I love when we go somewhere with certain expectations and when we get there the destination far exceeds what we were expecting. We wanted to visit the Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area and when we got there we realized that there was so many more outdoor adventures to enjoy in this small area in the Otter Rock Marine Reserve.
Otter Rock is located just north of Newport, right past Beverly Beach State Park, another great destination. When you drive up the road you will see a parking lot and bathrooms on your right. It was pretty full when we got there but we continued up the road and we saw another parking area to the right that had plenty of parking. There was a worn path towards the beach access and we took a right up the road to the viewpoint where we got a fantastic view of the Devil’s Punchbowl. While we were looking at the punchbowl we saw a bunch of people down there exploring so of course we wanted to get down there too! To the south of the Devil’s Punchbowl we could see people surfing and playing on shore so we thought the beach access there was where to go to explore the punchbowl.
The beach access was right across from the restrooms that took us down a long staircase. Sidebar, the restrooms were very clean with flush toilets. It was a gorgeous, blue sky day and while there were quite a few people down at the beach, there was more than enough room for us all to spread out. Like I said above, there were a lot of surfers out, and we came to find out it was a whole class of kids taking surfing lessons! The sand was nice and soft and the waters were pretty calm so it was a wonderful place for Olivia to play in the water. We ended up spending a couple of hours there watching her play. While we enjoyed playing on the beach, the access to the punchbowl was not there so we figured we had to do a little more exploring to figure it out. Once we got back to the parking area we went towards the far end and saw a sign that said beach. We walked up the street just a short way and there was the trailhead.
By the time we had gotten back up to the parking lot the tide had come in so we decided to come back in the evening to explore the Devil’s Punchbowl and it certainly paid off! The sky was alight with the setting sun and the moss covered rocks of the tidepools were a vibrant green. When we got down to the beach the tide pools were directly to our left so we immediately began to explore. As we walked farther to the left we found where we could climb over to the punchbowl area. It was pretty cool to walk around what was presumed to be a collapsed sea cave. If you want to visit the Devil’s Punchbowl make sure to check the tide charts to visit when the tide is low.
Besides visiting the beach and arch, by the viewpoint there is a cute little area with a surf shop, coffee shop, and wine tasting room. We stopped into the local surf shop Pura Vida to grab some sweatshirts and found that they offered surfboard rentals as well as lessons that we fully plan on taking advantage of the next time we visit! The owner was super friendly and so grateful that we were shopping locally.
We also went into Cliffside Coffee and Sweets where they had coffee, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, and baked goods as well as fudge and a candy counter full of treats! Right next door is also a boutique wine tasting room called the Flying Dutchman. We didn’t get the opportunity to visit but we definitely have it on our itinerary for next time! There is so much more of the Otter Rock Marine Reserve that we want to explore we will definitely set time aside next time.
As we travel across our beautiful state we are finding so many hidden gems that are begging to be discovered. Our visit to the central Oregon coast did not disappoint and we definitely plan on going back soon to discover more outdoor adventures and culinary delights.
See more photos in our gallery HERE.