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5 Awesome Things to do Along Oregon’s Adventure Coast

Explore your inner adventurer with a jaunt to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston. You’ll find everything from amazing camping and dune buggy rides to stellar fishing, and delicious seafood on a Southern Oregon Coast getaway.

Here nature, native traditions, and Oregon’s pioneering spirit merge to create an oasis of outdoor explorations along Oregon’s Southern Coast

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Oregon's Adventure Coast
Photo Credit: MRG

Exploring the Best Southern Oregon Coast Adventures

Oregon Adventure Coast Map

1. Ride the Oregon Dunes 

Photo Credit: Oregon’s Adventure Coast

The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area extends for 40 miles along the Oregon Coast from north of Florence to Coos Bay. These dunes, which were formed by the ancient forces of wind, water, and time, are the largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America with some dunes towering over 500 feet above sea level. 

Most visitors to this region stop at one of the designated “viewing” platforms to take in the sight of the dune’s spectacular majesty. A few may even take off their shoes for a quick walk. But to really experience these sand castles, you need to get up close and personal. 

Normally, I prefer non-motorized sports like sailing, kayaking, and hiking which allow me to fully immerse myself in a space. But in this one instance, a dune buggy afforded me a truly immersive experience courtesy of Spinreel ATV & Dune Buggy Rental’s Follow Me Tour through the Dunes. 

After donning a bike helmet and watching an admittedly cheesy but necessary safety video, my partner and I strapped ourselves inside our assigned rental dune buggy.

Once the guide gave the “go” signal, a dune buddy caravan crossed the two-lane road and headed into a verdant forest. We followed him along a somewhat sandy road taking care to avoid low-hanging branches and making sure all my limbs remained inside the dune buggy. 

Photo Credit: MRG

Without any advance notice, the forest faded suddenly away as we walked into a sea of sand. As our guide picked up speed, we went up and down and then all around the dunes. Fortunately, none of the dune buggies actually went down during this ride which proved to be more roller coaster than relaxing. 

The roar of the dune buggies overrode the sounds of the sea. So, I was surprised when we seemed when the desert disappeared and the sun smiled over the Pacific Ocean.

After experimenting a few times too many with how fast we can ride over water, we turned around. Time for another round of riding the dunes and soaking in the forest foliage before returning back Spinreeel HQ. 

(Pro tip: While you can rent a dune buggy and explore the region on your own, booking a guide is highly recommended until you become familiar with the dunes.) 

Renting a dune buggy is truly one of the most fun things to do on the Oregon Coast!

2. Hiking the Dunes

Other activities along the dunes include hiking along the wooded trails, photography, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, nature viewing, and sand boarding. Before exploring the dunes, be sure to check out the USDA Forest Service’s website for any updates that may impact your visit.  

3. Camping and Connecting to Nature

Photo Credit: MRG

Pitch your tent, park your RV or rent a yurt at Sunset Bay State Park, one of the most scenic spots along Oregon’s Coast. The campground is a short walk from Sunset Bay State Park, a sandy bay protected by sea cliffs.  A network of hiking trails connecting Sunset Bay with nearby Shore Acres and Cape Arago state parks. 

Be sure to spend some time wandering around Shore Acres’s formal Japanese-style garden featuring plants and flowers from all over the world. Check out the Friends of Shore Acres website for a listing of what’s in bloom during your trip. During the winter months, be sure to visit the park’s ragged cliffs for some of the best storm-watching on Oregon’s Coast replete with a small wooded enclosure that can protect you from the elements while watching the waves at work.   

For a fully immersive natural experience on Oregon’s Adventure Coast with a quiet vibe than a dune buggy ride, book a mindfulness meditation and yoga experience in these parks with Mossy Lotus Yoga.

Their forest bathing experience guides are spiritual seekers in the conscious and contemplative practice of being immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest.

Photo Credit: MRG

As the sun sets, drive over to Cape Arago State Park with a glass of wine to toast that moment when the sun turns the rocky shore into varying hues of orange, gold, and red. Along the way, stop by Simpson’s Reef Overlook to check out the seals and sea lions resting on the rocks. Be sure to bring your binoculars for a close-up view. 

Even though Sunset Bay State Park opens up its reservation six months in advance, the campsite tends to book up rapidly, especially during the summer months.

For another option located about a mile from the dunes, check out William M. Tugman  State Park. Both campsites offer RV hookups, tent camping, hiker/biker campsites, and a limited number of yurts along with hot showers, flush toilets, and firewood available for sale. Other camping options can be found here.

4. Explore the Lakes, Ponds, and Streams

Also, the 30 lakes and ponds, and numerous streams in this area allow visitors to enjoy a range of water sports such as sailing, canoeing, water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving, and fishing. The large lakes in the area include Woahink, Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, Eel, and North and South Tenmile Lakes.

5. Enjoy the Region’s Gourmet Delights

Photo Credit: MRG

Depending on the season, explore opportunities for crabbing, clamming, and fishing in Charleston. Even the food can be adventurous on Oregon’s Adventure Coast!

If you prefer to enjoy your seafood already caught, then stop by Chuck’s Seafood for seasonal fare.

Should you desire to catch a bite at a local eatery instead of cooking at your campsite, check out 7 Devils Waterfront Alehouse, Face Rock Creamery Café at Coos Bay Village (don’t forget to take home some of their award-winning cheese), Monkey Business Food Truck, Plank House Restaurant at The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park, SharkBites Seafood Café, and Wildflour Public House.

In order to fully tune out the outside world and tune in to the rugged natural beauty of Southern Oregon’s Coast, consider booking at least a 3-day stay. This region is approximately four hours from Portland with the coast’s only airport offering service from San Francisco and Denver. 

The mild median yearly temperature with annual mean highs of 59.5 to annual mean lows of 45.5 degrees allows visitors to explore the area’s offerings year-round. However, be sure to bring along layers and a raincoat to ensure you stay warm and dry, especially during the morning when the marine layer generates mystical and misty moments.   

For more information about booking a trip to this region, log on to Oregon’s Adventure Coast’s website

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