Oregon beach fossil hunting isn’t just for paleontologists! Fossils can be found all over the country and Oregon is no different. There are several places in Oregon to find fossilized plants, shells, wood, and even shark teeth. Keep in mind that picking up fossils can be illegal and I HIGHLY suggest you check your local and state laws.
I’m not a legal expert but from what I’ve found in Oregon it is legal to pick up fossils on the beach but is illegal to take anything out of the seawall or sell what you’v found. As of writing this post the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries says the following.
“Fossil collecting is permitted on private land with the owner’s approval. Collecting fossils is prohibited or a collecting permit is necessary to collect fossils on state and federal lands and in parks. Collecting is prohibited in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.”
Recently we took a day trip to hunt for fossilized sea creatures and to spend some quality time at the beach. After several hours of research and reading a location had been decided on and off we went! The location we chose was Beverly Beach.
Beverly Beach is located just north of Newport, Oregon. There is ample parking and if you are looking to spend the night, they have a great campground. Once you turn off the highway stay to the left and continue down the road and take the next left which will lead to the day parking area.
Parking Location: 44.728679, -124.056856
Once you’ve parked and are ready to go just head down the pathway that leads under the bridge and onto the beach. We found the best fossils to the south. Stick close to the sea wall and keep your eyes open for large sand colored rocks as these contain some great fossils. While these aren’t really for taking home, they are amazing to see. Keep your eyes open for light colored seashells in the sand below the seawall! Those are what you’re looking for.
Fossil Hunting Area: 44.727447, -124.058068
What can you expect to find? Sorry to say there aren’t any giant T-Rex bones or any large Jurassic Park like dinosaurs. Most of Oregon was still ocean floor during the hay day of giant lizards. However, what you can expect to find are mostly going to be from the Astoria formation. The fossils in this formation are from the Mid-Eocene period and they range in age from ~15-20 million years old.
Did you hear me?! 15-20 MILLION YEARS OLD!
The photo below is what I managed to find laying around in the sand. Some of the larger chunks were from large pieces of seawall that had fallen down onto the beach.
Beverly Beach is a great place to look for fossils and just a beautiful beach in general. It’s welcoming to solo fossil hunters and families alike. I would highly recommend stopping by and doing a little beach combing as there is lots to see and experience.
Below is a small gallery with just a few examples of what you’re able to see at Beverly Beach.