The people of Portland know the Oregon coast is a great weekend destination to take a break and relax. But many of us go to the same place every time and totally miss the amazing opportunities and different experiences available if we just drive south instead of west.
So if you’re looking to beat the crowds and make some memories, Oregon’s coastal towns Coos Bay, north bend and Charleston, accessible via a relaxing walk west of I-5 from Eugene or Drain, through the beautiful coastal mountain range. Known collectively as Oregon’s Adventure Coast, these towns offer a completely different experience from the beech towns of the north. You will find so much to do there; all against the backdrop of deserted beaches, unique waterfalls, a year-round temperate climate, and ocean views easily accessible from state and national parks and recreation areas.
Here are some of our recommendations on how best to take advantage of 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 which makes it a unique experience. Enjoy breathtaking views and lush gardens at Shore Acres State Park, perched on craggy sandstone cliffs above the ocean. From there, you can walk to a secluded ocean cove at Simpson Beach or simply walk along the towering cliffs to take in the ocean views. If you find yourself here in the winter, the 80-foot cliffs of Shore Acres are epic watch the storm, and has also been hailed as the best storm viewing site on the Oregon Coast.
Mountain bike dune cruise
At the southern end of the Oregon National Dunes Recreation Area, Oregon’s Adventure Coast is a prime location for mountain biking and motorsports. The largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area stretches 40 miles along the Oregon coast. The sand dunes rise over 500 feet above sea level, preparing you for the ultimate adrenaline-filled adventure. The largest ATV riding area in the Oregon Dunes is a short walk away in North Bend, stretching between Spinreel Campground and Horsefall Road. As the dunes are constantly changing, each visit to the area brings a whole new experience. Visit one of the North Bend facilities to Mountain bike equipment and rental or to book a visit.
Explore the coastal forest by bike or on foot
Pedal through coastal forest along the all-new Whiskey Run Mountain Bike Trail, a top notch mountain biking trail located just 10 minutes from Coos Bay on Highway 101. A truly unique biking experience, you will pass through the beautiful Coos County Forest, an active logging forest that offers visitors get a glimpse of the timber harvest as they cycle along streams and fern-lined cycle paths. The trail network is made up of cross-country style trails, which is ideal for all skill levels. The dirt and clay trails were built to withstand coastal inclement weather, making this one-of-a-kind mountain biking area a great year-round activity.
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 winding through scenic canyons, each leading to a cascading waterfall that plunges 100 feet above rocky cliffs onto moss-covered boulders. While you’re at it, hike the 1.4 mile to the top of Eagle’s Fall where you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the waterfall and old growth forest.
Of course, you can’t visit the coast without picking up some high-quality seafood, and the Adventure Coast of Oregon has peach opportunities for each 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 bay fishing for white sturgeon. Charters from Charleston Marina also offer options on the high seas.
Oregon’s Adventure Coast is one of the best places in the state to crab and clams, a hobby not to be missed during a visit. The main clam and crab fishing grounds in the region are found along the waters of Lower Coos Bay and the commercial docks of Charleston. There are a number of local outfitters to Oregon’s Adventure Coast to help you with licenses, equipment, and charter boats.
Enjoy a surprisingly lively nightlife scene
As you travel through the quaint towns of Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston, you won’t have to settle for standard beach fare. On the contrary, there are tons of eat and drink options that will satisfy even the most demanding palates. Alternate with farm-to-table restaurants, ethnic cuisine, and breweries like 7 Devils Brewing Co., where you can sip craft beers and sample locally sourced tuna and oysters. Many places also have great live entertainment.
Believe it or not, the quiet coastal towns of Coos Bay and North Bend also have exciting nightlife. Try your luck with the electronic game machines on Three Rivers Casino – Coos Bay or go to Mill Casino, hotel and RV park for Vegas-style slots, card games and table games. A playground for adults, the Mill Casino offers eclectic bars and restaurants as well as concerts and events. Book a waterfront room with a view of 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, free Wi-Fi and a park for dogs.
Book now for your next getaway
If there is one major event on the central coast, it is the Christmas Lights at Shore Acres State Park. From Thanksgiving to New Years, the park’s beautiful botanical gardens transform into a vacation paradise with colorful light shows from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every night. However, Oregon’s Adventure Coast hosts all kinds of festivals and events throughout the year, like the annual festival Blackberry Arts Festival held every August. Held in Coos Bay, the Blackberry Arts Festival celebrates all things blackberry, including art, food and drink, and live music. Check events page for other activities at Oregon’s Adventure Coast.
There’s no better time than now to book your vacation and experience all of the adventures that await you on the Oregon Adventure Coast. Before you go, be sure to download the A Visitor’s Guide to the Oregon Adventure Coast, where you will find detailed information on area attractions, restaurants, accommodation and routes.
This content has been paid for by Adventure Coast of Oregon.