Meaning “little apples” in Spanish, Manzanita is named for its abundance of manzanita plants. The beautiful oceanfront town is linked with the nearby riverfront towns of Nehalem and Wheeler, and all are collectively known as the Nehalem Bay Area and/or the Tri-Villages area. On this stretch of the Northern Oregon Coast, the Nehalem River meets the ocean and forms a large bay that’s tucked behind a 4-mile-long sand-spit peninsula, home to Nehalem Bay State Park, a favorite Oregon coast camping site.
Manzanita and the Nehalem Bay Area offer numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. The bay offers excellent Dungeness crabbing and fishing for sturgeon, steelhead trout and Chinook salmon, while the river offers a Coho salmon fishery. Surfers from all over the world seek out the sheltered cove at Short Sands beach in Oswald West State Park to the north, standup paddleboarders and kayakers love to explore the river and bay, beachcombers and whale watchers explore the beaches and hikers make the trek up Neahkahnie Mountain. Whether you want to sleep in a yurt, spot bald eagles, play golf or picnic on a mountaintop, we’ve got all the information you need for enjoying outdoor recreation in Manzanita and around the Nehalem Bay.
Sleeping, Dining and Shopping in Manzanita
There’s much more to Manzanita than outdoor recreation. The city has a thriving arts scene that includes the galleries and the Hoffman Center for the Arts, which offers performances, film screenings, readings, studio space and more. Manzanita offers many shopping opportunities, too, including a weekly farmers market in summer, and it has a cannabis dispensary. But big box stores and busy shopping malls are not a part of the shopping scene here.
For food and drink in Manzanita, a variety of restaurants offer seafood, farm-to-table fare and ethnic variety. The nearby Nehalem Bay Winery, one of 350 wineries in Oregon, offers tastings and events. Manzanita’s accommodations offerings include boutique inns, vacation rentals and camping – no chain hotels or giant condo buildings here! Our local writers tell you everything you need to know about enjoying Manzanita on this site.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there really buried treasure on Neahkahnie Mountain?
It’s said that in the 1600s Spanish explorers buried treasure either on the slopes or at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain, which is north of Manzanita in Oswald West State Park. The lost treasure has been the subject of many searches and even a movie called Tillamook Treasure. Digging for treasure, however, is now prohibited by the Oregon Parks Service.
Can I camp directly on the beach in Manzanita?
Beach camping is prohibited in the Manzanita town limits. Check into Nehalem Bay State Park for camping opportunities very close to the beach.
What is a sneaker wave?
A sneaker wave is a large wave that appears without warning, often surging up high on the beach with deadly force. Some people liken them to mini-tsunamis. Sneaker waves are a real threat on the coast, so never turn your back on the ocean and never fall asleep close to the high tide line on the beach. Keep children close to you at all times. Avoid climbing on exposed rocks, jetties and headlands during times of strong wave action.
What type of clothing should I bring on my Oregon coast vacation?
Layers! During the summer bring shorts and light shirts along but also a windbreaker or raincoat. The fall will be cooler in the evening, so bring a coat or sweater. In the winter you will want warm clothes and a warm winter coat. A raincoat is good to have in any season. Umbrellas are not recommended along the coast because of the strong winds.