Though it’s a lovely spot now, Bayocean Spit has an unhappy history.
Sometimes known as “the town that fell into the sea,” Bayocean was a planned resort community founded in 1906 on the small stretch of land that separated Tillamook Bay from the Pacific Ocean. By 1914, the town’s population was 2,000. There was a dance hall, a hotel, a 1,000-seat movie theater, a shooting range, bowling alley, tennis courts and four miles of paved streets. Most residents came and went via steamship from Portland. But the rough seas at the mouth of Tillamook Bay led to the creation of a protective jetty to aid navigation. Ironically, it was that jetty that caused the sand on the spit to gradually erode. Little by little, buildings and infrastructure were taken by the waves. Some of the buildings, notably the schoolhouse, were moved to the hamlet of Cape Meares. The last house was washed away in 1960.
With the construction of a second jetty in 1970, however, sand began to re-accumulate on the spit and the area is now maintained as a county recreation area for hiking, beach combing, bird watching, surf fishing and clamming.
You can enjoy sandy beach trails and grassy dunes surrounded by bay views. In spring and fall, see Pacific gray whales offshore and harbor seals and migrating shorebirds in the bay. Spring through fall, view brown pelicans, bald eagles, great blue herons, peregrine falcons and Caspian terns.
There is a 9-mile loop trail that begins at the Bayocean parking area and takes you out to the tip of the peninsula across the bay from Garibaldi and Barview. Do not venture out onto the South Jetty at the end — it is dangerous.