Must-See Oregon Coast Camping Destinations
The Coos Bay area on the southern Oregon coast has long attracted visitors drawn to the natural beauty and numerous outdoor activities. The area averages 186 days of sunshine annually, while temperatures fluctuate by only 15 degrees throughout the year.
“Oregon’s Adventure Coast” is the marketing slogan for the greater Coos Bay area, which also includes its sister cities of North Bend and Charleston. The local area features 21 RV parks. Six can be found in Coos Bay, six in Charleston, and nine in North Bend. The latter includes five campgrounds within the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Bay Point Landing, Coos Bay
One of the premier and newest RV resorts is Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay. Bay Point features 178 sites, including large pull-through spaces, luxury cabins, and even decked out rental Airstreams. Amenities are plentiful and include full hookups, 20/30/50 amp electric, water, sewer, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, and cable TV.
Bay Point also rents uniquely-designed cabins and Airstream RVs. Each unit includes plenty of amenities like cable TV, Wi-Fi, cooking utensils, and all the creature comforts you’d expect in a classy hotel. This definitely qualifies as upscale camping!
All guests have access to the clubhouse and all the adjoining amenities, including the indoor heated saltwater pool, kids den, fitness center, event center, activity room, and the small general store. Bay Point Landing also features a stone fire pit and picnic table at every site. Waking up next to the ocean never felt so good!
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon
Many visitors who stay at Bay Point Landing take advantage of nearby world-famous Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, just 30 minutes south. “Golf as it was meant to be” is the legacy the resort strives to maintain, in keeping with the origins of the game that began in Scotland more than 500 years ago.
All seven courses at Bandon straddle the Pacific Ocean, and walking is the only transportation allowed unless you have a permanent disability. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort serves up a seven-course meal of delightfully distinctive golf courses, all built on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes perched 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
If you’re not a golfer, visitors can still take advantage of the free hiking trails that meander throughout the courses. The four trails measure in length from three-quarters of a mile to 2.4 miles. Hiking trail guides are available for free at the resort’s front desk.
Coos Bay also offers two public courses. The Coos Golf Club is a venerable 18-hole course that measures 6,419 yards and has served the public since 1923. Sunset Bay Golf Course has been open since the early 1980s.
It offers a unique 12-hole, par 47 course that measures 3,736 yards. Sunset Bay was designed by John Zoller, who also designed Poppy Hills Golf Course and Spyglass Hill Golf Course, spectacular tracks in Pebble Beach, California.
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State parks near Coos Bay, Oregon
About 10 miles south of Coos Bay is a trio of state parks: Sunset Bay, Shore Acres, and Cape Arago, with each featuring fabulous views. Sunset Bay State Park also offers extensive picnic and overnight camping facilities.
For the adventuresome, there is a network of hiking trails connecting the three parks. The 8.5-mile moderately-trafficked out-and-back trail is actually part of the 382-mile Oregon Coast Trail. The OCT runs from the Washington border through the length of Oregon and ends at the California border.
In addition to peek-a-boo views of Cape Arago Lighthouse, the trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. At Shore Acres State Park, explore the beautiful gardens that are open year-round, then watch the sea lions at play on the nearby rock outcroppings. Don’t forget your camera!
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is one of the unique landmasses in the world. It was designated a national recreation area by Congress in 1972 in recognition of its unique values. Stretching roughly 40 miles from Coos Bay north to Florence, the 31,500-acre dunes need to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
There are many ways to do that: On horseback, ATV, or on foot are a few of the ways to experience the always shifting, sand-sculpted natural dunes which tower more than 500 feet above sea level in some areas.
Where to Go in Coos Bay, Oregon
The core area of downtown Coos Bay is easily explored on foot. Featuring a variety of restaurants and shops, the heart of downtown is anchored on the bayside by the Coos Bay Boardwalk, which is several blocks long.
The Coos Bay Boardwalk
Visitors can sit at picnic benches and eat lunch while enjoying the beauty of the bay. Along the boardwalk, there is also a fish market, a number of informative displays, and great views of the bay for which the town was named. Also on display is the 1924 “Koos #2,” a tugboat used on the bay in decades past.
The Steve Prefontaoine Memorial
In the walkable downtown area of Coos Bay are numerous attractions. At some point, you will come across the name or image of Steve Prefontaine. This legendary middle and long-distance runner from the 1970s was born and raised in Coos Bay. At 24-years-old and at the height of his career, he died tragically in a car accident in Eugene, Oregon.
Coos Bay has never forgotten their favorite son and has honored their hero with dedication in several parts of town. Walk on South Broadway Street a few blocks from the boardwalk. You’ll find a larger-than-life two-story mural depicting the running career of Pre, as he’s known by his fans worldwide.
There’s also a memorial at the visitor’s center downtown. And a gallery in the Coos Art Museum. Both highligh his career. Steve’s sister, Linda, has for the last three years conducted comprehensive tours about her brother, while sharing lots of personal anecdotes along the way. If you are a runner, this is a must-visit inspirational destination.
Plan your Coos Bay camping trip
For more information about the greater Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston area, visit Oregon’s Adventure Coast. You can also find more great destinations and points of interest on RV Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App with RV-Safe GPS.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.