Welcome to Curry County, home to small salt-of-the-earth communities built to showcase and protect the natural resources they have to offer. Langlois, Port Orford and Gold Beach offer pristine and uncrowded beaches, delicious dining and outdoor adventures. Take a local’s advice; see why we live here and go where we go. Here are 13 things you won’t want to miss while you’re here.
1. Cape Blanco State Park
Go West, to the westernmost part of the lower 48. Cape Blanco State Park offers views 245 feet above sea level and access to vast beaches north and south. Climb the 59-foot spiral staircase to the oldest, tallest and most westerly lighthouse in Oregon.
2. The Spoon
Blink and it’s gone. The Spoon in Langlois is a local hangout serving what owner Jacob Pestana calls “hybrid farm-to-table.” It’s as local as you can get with a breakfast featuring fresh eggs from a free- range chicken farm less than a mile away. Beef is sourced from a ranch owned by Pestana’s just down the road, and Valley Flora Farm provides the best veggies and fruits in season. Swing into the cozy diner for strawberry crepes, a triple-egg omelet or a special juicy burger to taste local flavors.
3. Port Orford Heads
To see the most dramatic displays of coastal birds and big sea life, take a hike at the Port Orford Heads. On a hike you could easily see osprey, peregrine falcons, pelicans, sea lions and gray whales (18,000 migrate past this coastline annually). Check out the Coast Guard museum and the restored 1934 rescue lifeboat.
4. Langlois Market
Famous oversized hot dogs with homemade mustard, sandwiches piled high with local veggies and Umpqua milkshakes draw locals and tourists to Langlois Market daily. The market was founded in 1949 as a saloon and remains a local favorite serving as a grocery store, grab-and-go restaurant and growler refill station.
5. Blacklock Point
Bike it out at Blacklock Point. This is the best place to go on a mountain bike ride in the winter (just prepare for wind and rain and bring a change of clothes). Ride through forests of rhododendrons, ferns and trees until you reach an open prairie on the top of a cliff high above the ocean. Secluded with spectacular views of sandstone cliffs, Blacklock point displays 180 degree views of coastal magic.
6. Tasty Kate’s
Tasty Kate’s is a wonderful place to relax and catch up on local happenings. Homemade pastries are baked daily and include croissant-wrapped sausage, cinnamon rolls, cherry cheese danishes and bagels. Cheerful, fresh and funky local art adorns the walls, and one communal table ensures travelers and locals can share their stories. Kate offers a variety of grab-and-go items, special hearty lunches, homemade pies with fruit from local farms, cakes and draft beer in Port Orford.
7. Rocky Point Beach
Rocky Point Beach at low tide serves as a magical tide pool exploratorium. Pebble beds are filled with shells, polished stones and maybe even an agate or two. Head south and you’ll find a waterfall that pours onto the beach. I’ve witnessed hermit crabs battle over new homes, watched shore crabs dart between rocks, spotted giant green sea anemones, purple sea urchin, ochre sea stars and a baby octopus — all in one day at low tide.
8. Southern Coast Gourmet
A classic European picnic can be created in Southern Coast Gourmet in Port Orford. Go in and taste samples of artisan cheeses and cured meats from around the world. Take a bowl of specialty soup to go, try a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate crackle cookie and take home a loaf of freshly baked bread. Nancy Fraser brings the best of gourmet food to us.
9. Floras Lake Windsurfing and Kite Boarding
Learn how to use our wind for fun at Floras Lake Windsurfing and Kite Boarding. The Bradys, a family of professional windsurfers and kiteboarders, have been introducing visitors to adventure on the lake for more than 28 years. Wetsuits, paddle boards, kayaks and windsurfing gear are all available to rent and just a beach away from the ocean. “You can arrive here nervous with no experience on the water, and you will leave with a newly discovered confidence that you have learned how to windsurf,” says owner Will Brady.
10. The Crazy Norwegian’s Fish & Chips
If you haven’t heard of the Crazy Norwegian you’ve missed out (until now). I’ll always be addicted to the flaky fish n’ chips that are cooked in a crispy tempura batter (a highly coveted secret recipe) unlike any other and served with homemade tartar sauce. Visitors and food lovers always find themselves returning for more. I recommend specials (featuring local fish) like the rockfish tacos with classic coleslaw, fresh pico de gallo and zesty chipotle sauce. Don’t forget a slice of warm marionberry pie (from berries picked in the owner’s backyard). Be prepared for a wait as this restaurant is the busiest in town. Come in after 3:00 p.m. but no later than 6:00 p.m. to miss the traffic.
11. Sisters Rock State Park
Three giant boulders make up Sisters Rock State Park, a spectacular and secluded two-sided beach with access down a rocky old road. Low tide offers a massive secret cave to admire carefully, and the southern-facing beach displays remnants of past shipwrecks and scattered sea stacks. Sunrise sets this beach apart from any other. You have to go to see why.
12. Barnacle Bistro
A favorite restaurant in Gold Beach, Barnacle Bistro offers fish n’ chips with fish caught from the ocean view. The owner’s culinary experience and originality are clear in every entree. Fish n’ chips with a lager from Arch Rock (a brewery only a few miles south) never fails, but neither does the grilled cheese with bacon, green apples and white cheddar with sweet potato fries. The bistro is set in a yurt with a beautiful patio open in the summer, and during winter a fresh and creamy clam chowder using clams from Charleston is the perfect way to warm up.
13. Redfish Restaurant
Redfish Restaurant offers local food and seafood paired with an excellent wine and beer list. Try a local fish sandwich with a garlic aioli on a brioche bun with fingerling potato fries and then dive into raspberry lemon curd with vanilla bean custard on puff pastry for dessert. Or do what I do and sit on the deck in the sunshine over the beach with a glass of pinot noir.