To Quest, all you need is a set of directions, a pencil and a sense of adventure!
Choose a Quest, and follow the directions to find and collect the hidden letter clues. At the end of the walk, your collected letter clues will tell you where to find the hidden Quest Box. Sign the guest log, stamp the back of your book, and then put the box back in its hiding spot for the next person to find. Quests are made by identifiable members of the community with permission and cooperation from landowners. They are located on publicly accessible lands, including city, state and federal parks, school grounds, urban areas, historic cemeteries and more. Quests are suitable for people of all ages and interests, and most take about 45 minutes to complete. Since 2007, more than 12,000 entries have been made in the log books of hidden Oregon Coast Quest boxes!
Read the map and follow the directions to navigate through the space. Where are you on the map? What do you notice as you explore? Follow the directions carefully so you know where to go.
Be looking for a left turn
which takes you near the ocean.
The water is to the west;
north is your forward motion.
--Port Orford Heads Quest, p. 222
What will you learn on your Quest? Learn about natural or cultural history, explore local issues and discover new information. No matter what your age or background, there's always something to be learned on a Quest that you may not have known about before.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum was originally located where the Heritage Museum stands now.
Photo: Clatsop County Heritage Museum, courtesy of Clatsop County Historical Society, Astoria, OR
Find the hidden letters to fill in the squares. At the end of your walk, your message will tell you where the hidden box is located.
Some letter clues are painted and surrounded by a square. Or you may need to use a letter from a sign to fill your clue squre. Sometimes you need to answer a question and then take one of the letters in the answer for your clue.
In most cases, the letters you collect won't make any sense until you get all the way to the end... and then the complete message becomes clear!
Questing is an activity suitable for people of all ages, and is popular among residents, tourists, family groups, adults and school groups. Usually everyone learns something when they go on a Quest.
Quests are made by identifiable members of the community. Some Quests are made by site experts such as interpretive park rangers, naturalists or historians. Others are made by school or youth camp groups, or community members who become experts as they learn about a place through firsthand experiences and research. Each Quest has its own "voice," depending on who made it.
All Quests have an educational component, have a map and clues that lead to a hidden box, have a stamp to mark the accomplishment of finding the box, and are made by identifiable members of the community with permission of the site managers.
In addition, all Quests in the current Oregon Coast Quests Book are outdoors, have few or no fee/equipment requirements, are on publicly accessible land, are suitable for all ages, and are open year round.
Quest boxes do not have trinkets, candy, or other rewards in the box. The true "treasure" of a Quest is being outside and learning about a place.
Each Quest has its own flavor, depending on the "voice" of the Quest-builders, the location of the route, and the topic. Some Quests are about nature, while others are about history or architecture. The five Tsunami Quests all focus on earthquake and tsunami safety, but each is unique because of the evacuation route and interesting local features.
Some Quests are written in rhyming verse, and others do not rhyme. Some Quests have "Questions for the Curious" boxes, and others do not.
Check the introduction to the Quest to find out the approximate time of the journey (range: 15 to 90 minutes), the terrain, accessibility, whether there are any parking fees, and whether you can bring your dog.
If you complete at least 10 Quests, you are eligible to receive a colorful, embroidered Quests Patch! Just send in a copy of your stamp pages from your book(s) along with the Request Form.
If you can't find one of the clues, you can usually skip it and still manage to find the hidden box. However, we would love to know if there is a problem with a clue or the box so we can fix the issue promptly. Volunteer box monitors only check the Quests about once a month, so your reports can help keep the game fun for all. Please report issues to the box monitor and/or to OregonCoastQuests@oregonstate.edu.
If problems cannot be easily fixed in the field, workarounds will be posted on the Updates page. Especially if you are using an older book, it's a good idea to check the Updates page before you head out to see if there is anything you need to know.