Situated in the heart of “Oregon’s Adventure Coast”, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Coos Bay for everyone from adventure lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to seafood connoisseurs and beach goers! With the Oregon Dunes to the north, Shore Acres and Sunset Bay State Parks to the south, and of course, Coos Bay, at the heart of the town, Coos Bay is perfectly situated to fulfill all your adventure needs. Or, if relaxing at the beach with a cold beer and a fishing rod is more your style, Coos Bay has you covered too. In this article, we’ll tell you about 20 of the best things to do in Coos Bay.
Things to do in Coos Bay, Oregon
As the largest town on the Oregon Coast, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Coos Bay, Oregon. Situated at the junction of the Coos River and the Pacific Ocean, the area around Coos Bay is often referred to as “Oregon’s Adventure Coast” for its easy access to a plethora of outdoor adventure activities.
From crabbing and deep sea fishing, kayaking and hiking, to shopping, relaxing at the beach and indulging in fresh seafood, there is something for everyone to do in Coos Bay!
We spent 2 months living in the nearby town of Florence on the Oregon Coast, which means we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the area. We’re excited to share with you our carefully curated list of the best things to do in Coos Bay!
History of Coos Bay
The Coos Bay area was first settled in 1852, when survivors of the Captain Lincoln shipwreck setup camp there.
Historically the shipbuilding and logging industries have played a key role in the economy of the Coos Bay area. Home to the largest port between San Francisco and the Puget Sound, Coos Bay remains a bustling central hub for the shipping and fishing industry.
While Coos Bay is the largest town on the Oregon Coast, it has a population of just over 15,000 people, giving it that small town feel while not lacking any amenities.
Coos Bay borders the town of North Bend to the northwest, another fairly large town (by Oregon Coast standards) of around 10,000 residents. The two cities are often collectively referred to as Oregon’s Bay Area.
More to do in Oregon
Where to stay in Coos Bay
- 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.
Weather in Coos Bay, Oregon
The weather in this coastal area stays fairly mild year round, making many of the best things to do in Coos Bay accessible any time of year. During the summer (June through September), you can expect slightly warmer temperatures but average high’s typically don’t exceed 70 degrees.
In the winter (November through February), average high temperatures top out in the upper 40’s and lower 50’s making for chillier, but still typically pleasant for outdoor adventures.
Unfortunately with the mild coastal temperatures comes a lot of rain and fog. On one hand, the amount of rain is what makes the area so stunning: lush and green year round! On the other hand, rainy and cloudy conditions day after day can be a bit of a damper.
From October through March, Coos Bay receives an average of around 7 inches of rain per month! During the summer, monthly rainfall drops to about 1 inch per month.
In summary, for the warmest weather and the least chance of rain, the best time to visit Coos Bay is during the summer, from June through September. That being said, mild year-round temperatures make it possible to enjoy outdoor activities any time of year: just be prepared that rain may impede your plans!
Best Things to do in Coos Bay, Oregon
Without further ado, let’s get into it! Below is our list of 21 awesome things to do in Coos Bay, Oregon. We’ve organized this article geographically, grouping things to do nearby together to help you get the lay of the land.
You can use the links to navigate around the article, or keep reading for all the details.
- Bastendorf Beach
- Sunset Bay State Park
- Shore Acres State Park
- Simpson Reef Overlook
- Cape Arago State Park
- Hike from Sunset Bay to Cape Arago
- Take a day trip to Bandon
- Visit Bullards Beach State Park
- Stroll the Coos Bay Boardwalk
- Buy fresh seafood at the Fisherman’s Seafood Market
- Eat fish & chips at the Boat
- Grab a beer at 7 Devils Brewery
- Attend the Coos Bay farmers market
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cranberry Sweets
- Walk through Mingus Park
- Go kayaking the Coos River
- Go fishing or crabbing
- Take a take trip to Florence
- Explore the Oregon Dunes
- Hike to Golden and Silver Falls
Map of the Best things to do in Coos Bay
The map below displays the location of all the things to do in Coos Bay that we mention in this article. Use it to plan your own Oregon Coast itinerary, or save it to your phone to help you find your way around.
- To view more details about each location, click on the marker on the map.
