After enjoying a picturesque drive along U.S. 101, travelers exploring this Oregon coastal highway should make time to stay at this stunning destination. About 20 miles south of Coos Bay, along the Oregon coastline, is where Bullards Beach State Park is located. Setting back about half a mile from the ocean and nestled within numerous pine trees on the dunes, the campground is serenaded by the ocean’s surf as it crashes in at high tide and by the fog horn sounded about 2 miles away in the town of Bandon. Trails meander off in several different directions, such as the Ocean Trail that traverses from the dunes down to the ocean.

The beautiful Coquille River runs through the Bullards Beach State Park; a historic lighthouse, built in 1896, stands erect at the river’s mouth as it opens to the ocean. While no longer operable in its original function to direct ships, it does open through the summer season as a museum and gift shop.

Driftwood litters the beach along the ocean’s edge near the Coquille River Lighthouse in large quantities; shown here piling up in mounds. The lighthouse is visible from a number of viewpoints besides the shoreline of the campground, such as from the South Jetty on the opposite side of the river from the Bullards Beach State Park.

After exploring all the wonders that the State park and its trails have to offer, there are many other opportunities for sightseeing nearby. Bandon by the Sea is an attractive “Old Town” type of community offering many amenities for visiting tourists as well as many prospering businesses for shopping. Just south of this charming little village is the Coquille Point “Watchable Wildlife Area” within the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Even when the numerous sea birds and marine mammals are not plentiful, the striking rock formations are a favorite for viewing.

At Face Rock State Wayside, one of the most fascinating and beautiful formations is that of Face Rock itself; appearing as a partially submerged head with the lovely face pointing north. The yellow growth along the shore is a highly invasive shrub called flowering gorse; pretty in appearance but covered with thorns. Because of its invasive nature, steps are being taken to eliminate the gorse from the coastline using natural methods, such as bringing insects which feed upon the shrub as a biological means of removal.

When visiting Bullards Beach State Park, there are many small pleasures to indulge in as well. As the Hubbells explored the Ocean Trail, they discovered the potential next generation of a frog’s lifecycle in a cluster of eggs located in the center of the trail within the sand. They also enjoyed the frequent visits of small wildlife to the park’s grounds. In all, as their trip attests, this Oregon State Park and its surrounding area have much to offer travelers.

Dan Parlow

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  437. Erik

    Another Vote for Bullard’s Beach. We enjoy the quiet park and the small town feel of Bandon. The Crab, as Rick pointed out in his comment, is very good and tasty!

    Bandon also provide excellent golf opportunities. It has a course that is one of the top rated courses in the country… Bandon Dunes. Expensive though…

  438. Good article been there Many Time’s! I am U.S.Army Retired & have Gold Card where i get to stay free at National Campground’s & one’s on Military Base’s! Try your Hand at Crabbing next Time you visit I have filled the pot more than once staying there! Dont care much when the wind come’s off the Ocean & Sand-Blast your Leg’s-No-Fun! Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired! Enjoyed your article I spend my summer’s on the Oregon Coast Hwy, Between Gold Beach & the Roque River & occasionally get on up to Olympia Wash. To Visit some Army Buddie’s!