At the northern limits of Brookings , across from the State Information Center on U.S. 101, Harris Beach State Park makes up for all the ugly architecture you’ll find on Chetco Avenue. One look at the 24 miles of rock and tide visible from the parking-lot promontory should quell any misgivings.
Harris Beach was named after the Scottish pioneer George Harris, who settled here in the late 1880s to raise sheep and cattle. Besides stunning views, this state park offers many incoming travelers from California  their first chance to actually walk on the beach in Oregon .
You can begin directly west of the park’s campground , where a sandy beach strewn with boulders often becomes flooded with intertidal life and driftwood. The early morning hours, as the waves crash through a small tunnel in a massive rock onto the shoreline, are the best time to look for sponges, umbrella crabs, solitary corals, and sea stars.
Offshore, Bird Island (also called Goat Island) is the largest island along the Oregon coast and the state’s largest seabird rookery. This outpost of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Sanctuary dispatches squadrons of cormorants, pelicans, tufted puffins, and other waterfowl, which dive-bomb the incoming waves for food.
In addition to beachcombing, you can picnic at tables above the parking lot, loll about in the shallow waters of nearby Harris Creek, or cast in the surf for perch.
Mill Beach is the southernmost part of the Harris Beach area. Locals prefer the beach access from downtown, which is easy to miss. To get there, drive toward the ocean on Center Street in downtown Brookings , make a right at the plywood mill, and stop next to a small ballpark. An unimproved road leads to a hillock from which trails take you down to a beach full of driftwood. Residents say that Japanese fishing floats occasionally roll up onto the beach after a storm.