Field Trip Tips

Know Before You Go

There are many hazards to you and your students on the Oregon Coast, and there are plenty of natural and manmade signs that warn of the dangers. To help ensure a successful field trip, plan ahead.

Review the following information a few weeks before your scheduled field trip to keep everyone safe and to provide the best opportunity for learning. It is a very good idea for a teacher or field trip leader visit the site prior to planning the field trip. Look for the different safety issues/considerations of that particular shoreline. Map out the nearest escape route so you can get yourself and the group to safety. Locate the best spot for looking at the tidepools. You may contact the nearest park for ranger recommendations and in some cases to arrange a ranger-guided tour of the rocky shore.

Check the weather and surf conditions before you leave the school the day of your field trip (see the tides and weather page). Modify you plans accordingly. Call the nearest state park for recommendations of alternatives. Monitor the wind, waves, and weather during the field trip, adjusting your plans accordingly.


Check the tide tables before planning your field trip (see the tides and weather page). Tide tables are predictions of the height and times of high and low tides each day. The exact height and time of the high and low tides will vary depending on your location along the coast, the weather, and seasonal conditions. Visit the "Trip Tips" page for other information to help you plan your trip.

Dress for Success

Expect to get wet. Wear appropriate clothing. If you get soaked, dry off soon. Hypothermia sets in quickly. Bring extra clothing and towels for the bus ride home.

Wear closed-toed shoes. (No flip flops!) An old pair of sneakers may help prevent slipping and protect the feet.

Bring a warm jacket or sweatshirt, because if is often cold at the coast, even if it is warm inland.

Caution students to leave jewelry, clothes or shoes that cannot get wet, electronic devices, etc. at home where they will be safe and dry.

Communication is Key!

Carry a cell phone or radio for quick communication in the event of an emergency. Make sure someone knows where your group is going, and how long they plan to be there. Checking in with the nearest State Park office when you arrive and when you leave is always a good idea.

Beach Safety

Oregon's ocean shore is an exciting and dynamic place. However, it is very important to remember how powerful the ocean is. Be sure to review beach safety tips before you go to help you have a safe and fun visit.

Please check out the beach safety information page

Protecting Critters

Thousands of students and other visitors explore Oregon's rocky intertidal areas every year. Many animals hide under marine plants such as seaweed to avoid the hot sun and predators. Some animals, like anemones, may cover themselves with bits of shell and sand to conserve water. Please step on bare rock or sand whenever possible and leave plants and animals attached to rocks. Be sure to check out the new interpretive guide to some popular and common rocky intertidal species.

Please visit the "Tidepool Etiquette" page

Prepare Yourself and Your Students

Have adequate adult supervision, and be sure that the adults know what to do. There should be at least one adult for every 4-6 children (although this may vary depending on the students’ needs). The adult should stay with their group.

Set up a buddy system. Students go no where without their buddy. Have one student watch the waves while the other looks at the tide pool. Then, have students trade. This way, someone is always watching the water.

Before you leave the school, review the beach safety tips with your students. Also, make sure students and adults know the purpose of the trip and their various roles during the trip.

Once at the beach, set boundaries as to where students may and may not go. Remind students and adults of the time schedule (lunch plans, departure). Review behavioral expectations. Pass out any needed materials. Review the safety issues.