Bandon Bound: Your Ultimate Guide to Oregon Coast Fun

Bandon Oregon
Bandon, Oregon Historic District / Image via Wikipedia Commons

The Pacific Northwest is a prime spot if you love living that ocean life. While I was growing up in the '80s and '90s Portland area, trips to the Northern Oregon Coast were mandatory. I got to know Seaside and its touristy charms like the back of my little hand, but the Southern Coast and Bandon, were still a vast mystery until I was grown and mobile with my own vehicle. How much I had missed on the south coast.

"Isn't that the place they make the cheese?" "There's a wildlife park or something there, I think…I saw it on a billboard."

From scenic Bandon beaches with stunning south coast ocean vistas to the charm of the Old Town Marketplace, you may not want to ever leave.

Things To Do in Bandon

Around 101 miles up Highway 101 from the California border, 230 miles south of Portland, and 23 miles south of Coos Bay/North Bend, Bandon is nestled on the coast at the mouth of the Coquille River where it spills out into the vast Pacific Ocean.

Summer temperatures in Bandon rarely get much warmer than the low 70s F (peaking in August), but the sun shines almost every day, making this the perfect escape on the south coast from Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon heat.

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The world-famous Bandon Dunes Golf Resort brings golf enthusiasts in from far and wide. Local restaurants like Tony's Crab Shack and Foley's Irish Pub offer opportunities for delicious food. The coast views from Bandon's Beach Loop Drive are unmatched in the Pacific Northwest.

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A sandy beach to explore near Bandon. / Image via

In fact, there are so many things to do in the area that you may never want to leave. Read on to see how Bandon makes for the perfect getaway location on the Oregon Coast.

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint Offers Incredible Vistas, Especially at Sunset

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Face Rock, Bandon, Oregon. / Image via/ Danielle Denham /

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint is a popular park located in Bandon. The park's name comes from the unique rock formation that rises from the ocean, which is said to resemble a human face. Legend has it that the face belongs to a princess who was turned to stone by a powerful sea spirit.

In addition to the iconic sea stack formation, the park also offers stunning views of the ocean, as well as long stretches of sandy beaches for visitors to explore in relative seclusion. Visit this popular spot for beachcombing, kite flying, and picnicking, and excellent surfing and fishing opportunities.

Check posted signs at beach access points before you hit the sand. You will find information about local wildlife and potential hazards in these public notices. Keep an eye on the water at all times. Sneaker waves and incoming tides move quickly.

For those who prefer to stay grounded on land, Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint offers several hiking trails that wind through the surrounding woods and offer breathtaking views of the ocean. Or simply take Beach Loop Drive for excellent views form the comfort of your vehicle.

RELATED: What You Don’t Know About Oregon Coast Sneaker Waves Could Kill You

Bullards Beach and Coquille Lighthouse

The Coquille River Lighthouse lies within Bullards Beach State Park, only 5 miles from Old Town Bandon. First constructed in 1896, it's one of the many historic lighthouses in the state and a great place to explore near Bandon Beach.

Lighthouse Tours

The historic lighthouse is open for tours and offers visitors a glimpse into the area's rich maritime history.

With its stuccoed brick construction and conical tower attached to its octagonal shape, the 40-foot-tall lighthouse is unique architecturally, which helped the sailors cross the river entrance to the winding Coquille River. The lighthouse is just one of the attractions in Bullard Beach.

coquilla river lighthouse
The Coquille River Lighthouse, Bandon Oregon. / Image via Wikipedia Commons

RELATED: Road Trip To All 11 Oregon Lighthouses

Old Town Bandon

Old Town Bandon is a charming historic district located in the heart of Bandon. The district features a variety of shops, restaurants, galleries, and other businesses housed in beautifully restored historic buildings, many of which date back to the early 1900s.

Visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, which offers stunning views of the Coquille River and the surrounding marshlands. The boardwalk also provides access to several parks and open spaces, including the popular Bandon Boardwalk Trail, which winds through the marshlands and offers a chance to spot local wildlife such as herons and ospreys.

