In a state known for having beautiful state parks, Sunset Bay State Park is one of our favorite spots along the entire Oregon Coast. With a large campground, miles of beautiful hiking trails, and a white sand beach protected by rocky cliffs, there is so much to do and see near Sunset Bay State Park! Keep on reading to learn about all the fun things to do in Sunset Bay State Park! 

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Sunset bay state park

Situated just south of Coos Bay along the rocky shore of Oregon, Sunset Bay State Park is the perfect place to set up camp and enjoy some relaxing time by the ocean. We lived along the Oregon Coast for over a month, and explored almost every corner of the area from Cannon Beach down to Brookings. 

While the dreary weather and lack of sun is less than ideal, there is simply nothing like the rocky coast, moody fog, ancient trees, ubiquitous moss, and fresh seafood. It’s one of the most unique places we’ve ever lived and Sunset Bay is definitely one of the highlights of the Oregon coast. 

With a large campground, beautiful hiking trails along the seaside cliffs, a public golf course, and a wide, sandy beach protected from the battering currents of the Pacific Ocean, Sunset Bay State Park is one of the best things to do in Coos Bay.

Situated in close proximity to some of the most beautiful stretches of the Oregon coast, visiting this unique state park should be at the top of any coastal road-trippers bucket list.

More to do in Oregon

Where to stay near sunset bay state park

  • Budget | If you’re looking for a budget-friendly stay that isn’t a dingy motel, check out the Gypsy Moon Remodeled RV. It’s a nicely renovated RV situated with views of Coos Bay.
  • Mid Range | Oceanside Beachfront RV Park is located south of Coos Bay near Charleston and features cute, colorful little cabins within walking distance of Sunset Bay State Park. The Mill Casino Hotel is located right on Coos Bay in North Bend. Whether you like to gamble or not, the Mill Casino Hotel is a solid mid-range hotel option.
  • Luxury | Bay Point Landing is a luxury “RV Park” with beautiful modern cabins and renovated airstreams for rent that give you the experience of camping but the comfort of a luxury hotel. Each cabin includes a fire pit, and the property provides access to a fitness center and pool.
Ships in the harbor at Coos Bay

Camping at Sunset Bay State Park

One of the biggest draws to Sunset Bay State Park is its large campground, with 63 RV sites, 65 tent sites, and 8 yurts, all located within walking distance of the beach. 

There’s no doubt that the Oregon Coast is one of the best road trips anywhere in the United States and Sunset Bay campground is a perfect place to lay your head for the night!

The campground includes flush toilets, hot showers, easy beach access, fishing spots, a boat ramp and a public golf course. Yes, a golf course. More on that below!

Tent and RV sites start at $28 per night, while yurts will run you about $58 per night. Reservations open 6 months in advance and are required for the yurts. We’d strongly recommend making a reservation for tent and RV sites as well. 

How to get to Sunset Bay State Park

One of the best things about Sunset Bay State Park is its convenient location right on the water, just south of Coos Bay and next to two other state parks: Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park. 

To reach Sunset Bay from the north, you’ll take the Oregon Coast Highway, or Highway 101, through North Bend, and then take a right on Highway 540. You’ll continue on Highway 540 for about 8 miles until you reach Sunset Bay State Park. 

Driving from the south, you’ll take a left off Highway 101 and onto Highway 540, just before you reach the town of Coos Bay. 

From Coos Bay (to the north), it’s about 20 minutes to reach Sunset Bay State Park. From Bandon (to the south) it’s about 31 minutes. 

Things to do at Sunset Bay State Park

In the sections below, we’ve included information about all the great things you can do at Sunset Bay State Park in Oregon!

1. hang out at sunset beach

Sunset Beach, protected on both sides by rocky cliffs creating a calmer pool of water.
Sunset Beach is protected on both sides by rocky cliffs, creating a calmer pool of water.

Of course, the best thing to do at Sunset Bay State Park is head to Sunset Beach, a sandy beach that is nicely protected from the rugged elements of the Pacific Ocean. Cliffs on both sides protrude out into the water, forming a calm bay area (at least by Oregon coast standards!). 

The beach is wide and sandy, giving you plenty of room to spread out and explore. Plus, the little ones will love to check out the tide pools filled with all sorts of crustaceans and other sea life. 

2. See the Cape Arago Lighthouse

The Cape Arago Lighthouse from the viewpoint in Sunset Bay State Park

The Cape Arago Lighthouse was built in 1866 and used to guide ships carrying lumber into Coos Bay. Situated on Chief’s Island at Point Gregory, it’s not possible to get up close to the Cape Arago Lighthouse. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed from afar.

One of the best views of the Cape Arago Lighthouse is located in Sunset Bay State Park. Be warned that the lighthouse is still quite a ways in the distance. Nonetheless, it’s still quite a sight perched out on a rocky peninsula in the middle of the ocean!

3. Go hiking in Sunset Bay State Park

Hiking in Sunset Bay State Park offers views of striped rocky cliffs and turbulent waters!

Our favorite thing to do at Sunset Bay State Park is to enjoy the miles of beautiful trails that run along the coast, offering sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. We’ve hiked all over the world, and I’ll tell ya, the trails along the Oregon coast are unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

The forests are so dense, so lush and so verdant, it feels like you’re in the rainforest. I know this doesn’t really make sense but if you’re seen the forests on the Oregon coast, you’ll know what I mean. The green here is just greener. There is green everywhere! Green ferns, green moss, green trees! 

