Well hello there. If you’ve been following along, this is the fourth post in my summer road trip series. If you’re new around here, you can read more about our road trip here, here, and here. Anyway, today’s post takes us to the Oregon coast, specifically Coo’s Bay. If you live in the Pacific northwest, all I can say is that you are very, very lucky. The beauty found here awed me, truly. Let me tell you about our visit and share some tips if you’re planning a visit to this area.
So, as you know, our family took a road trip circling from San Francisco north to Crater Lake and then west to the Oregon coast. For this portion of the trip, we planned a two night stay. We arrived in Coo’s Bay in the late afternoon after a 220 mile trip from Crater Lake. After a 4 hour trip we had just enough time to check out the town and local sites and get a lay of the land. The drive west was a beautiful drive full of scenery and dotted with small towns along the way. We stayed in a Quality Inn in North Bend (very near Coo’s Bay). The motel was clean, nice, and had a very good breakfast each morning. If you are traveling with teenage boys, that’s a win.
The next morning we headed straight to the coast. We paid $5 to enter Shore Acres State Park, perched on sandstone cliffs high above the ocean . This lovely place has beautiful gardens and access to the beach. The site was once the estate of a wealthy timber baron, Louis Simpson. His wife designed the gardens to include plants and flowers from all over the world and planned them so that something would be blooming year round. The mansion is now gone, but the grounds remain. They are something to behold.
I had to take a quick pic of this plant below. You can see my son added his foot to the pic so you can get an idea of the size of these leaves. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looked like something from Little Shop of Horrors! I think it was a called a Prickly Rhubarb (?).
From the gardens, it’s a short walk down to the cove. This part of the coast line is surrounded by tall cliffs and enormous rocks. We timed our trip to arrive at low tide. This allowed us to explore the tide pools, climb on rocks that are normally under water and climb up onto giant rocks that overlook the ocean. It continues to amaze me that this simple activity was so enjoyable to everyone. My boys loved adventuring up rocks to higher and higher places. Using teamwork to hoist each other further and further out over the ocean. At one point I had to turn away. I could not bear to watch them climb back down the rocks. We spent a good two hours exploring this beach area and marveling at the view and of course, taking lots of pictures.
These little tide pools were everywhere during low tide. It was fun getting to catch a glimpse of all the life in the water.
From the park we headed south to get other glimpses of the spectacular coastline. At one small pull-off overlook, we had to stop. We heard very clearly lots of loud barking sounds that we knew had to be seals. As it turned out, a volunteer sea animal organization had set up their telescopes to look out onto the rocks. Sure enough. We were able to glimpse harbor seals, elephant seals, as well as sea lions. I get absolutely giddy to see these animals in their natural habitat. This was definitely one of my highlights.
For lunch we took in some local seafood. We were advised to eat at Millers at the Cove. It’s a VERY casual local restaurant. It’s nothing special to look at; however, it was a great local spot and the food was good. My family enjoyed fish and chips and oysters. Yum!
In the afternoon we toured the town. We walked on the boardwalk and read a little about the local history of logging and fishing. We walked through the downtown area and even checked out a local casino. That sounds like an odd thing to do; however, it ended up being quite an education for my boys. They all agreed that frequenting casinos would not be something they want to do. They felt it was depressing. When I get the opportunity to share some life advice, I do it. This was one such occasion. 🙂
Since our lunch was late we didn’t really feel like going out for dinner. Also, the town kind of shuts down in the evenings ~ at least where we were. So, we bought some local cheese, wine, and fruit and had a little family snack fest back in our room while we watched a movie. I must say, sometimes it is the absolute simplest things that are the best. We had a great time, lots of laughs, and made memories of our cramped time in the hotel.
Overall, I thought this small Oregon town’s views and scenery was amazing. Watching waves crash on the rocks in the ocean was somehow peaceful while making you feel completely insignificant at the same time. However, the town itself didn’t have much to offer in terms of entertainment or activities. If you are looking for lots of options, this is not the place for you. However, if you just want a place to stay while you enjoy the views, then this is a nice option that is not very touristy.
My advice for this area:
- wear layers ~ The mornings were very cool, but it warmed up in the afternoon. Still breezes of cool ocean air can make you chilly.
- plan some activities for the hotel ~ There is not a lot to do here in the evenings – especially if you’re traveling with your family. Games would be a good idea to have on hand.
- get coffee at the Human Bean ~ I know, the name is a little creepy, but the coffee was good. This cute little drive up coffee shop offers a variety of coffees and smoothies. They even a add a chocolate covered espresso bean on top of every order. What a fun idea!
We enjoyed our time in Coo’s Bay, Oregon; however, I don’t think we could have spent any more time there. We only needed one day to. While I wasn’t super impressed with the town itself, I cannot wait to revisit the coast of Oregon. I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful it really is. Next time I want to go to watch the whales as they migrate.
So, have you been to the coast of Oregon? If so, please share the places you loved. Do you have any advice to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Also, as always you can sign up to join my email list here. That way, you will never miss a post.
Until next time~