Lincoln City is the epicenter for treasure hunting on the Oregon Coast.
In addition to searching above the high tide for hand-blown glass art, distributed by the float fairies, mother nature leaves a variety of treasures to find as well, and you have the best luck during the winter months!
Seashells, sea glass and semiprecious gemstones are in abundance on our coastline. We have “reasonable scientific basis” to believe now that we are the birthplace of the Yellowstone hotspot on the North American continent. That is why we have not only fossils you can collect on our shores, but a huge variety of agate, jasper, petrified wood and other crystals which formed with mineral rich waters moved the building blocks of these gemstones into the formations we find them in today!
How do you find agates and other treasures you might ask? Well first off, the more rocks exposed on the beach the better. It’s rumored that looking after a storm is a great time, and they are right, but storms can move huge amounts of sand around covering the beach more. So, the rule still applies that the more gravel and rock exposed on the beach, the better. If you can find some sunshine as the tide is going out on a gravel patch, consider yourself in choice hunting ground.
Walk into the sun, gazing at the gravel until little agates begin to glow, you are allowed a gallon a day, 3 gallons per year of agates, jasper, petrified wood and other crystal treasures. To find jasper, look for colorful rocks with a similar texture to the agates you are finding, they are a similar hardness and specific gravity, so they are often found together. Collecting fossils is as easy as picking up rocks, however you may see fossils still in our cliffs, please leave them be and only take what has already been freed by erosion.
For the shell collector, you will find both current and fossil shells on our shores. You will notice that our seashells are tough, darker in color and thicker, to match the brutal temperament of our shores. Common seashells to gather are clam, limpet, and whelk shells. When collecting shells, inspect them thoroughly to make sure you are not taking someone else’s home with you. Driftwood is also available to take home, as long as you can remove and carry it without mechanical means, it’s your treasure.
Beaches in Oregon are managed by our state parks service and are free and open for all to enjoy. Please be safe when you visit and follow collecting rules to ensure that our beaches stay available for everyone to enjoy.
Basic guidelines from Oregon State Parks with regards to collecting items from our beaches.
(4) A person may remove small quantities of natural products from the ocean shore state recreation area for personal use without a permit as provided in subsections (a) and (b). However, the department may restrict removal of natural products to specific areas of the ocean shore state recreation area, by quantities of material, and by time of year.
(a) Souvenirs that may serve as a reminder of a person’s ocean shore visit and may include a small quantity of agates and other rocks, driftwood, and similar non-living items collected for non-commercial, personal use in accordance with ORS 390.705 and 390.725. For items such as agates, sand and cobble, each person collecting must use an individual container and may not combine collections in the same container with another person. Unless otherwise restricted by the department, a person may remove:
(A) Agates and other non-living items such as shells, stones, and fossils loose on the ground, in small quantities, defined as no more than a one-gallon volume container per person per day; up to three gallons per person per calendar year.
(B) Sand: no more than a five-gallon volume container per person per day; up to 20 gallons per person per calendar year.
(C) Cobble: no more than a five-gallon volume container per person per day; up to 10 gallons per person per calendar year.
(D) Driftwood, for non-commercial purposes, as follows:
(i) No more than one cubic yard (3 ft X 3 ft X 3 ft) per person per day; up to three cords per person per calendar year.
(ii) Driftwood removal is restricted to wood that can be loaded by hand only. A person may not use mechanized loading or removal equipment. The department must approve chainsaw use.
(iii) A person may not remove wood embedded in the beach or in dune banks from the ocean shore state recreation area.
Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to hit the beach! Want a guided experience? Join local expert Laura Joki for one of Lincoln City’s Beachcombing Exploriences in the upcoming winter months, and learn how to beachcomb like a pro!
When she is not out on our beach collecting treasure, Laura is running her shop Rock Your World Pacific Northwest Gem & Jewelry Gallery. Located in the Nelscott District of Lincoln City, this shop carries hand-made jewelry, gifts and accessories…a true gem of a store. To learn more about Rock Your World, visit RockYourWorldGems.com.