The Cape Meares Loop is accessable from 3rd Street west out of Tillamook. Walk down the paved path to the lighthouse. On the way, stop at a fenced overlook to your right. Scan the air below and the dirt areas of the cliffs for tufted puffin, which nest here in large numbers. At the lighthouse you will, in early to mid-summer, see the large murrer and cormorant colonies on the offshore rocks.
Just after crossing the Tillamook River, turn right on the South Bay road. Plan to stop every mile or so and get out. In winter, the bay will be covered with ducks.
When the main road turns south away from the bay, take the gravel road out to the mud flats - good for whimbrel, red knot, black-bellied plover, and perhaps marbled godwit in migration.
If you have the time, the three-mile hike out on the sandspit to the south jetty is highly recommended. The road past the parking lot is in good shape, but no motorized vehichles are allowed on it. There are basically four sections to this hike with varying habitats. Watch for bay ducks and raptors as you come out of the wood, particularly marsh hawks and bald eagles.