- To save this map for future use, click the star next to the title. From your phone, open the Google Maps app and click the “saved” tab, followed by the “Maps” icon. From your Gmail account, navigate to Maps –> “Saved” –> “My Maps” –> “Maps” tab.
- To email this map to yourself, click the three dots in the upper right corner.
Best Things to do in Coos Bay: Cape Arago Highway
The Cape Arago Highway stretches 14.2 miles from North Bend to Cape Arago State Park. The Scenic drive features beaches, rugged coastline, numerous state parks and lovely viewpoints to stop at. Driving the Cape Arago Highway is a can’t miss thing to do in Coos Bay. Below we’ll detail each of the best stop and activities along the drive.
This is personally our favorite area near Coos Bay, so we’ve put it at the top of our list. If you have just one day in Coos Bay, we’d recommend checking out the Cape Arago Highway
1. Bastendorf Beach
First stop on the Cape Arago Highway coming from Coos Bay is Bastendorf Beach. Bastendorff Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area, and spending a couple hours here is one of the best things to do in Coos Bay.
The wide sandy beach stretches for 1-mile and has a cave at the south end that can be explored during low tide. Bastendorf Beach is also a great spot for surfing and fishing.
The Bastendorff Beach campground has 99 sites close to the beach and is open year round. Campsites are $22 per tent site and $32 per partial hookup RV site.
2. Visit Sunset Bay State Park
After Bastendorf Beach, continue further south on the Cape Arago Highway to Sunset Bay State Park. The main parking area at Sunset Bay State Park is located at Sunset Beach, a lovely crescent-shaped sandy beach nestled between rocky cliffs.
From Sunset Beach, a hiking trail leads south along the rocky shoreline. It’s worth at least taking the one-mile round trip hike up to the Sunset Bay viewpoint, where you can find a bench with nice views overlooking the rocky outcroppings and rugged coastline around Sunset Bay.
Continuing about another quarter-mile along the trail, you’ll come upon the Cape Arago Lighthouse Viewpoint. From here you can enjoy a view of the lighthouse perched up on the grassy cliff in the distance.
3. Visit Shore Acres State Park
Shore Acres State Park is our favorite area on the Cape Arago Highway!
From the Shore Acres State Park day use area, trails branch off in both directions along the coast. It’s definitely worth exploring a little ways. Here you’ll find bright blue tide pools and layers of jagged cliffs that look like they could sink into the ocean at any time.
There’s something oddly peaceful about watching massive waves crash against the rocky coastline. There are a few spots where the waves crash over massive slabs of rock in the ocean, creating a mesmerizing waterfall-like effect as the waves retreat. It’s definitely the kind of place you could sit and enjoy for a while, keeping an eye out for wildlife.
Know before you go | Shore Acres State Park charges a $5 parking fee. They do not accept credit cards. Bring cash or purchase your day pass online in advance, or purchase an annual Oregon State Parks Pass.
Shore Acres Botanical Garden
You can also visit the Shore Acres Botanical Garden from the same parking area for the day-use area. The gardens feature perfectly manicured rows of brightly colored flowers from all over the world, including roses, rhododendrons and azaleas, dahlias, and lily pads.
Flowers here start blooming in February, so you can see flowers almost year round. The gardens were once part of a sprawling estate owned by lumberman and shipbuilder, Louis Simpson.
In 1921, a fire destroyed Simpson’s mansion, and though he began to rebuild it, financial setbacks eventually caused it to be abandoned. In 1942, the land was purchased by Oregon State Park and converted into a public park.
Tip | The tide pools in this area are popular among the wildlife in the area as well. We stumbled upon a little viewpoint overlooking the tide pools with several seals lounging along the rocks. The view was close enough to see the seals pretty well, and we had the area all to ourselves. We have no idea how often the seals spend their time here (although we did come back a few hours later on the same day, and they were still here). But it’s worth checking out if you want to see seals. It was the highlight of our visit to Shore Acres State Park. Here are the coordinates of the spot.
4. See the sea lions at Simpson Reef Overlook
Also located in Shore Acres State Park, a few minutes further down Cape Arago highway, Simpson Reef Overlook is one of the best spots to see sea lions on the Oregon Coast. Simpson Reef is a rocky outcropping in the ocean that is home to thousands of seals and sea lions. You’re guaranteed to see them if you visit!
