Portlanders know the Oregon coast is an ideal weekend destination to take a break and to unwind. But many of us go to the same place every time and totally miss out on the amazing opportunities and different experiences available if we just drive south instead of due west.
So, if you’re looking to beat the crowds and make memories, Oregon’s coastal towns of Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston, reached via a relaxing drive west off I-5 from Eugene or Drain, through the beautiful Coastal Mountain Range. Collectively known as Oregon’s Adventure Coast, these towns offer a completely different experience than the northern beach towns. You’ll find so much to do there; all with the backdrop of uncrowded beaches, unique waterfalls, a year-round temperate climate and easily accessible ocean views from state and national parks and recreation areas.
Here are some of our recommendations on how to best enjoy this hidden gem.
Take in Unparalleled Views at Shore Acres State Park
Oregon’s Adventure Coast is home to a variety of State Parks, each with a distinct terrain that makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy breathtaking vistas and lush gardens at Shore Acres State Park, perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean. From there, you can hike down to a secluded ocean cove at Simpson Beach or simply skirt alongside the towering cliffs to take in ocean views. If you find yourself here in the winter, the 80-foot cliffs at Shore Acres make for epic storm watching, and has also been hailed the best storm watching spot on the Oregon Coast.
Cruise The Dunes on an ATV
At the southern end of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon’s Adventure Coast is a premier spot for ATVing and motorsports. The largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area stretches for 40 miles along the Oregon Coast. Sand dunes rise over 500 feet above sea level, setting you up for the ultimate adrenaline-filled adventure. The largest ATV riding area at the Oregon Dunes is just steps away in North Bend, stretching between Spinreel Campground and Horsefall Road. As the dunes are constantly shifting, each visit to the area brings a totally new experience. Visit one of the facilities in North Bend for ATV equipment and rentals or to book a tour.
Take in the Coastal Forest by Bike or Foot
Pedal through coastal forest along the brand new Whiskey Run Mountain Biking Trail, a top-rated mountain biking trail located just 10 minutes away from Coos Bay off Highway 101. A truly unique biking experience, you’ll wind through beautiful Coos County Forest, an active logging forest that offers visitors a glimpse of timber harvesting while skirting along rolling streams and fern-lined bike paths. The trail system is made up of cross-country style trails, which is great for all skill levels. The loam and clay trails have been built to withstand coastal weather, which makes this one-of-a-kind mountain biking area an excellent activity year-round.
For a spectacular waterfall hike, head 24 miles inland to the hidden coastal forests of Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area. You’ll find trails that weave through picturesque canyons, each leading to a cascading waterfall that plunges 100-feet down over rock cliffs onto moss covered boulders. While you’re there, take the 1.4-mile hike to the top of Eagle’s Fall where you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the tumbling waterfall and old-growth forest.
Fish Your Heart Out
Of course, you can’t visit the coast without catching yourself some high-quality seafood, and Oregon’s Adventure Coast has fishing opportunities for every season. Choose from over 30 freshwater lakes and rivers. For saltwater fishing, Oregon’s Adventure Coast offers unique experiences like surf fishing from local beaches for striped bass and surf perch, as well as in-bay fishing for white sturgeon. Charters out of Charleston’s marina offer some deep sea options as well.
Oregon’s Adventure Coast sports some of the best spots in the state for crabbing and clamming, a pastime not to be missed while visiting. The top clamming and crabbing spots in the area are along the waters of Lower Coos Bay and the commercial docks in Charleston. There are a number of local outfitters at Oregon’s Adventure Coast to help you with licensing, equipment and charter boats.
Enjoy a Surprisingly Lively Nightlife Scene
While perusing the quaint towns of Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston, you won’t have to settle for standard beach fare. Rather, there are tons of dining and drinking options that will satisfy even the pickiest eater’s palate. Switch it up with farm-to-table restaurants to ethnic cuisine to breweries like 7 Devils Brewing Co., where you can sip hand-crafted ales and enjoy locally sourced tuna and oysters. Many locations have great live entertainment, as well.
Believe it or not, the quiet coastal towns of Coos Bay and North Bend also happen to have an exciting nightlife scene. Try your luck with electronic gaming machines at Three Rivers Casino-Coos Bay or head over to Mill Casino, Hotel & RV Park for Vegas-style slots, card and table games. A playground for adults, Mill Casino has eclectic bars and restaurants as well as concerts and events. Book a waterfront room overlooking Coos Bay at The Mills Casino Hotel or if you’re traveling in a trailer, reserve a spot at The Mill RV Park, which includes shuttle service, complimentary wifi, and a dog park.
Book Now for Your Next Getaway
If there’s a marquee central coast event, it’s the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park. From Thanksgiving to New Years, the park’s beautiful botanical gardens transform into a holiday wonderland with colorful light displays from 4:00 pm to 9:30 pm every night. However, Oregon’s Adventure Coast hosts all kinds of festivals and events year-round, like the annual Blackberry Arts Festival held every August. Held in Coos Bay, the Blackberry Arts Festival celebrates everything blackberry, including art, food and drink and live music. Check out the events page for other activities at Oregon’s Adventure Coast.
There’s no better time than now to book your stay and experience all the adventures that await you at Oregon’s Adventure Coast. Before heading out, be sure to download the Oregon’s Adventure Coast Visitor Guide, where’ll find detailed information on the area’s attractions, dining, lodging and travel directions.
This content was paid for by Oregon’s Adventure Coast.