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Like a tiny tide pool brimming with life, this short 41-mile/66- kilometer route off the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway packs a lot of natural wonders into a concentrated coastal area.

Charleston and Cape Arago

The fishing port of Charleston sits at the entrance to the deep-water port of Coos Bay, where fishing fleets and freighters find refuge from the open ocean. Fishing charters and whale-watching excursions depart from the Charleston marina.

The Cape Arago Highway leads west to a rocky headland rising high above the Pacific. Just beyond the Cape Arago Lighthouse, Sunset Bay State Park wraps around a shallow, protected cove warm enough for swimming. A cliffside trail offers views of sea stacks and the lighthouse.

Just 1 mile/1.6 kilometers south, Shore Acres State Park occupies the magnificent bluff-top site of a lumber baron’s estate, where visitors enjoy the estate’s grand formal gardens and even grander ocean views. Continuing toward road’s end at Cape Arago State Park, an overlook lets you peer down at the boisterous barking sea lions and bobbing seals at Simpson Reef, and trails lead down to the beach.

Seven Devils Road to Bandon

To continue the tour, retrace your route 6 miles/9.6 kilometers and turn right on Seven Devils Road. Explore the boardwalk trails or slip a kayak into the quiet waters of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. These rich tidal flats are an important nursery for a variety of marine life, including shellfish, salmon and seabirds.

Continuing south, you’ll see the lowlying cranberry bogs that make this region one of the nation’s top cranberry producers. A short diversion off the byway takes you to Bandon Dunes Golf Course, an award-winning links course.

An 1896 lighthouse marks the mouth of the Coquille River, which flows between Bullards Beach State Park and Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. The tour route skirts the fishing village of Bandon before ending at the beach, a stunning seascape of craggy stacks and surf.

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Cape Arago

Drive safely.

Keep in mind many of the routes listed here travel through remote areas where gas stations are few and far between. And since road and weather conditions can be hazardous, even into summer, we urge you to call 800-977-6368 or check Trip Check before starting out.

Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Elenibee says…

    Beautiful drive! Just follow the signs for the covered bridge route and it will take you to all the bridges. Cottage Grove is a cute little town, and the bridges were really charming and fun to go see. Theres a bike path around Dorena Lake that looked cool too.

    Written on June 19th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
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