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Sand Lake Estuary Map

Sand Lake Estuary Map
  • Clamming, Fishing, Swimming, Crabbing, Kayaking, Hiking, Wildlife, ATV.
  • 1,076 Acres of Open Dunes Adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
  • This Salty Estuary, With Little Fresh Water Inflows, Keeps the Clams and Crabs Happy.
  • Popular ATV Spot With Dune Buggy Rentals and Three Campgrounds.
  • Only 6 Miles From Pacific City and 2 Hours From Portland, Oregon.
Sand Lake Estuary and Dunes

Sand Lake Dunes

The Sand Lake Dunes begin at the north end of the estuary and extend to the northeast about 3.5 miles. They are surrounded on three sides by the coast, estuary and forest. In addition, this is a very popular spot for ATV enthusiasts and there are rentals close by as well. You will find open access from the campgrounds and day use areas that are open year round.

Sand Lake Dune Buggy
Sand Lake Dune Buggy

There are three campgrounds, a day use staging areas for dune buggies and a park area with access to the beach. There is a day use fee for all parks. This is a popular spot in the summer so plan accordingly.


This natural state park is a little paradise that is not well known. ATV riders frequent here the most, however, they are at the farthest north area of the park. That leaves the estuary secluded and quiet for people that want to enjoy the estuary. Above all, you’ll find many species of wildlife here. Similarly, if you have a kayak its the perfect place to kayak the waterways and enjoy the wildlife.


Shore Crabbing SPot
Shore Crabbing at Whalen Island Road

Its a little bit of a hike to the Purple Varnish Clam site but when you arrive you will find an abundance of clams. Since Purple Varnish Clams live higher in the sudtidal flats you don’t need a very low tide to be successful. In addition, access is easy and the shows are very easy to identify. Just look for very small holes and you will find clams. In some populated areas, no matter where you dig you can find plenty of clams.

Sand Lake Crabbing

The rainfall has little effect on the salinity of the water because the basin does not have a large continuous source of freshwater. In other words, that make the crabs happy! You can enter the southern tip of Whalen Island County Park of Sandlake Road. After that, you will find a good spot to crab from the shore or launch a boat for even better results.

Closer to the mouth of the estuary and the Sand Lake Campgrounds there is a sandy beach. Never tried here but I’ve always wondered if you can use a crab max here. Although I’m told at high tide this is a good area to crab but only accessible by boat. I’ve never had the opportunity to try it.

Information provided is a result of personal experience at each bay or beach location.
In addition, local residences providing input and advice, and ongoing information from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife websites.  Information will change as incoming seas tend to shift and move sand, after that it makes it harder for clams to reproduce. So always check for current beach closures and advisories related to biotoxins, pollution or other human health concerns the same day you plan to harvest. Razorclamming.com is not responsible for the accuracy of this data and the outcome or results of your personal efforts, or safe consumption of shellfish.

Shellfish Safety Hotline
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 800-448-2474
Alt Phone: 503-986-4728