The state park is about 10 miles from the city of Tillamook and Hwy 101. The drive winds through two small cute coastal communities of Oceanside and Netarts, both with nice beaches.
Once at the Lighthouse, there is a small parking lot, however, parking is usually available. There is a short walk to the Octopus Tree or down the hill to the lighthouse. There two viewing platforms located near the parking area, one to the north and the other to the south. There are also three miles of hiking trails through old growth Spruce trees.
The 1890 Lighthouse sits over 200 feet above the Pacific Ocean. When the lighthouse was in operation its light could be observed 23 miles out to sea. It was illuminated for 124 years before being decommissioned in 2014. The lighthouse is open for tours and visitors can climb the narrow circular staircase to the top platform, there are two levels, and observe the prisms used to illuminate the lighthouse and take in a great view of the Pacific Ocean.
This staircase may not be appropriate for small children or seniors who are not stable on their feet. However, those in wheelchairs or people who are not comfortable climbing to the top of the lighthouse can still make their way to the outside of the lighthouse and enjoy great views and see the lighthouse up close. There is also a small visitor center gift shop located on the main level of the lighthouse. There is a guest book which is fun to see how many visitors are from around the world.
The viewing platforms and area around the lighthouse allow for observation of bird, whales and sea lions. This area is the site of one of the largest nesting sea birds, Murres, in North America. Visitors may also see Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons. The information signs explain how so many birds can nest in this area and how their feeding techniques differ allowing for such a large population.
During the summer, visitors may spot a resident whale. During the winter and spring, there are migrating whales.
One consideration for visiting this park is a steep hill from the parking area to the lighthouse. The walkway is paved so that makes access a little easier. While the walk itself is fairly short, estimated 1/10 of a mile, it does drop in elevation. Those using wheelchairs or have trouble walking on steep inclines should plan accordingly.
This is a family friendly and senior friendly park and should be added to your list when visiting Tillamook County.
More information can be located at Oregon State Parks: Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint