11 Amazing Things to Do in Bandon, Oregon

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The Oregon Coast is known for its quaint and charming towns, although some fly quietly under-the-radar. The teeny town of Bandon, along the southern coastline, is one of these hidden gems, with an adorable Old Town, quirky art projects, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire state. If you’re looking to explore one of the cutest towns along the coastline, here’s 10 of the best things to do in Bandon, Oregon. 

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Things to Do in Bandon, Oregon

1. Bullards Beach State Park

Nothing says a visit to the Oregon Coast quite like a stroll on the beach!

This park offers a loooong stretch of sand (four miles!) with wide shores and plenty of dunes at the mouth of the Coquille River, about two miles north of Bandon. 

View of driftwood at Bullards Beach in  Bullards Beach State Park in Bandon, Oregon

If you’re an RVer, like us, there’s a nice campground here, nestled into the coastal pines, with a mostly paved pathway that weaves through the park’s forest to its rolling dunes. 

This area is known for being windy—in fact, we visited on a particularly windy day, where it was hard to spend too long on the beach without getting fistfuls of sand blasted at your face. But if you’re luckier than us and get nice weather, it’s a lovely place to go for a stroll, go rock hunting (this is an AWESOME place to find agates and petrified wood), or try to spot as many coastal birds as you can. 

2. Coquille River Lighthouse

While you’re by Bullards Beach, make a stop at the Coquille River Lighthouse. Dating back to 1895, this lighthouse helped guide mariners past the constantly changing sandbars into the Coquille River to Bandon’s Harbor. 

Man walking towards to Coquille River Lighthouse in Bandon, Oregon

The lighthouse is usually open from mid-May through September, from 11:00 AM– 5:00 PM (when we visited, it was indeed open, but I’ve read the opening hours can be a bit spotty!). Inside, there’s a few informational signs about the lighthouse, usually a friendly volunteer that’s eager to share some of its history, and a small gift shop. 

Even if it’s not open while you visit, it’s worth a quick stop to snap a picture of one of the most picturesque lighthouses along the Oregon Coast. 

3. Old Town Bandon

Many Oregon Coast towns have adorable, historic downtowns—and, luckily, Bandon is no exception. 

Restaurants and shops in the Old Town of Bandon, Oregon

Spread over 10 blocks, perusing Old Town is one of the best things to do in Bandon, with its eclectic gift shops, old timey candy stores, and local restaurants—perfect for grabbing a coffee and moseying about. Some of our favorite stops here are Coastal Mist for fancy chocolates, Second Street Gallery for Pacific Northwest-inspired artwork, and Cranberry Sweets for every type of cranberry-related candy you could dream of. 

Pssst… Bandon is actually the cranberry capital of Oregon, with over 80 cranberry farms in the area. If you happen to be an RVer, you can even stay at one of Bandon’s cranberry farms if you’re a member of the Harvest Host program (if you want to sign up, make sure to check the top of this landing page for a unique promo code discount!).  

One of the aspects that gives Bandon’s Old Town a unique vibe is that it’s actually located on the southern bank of the Coquille River, with a wooden boardwalk to take in the views of the colorful fishing boats or, if you’re lucky, harbor seals playing in the water below. There’s even an annual art show, usually from May through October, where colorful works by local artists line the boardwalk’s path. 

Man sitting at a picnic table in front of Bandon Coffee in Bandon, Oregon

4. Washed Ashore 

Visiting this SUPER cool non-profit organization, which has the tagline “Art to Save the Sea”, is definitely one of the most quirky things to do in Bandon! 

Volunteers for Washed Ashore collect trash from the area’s beaches (over 60,000 pounds so far!) and then work with local artists to turn this debris into powerful sculptures. Their hope in displaying this art is to educate others about the excessive amount of plastic and other waste that’s polluting our ocean and waterways to encourage positive change in people’s habits (like… don’t throw your trash into the ocean, please!). 

You can stop by their gallery, right along the Coquille River in Old Town, to see exhibits of their sculptures and learn more about their incredible mission or even how to volunteer yourself!

5. Bandon Brewing

My husband, Justin, and I always try to go to microbreweries whenever we visit new places and Bandon is no exception! 

Woman smiling and holding a beer at Bandon Brewing in Bandon, Oregon

Conveniently located in the heart of Old Town, Bandon’s only brewery has a fun atmosphere, including a dog-friendly patio; tasty pizza; beers with Pacific Northwest twist (think cranberry ciders and IPAs, with locally grown hops); and, if you’re lucky, even live music!

6. Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

Face Rock is one of the most dramatic sections of the Oregon coastline, with a collection of rugged sea stacks and arches—and, actually, the number one reason we wanted to visit Bandon in the first place. 

Sea stacks at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint in Bandon, Oregon

This section of the coastline gets its name from one of the sea stacks, which kinda sorta looks like the profile of a face gazing up at the sky. According to a legend of the Coquille tribe, a daughter of the chief ran out into the water, was caught in the waves, and turned into one of the rock formations you see today. You can purportedly even still hear her voice in the wind today! 

Notwithstanding any supernatural whispering in the wind, the beach is INCREDIBLY beautiful, with tons of archways and sea caves to explore and one of the most beautiful sunsets along the Oregon Coast (which is saying a lot!)—an absolute DREAM for photographers!

7. Circles in the Sand

This project in Bandon is undoubtedly one of the most unique things to do in Bandon, marrying large scale pieces of art with the ocean. 

