports from folks who have discovered fist sized agates.
You can also check out all the tidepools, and spot sea stars, anemones, hermit crabs, and other creatures. Seals also like to hang out here too.
Strawberry Hill Rockhounding Limits
You can remove up to one gallon of agates and non-living specimens such as rocks and shells per day, not more than three gallons per year.
It is not legal to collect native american artifacts.
For more information, here’s the link to the Oregon laws specific to collecting on Oregon’s beaches.
How To Get To Strawberry Hill Wayside
Strawberry Hill Wayside is located along 101, at about milepost 169.3.
This isn’t difficult to find; all you have to do is look for the right milepost marker and the sign for the Wayside.
The Wayside itself is a U-shaped Wayside, and the highway leading up to it from both directions is mostly long and straight.
If you aren’t sure about the directions, just keep an eye out for Neptune State Scenic viewpoint, which is nearby and should have signs.
If you are driving from Florence, this is a 20 mile drive will take you about 25 minutes.
If you are driving from Yachats, the drive is only about 5 miles, and should take you 8-10 minutes.
If you are driving from Waldport, the drive is about 13 miles and should take 20 minutes, assuming there are no traffic issues.
Strawberry Hill Is Best Visited Mid-Week
Strawberry Hill gets crowded on the weekends. If you like some peace and quiet when you head to the Oregon coast, we recommend that you avoid the weekends.
Strawberry Hill Is Best Visited At Low-Tide
We highly recommend that you plan your stop at this location with low tide. While you can get away with beach combing at some spots at high tide, Strawberry Hill is not one of them.
If you want to do some exploring and arrive at high tide, you’ll definitely be disappointed. The best features of this place are enjoyed when the tide is out.
Keep an eye on the tide chart and plan your visit appropriately.
Parking At Strawberry Hill Wayside Can Be Challenging
Strawberry Hill is not a well-known spot. You access it from 101 and quickly scramble down to the beach areas.
There is parking safely off highway 101, but the parking area is really small.
The lot itself is a one way, drive in one side and out the other side, U-shape. There’s probably room for may 20 cars, and big pickups, RVs, motor coaches, or pickups pulling campers or toy haulers might struggle to get into the narrow lot or find a spot.
The best way to make sure you can get a spot is to get there early, or go mid-week to avoid other beachcombers who are exploring this great spot.
To our knowledge (as it has been in the past), parking at Strawberry Hill is free.
Strawberry Hill Can Be Dangerous
It isn’t difficult to get to Strawberry Hill or to park there, if you get there early and don’t have a big car.
It isn’t even that difficult to get down to the beach, as there are some cool stairs.
But the site itself is not a place that we’d recommend for folks who are not agile or who are there with young children.
The beach itself is often very small (the sandy areas), and while you can explore the nooks and crannies of the rock formations, it needs to be done with careful attention to the status of the tide and the weather.
It would not be difficult to get caught in rising tidewaters as the waves rolled in.
This is especially the case when you are exploring between rocks and cannot see the ocean itself.
The rocks are also generally slick, which means that folks can easily slip, trip, and fall.
For people who are not agile, this could mean a broken hip or head injury.
For young children this can also mean falls and injuries.
And for everyone, there is always a risk of drowning.
If you are going to go down onto the beach or rocks at Strawberry Hill, do so when you are sure that the tide is far enough out, and is not actively coming in.
We’ve also seen fish hooks and other fishing nets, lines, and tackle in this area, so watch your step.
Regardless, keep your children within an arms length. Wear tough shoes so you don’t scratch your feet on barnacles or hooks.
Strawberry Hill Has No Bathroom/Services
Just an FYI, there is no bathroom at this wayside. There’s no pit toilets, no plastic toilet or temp toilet. Nothing.
You should also prepare for there to be no garbage cans or recycling. Pack out whatever you bring in.
The Seagulls Are Jerks
People come to the beach and often feed seagulls. While this is fun, this trains seagulls that humans mean food.
If you have a lunch with you, make sure to put it away if you plan to move away from it. Seagulls (and other birds) will eat any food that is exposed.
Not only that, they will uncover food that is loosely covered with a jacket or hand towel.
If left alone long enough, they will peck holes through the top of flimsy tupperware, and they will definitely tear holes in plastic bags.
We recommend that you carry the food with you in your backpack if you are going to walk, or put it back in the car.
You Should Bring Binoculars
You never know what you might spot at Strawberry Hill, or what you might want to get a better look at.
Depending on the time of year, you might want to use your binoculars to spy for migrating whales, birds, seal lions, kite surfers, and fishing boats.
We’ve created an ultimate guide to gifts for rockhounds with helpful links directly to Amazon to make looking for and checking out potential gifts quick and review easy!
Still looking for other ideas for places to visit to hunt for rocks? Check out Patrick’s Point State Park, Glass Butte, Hampton Butte, and the Wheeler High School Fossil Hunting Beds. We’ve also created a general Rockhounding Oregon page with some other suggestions for you to check out.