Coos Bay Oregon and North Bend are really great places to stop in and stay for a while when you're on the Southern Oregon Coast. Charleston rounds out the trinity in the south known as the Bay Area.
The dramatic beaches, glorious sunsets, massive dunes, lush forests and amazing fishing have attracted visitors from all over the world to the Southern Oregon coast, both to stay and play.
Since 1980, these wonderful towns along Hwy 101 have moved more and more toward tourism, attracting visitors from all over Oregon and beyond.
Even though both cities have their own governing bodies, Coos Bay, Oregon's largest coastal city, pretty much merges right into North Bend, as if they were one in the same.
Lumber in these two areas used to be huge. It was the primary industry there and what put food on many a families' plate.
Even though still known for the shipping and manufacturing, the dependence on lumber for the cities' survival is a thing of the past.
With a combined and thriving population of around 25,000 people, Coos Bay and North Bend have rolled out the Welcome mat by hosting festivals, annual events and renovating their cities with casinos (The Mill Casino-Hotel in North Bend), shopping malls and more.
With the average high temperature of around 67°, this portion of coast is best if you're allergic to cooler weather. You'll find the driest month to be July and August is the hottest. All around, warmer than the Northern and Central areas. This leads to a ton of outdoor recreation, including sand boarding, atv's on the dunes, swimming and romantic walks along the beach.
I remember my wife telling me that, as a young girl, there was barely anything worth doing in North Bend (she grew up there, attending Marshfield High School (the city's former name after 1944)).
It could have been just the hormonal perception of a young teenage girl, but with what I know about the tough times that the towns have been through in the last 20 years, I would have no doubt she saw what she saw.
That all has begun to change in exciting ways, though. The cities are seeing a revitalization and new life that they have never known before.
At the time of this writing, the area is planning a huge, new Oregon Coast condominium complex and a large retail center to give more life and attract more tourists. The sleeping giant is beginning to stir. It's really exciting to see the plans they have going on around here.
North Bend is home to the Pony Village Mall, the only enclosed mall on the entire Oregon Coast, while Coos Bay boasts their very own art museum. The Coos Art Museum is housed in the former post office and hosts some wonderful paintings, prints and sculptures. Both of these Oregon coast cities are real up-and-comers, in my opinion.
I believe both places will be contenders for best tourist towns very soon. With all the activity of a growing city, a nice, leisurely stroll along the 2/3-mile boardwalk is very relaxing. I love to watch the fishing boats sail from the docks and then come in again. It lends itself to a very peaceful day.
If you can plan your trip around March, make sure to stop in and enjoy the Southcoast Clambake Jazz Festival. This three-day annual event held the second week of the month, brings together food and fun, promoting more than a dozen bands.
If you can't get your fill of great tunes, stick around through July for the Oregon Coast Music Festival. These are only a couple of the many special events held in these very special areas of the Oregon Coast.
Live theater, art walks, and loads of great seafood call out to visitors of the Oregon Coast year round. You'll be treated to antique shops, specialty museums, fresh seafood and other cuisines and beautifully-cared for parks. You'll discover the freshest oysters around, wonderful opportunities for bird-watching and great fishing. Do a lot or do very little. The choices are vast for whatever suits you any particular day.
Such is life in the two southern coastal towns of Coos Bay Oregon and North Bend. Come visit. I think you'll have a great time! ;)