Looking for things to do in Bandon, Oregon? There’s something for everyone—comb for shells, crab along the docks, and eat good food.
The city of Bandon, located in Coos County, Oregon, rests on the south side of the mouth of the Coquille River. Residents of Bandon number just over 3300, but hundreds of visitors flock to this small city throughout the seasons. There are many things to do in Bandon, Oregon: enjoy the stunning ocean vistas, walk the beaches, participate in year-round fishing, crab on the docks, go cycling, experience local hiking, or spend the day golfing.
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The Perfect Perch to Rest Your Head
The Bandon Inn sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Coquille River, and Old Town Bandon. The inn is only steps from the river, features panoramic views, and is close to eclectic shops and excellent eateries. During my visit to Bandon, my room at the inn had a king-sized bed, a balcony overlooking the harbor, a large desk, two chairs, a small table, and a spacious bathroom with excellent water pressure. These accommodations made an ideal home base for exploring Old Town Bandon, the stunning beaches, local farms, and world-class golf courses.
Dinner at Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant is a Smart Thing to Do in Bandon, Oregon
Shortly after I arrived and unpacked, I walked down the path alongside the hotel to the two + blocks of Old Town Bandon, where I planned to have dinner at Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant. Susan Hayes, the Owner/Chef of the restaurant, was delightful. She studied at the Seattle Culinary Academy and currently maintains a staff of six employees.
I chose the Caesar salad as a starter. It was well dressed and topped with a large shaving of Parmesan. For an entrée, I settled on the lamb. The cherry sauce served on the lamb steak was delicious, and the cooked mixed vegetables were crisp-tender. I sipped on 2018 Ca’ del Baio, Barbaresco, and it went famously with the lamb.
Susan recommended that I try her mushroom risotto. She typically serves it with shrimp or halibut. The risotto was rich and creamy with oyster mushrooms and porcini powder. Delicious! For dessert, I had the Candied Pine Nut Bar with a shortbread crust, sweetened crème fraîche, chocolate sauce on the plate, a house-made truffle, and candied pine nuts. It was light, creamy, and had just the right amount of sweetness.
Visiting the Beaches is One of the Fun Things to Do in Bandon, Oregon
I spent my first morning at the local beaches. I drove to Bullard’s Beach State Park to see the old lighthouse at the mouth of the Coquille River. Bandon was once a great fishing port, but large ships can no longer enter the river from the Pacific as it is not deep enough, and it is too costly to dredge the river. A few different trails lead to the beach, but the main road ends reasonably close to a parking lot, and it’s an easy walk to the lighthouse.
Next, I went to Face Rock. The American Indian legend says that some can hear a maiden’s voice in the wind, and from the cliff overlooking the ocean, you can pick out the girl’s face on Face Rock. There are several rocky intertidal areas to explore at low tide, and a well-kept trail leads to the beach.
Brunch at The Loft Restaurant and Bar is a Must Thing to Do in Bandon, Oregon
After meandering through a few shops in town, I stopped at The Loft Restaurant and Bar to enjoy brunch. My server recommended the Crab Cake Benedict. The crabcakes were predominantly crab meat. They were unadulterated with bell peppers and other ingredients that often take away from the delicate taste of crab. Gently breaded and fried, the two cakes were each crowned with a poached egg, brown butter Hollandaise, and capers, and they sat on a bed of freshly chopped spinach. Crispy fried potatoes adorned the plate.
Owner Kenny Kilbane chose an ideal space on the second floor of a building next to the marina. This spot gave me a fabulous view of the harbor while I enjoyed my meal.
A Chocolate Experience at Coastal Mist is a Non-Negotiable Thing to Do in Bandon, Oregon
Kelley from the Bandon Chamber of Commerce met me for a “Chocolate Experience” at Coastal Mist. Kevin Shaw, the pastry chef and one of the owners, presented our tasting. Kevin is a pâtissier, chocolatier, and glacier. Kelley and I began our tasting with a trio of hot drinks in adorable demitasse cups. These cups are half the size of a regular cup. The first cup, located on the left side of the tray, was filled with a Mayan hot chocolate, a dark chocolate liquid with a pinch of chili. The center cup contained a deliciously sweet liquid of French caramel, and the final cup held rich dark hot chocolate. The beverages were all topped with whipped cream.
The drinks were decadent and satisfying. After the drinks, Kevin’s apprentice brought out four chocolates for us to taste. Unique and potent flavors filled the chocolates, and for a finale, we savored affogatos made with chocolate truffle ice cream and espresso.