The Art Community in Old Town Bandon

In addition to its scenic beauty, Old Town Bandon is also known for its vibrant arts community. The district is home to several galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists, as well as regular arts events and festivals throughout the year.

Restaurants in Bandon

Foodies will also find plenty to love Bandon, with a variety of restaurants and cafes serving up everything from fresh seafood to classic American fare. Many of these establishments offer outdoor seating, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful coastal views while they dine. We definitely recommend checking out Tony's Crab Shack while you are here.

RELATED: The Fresh Fish And Chowder At The Bandon Fish Market Will Make Your Taste Buds Explode

Shore Acres State Park

This beautiful coastal park located on the southern coast is just a short drive south of Bandon. The park features stunning ocean views, trails, pristine gardens, and a historic mansion. Folks come here to storm watch and it's an incredibly popular spot for photographers looking to capture images of the massive waves crashing on the rocks.

History of Shore Acres State Park

Originally developed as a private estate in the early 1900s, the park was later donated to the state of Oregon and became a state park in 1942. Today, visitors to the park can explore the lush botanical gardens, which feature a wide variety of plant species and are particularly famous for their springtime displays of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Historic Mansion

One of the most popular attractions here is the historic mansion, which was built in the early 1900s and has been beautifully restored. The mansion is open to visitors and offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the original owners.

The park also offers access to several scenic hiking trails that wind through the surrounding coastal forests and offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, fishing, and beachcombing on the park's rocky shoreline.

RELATED: The 16 Best Oregon Beaches to Dip Your Toes in The Sand

Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Established on May 6, 1935, in an effort to protect the breeding grounds for seabirds and marine mammals, this is a beautiful spot to picnic and enjoy a scenic hike on one of the trails, or a stroll across the sand. Stretching for miles along the gorgeous coastline, you will find many species here that call this spot home. Tufted Puffins, Black Oystercatchers, sea lions, seals, and Common Murres can be found at the refuge.

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Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge / Image via Finetooth / Wikimedia Commons

Bandon's Face Rock Creamery makes award-winning cheeses that you can sample daily from 10am-5pm. Visit and watch cheese being made, bring home a gift box (trust me, you want to try the Horseradish Cheddar), or indulge in some Umpqua ice cream at the gift shop. It's a culinary adventure for your mouth!

facerock creamery
Umpqua's Cranberry Cheesecake Ice Cream at Facerock Creamery, OH LAWD. / Image via / Julie Hashimoto-McCreery / Instagram / ForbiddenRiceBlog

Visit the West Coast Game Park Safari to see over 75 species of animals, including goats, sheep, deer, and peacocks that roam free along the trails with you. (Scratch a Capybara's back while you're at it.)

lion in bandon oregon
Image via / Facebook / West Coast Game Park Safari

Bandon Beach Riding Stables

Go horseback riding on the beach with Bandon Beach Riding Stables. The sunset ride is pure magic. Located just a short drive south of the town center, the stables offer guided horseback rides along the beautiful beaches and dunes of the southern coast.

The rides are suitable for riders of all levels, from beginners to experienced equestrians, and offer a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the area.

Along the way, riders may spot local wildlife such as seals, eagles, and even migrating whales during the fall and spring months. The stables also offer a variety of other services, including horse training, boarding, and equine-assisted therapy programs.

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Finding Tide Pools in Bandon

Some of the best spots to find tide pools on Bandon's coastline are located within the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses numerous offshore rocks and islands. Some of the most popular locations within the refuge include Coquille Point, which is known for its large tidal flats and rock formations, as well as Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, which features a large beach with rocky outcroppings and a nearby offshore rock.

Additionally, visitors can explore the tidal pools at Bandon Beach, located just south of the town's harbor. At low tide, visitors can find a variety of sea creatures such as starfish, crabs, and anemones in the pools created by the receding water. Be sure to watch out for slippery rocks!

