Oregon’s South Coast
Welcome to Oregon’s Wild Coast, a land of untamed rivers, craggy coastlines and secluded beaches. Stretching 130 miles from Winchester Bay to the California border, the Beaver State’s southern coast offers all of the beauty found along the northern shores with fewer crowds. Get away from it all with a journey along Highway 101.
Wild Winchester Bay
Located near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Winchester Bay hums with outdoor activities catering to everyone from thrill-seekers to bird-watchers. Anglers can expect to catch chinook salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout and largemouth bass, while bird-watchers can spot bald eagles, hawks and more.
Colorful Umpqua Lights
While you’re in the area, hike a mile around Lake Marie and continue to the Umpqua River Lighthouse. Known for the red and white beams that emanate from the structure’s top, this 19th-century lighthouse can be admired from the outside or inside. Tour the 65-foot tower and enjoy whale watching from the Umpqua River Whale Watching Station, near the lighthouse, from November to May.
Cool Coos Bay
The story of the Oregon Coast is told in its railways and shipping bays, as these allowed settlements to boom in the mid-1800s. The town of Coos Bay shares this history in several historic sites. Here, the Coos River enters the ocean, forming Coos Bay. The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is the biggest harbor suitable for large ships between San Francisco Bay and the Puget Sound, making it the second-busiest maritime commerce center in the state. Today, visitors can explore this thriving port with a visit to the Coos Bay Boardwalk. Eat freshly caught seafood at one of the local dives, or make a stop at the Cranberry Sweets & More candy shop is a must!
Scenic Backdrops at Shore Acres
While many state parks focus on wild, wonderful landscapes, Shore Acres State Park focuses on magically manicured environments. Once the estate of a lumber baron, the park now offers 5 acres of flower gardens, a lily pond and a secluded ocean cove for visitors to explore. One of the most distinctive roadside attractions along Highway 101 is Prehistoric Gardens, a real coastal rainforest habitat that’s crawling with life-size replicas of dinosaurs. See Tyrannosaurus rex, a triceratops and more lurking amid giant ferns and towering trees.
Great Golfing Times
Golfers won’t want to miss Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, ranked as one of the nation’s best courses. It might be hard to keep your eye on the ball due to the stunning natural landscape. The Pacific Ocean is in view just beyond the tidy greens and the wild, rolling dunes.
Bandon is a Nature Lover’s Dream
Nestled along the Coquille River, Bandon offers every sort of outdoor adventure imaginable. Pull up Dungeness crab and hook salmon, halibut and tuna from the bay. On the beach, go horseback riding or paddle in a kayak out for close-up views of birds, fish and otters. Just across the river is Bullards Beach State Park, a haven for wildlife and home to the Coquille River Lighthouse. Riders of fat bikes — bikes with wide tires and rims for sandy terrain — can take the six-mile ride from Bandon’s South Jetty to China Creek in Bandon State Park. The course entails cruising through sea caves and past sea stacks on the beach.
Go West to Cape Blanco
Check out the westernmost part of Oregon. Cape Blanco State Park will wow with its spellbinding cliffs, unusual rock formations, woodland backdrops and iconic lighthouse. Over 8 miles of trails lead you to jaw-dropping ocean vistas. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a colony of sea lions on the offshore rocks below. The 59-foot Cape Blanco Lighthouse sits atop a 200-foot chalky white cliff and is open for visits from April to October. Another popular site here is the historic Hughes House from the Victorian era. On the shore, beachcombers will thrill to the elegant Needle Rock spire on the beach.
History buffs and art enthusiasts won’t want to miss Port Orford. This quirky town supports an active artist community with eight galleries displaying an exquisite array of local artwork. Budding historians can dive into Port Orford’s seafaring past at the free museum within Port Orford Heads State Park or the Port Orford Lifeboat Station museum, which houses a restored lifeboat along with various artifacts.
Gold Beach Gourmet
Your adventures in the wilderness are sure to leave you parched. Quench your thirst at Arch Rock Brewing Company, an award-winning microbrewery that’s won five gold medals at beer competitions around the world. Stop by their tasting room and sip their famous pale ale, lager and porter.
Brookings Is Oregon’s Banana Belt
You’ll find some of the best weather and coastal views in Brookings. Nicknamed “Oregon’s Banana Belt,” this part of the Beaver State experiences warmer temperatures than the rest of the state. This phenomenon has transformed Brookings into the biggest producer of Easter lilies in the country. Admire the region’s floral beauty at Azalea Park, a 33-acre space blanketed with native azaleas. The best photo ops can be found along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, a linear park comprising 12 ocean-hugging miles of craggy bluffs and secluded shores. Watch as the water swirls around the postcard-worthy Natural Bridges.
Looking for more panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean? You can’t do much better than Chetco Point Park. The park sits on a hundred-foot-high plateau that’s surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean. This is a great place to whale watch or simply take in views of the horizon. Drive up the Chetco River to see another photogenic area. Alfred A. Loeb State Park sits on the banks of the waterway upstream, before it empties into the Pacific Ocean.
For More Information
Oregon Coast Visitors Association
Oregon Tourism Commission