: Kenji Sugahara

Uncover These South Coast Secrets

February 20, 2018

Editor’s note: Face coverings (ages 5 and up) are required at all indoor and outdoor public spaces statewide, regardless of vaccination status. Learn more here

The friendly towns between Port Orford to Brookings — along Oregon’s 60 miles of southern-most coastline — are looking for love from adventure-seeking hikers and bikers, campers and roadtrippers.

Here’s a mile-by-mile guide to those secluded beaches and other attractions ripe for exploring:

Stroll among the life-sized dinosaurs in a lush forest at Prehistoric Gardens (Photo credit: Gregor Halenda)

Port Orford

In Port Orford, explore the nautical history of the area at the 101-acre Port Orford Heads State Park, where you can explore the port’s history at a free museum between April and October. Find stunning local artwork at the local galleries; the Port Orford to Bandon Art Trail makes it easy to find some of the most unique art on the Coast.

Pause to drink up the view at Battle Rock at Wayside Park.

In the afternoon, watch the fishers pull your dinner out of the ocean at the Port of Port Orford — the only “dolly dock” on the West Coast, where vessels are launched and retrieved using cranes and housed on homemade dollies when not fishing. Satisfy your craving for fish n’ chips at Griff’s on the Dock, fuel up with a treat at Golden Harvest Herban Farm and Bakery (which reopens for the season in early March), and share a romantic meal at the chic Redfish restaurant.

South Coast Tours has everything you need for adventure on the water.

Continue down the Coast and pause to drink up the view at Battle Rock at Wayside Park, the site of an historic battle in 1851. Stay the night at Humbug Mountain State Park and challenge yourself with a hike to the top of Humbug Mountain, elevation 1,765 feet. The next day, take a self-guided stroll among the 23 life-sized dinosaurs surrounded by lush forest at Prehistoric Gardens, sure to get your imagination going. Want to join a kayak or stand-up paddleboard tour, go kayak fishing or learn to surf? South Coast Tours has everything you need to suit up for adventure on the water.

Spend the night at the rustic but luxurious Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge in Gold Beach (Photo credit: Justin Bailie)

Gold Beach

In Gold Beach, set out on foot to find a spot called Turtle Rock, and take a leisurely 1.5-mile stroll along the lower part of the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. From the parking lot alone you’ll see panoramic views but trust us it’s worth the walk down the beach. Further south find two other detour-worthy coastal gems: Myers Creek Beach Viewpoint and Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint.

Back in Gold Beach between May and October, operators like Jerry’s Rogue Jets offers tours up the mighty Rogue River. Downtown, charming shops abound, like Rogue River Myrtlewood Shop. Learn about the region’s early days at the Rogue River Museum, where artifacts, historical photos and even taxidermy are on display.

Pull over to explore Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint. (Photo credit: Kenji Sugahara)

There’s a number of great places to chow down in style, from the fresh, local crab melt at the Port Hole Cafe to surf n’ turf at Spinners Seafood, Steak and Chophouse, to cocktails and wagyu beef at Anna’s By the Sea.

Spend the night at the rustic but luxurious Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, where you can recharge in comfort for the rest of your trip.

Catch some of the South Coast's best views along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, (Photo credit: Bryce LaDuc)


Catch some of the best views along the South Coast at any point along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, which begins just south of Pistol River and extends for 12 miles down Highway 101. Stretch your legs and explore the breathtakingly gorgeous moss-covered rock formations at Secret Beach and the mystical beauty at a spot called Natural Bridges nearby (which recently landed on Apple’s Instagram account). See the 300-year-old Sitka spruce trees and walk part of the 27 miles of Oregon Coast Trail. Just remember to be mindful of Oregon’s beach safety rules — avoid standing on logs and never turn your back on the ocean; sneaker waves are real.

Stretch your legs and explore the breathtakingly gorgeous moss-covered rock formations at Secret Beach.

When you get hungry, spend a leisurely afternoon in town, feeding your belly and soul. Superfly Martini Bar & Grill (run by Superfly Distilling Co., on site) serves a full brunch and dinner menu along with their potato vodka drinks and wacky martinis (the Slippery Banana is named after their hometown softball tournament). Oxenfrē Public House is a go-to spot for live music and local, scratch-made pub fare; don’t miss their Pacific cod tacos and fried chicken and belgian waffles.

Pitch a tent or book a yurt (three of six are pet-friendly) at Harris Beach State Park, a perfect basecamp for wildlife spotting — everything from gray whales, harbor seals and California sea lions (by season) to rare birds like the tufted puffin, who find sanctuary at Bird Island across the way, a National Wildlife Sanctuary breeding ground for feathered friends.

Bike it

If it suits you, tour the Wild River Scenic Coast Bikeway on two wheels instead, for 61 miles of awesomeness.

Hike it

For specific trail info, consider these six great hikes on the Wild Rivers Coast, all abilities welcome.

About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.