However, the reef is a distance out in the ocean, so don’t expect to see the sea lions up close. There is a telescope device setup at the viewpoint, but it’d also be a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars! And while it may be a little tough to see them, you certainly won’t miss the sound of the sea lions barking!
Fun Fact | Simpson Reef is home to two species of seals, Harbor seals and Northern elephant seals, and two types of Sea Lions, California Sea Lions and Stellar Sea Lions. A sign at the viewpoint helps you identify the different species!
5. Stop at Cape Arago State Park
The final stop and southernmost point on the Cape Arago Highway is Cape Arago State Park. Here you’ll find a short paved walking trail that leads out onto the cape, with more views of the rocky shoreline.
To the south, you can see Cape Blanco in the distance, and to the north, you can spot Simpson Reef.
6. Hike from Sunset Bay State Park to Cape Arago
- Distance | 8.5 miles
- Elevation gain | 700 feet
- Difficulty | moderate
- Total time | 3 – 5 hours
Find this hike on AllTrails: Sunset Park to Cape Arago Trail
If you prefer to explore by foot rather and want to see the entire coastline, you’re in luck!
There is an 8.5 mile round trip trail that leads along the coastline and connects Sunset Bay State Park, Simpson Reef Overlook, Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago. The trail allows you to get away from the crowds and to see the entire coastline, which you miss out on by just driving and stopping at the viewpoints.
We did this hike as a trail run one Saturday morning, and we have to say, it was the best way to explore the area. If you are looking to get a little exercise, hiking or running the Sunset Bay to Cape Arago Trail is one of the best things to do in Coos Bay.
Extend the hike | It’s also possible to start this hike from Bastendorf Beach. We started from Sunset Bay so we can’t say much about the trail between the two. But if you’re looking for an even longer hike, starting from Bastendorf adds about a mile round trip.
Best Things to do in the town of Coos Bay
Within the town of Coos Bay, there are also plenty of fun things to do, from enjoying delicious seafood to strolling the Coos Bay boardwalk.
7. Stroll the Coos Bay Board Walk
The Coos Bay Boardwalk is a wooden plank pier that sits along the edge of the bay next to “downtown” Coos Bay. It’s a nice place to walk while enjoying views of the water, boats docked at the harbor, and mountains in the distance.
There are several exhibits on display along the boardwalk that tell the history of the town’s shipping and lumber industries.
With several picnic tables available, the Coos Bay Boardwalk is also a great spot to pack a picnic and enjoy lunch. Across the street from the boardwalk you’ll find several restaurants and shops in Coos Bay’s small little “downtown” area.
8. Buy fresh seafood at the Fisherman’s Seafood Market
At the center of the Coos Bay Boardwalk sits the Fisherman’s Seafood Market, where you can purchase fresh seafood or sit down for a bite to eat on the water. The Fisherman’s Market is best known for its delicious fish and chips!
Know before you go | Irritatingly, the Fisherman’s Seafood Market is not open on Saturdays. We saw a note on Google Maps saying so, and assumed it to be inaccurate.
How could a seafood market not be open on Saturday?! But sure enough, the Fisherman’s Seafood Market is in fact, closed on Saturdays, yet open every other day of the week. Make sure to plan your visit accordingly!
9. Eat Fish & Chips at the Boat
The Boat in Coos Bay is known for its amazing fish and chips. The restaurant is actually located in a boat, with limited indoor seating and a large outdoor patio.
In fact, the Boat used to be a floating restaurant on Winchester Bay called Unger’s Bay. The boat was taken out of the water and set up on land just south of the Coos Bay Boardwalk and rebranded as “The Boat”, a quite fitting name, we think!
You can’t eat at the Boat without trying their fish and chips! Their fries are thin and crispy and the halibut is delicious (though not quite on the level of Luna Sea Fish House in Yachats, in our opinion). The fish tacos are also tasty. The Boat is a perfect spot for some greasy grub following a hike in one of the many nearby state parks!
