Once through Sunset Bay and Shore Acres state parks, scenic Cape Arago Highway comes to an end in Cape Arago State Park, where the land juts westwards a way forming a rocky promontory, lined by three pretty beaches; North Cove, Middle Cove and South Cove. South of here, the land is too steep and uneven for roads, and remains rather inaccessible for another 2 miles, though it could be explored at sea level by hiking along the narrow, stony beach extending from South Cove, beneath a long line of sheer cliffs (Seven Devils). Not many people do this, but the state park is very popular, due to the long distance views up and down the coast, and the sheltered beaches, all three of which are easily reached by short walks.
There are many offshore rocks in this area, and more are revealed at low tide, especially in Middle Cove, and also a little way north, where a larger group extends nearly a mile out to sea (Shell Island and Simpson Reef). It only takes half an hour or so to walk to the various viewpoints in the state park, but at least half a day could be spent exploring the coves, beaches and rock pools.
The first viewpoint is of Simpson Reef and Shell Island, a large collection of offshore rocks populated by several species of sea lions, seals and other wildlife, and at low tide part of an extensive area of terraces and ridges. All are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and are not open for exploration. South of here, the road passes through a patch of woodland and ends in a loop, with three places for parking. At the first, a short path (closed March to June to protect seal pups) leads to a viewpoint of North Cove to the east and some exposed rocks by the water's edge to the west. A narrower path branches off and descends to the sandy/stony beach, which often contains quite a lot of driftwood and fallen trees, while the rocks can be explored by climbing down beyond the viewpoint. The second parking lot is close to Middle Cove, the prettiest of the three beaches; this has a greater number of exposed rocks including several tiny islands with vegetation, and is separated from South Cove by a narrow, wooded ridge (Drake Point). The final parking area is back in the coastal forest, and from here a slightly longer path zig-zags 120 feet down to South Cove, a generally less photogenic location since there are fewer rocks out to sea, though still plenty of tide pools.