RELATED: The Best Tide Pools on the Oregon Coast & Where to Find Them

Birdwatching and Kayaking in Bandon

Go birdwatching or kayaking (heck, you can do both at the same time). Tours are available through companies like South Coast Tours, or go at it alone. Bandon is a great destination for birdwatchers, with a variety of local habitats that attract a wide range of bird species.

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Kayakers enjoy an outing by Bullard's Bridge, Boandon Oregon. / Image via / Aaron Theisen /

Some popular birding spots in the area include the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to a variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and raptors, and the Coquille River Estuary, which is a prime spot for viewing bald eagles and other birds of prey.

Wildlife in Bandon

Visitors can also spot a variety of seabirds, such as pelicans and gulls, along the coast and at the nearby Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you're an experienced birder or simply enjoy the beauty of nature, birdwatching in Bandon is a must-do activity that offers a unique glimpse into the rich natural diversity of the south coast.

Bandon's beaches are among the most popular in the area. The beaches in the state are all public, and Bandon offers multiple access points. The weather and tides reshape the sandy landscape every season. Birds and marine mammals make their annual stopover at sea stacks, tide pools, sand, and water.

Port Orford is Very Close to Bandon

Port Orford is a small coastal town located in Curry County. Known for its beautiful beaches and fishing harbor, Port Orford is a popular tourist destination. It is just 28 miles south of Bandon, another popular coastal town, and worth the drive down Highway 101 for the gorgeous scenery of Pacific dunes, forest, and ocean views.

What is Bandon Known For?

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Festivities at the annual Bandon Cranberry Festival. / Image via /

Bandon is known for being the "Cranberry Capital of Oregon" due to its cranberry bogs. Every second week in September you can help celebrate the annual Bandon Cranberry Festival (of course this involves a cranberry eating contest). Three days of fun and all the cranberries you can eat await!

The festival includes live music and performing arts, classic cars and farm equipment, carnival rides, sports, shopping, dining, and contests. (Check their website for ongoing updates)

The Bandon Dunes Golf Course

Bandon is home to the world-famous Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Lodge and Inn, which contains 5 distinct golf courses (including Old MacDonald, Pacific Dunes, and Bandon Trails) that stretch across land with some of the best views and sweeping vistas around. Overnight accommodations provide a great way to tackle every course. Hit the link here to read more about the resort.

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A view of.. from Bandon Dunes Golf Course. / Image via / Bandon Dunes

Where is a Good Place To Stay in Bandon?

There are of course many lodging options on the south coast, but why not try one of the 13 yurts for rent at Bullards Beach State Park? The views here are extraordinary as well, and if they're booked up, try another of the coast's many yurt-stay locations.

yurts bandon oregon
Bullards Beach State Park Yurt for rent.

Another place we couldn't recommend more is the Bandon Inn. Bandon Inn overlooks Old Town Bandon, the Marina, the Coquille River, and the Pacific Ocean from atop its bluff location. Beach camping is also popular in the area.

Coming to Bandon or the south coast to play some golf? The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort offers overnight accommodations at their Lodge and Inn and cottages to accommodate golf groups of four or more.

RELATED: 26 Prime Oregon Coast Campgrounds

When is the Best Time to Experience Bandon?

The best time to take in Bandon and the south coast depends on what you want to do and see. Bandon has something to offer tourists year-round. Summer is the busiest season, with warm temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities.

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Sunset at the coast, Bandon. / Image via / Danielle Denham /

Fall brings cooler temperatures and fewer tourists, but the beautiful fall colors and migrating whales make it a unique experience. Winter is the off-season on the Oregon Coast but still offers plenty to do indoors, making it a quieter and more affordable option.

In spring, folks can enjoy the mild temperatures of the Pacific Northwest, Bandon trails, golf, and blooming wildflowers while avoiding the summer crowds. Whatever the season, Bandon is a great south coast destination for a seaside getaway.

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