10. Unwind with a cold beer at 7 Devils Brewery
If you’re looking to relax after a busy day of exploring the coast, grabbing a beer at 7 Devil’s Brewery is one of the best things to do in Coos Bay! 7 Devil’s is a local brewery that has two locations in Coos Bay: a brewery and taproom in downtown Coos Bay and a Waterfront Alehouse right on Coos Bay that serves a tasty menu of local seafood.
The Waterfront Alehouse definitely has a more upscale menu and vibe than you may expect from a brewery, but the Taproom is more laid back with more typical bar-food.
The Seven Devil’s Endless Summer Blonde is a nice easy-drinking beer that’s perfect for a summer afternoon. For something a little heavier, but not too hoppy, try the Spindrift Juicy/Hazy IPA.
11. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cranberry Sweets
From the outside, it doesn’t look like much but trust us, Cranberry Sweets is worth a visit. Inside you’ll find a unique assortment of sublime chocolates and candies.
While you can find traditional chocolates and saltwater taffy, what makes Cranberry Sweets so special is it’s frankly odd types of candies you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Think cheddar fudge and wine and IPA jelly candies.
The best part?? Cranberry Sweets is very generous with their samples, so you can try all the funky combinations before you buy.
We ended up coming home with a bag of chocolate covered cookie dough balls, but we seriously had a tough time deciding!
12. Coos Bay farmers market
The Coos Bay farmers market is held every Wednesday from 9am to 2pm on Central Avenue in downtown Coos Bay. In addition to local farmers, vendors and artists, the Coos Bay farmers market also has live music.
The farmers market is a great thing to do in Coos Bay if you’re visiting during the week! Its held starting in early May through the end of October.
13. Stroll through Mingus Park
Mingus Park is located downtown, and it’s one of the best things to do in Coos Bay if you’re looking to get some activity in. The park features gardens, a playground, disc golf course, a tennis court, baseball field, skate park, ponds, a paved walking trail and iconic red footbridge, so there’s really something for everyone.
Water activities around Coos Bay
Coos Bay is, after all, located on the bay! As such, there are plenty of easily accessible water sports right around Coos Bay.
14. Go kayaking or SUPing
One of the best things to do in Coos Bay is to rent kayaks or stand up paddle boards and explore by water. There are numerous companies that offer kayak rentals, and several spots that you can put in your kayak.
South Coast Tours offers a 2.5 hour guided kayaking tour in South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve for $90 per single kayak and $170 per tandem kayak. South Slough is one of the most popular spots to kayak on Coos Bay, located on the Coos River.
If you prefer to rent kayaks and paddle on your own time, there are a few companies that offer daily or hourly rentals. 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.
If you’re going on your own, a few great spots to put in your kayak include:
- Sunset Beach in Sunset Bay State Park
- South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Tenmile Lakes
15. Go crabbing or fishing
With its prime location on Oregon’s largest bay and next to the Pacific Ocean, one of the best things to do in Coos Bay is to try your hand at crabbing or fishing.
Pacific Charter Services in Coos Bay offers a guided Ocean Crabbing Tour for $75 per person. They take you out on the ocean and teach you how to crab! Dungeness crabs in this area are known to be large and plentiful, so you’re sure to come home with a bucket of crabs! Pacific Charter Services will even clean and cook the crabs for you for an additional charge.
Coos Bay Charters offers guided deep sea fishing trips where you can catch halibut, salmon, cod, rockfish, perch, tuna, crab and more. Prices vary by the type of fish you are looking to catch. Betty Kay Fishing Charters, based in Charleston, also offers full day deep sea fishing trips, as well as a half day rock fishing trip for $120 per person.
things to do South of Coos Bay
South of Coos Bay is a beautiful stretch of moody coastline, with wide sandy beaches and uniquely shaped sea stacks, that can be accessed via an easy day trip from Coos Bay.
16. Take a day trip to Bandon
About 30 minutes south of Coos Bay sits another small town, called Bandon. Tony’s Crab Shack in Bandon is one of the most famous restaurants on the Oregon Coast, serving fresh steamed crab and delicious crab cake sandwiches!
