: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Road Trip: Bandon

This South Coast town offers world-class golf, fantastic beaches, birds and more.
April 17, 2024

Good things come to those who go on road trips, which means even better things happen when you go on a road trip to Bandon. The South Coast town so famous for golf sits 24 miles south of Coos Bay and is among the lesser visited coastal small towns that make the area  so welcoming. With a walkable Old Town district, miles of stunning beaches, friendly restaurants and awesome ways to play outside, Bandon is always a hole in one. Here are some ways to make the most of your next road trip.

A person taking a photo of the elaborate sand art on the beach in Bandon.
Circles in the Sand (courtesy of Susan Dimock/ OCVA)

Of Birdies and Birds in Bandon

Mention Bandon to almost anyone this side of Scotland and golf will come up. That’s because the six links-style courses at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort could be plucked straight out of the Old Country. Can’t tell a birdie from an eagle? The resort also has a spa with a hot tub and a sauna, 6 miles of interpretive trails — including the 2.5-mile-long Dune Trail — and nearly a dozen places to eat, like McKee’s Pub, a traditional Scottish-style tavern. Start with a Scotch egg and end with the sticky toffee pudding. A nearby course, Bandon Crossings, is a popular choice on a breezy day thanks to being sheltered from direct coastal winds.

This part of the Oregon Coast has incredible beaches with massive sea stacks rising out of ocean waves, framed by forest. Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint —  a picturesque beach where birders spend hours scanning the rocks for cormorants and puffins — forms part of a federally protected area, the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Check the tides and head out for excellent beachcombing, or time your visit to catch Circles in the Sand. That’s when artists create a spectacular labyrinth in the sand that visitors are welcome to walk. 

Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge along the Coquille River is another excellent place to spend time watching birds. In summer that includes species like red-shouldered hawks, northern harriers and white-tailed kites. The Myrtlewood Grove Nature Trail has two connecting loops that make for a journey up to 1 mile long. Inhale deeply as you pass the grove of venerable scented myrtlewood trees along the way.

With beaches like these, all manner of things wash ashore. Washed Ashore art gallery showcases what artists can do with that debris. See the iconic sculptures made entirely from these finds at their new locations inside Farm & Sea, a market for fresh seafood, meats and more astride the Coquille River in Old Town.

The mountain bicyclists in helmets and gear whiz by on a dirt trail in a forested part of the Whiskey Run area.
Whiskey Run trails (courtesy of Dylan Van Weelden)

Cycle and Ride Horses on the Beach

Bullards Beach State Park —  about 2 miles north of Bandon — offers ways to drive, walk or bike along the Coquille River and out to the Coquille River Lighthouse, the last of its kind to be built in Oregon when it was commissioned in 1895. Cool fact: A steam engine once powered its fog horn. 

Today park volunteers can show you around, including the lantern room. Stretch your legs on nearly 5 miles of trails nearby. The park also includes over a dozen yurts for overnighting, six of which are pet-friendly, as well as more than 100 full-hookup sites for RVs. Bring a fat bike and roll along the hard-packed sand. Mountain bikers take note: The nearby Whiskey Run complex offers 34 miles of rollicking single-track that are in prime shape pretty much year-round.

If you’d like your trusty steed to be an actual steed, reserve a slot at Bandon Beach Riding Stables, which offers horseback rides year-round that are 90% along the beach — no experience necessary.

People enjoying outdoor seating area at a restaurant
Bandon's Old Town (courtesy of Dylan Van Weelden)

Play, Stay and Dine

One of the best parts about a road trip to Bandon is getting to stay in the area. The Bandon Inn was recently renovated and includes views over both the ocean and Old Town, a 10-block area with shops selling sweets, art and more. Work continues along the waterfront here. Check with the Port of Bandon to see when crabbing can resume from Weber’s Pier. 

The Lighthouse Cove Inn has 24 newly renovated rooms right in the heart of town and next to the Inn at Old Town. Both sit within an easy walk of the Bandon Historical Society Museum, which includes exhibits on the town’s maritime and cranberry-farming history. Meanwhile, south of town, the Dew Valley Ranch Nature Retreat has an array of unique lodgings, including yurts and a barrel-shaped cabin fit for hobbits. 

When it’s time to refresh and refuel, Bandon Rain has 15 taps of locally made cider ready for your gullet — look for options infused with local flavors like cranberry, spruce tips or gorse blossoms. Bandon Brewing does pizzas, wings and salads. Head to Bandon Fish Market for classic fish and chips or to Foley’s Irish Pub for a pint of Guinness and hearty shepherd’s pie topped with mashed potatoes. Find more inspiration along the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail

About The

Tim Neville
Tim Neville is a writer based in Bend where he writes about the outdoors, travel and the business of both. His work has been included in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and Best Food Writing, and earned various awards from the Society of American Travel Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. Tim has reported from all seven continents and spends his free time skiing, running and spending time with his family.

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