Get The Most of Dunefest

August 16, 2014



If you are like 20,000 other dune-goons who enjoy the annual Dunefest at Winchester Bay on the first of every August, then you probably already know how to get the most of this event. However, if you are new to the dune scene or have been anxiously awaiting the right opportunity to come join the festivities at the Oregon coast, then it is time to pencil in the date, reserve a spot to rest your weary bones and get those paddle tires out of storage because the annual Dunefest simply rocks.

Whether you ride dirt bikes, ATVs, Side by Sides or you have a high-dollar sand car, this is the one week where you can get festive and celebrate your love for the sand with other off-road enthusiasts. You have organized Dunefest events every day, including organized rides, concerts, bike shows, racing and the list goes on. Organizers set up designated camping areas and sell limited numbers of passes to keep the crowds in check and a vendor area with all kinds of great power sport products along with a carnival-type food court is at your disposal, just in case you get sick of eating hot dogs and granola bars at camp.

Many members of the Motorcycle-Superstore family attend Dunefest every year so we have compiled a list of tips and pointers that we hope will make your experience the best it can be.

Dunefest puts on quite a show every year. You can ride in a monster truck, drag race your own bike, watch a concert or test drive machines from Polaris, Can-Am, Arctic Cat and many more.


Dunefest is billed as The most fun a family can have in the sand. But it’s up to you to get off your butt and make it fun. The least you can do is ride on the dunes to your heart’s content every day and then sleep until noon and do it again.

Or you can sign-up for a few events and get some order in your daily routine. Everyone loves to race so this is the place to put your money where your mouth is and participate in the sand drags that take place all throughout the event. If going fast in a straight line is not your thing, then you can race your ATV or UTV in one of many different competitions. There are classes for both adults and kids so everyone can get in on the fun. If your machine is covered in bling then sign up for the Bike Show and win some prizes for all the hard work you’ve poured into that beast. Or you can just take it easy and enjoy a concert or freestyle exhibition. Check out the official website for event information – As you can see, there’s plenty to do and the list keeps getting bigger and better every year.

Top 10 Dunefest Events

1. Sand Drags: Daily racing at the Dunefest drag strip.
2. Show & Shine: Everyone likes to see a customized ride.
3. OEM Test Rides: Sign up for daily test rides of all the latest UTVs.
4. Night Concerts: Have you ever rode your ATV or UTV to a concert? It rocks.
5. Freestyle Shows: Watch X-Games Gold Medalist Caleb Moore Backflip a quad!
6. Racing: The small MX sand track is great for kids & adults no matter your skill level.
7. Vendor Row: Got gear? Get it at vendor row. Someone is always offering great deals.
8. Night Ride: A half-mile long train of UTV and ATV riders lighting up the dunes is awesome.
9. Poker Run: It gives purpose to your afternoon & forces you to explore the dunes.
10. Auction: Tons of great stuff to bid on, even a loaded Polaris RZR up for sale.

Free Riding

Ahh yes, the feeling of the coastal breeze in your face and the sand spray peppering your cheeks as you rail through a worm trail or drop off a massive dune face is what this is all about. We all love it. We all enjoy it. So when you are at Dunefest, make sure to get out and ride. That’s the main reason we all enjoy the dunes so if that is your thing, ride-on brothers and sisters. No matter where you go, from Winchester to Glamis, the sand dunes are like a roller coaster for adults, a play land for kids and a heck of a lot of fun any which way you slice it.

But the dunes can be a dangerous place so here are a few safety tips to keep you and your family out of harm’s way at any designated dune riding area. With a little common sense and some effort on the part of the riders, you can reduce the chances of getting yourself in a predicament. The common sense rules shouldn’t need to be mentioned but we will do it anyway.

Don’t drink & ride and have a tall flag on all vehicles. Observe the speed limits, sound ordinances and the dune boundaries so that the folks who are constantly trying to get our dunes shut down, will not have any ammo to use against us. The dunes have a 93db limit so if you are over that, you are subject to citation. Oregon residents are required to have an ATV operator permit whether they are riding a motorcycle, ATV or UTV. The goal is to be safe and have some fun while you’re at it.

Dune Ride Survival Guide

1. Wear a helmet.
2. Have a lighted whip for riding at night.
3. Tow strap – if you don’t need it, someone else will.
4. If you are jumping at the dunes: Do everyone a favor and use a spotter.
5. Don’t go full-speed in the worm trails, it will give you a little extra time to stop.
6. Be aware of your surroundings. People camp in the treed areas near the roads.
7. When cresting a blind ridge, slow it down in case there’s a razor back or another vehicle.
8. Extra wheels and tires are always good because a flat repair kit won’t fix a bent rim.
9. Spares Kit: Unique sockets or tools, jack, portable air, extra bars, levers, air-filters, etc…
10. When riding with kids have an adult lead and another follow so the kids are safe between them.

Camping & Lodging

There are quite a few places to stay at Winchester Bay so it all depends on your particular needs and the type of vehicles you drive to there. If you are going to camp you have a bunch of options available. They offer sand camping at locations set-up along the access road or the entrance to the Winchester Bay Dunes designated Areas C, D & E. Prices range from $140 to $175 for these sites in the sand if you have the set-up capable of getting out on the dunes. If you prefer an RV or Coach-friendly spot then check out the sites at Salmon Harbor and Areas A & B. These range from $130-$500 including the desirable Half-Moon Bay campground.

Call the Chamber of Commerce at 800-247-2155 for reservations. If you need lodging or a place to camp with water, sewer and power that’s close to the sand, then act now to get the premier dune-access condominiums & RV spots at Discovery Point Resort 541-271-3443.

Sand camping is great family fun. Just make sure to keep an eye on the kids, park in a safe spot and avoid leaving or burning trash in the sand.

Sand Camping Essentials

1. OHV Tag & Flag on all rigs driving in the sand.
2. Fuel: You can’t ride if you don’t have any gas!
3. Firewood: What is camping without a camp fire?
4. Camp Table: You need a safe place to prepare meals.
5. Warm Clothes: It gets really cold at night on the Oregon coast.
6. BBQ: For some reasons, burgers & brats taste better with sand.
7. Shovel: The uses are endless including digging out stuck rigs.
8. Lawn Chairs: Nothing beats a relaxing meal while sitting down.
9. Sun Block: You can get a sunburn quick on the coast.
10. Garbage Bags: If you bring it in, pack it out.

Whether you camp in the sand or at a designated camping area it is an excellent way to turn a vacation into a life-long memory. Take some time to make S’mores with your kids, help a friend, wife, husband or niece learn how to ride in the sand and make sure to soak it all in. Not everyone has the opportunity or access to sand dunes like these so make the most out of it while you’re there.

No matter where you live, you can help the fight against OHV area closures so we can continue to ride for years to come.

Save Our Dunes

Like we mentioned earlier, there is always some outside force trying to restrict our OHV and Sand Dune access and it takes all of us working as a team to keep these places open.

So, if you enjoy the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, please consider making a donation to Save The Riders, the local program set-up in an effort to reduce dune access restrictions and represent the OHV community in the never-ending fight to keep our dunes open to OHV activities like Dunefest.