There are many things to do in Coos Bay, Oregon, a charming coastal town located about four hours southwest of Portland, Oregon. This little town, surrounded by water on three sides, boasts tons of outdoor fun, delicious eateries, and unique places to stay. Coos Bay is an ideal destination to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the pleasure of outdoor exploration. Hike the local trails to stunning ocean vistas and plunging waterfalls or kayak the still waters of the South Slough. Buckle up and hold on tight while slipping and sliding in an ATV on miles of wind-swept dunes. There is so much to see and do in Coos Bay; getting there is part of the fun.
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Bay Point Landing
The road to discovering Coos Bay begins along scenic Highway 38. This roadway weaves through gorgeous gently-rolling countryside peppered with Oregon Myrtlewood evergreens while simultaneously hugging the picturesque Umpqua River. After escaping the craziness of the city, settle in at one of the well-appointed cabins at Bay Point Landing. I stayed in one of the medium-sized Drift cabins featuring a small living room with a pull-out couch, a kitchen with everything you could need for a one-week stay, a sizeable bathroom, and a bedroom with a king bed. Staying at Bay Point landing is a relaxing thing to do in Coos Bay.
Pendleton blankets decorated the bed and the couch. Barn-style doors covered the bedroom closet and doubled as the bedroom door closing the room off from the rest of the cabin. Tall slanted ceilings showcased urban-style lighting, and small-scale windows beginning above eye level extended to the top of the wall bringing in additional light. The bedroom and living room featured large windows with shades inviting the outside scenery into the modest dwelling. A drip coffee pot sat on the kitchen counter, and industrial iron embellished the unit. The front wall was glass with a sliding door that led to the front deck featuring a view of the Bay, Adirondack chairs, and a table.
The RV Park at Bay Point Landing
The park at Bay Point Landing is upscale. Ninety-five RV spots line the south side of the property, and all visiting RVs must be ten or fewer years old and in attractive condition. The park's north side boasts four different units for rent: three distinctive cabin styles and Airstream suites. Staying in one of the Airstream trailers is an offbeat thing to do in Coos Bay.
The property has a heated saltwater swimming pool, game room, kids' room, and beautiful space on the waterfront for gatherings, parties, and events. Another exciting place to lay your head at night is The Mill Creek Hotel & RV Park.
The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park
Many rooms at the Mill Casino Hotel have recently undergone renovations. I stayed in a spacious suite in the newly remodeled “Lodge” building. My bedroom and living room had huge windows looking out to the bay. I loved relaxing on the couch, warming up by the fire, and looking out onto the water at the end of the day. My suite also had a kitchenette, an extra-large bathroom in the bedroom, and a half bath off the living room.
The hotel is an easy drive or long walk into the downtown area, and there are several dining options on the property. Vegas-style games pervade the 24-hour casino. After a great night's sleep, head out and explore one of the many things to do in Coos Bay.
Sunset Bay to Shore Acres Hike
It is always fun to hike in new places. The Sunset Bay to Shore Acres hike is an easy four-mile roundtrip adventure with relatively no elevation gain and a reasonably wide trail, making it accessible for most individuals. Although the entire hiking trail offers magnificent views of the ocean, storm chasers worldwide visit Shore Acres to capture split-second photos of some of the Pacific Northwest's most enormous, daunting wave breaks crashing against the rugged sandstone cliffs. The spray from these waves is incredible. Wave watching is an exhilarating thing to do in Coos Bay.
Ruins of the old Louis J. Simpson mansion lie sprawled along a grassy knoll, and five acres of formal gardens make this area a lovely place to enjoy a quiet lunch or a stunning sunset. Other fabulous places to hike are Golden Falls and Silver Falls.
Hikes at Golden Falls and Silver Falls
The trails to Golden Falls and Silver Falls are about an hour east of downtown. Although a bit more time-consuming to reach, there are fewer hikers on the paths.
Both falls are magnificent on their own, but this area gives hikers a two-for-one package deal as the trailheads are both accessible from the same parking lot.
Kayaking the South Slough with South Coast Tours
Tired of hiking? Then try the quiet serenity of kayaking the South Slough. South Coast Tours offers various tours all over Oregon's Southern Coast. Guides take guests snorkeling and kayaking. Other options include whale watching and surfing lessons. I chose to kayak the South Slough, a part of the local estuary. Estuaries are places where freshwater rivers and saltwater converge. They are productive ecosystems that feed numerous fish, shellfish, and invertebrates, and they make extraordinary playgrounds for humans. Visiting an estuary is an adventurous thing to do in Coos Bay.
The Slough offers varied terrain. Some parts are wide-open where several kayakers can paddle side by side with plenty of room. Other areas required single-file navigation. One section had a downed tree during my trip, and we had to pull our way through with our hands. It was a bit like an obstacle course and a lot of fun. The trip was quiet and peaceful. I find kayaking a very tranquil activity, but if you are looking for some excitement, make your way to the dunes.
Ride the Oregon Dunes with Spinreel ATV & Dune Buggy Rental
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area covers 31,500 acres from the Siuslaw River in Florence to Coos River in North Bend; this is just part of the Siuslaw National Forest. The desert-like landscape incorporates the ocean, forest, rivers, and lakes to create an ecosystem that constantly changes. The wind, water, and sand continually reshape the landscape making this ever-changing playground a new adventure each day. Spinreel Dune Buggy and ATV Rental, a family-owned and operated company, offers guided trips and equipment to venture out and explore the area to the fullest. Riding the dunes is an exciting thing to do in Coos Bay.
Before Covid-19, guests could ride along with a guide or rent their own vehicle. Currently, Spinreel offers a follow-me trip where guests rent their buggy and then follow the leader throughout the park. It is a wild ride up and down the dunes.
Dining Options in Coos Bay Oregon
I was thrilled with the eclectic dining choices available in Coos Bay. Diners at Restaurant O can choose from tasty bistro fare or tapas to a fine dining tasting menu.
Shark Bites Café has fish tacos comparable to my favorite places in Sayulita, Mexico. Tokyo Bistro does a fabulous job with sushi, and the staff at Front Street Provisioners creates unique handcrafted cocktails and tasty pizza.
Seven Devils Brewery covers the beer scene, Wildflour Café & Catering makes incredible lunches and baked goods, and Tin Thistle Café offers scrumptious, colorful vegan dishes. All the dining options offer satisfying things to do in Coos Bay.
Coos Bay is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor adventures without all the crowds and escape to coastal Oregon. Book a trip and discover these and more things to do in Coos Bay Oregon. Be sure to check out Wander for more great things to do when you visit Oregon.