Wildlife Viewing Sites

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Simpson Reef

On the southern Oregon coast there are numerous opportunities for viewing wildlife. The more significant ones where SEA wildlife interpreters assist the public are Simpson Reef and Shell Island on Cape Arago near Charleston, OR and Face Rock, a part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, in Bandon, OR. With advance notice, SEA wildlife interpreters can lead you on a tide pool walk depending on the tides.

Simpson Reef & Shell Island – California sea lions, harbor seals, Stellar sea lions, and elephant seals congregate at mid-to-low tide to rest in the sun as well as escape predators. Harbor seals and elephant seals breed there. SEA provides wildlife interpreters through the summer at the Simpson Reef Overlook parking lot about one mile south of the entrance to Shore Acres State Park on the Cape Arago Highway. Interpreters are available from May 19 to Labor Day from 11 AM to 3 PM. 

Face Rock– Breeding sea birds nest on these rocks in the spring. Brandt’s, double-crested, and pelagic cormorants, common murres, pigeon guillemots, puffins, black oystercatchers and the ever-present western gulls are among the species that come by the thousands. SEA provides wildlife interpreters during the spring and summer on Saturdays and Sundays at the Face Rock Wayside in Bandon. Interpreters are available from May 20 to July 30 between the hours of 10 AM to 2 PM.

Intertidal Zone – Opportunities for exploring tide pools exist at Face Rock Wayside and Coquille Point in Bandon, Sunset Bay near Charleston, and other nearby locations. The best opportunities for viewing intertidal wildlife are in the spring and summer when tides are at least -1.0 foot. Refer to our tide pool page for more information.