People walking in labyrinths in the sand at Circles in the Sand in Bandon, Oregon

During the warmer months, a team of artists creates sprawling “labyrinths” of beautiful intricate designs in the sand on the beach at Face Rock. While you’re welcome to watch the artists create these works of art, the real fun starts when the works are completed—onlookers are welcome to walk along the labyrinth’s pathway before the beautiful designs are washed away by the rising tide forever. 

Circles in the Sand usually occur every other week from April through August. You can see the schedule here

8. Simpson Reef Viewpoint

Located less than 40 minutes north of Bandon in the teeny town of Coos Bay, this overlook is one of my absolute favorite viewpoints along the Oregon Coast. Why? 

Well, because, for most of the year, there’s HUNDREDS of seals and sea lions chilling out on the rocky Shell Island below. 

Seals and sea lions at Shell Island at the Simpson Reef Overlook near Coos Bay, Oregon

The island is a bit far away, so you might want to bring along a pair of binoculars to get a better look at these goofy creatures. Alternatively, there’s usually volunteers from the non-profit organization, Shoreline Education for Awareness, here on Saturdays and Sundays from June through July with awesome telescopes you can look through and plenty of interesting facts about the creatures below.

Additionally, if you visit during gray whale season (migration season is from mid-December through mid-January and from late March through the end of May or resident whale season is from June through mid-November), this is also an awesome vantage point to spot their spouts or tails as they dive underwater. 

A colony of seals and sea lions at Shell Island near Coos Bay, Oregon

Even if you’re not lucky enough to be visiting when there’s wildlife, the overlook still offers dramatic views of the surrounding rocky cliffs and coastal forests. Plus, it’s close to a bunch of other cool stuff—in fact, all of the attractions below are on the exact same road and located within a couple minute drive of one another!

9. Cape Arago State Park

Located right next to the Simpson Reef Overlook, this state park is located on a rugged headland that juts into the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. 

Sleeping sea lions at Cape Arago State Park in Oregon

There’s a few short hiking trails to take here. For example, the Cape Arago North Cove Trail leads down to an overlook that provides a closer view of seals and (very noisy) sea lions on Shell Island than Simpson Reef (this trail is closed from March through June to protect the newly born seal pups!). Alternatively, the Cape Arago South Cove Trail leads down to a sandy beach that’s perfect for tidepooling. Both of these trails are pretty short, but also fairly steep—so save your energy for your climb back up!  

While you’re in the park, be sure to keep an eye out for the Cape Arago Lighthouse viewpoint, around here. Originally built in 1866, the picturesque lighthouse is perched on top of a rugged island, towering over the Pacific below. 

Cape Arago Lighthouse in Cape Arago State Park in Oregon

The island is now reclaimed as tribal land of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and is not open to public access. However, it’s still definitely worth a stop at the overlook to snap a photo of one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Oregon—and there’s even a few benches here that are perfect for enjoying a picnic lunch!

10. Shore Acres State Park

Shore Acre State Park is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Coos Bay and a not-to-be-missed spot in the Bandon area. Perched on a coastal cliff, the park provides STUNNING views over the surrounding sandstone formations and powerful waves, crashing against the cliffs. 

Woman looking at cliffs and rock formations in Shore Acres Sate Park in Oregon

But this plot of land was actually once the private vacation estate of a lumber baron, Louis Simpson, who started a spectacular botanical garden here. Now, the park has a formal garden, a Japanese-style garden, and two rose gardens, with lush flowers and plants from all over the world—you can find something in bloom here pretty much anytime of the year. 

11. Sunset Bay State Park

If you’re looking for more of a sandy beach to relax on, Sunset Bay State Park is perfect, with wide shores that are surrounded by rugged sea cliffs and dense coastal forests. And, true to its name, it’s an awesome spot to watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean. 

Man walking along the beach at Sunset Bay State Park in Oreogn

For something a bit more active, there’s a network of hiking trails that snakes through the beautiful coastal forests to Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Park. Additionally, there’s a small and quiet campground that makes a lovely homebase if you want to surround yourself with the coastline’s lush greenery and jaw dropping vistas. 

How to Get to Bandon, Oregon

Bandon is located along the southern portion of the Oregon Coast, about four hours and 15 minutes south of Portland, which has the largest international airport in the state, or two and a half hours south of Eugene.

Waves crashing against large rock formations in Shore Acres State Park in Oregon

Alternatively, Bandon is the perfect addition to any Oregon road trip itinerary if you’re planning on cruising down the coastline. For example, Bandon is five hours south of Cannon Beach; three and a half hours south of Pacific City; or an hour and a half south of Florence. 

Where to Stay in Bandon, Oregon

It’s worth devoting at least a day to exploring the incredible hidden gem of Bandon. So after enjoying the sunset at Face Rock or Sunset Bay, here’s some of the best places to stay in Bandon:

Lighthouse Cove Inn:  

Located right outside of the Old Town, the Lighthouse Cove Inn is a clean and simple hotel, with cozy features, like in-room electric fireplaces and free breakfast every morning.

Sea stacks at Face Rock Beach in Bandon, Oregon

Bandon Inn

This comfortable hotel comes with ocean views, proximity to the town’s shops and restaurants, and complimentary breakfast-to-go, to take along on your day’s adventures. 

Table Rock Motel

While this motel isn’t anything fancy, its rooms are spotless and have incredibly thoughtful features, from wine openers to even fireplaces in some rooms.

I hope you have an awesome time experiencing the incredible things to do in Bandon. Do you have any questions about this underrated gem? Let me know in the comments down below!

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