A Little Bit of History from the Bandon Historical Society Museum
Kelley and I headed out to check out the Bandon Historical Society Museum. There are three sections in the museum. One room speaks to the fire that burned down the entire town of Bandon in 1939. Another room showcases uniforms and military memorabilia, and the third boasts exhibits focusing on the local bogs and cranberry industry.
Step into the Eclectic Shops
After the museum, we stopped by The Face Rock Creamery. This shop has loads of tasty cheeses and other assorted picnic supplies. Our final stop in town was the Washed Ashore Gallery and Volunteer Workshop. Washed Ashore is a gallery and workshop where a team and volunteers create elaborate sculptures and art installations made from recycled ocean trash.
I stopped at the Farmers’ Market in a big warehouse at the end of Old Town, where I met Lori Osborne, the Bandon Chamber of Commerce president. Lori also owns Farm and Sea, an eclectic store selling top-grade steaks, seafood, wine, and all the imaginable trimmings.
Decadent Dining at Edgewaters
After a much-needed rest from all the sugar, I met up with Lori for dinner at Edgewaters restaurant. This family-owned restaurant, located at the edge of Old Town Bandon, serves incredible food. Owners Bob Grizzle and his sister Sheila Langenberg and her husband Larry provide tasty seafood and hearty steaks.
We began the evening with a 2019 Louis Jadot Chablis Montee de Tonnerre Premier Cru that featured notes of lemon and apple and had a rich creaminess. It went perfectly alongside the fried calamari with cranberries, fried oysters, goat cheese platter with roasted garlic, sundried tomato tapenade, sour cherry spread, and grilled toast points.
A Gift of Great Wine
Lori brought a 2019 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon bottle to share during dinner. The wine dictated my dinner choice, and I ordered the rib eye with whipped Yukon gold potatoes and asparagus. Because I was near the sea, I asked for one of the 6-ounce lobster tails to throw into the mix. The cabernet was full-bodied, firm, chewy, and fruit-forward, with notes of vanilla and smooth tannins. Oh, so yummy with and without the steak. The lobster was tender and sweet, and the potatoes were soft and creamy. There was no need for dessert after all the chocolate earlier in the day, but a few sips of a 20-year-old tawny port fit the bill.
We were all having so much fun we decided to go to Arcade Tavern for a drink. I ordered a Manhattan, and Lori invited two Bandon Dunes Golf Course caddies to our table to chat. The two gentlemen, Mike and Andrew, have caddied for numerous Hollywood celebrities, famous athletes, and golf icons. The arcade is one of two local spots open after 10 pm.
When I planned my trip to Bandon, Oregon, I had no idea that it was one of the largest cranberry-growing regions in the country. Rick Halliburton owns Cranberry Creek. Lori and I spent some time out on the farm with Rick, and he demonstrated how to pick cranberries by hand. Rick used a claw-like shovel to scoop up the berries. This process is known as dry picking. Funny thing, I always thought cranberries grew on bushes like blueberries when in reality, they thrive on tangled vines close to the ground.
The other process to gather the berries is to flood the fields. When implementing this technique, a machine is driven through the area, rotors agitate the vines, and the berries float to the top. Workers corral the berries- and put them on a ladder similar to an escalator that brings them out of the water and up to the top. From here, the fruit is dumped into buckets or onto the back of a truck. Rick shared the trials, tribulations, and joys of farming with us.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
After spending time with caddies, I wanted to make a stop at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. This resort boasts six different links courses. The Scottish word “links” means “rising ground or ridge.” These courses are built on sandy soil and are usually on the coastline of a large body of water. A links course typically has few trees, wind, thick grass or heather, and numerous bunkers. The links course is not artificial and preserves the land’s original lay.
Lori and I took the shuttle to each pro shop and checked all the courses. The greens are stunning, and the Pacific Ocean makes a delightful backdrop. Golfers must walk the courses unless they have a letter from their doctor explicitly noting that they need a cart, and then the carts are solely driven by their caddie. The courses looked difficult, and walking 18 holes would be a good workout. The Bandon Dunes Golf Courses are considered destination golf courses.
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Plan a Visit to Bandon, Oregon
There are plenty of things to do in Bandon, Oregon. Whether you like to comb the beach for shells, crab along the docks, or relax and enjoy meandering shops and eating good food, Bandon has something for everyone. When planning your trip to Bandon, the Oregon Coast, greater Oregon, or anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, let Wander with Wonder be your guide.