Post Summary: What To Expect at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
When sea caves, tide pools, and surfing meet, it feels like you’ve landed the golden Pacific Northwest experience! Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area is full of cool mysteries to explore and it’s fun for the entire family!
In this post, we’re sharing what you might expect on your own trip to Devil’s Punchbowl on the Oregon Coast. We’re sharing parking tips, activities, picnic ideas, and nearby hikes to fill your day with adventure. Let’s get started!
The Ultimate Guide to Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area on the Oregon Coast
How To Reach Devil’s Punchbowl Oregon
Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area is located on headlands north of Beverly Beach and south of Depoe Bay. It is a unique Oregon state park, with surfing, exploring, and beachcombing opportunities tucked away in a little coastal neighborhood.
It’s located a very short distance off of the Oregon Coast Highway (Highway 101) – look for signs for Otter Rock and the Devil’s Punchbowl to find your way.
Parking is…well, an adventure. There are three parking lots that visitors must strictly adhere to. Parking anywhere else (neighborhood streets) will swiftly get you a ticket. Because this state park shares space with residential homes, the people living in this area DO NOT like when visitors try to park on their streets and block their driveways. Stick to the parking lots only and if they are full – come back another time!
Getting Around Devil’s Punchbowl State Park
The most common way to get around the park is by hiking, either on the north side or the south side of the headlands.
The Northside provides access to the inside of the punchbowl (low tide only) and Otter Crest Beach, Finger Rock, and Otter Rock Marine Garden. It’s also the easiest part of the beach to reach, with more than half of visitors choosing this direction.
The Southern side is considered the north part of Beverly Beach, where it is very typical to see beginning surfers trying out the waves. If you’d like to try this out, check out Pura Vida Surf Shop in the Devil’s Punchbowl parking area to rent some gear.
Things To Do At Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
So what are some of the coolest things to do at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area? Keep scrolling for our favorite activities and things to do in this part of the Oregon Coast!
Explore The “Bowl”
The main attraction to Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area is the bowl (sea cave) itself! Make sure to visit during low tide only– the waves (especially in the winter) churn, crash, and foam around in a violent brew during high tide. The punchbowl gets its ‘devilish’ name because of the swirling, unforgiving waves that rip through the collapsed cave. In order to visit the bottom safely, the waves must be out to sea, during low tide.
Click Here For The Tide Chart: Otter Rock Tide Chart Webpage (save it or screenshot the days of your trip!)
How was the punch bowl created? Likely, it started as one or two sea caves that slowly got carved out over time by the waves. Once it got deep enough, the roof of the caves likely collapsed, creating the swirling open bowl we see today.
Access the punchbowl from the north side, as you walk past several tide pools and interesting boulders. You can climb inside the bowl or explore the boulders on the outside of the cave. Be prepared for some climbing over large rocks!
Discover The Many Tide Pools
Similar to the pools at Cape Perpetua, there are an enormous amount of tide pools to explore during low tide! Access them on the north side of the headlands, before the entrance to the sea cave.
If this is your first time at tide pools, here are some etiquette tips to keep you and the marine life safe as you explore:
Tidepool Etiquette Tips (Courtesy of The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary):
- Wear water-safe shoes to protect your feet. Double-check your footing before committing to a spot to prevent slipping.
- Step on rocks with bare surfaces to prevent killing any marine life that clings to the surface.
- Do not collect wildlife or take anything from tidepools or the beach…
- WITH THE EXCEPTION OF TRASH. Bring an extra plastic bag and collect any garbage you encounter.
- Watch the tide for ‘sneaker’ waves and be alert to the ocean’s position at all times.
- Never force an animal off of its spot. If it doesn’t want to release its grip, leave it be.
- If you care to peek under a rock, put it back exactly how you found it to preserve organisms living on the shady underside.
South of the headlands is a popular destination for beginning surfers to try out the Pacific Northwest waves! If you don’t have any gear of your own, stop by Pura Vida Surf Shop on 1st Street to rent some gear. Here, you can rent boards, wetsuits, and even take some surfing lessons.
Have a Picnic
One of the most scenic Oregon Coast picnic spots is located right here at Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area! You can access this grassy, dappled shade lawn on the south side of 1st Street, with a view of Beverly Beach just off the sea cliffs and rocky shoreline. Come with a picnic blanket, or snag one of the tables to set up your own beachside lunch.
Make sure to keep your eye out for whales during their migration season (Springtime) just offshore!
Explore The Many Trails In The Area
This isolated spot doesn’t have much opportunity for coastal forest hikes, but there are plenty of Oregon Coast hikes to explore, just a quick drive away from Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park. Some of our favorites include Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Cobble Beach, God’s Thumb Trail in Lincoln City, and Drift Creek Falls just inland.
What Other Adventures Are Nearby Devil’s Punchbowl, Oregon?
The Complete Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary (North To South): The Oregon Coast’s coastal highway is one of the coolest trips to plan in the Pacific Northwest! Read our post all about the best stops to take from North to South, including hiking trails, the best Oregon Coast beaches, places to stay and more!
Cape Perpetua: Cape Perpetua is packed with cool natural wonders, including sea coves, tide pools, and sea spouts! Great for the whole family, this is a wonderful stop on any trip down the Oregon Coast.
Heceta Head Lighthouse: Discover the hidden stories of this historic lighthouse on the Oregon Coast! Heceta Head Lighthouse is still functioning today, and you clan sleep nearby at the Innkeeper’s House next door!
God’s Thumb Trail In Lincoln City, Oregon: Situated just north of Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl is Lincoln City, home to one of the prettiest (but muddiest!) hikes on the coast.