But the beauty of the forest isn’t even the best part. The rocky, jagged coastline, where the unrelenting power of the ocean is on full display, is even better!

The trails in Sunset Bay run right along the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean (okay, not right on the edge, but you know what I mean), giving you views of massive rock formations, powerful ocean swells, and picturesque coves around every corner. 

Sunset Bay Viewpoint

  • Distance | 0.9 miles
  • Elevation gain | 60 feet

If you’re looking for a quick and easy hike, take a quick stroll up to the Sunset Bay Viewpoint. It’s a really nice viewpoint overlooking Sunset Bay, especially for such a short hike. There’s even a bench at the end of the peninsula where you can sit and enjoy the view.

Sunset Bay Viewpoint would be a great spot to visit at sunset!

Sunset Bay Loop

View of Cape Arago Lighthouse from Sunset Bay State Park
Views from the Sunset Bay Loop
  • Distance | 1.2 miles
  • Elevation gain | 60 feet

For a slightly longer hike, we’d also recommend the Sunset Bay Loop. This 1.2 mile loop includes the Sunset Bay Viewpoint, as well as views of the Cape Arago Lighthouse. If you’re lucky you might be able to see a family of seals lounging on the rocks! 

Sunset Bay to Cape Arago

A building perched atop rocky cliffs in Shore Acres State Park
The hike from Sunset Bay to Cape Arago connects three stunning state parks
  • Distance | 8.5 miles
  • Elevation gain | 700 feet

Sunset Bay is located next to two other state parks that are just as beautiful – Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park. Together, these three state parks, which run north to south along the coast, form the Cape Arago Highway. 

While there are miles of trails to choose from in the area, we recommend hiking the full distance from Sunset Bay State Park to Cape Arago State Park to make sure you don’t miss out on any epic views! The full trail is about 8.5 miles and leaves from the Sunset Bay Campground. 

4. Soak in a sunset

Sunset Bay State Park is named “Sunset Bay” for a reason. There are magnificent sunsets, painting the sky in shades of orange and purple, with the sun slowly melting into the Pacific Ocean.

Grabbing a blanket, some snacks, a bottle of wine, and cozying into a spot on the beach, while watching the sun sink behind the horizon sounds like the perfect night to us!

5. Visit Shore Acres State Park

Shore Acres State Park borders Sunset Bay and offers similar views

As I just noted above, Sunset Bay State Park is located only 5 minutes north of the equally (if not more) beautiful Shore Acres State Park. We highly recommend popping down the road to explore this section of the Cape Arago Highway!

Shore Acres State Park features our favorite hiking trails in the area, with unmatched views of iconic rocky cliffs being battered by the churning, roaring waters of the Pacific Ocean.

We found a super cute family of seals lounging in a little cove, tucked behind some rocks, protecting them from the tides along one of the trails in Shore Acres. They were so cute (and funny to watch waddle around on the rocks)! 

Also, in the Shore Acres, you can find a picturesque botanical garden, with perfectly manicured trees, flowers, and shrubs is a unique spot to explore. 

6. Visit Cape Arago STate Park

Turbulent ocean water and rocky shoreline at Cape Arago State Park
Cape Arago State Park is just a few minutes form Sunset Bay

Just 5 minutes down Cape Arago Highway from Sunset Bay sits another Oregon State Park, Cape Arago State Park, bordering Shore Acres.

Honestly, we aren’t really sure where the different park boundaries begin and end but it felt like Cape Arago was a bit smaller than Shore Acres and Sunset Bay State Park. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth a stop!

There are a few short paved trails that bring you out on the rocky outcroppings that are fun to explore.

7. Explore the town of Coos Bay 

Sunset Bay State Park is just 20 minutes from Coos Bay

Coos Bay is the closest town to Sunset Bay State Park and has a ton of fun activities itself. We recommend strolling the Coos Bay Boardwalk and grabbing a delicious bite of fresh fish and chips from the Boat.

We’ve written a whole article about all there is to do in Coos Bay here! 

8. Go Golfing at Sunset Bay Golf Course

Okay, I just have to say that it’s pretty crazy that there is a golf course located within the Sunset Bay State Park, right?! At what other park in the world can you take a short walk from your camp and see rocky cliffs, chubby seals, and hit the links? Sunset Bay has to be one of the only places! 

The Sunset Bay Golf Course is perfect for all skill levels and features beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding forest. 

9. Take a Kayak or SUP out in Sunset Bay

A foggy morning at Sunset Beach in Sunset Bay State Park
The calmer pool of water created by the surrounding cliffs makes Sunset Bay a great spot to kayak!

Sunset Bay would be a great spot to take out the kayak or SUP and putz around for a few hours, exploring the ins-and-outs of the bay that you can’t access from the beach or trails. 

Coastal Kayak and SUP Rentals offers single kayak rentals for $45 per half day and $65 per full day, or tandem kayaks for $75 per half day and $100 per full day. They are located in Coos Bay, but offer delivery and pickup services or roof rack pad rentals for an additional charge. 

10. Have a picnic

Not only is there plenty of space on the beach to spread out and have a picnic, but Sunset Bay also includes dedicated picnic areas with tables set in a large field. There is plenty of space for family gatherings, birthday parties, and any other outdoor event! 

Shore Acres State Park is one of the best things to do in Coos Bay

Other Oregon Resources

Looking for more incredible hikes and things to do on the Oregon coast? You may also be interested in the following:

Let us know if you have any questions about our list of the best things to do in Sunset Bay State Park in the comments below!

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