The coastline near Bandon features a number of beautiful rocky outcroppings in the water. Beach Loop Drive provides access to many of the best viewpoints in the area, including:
- Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint
- Devil’s Kitchen
- Bandon Beach
- Elephant Rock
- North Coquille Point
Featuring a shoreline dotted with beautiful sea stacks, wide sandy beaches and a cute Old Town serving plenty of fresh seafood, Bandon is a can’t miss stop on any Oregon Coast road trip or the perfect spot for a relaxing weekend getaway.
17. Bullards Beach State Park
Located just north of Bandon across the Coquille River is Bullards Beach State Park. Bullards Beach provides access to the Coquille River Lighthouse, as well as 4.5 miles of wide, sandy beach and access to great fishing and crabbing spots along the river.
There is also a campground at Bullards Beach State Park with 185 sites, providing convenient access to both the beach and Bandon.
North of Coos Bay
To the north of Coos Bay sits the Oregon Dunes, a 40-mile expanse of massive sand dunes that stretch from coos Bay to Florence. In the following section, we’ll cover the best things to do north of Coos Bay.
18. Visit the Oregon Dunes
The Oregon Dunes stretch for 40 miles between Coos Bay and Florence, Oregon, and are one of the most famous landmarks near Coos Bay. There are many different ways to enjoy the dunes, including hiking trails and sand boarding.
The John Dellenback Dunes Trail is a 5.5 mile loop about 20 minutes from Coos Bay that leads through a green, mossy forest before emerging at the sand dunes. From there the trail continues all the way to the coast.
Another fun way to explore the Oregon Dunes is renting ATVs to ride through the dunes. If you have kids, this is sure to be a hit! You’ll see ATV’s everywhere driving around the area, and there are numerous companies offering tours. Here are a few options:
- Steve’s ATVs | offers ATV rentals including kid-friendly ATVs, located less than 15 minutes north of Coos Bay.
- Spinreel Dune Buggy & ATV Rental | offers rentals and guided ATV tours, located about 20 minutes north of Coos Bay.
- Oregon Dune Bug Rentals | offers sand board rentals in addition to ATVs, located 15 minutes from Coos Bay
19. Take a day trip to Florence
Located about an hour north of Coos Bay sits the small town of Florence, Oregon. We love Florence for its adorable Old Town and small harbor that sits on the Siuslaw River. Compared to Coos Bay, we think the downtown area of Florence has more to offer with plenty of cute little shops to pop into (we spent 2 months living here, so we may be a little bit partial!).
Don’t miss out on a steaming hot cup of crab chowder at Novelli’s Crab & Seafood! It’s located on a floating dock in the harbor at the southern end of Old Town Florence.
Taking a day trip to Florence is certainly one of the best things to do while staying in Coos Bay. With so much to see along the way, the one-hour drive will fly right by.
If you want to get out and stretch your legs, the Siltcoos Lake Trail is a nice 3.5-mile round-trip hike through the mossy forest in the Siuslaw National Forest. You could also stop at a few spots in the Oregon Dunes along the way, like the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Hiking in Florence, Oregon features a diverse assortment of landscapes, like enchanted forests, massive seaside cliffs and wide sandy beaches.
20. Golden and Silver Falls
We haven’t made it here yet, but a local told us it was one of their favorite things to do in Coos Bay, so we wanted to include it. Tucked away in the coastal forest, the 150 foot tall Golden Falls and 200 foot Silver Falls are two of southern Oregon’s most spectacular waterfalls!
Golden and Silver Falls are located about 40 minutes from Coos Bay. Note that the last few miles to the trailhead are on a pothole riddled gravel road that can get muddy following rain. Once you get there, the hike to both the falls is just 1.2 miles roundtrip and minimal elevation gain.
Other Oregon Resources
Looking for more incredible hikes and things to do in Oregon? You may also be interested in the following:
- The Hobbit Trail in Oregon: Hike to a Secluded Beach
- How to See the Spouting Horn in Cook’s Chasm
- 24 Best Things to do in Bandon, Oregon
- Why Oceanside, Oregon is Worth a Visit
- 20 Amazing Hikes on the Oregon Coast
- 16 Can’t Miss Oregon Coast Towns
- How to Visit Thor’s Well: A Mysterious Ocean Cauldron