TRAVEL THERE: OREGON’S SOUTH COAST
Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today, let’s talk about the South Coast of Oregon.
I Started at the Wrong End
When I began researching my Pacific Northwest vacation, everything
I read assumed I’d be starting out in Astoria and heading south. Leave it to me to be contrary. The vacation just made more sense to me if we spent the last days of it at the beach, and since I wanted to end up where I started out, in Portland, we did the Oregon Coast from south to north. Our contrarian route made following the guides a little challenging, but didn’t distract from the views.
Every inch of the coast is gorgeous. There’s not a single spot along the way that would be anything less than a great place to visit. There’s a different kind of vibe in each area, so there’s a little something for everyone. I’d say the southern beaches are a little more spectacular overall, if you’re into big rock formations and crashing surf. It’s not that there’s no rock formations on the central and northern coasts, it’s just that they’re more prevalent down south. The central and northern beaches are busier and they have more in the way of bridges and lighthouses.
Last week I shared the glories of the cozy little harbor town of
Brookings, the beauties of Harris Beach and the stunning State Scenic Corridor, and you should visit them, but that’s not the sum total of the southern beaches. I confess , we blasted through some of the more popular beach towns, like Gold Beach, Charleston and Florence, because these spots are well developed as far as hotels and restaurants are concerned, but they are not necessarily the most picturesque spots.
The stops we did make were based on reading three different guidebooks and choosing what seemed to be the best vistas. We were nearly blown away, literally, when we stopped for a few pictures at Battle Rock Wayside. After nearly being knocked down by the wind, I jumped back in the car and let Bill take the pictures.
After the disappointing lighthouse in Brookings Harbor, I was determined to get a great lighthouse picture. As you can see above, the Cape Blanco shot was less than spectacular, but the scenery along the way was stunning. Getting to the lighthouse was probably a more time-consuming detour than we should have taken, but I was on a mission.
Of the beaches we did spend some time at, I can certainly recommend Bandon By The Sea. The guides told
me if we went there on a weekend, a little later in the summer, we’d be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but we were fine on our late afternoon mid-week visit.
As part of Mission Lighthouse, Bill invaded a few private lawns to get shots of the Coquille River Lighthouse. They were closer to what I was looking for, but the fog was moving in, so they weren’t perfect. Then we arrived at Coos Bay. Next week, I’ll tell you about those accommodations and you should have a good laugh.
After our stay in Coos Bay, we made our way to Seven Devils Road, a very picturesque tour including Sunset Bay, Shore Acres Botanical Garden and Cape Argo State Park. I learned something there. Most of the capes have a state park and a lighthouse, but in many places the two are completely unrelated, except for the name. You want to camp? Go to the state park. You want lighthouse pictures? Don’t go to the state park.
If sandy dunes are your thing, you’ll love the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. After six years living in close proximity to the Oceano Dunes in California, we didn’t spend a lot of time on them, but we did enjoy the Oregon Dunes Overlook.
The official Oregon Coast magazine says that Florence and Hecata Head are the
northern most spots on the Southern Coast. You could easily spend a week along the stretch of beach and I was kicking myself for only allowing myself a few days, but that means I have a great excuse for going back – right?