By Mathew Brock

Tucked away amid the many private residential properties just outside Brookings-Harbor sits McVay Rock State Recreational Site, home to one of two designated off-leash dog parks in the Brookings area.

While many beaches and trails allow leashed dogs, McVay Rock features a designated fenced-in area where dog owners can bring their canine companions to play and socialize. It serves as a great asset for locals and visitors looking to take their dog out for some exercise.

The off-leash area was built by a local scout troop with supervision by Oregon State Park personnel, and is maintained by local community members like Beverly and Michael Kin, who help keep the area clean when they bring their dogs Lucca and Ruby to visit.

McVay Rock also offers several open fields suited for picnicking or other outdoor activities, as well as a disc golf course and direct beach access. The park is elevated beside the ocean with a cliffside area that offers an expansive view. During the appropriate season this can be an opportune spot to view migrating whales.

McVay Beach can be accessed by a steep, rough path directly from the parking area and has an abundance of polished stones, sea glass and driftwood. The steep incline on the beach makes it so the smaller particles of sand are pulled away as the water recedes at lower tides, revealing the larger and denser materials beneath. Several small streams pour down off the cliffside and feed into the ocean from the nearby McVay Creek, washing away sand and forming small pools.

The beach is also littered with large pieces of well-polished driftwood, including a large hollow redwood stump a short southern walk along the beach.

Many rocky formations are also revealed during low tide, allowing glimpses into tidepools and encounters with exposed sea life. Shellfish collection is allowed on the beach, with catch limits and safety regulations posted near the parking area. Be aware, toxic razor clams can be present in the area ,so shellfish collectors should be vigilant of their hauls.

As with many local beaches, sneaker waves are a constant danger and visitors should be cautious of the rapidly changing tides. It’s recommended to check local tide tables and be aware of one’s surroundings at all times while visiting the beach.

McVay Rock is open for use every day from sunrise to sunset. You can learn more about McVay Rock and other oregon state outdoor facilities at