When you are in Manzanita, you are on the fine edge of wilderness.
The line between civilization and the natural world is thin no matter where you go within the Nehalem Bay area. You will be able to tell when, while hiking Neahkahnie Mountain, you spot a bald eagle soaring overhead; as you explore the trails at Alder Creek Farm and encounter a herd of Roosevelt elk; and as you ply the waters of the Nehalem River or Bay in a kayak and take in the shenanigans of a pack of harbor seals.
Twice each year – usually on winter and spring breaks – you can peer westward from the edge of Neahkahnie Mountain and watch gray whales swim parallel to the shoreline on their semi-annual north-south migration. If you are lucky, you might catch one of these gigantic vegetarians popping head-first out of the water for a glimpse of life above the surface of the ocean.
If you are the fishing type, you can catch Chinook salmon, sturgeon and steelhead trout in the bay, or Coho salmon in the North Fork Nehalem River. The bay also offers fine Dungeness crabbing and, at low tide, clamming opportunities.
If you surf, you will probably want to check out Oswald West State Park‘s Short Sands beach, a sheltered cove popular among local and visiting surfers. The park is also a fine place for a picnic or a hike through a temperate, old-growth forest.
If you truly want to see the Nehalem Bay area as nature intended, consider taking to the area’s many waterways. The Nehalem segment of the Tillamook County Water Trail winds along a number of tributaries, all of which eventually empty into Nehalem Bay before collectively spilling into the ocean.