Port Orford Heads State Park began its life as the site of a US Coast Guard lifesaving station. It was initially built with an observation tower, boathouse, a residence for long-term workers, and a two-story building that housed an office and sleeping quarters for the rotating crews. A 500-step stairway still connects the boathouse and tower, providing an excellent beachside stroll for visitors.
Currently, the main Coast Guard structure operates as a museum that contains several artifacts from the era and tons of information on display. These buildings are five of the only remaining neocolonial structures that once made up the Port Orford Lifesaving Station. Other areas include the original pump house and a large garage that has since been converted into a residence for current park staff.
The lifesaving area is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and shouldn't be missed. Sorry pet owners, but all animals are barred from entering any of these preserved structures. You are, however, more than welcome to take your dog for a walk around the compound as long as tours aren't currently being held.
From the museum, you can get access to Port Orford Heads State Park's multiple trails. The Cover Trail gives visitors a glimpse of the stairway that once led workers down to Nellies Cove. This cove houses the boathouse which initially contained two 36-foot "unsinkable" lifeboats, one of which is still preserved on site today.
There's also the Headland Trail, which takes guests along the cliffside portions of the Oregon coast to witness some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean in the entire state. From these cliffs, you'll just be able to make out the Cape Blanco lighthouse and the locally famous Humbug Mountain.
Dogs are welcome on all of these trails, provided you clean up any messes they might leave behind and keep them on a sturdy leash. While no public swimming areas are provided here, guests are free to enjoy the ocean shoreline at their own risks. Canines are allowed on the shores as well, provided they don't bother any other guests.