Summer may be drawing to a close, but fall is the very best time to visit Pacific Northwest coastline! The Oregon Coast spoils families with miles upon miles of great beaches and beach towns, but one of our favorites remains Bandon. Located about midway up the coast, Bandon offers a little of everything: small town charm without being too touristy (but just touristy enough), gorgeous coastline, plenty of activities, and plenty of fresh, salty air. (Just be sure to bring a jacket, because Oregon beaches aren’t exactly known for bikinis and suntans!)
Where to Play: Bandon is all about the beach! Our favorite for beach combing, kite flying, and sand castle building is Face Rock Scenic State Park, right off Hwy 101 on the south side of town. (Follow signs from downtown). Be sure to check out the caves in the sides of the outcroppings of rock on the sand (at low tide). If you need a break from the sand, try your hand at picking cranberries (or just sampling them) at Faber Farms and Cranberry Scoop Gift Shop (from U.S. 101, head east 1 1/2 miles on State 42 South and turn right on Morrison Rd. Watch for the farm’s sign after about 1 mile.)
Where to Eat: Without a doubt, you’ll want to stop at the Bandon Fish Market for some fresh fish and chips, located in the Old Town Waterfront (right by the bay). (They also serve corn dogs and fries for the non-seafood-eating set.) Their seating is outside only, so bring sweatshirts as it gets chilly next to the water, but it’s fun to watch the fishermen on the wharf while waiting for your food. After your meal, cross the street to Cranberry Sweets and More. They’re not kidding about the ‘and more’ part: you’ll find chocolates, truffles, taffies, and every other kind of candy imaginable in addition to their signature sweets. The best part of this store is the abundance of samples. You can easily eat your way around the store, which makes it very fun for kids (and adults)!
Where to Stay: We usually opt to camp at nearby Sunset Bay State Park (north in Coos Bay area), but if you’re staying a full week, consider a home rental. There are many on offer, from sprawling beach houses fit for a family reunion to small cottages in town. If you’re only visiting for a day or two, we’re tried (and loved) The Best Western Inn at Face Rock.
Want a warmer beach town? Check out our Great Beach Towns article on Laguna Beach, CA!