Tiny Bandon, Oregon is one of the most popular places on Oregon’s south coast. Located at the mouth of the Coquille River, it is a wonderful vacation spot.
Bandon was once primarily a lumber town. Luckily for the 2,800 residents who make their home here, as the timber industry was shrinking, tourism, small manufacturing, farming, and fishing expanded to fill the void.
The area around Bandon is marshy, making cranberries a popular crop here, since they grow well in marshy bogs. When you visit Old Town remember to taste the handmade cranberry salsa and cranberry fudge!
Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge north of town has benefited from several restoration projects. The response by migratory birds and shore birds alike is amazing. For bird watchers, this is a must stop place.
Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge perches along the coast of Bandon. The rocks off the shore here are home to Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Western Gull, and Brandt’s Cormorant. Harbor seals and their pups are often seen here as well. Remember that a seal pup on the beach has probably been left there while its mother has gone to sea in search of food. Do not touch the pups!
Bandon’s beautiful sandy beaches are fun to explore. It is easy to get to the beach from Old Town. As you walk south you will discover huge “sea stacks,” erosion resistant rock left behind after the ocean has worn away the softer parts of the land. Sea stacks are the home of seals and birds. You must remember that if a sea stack is surrounded by water at high tide, it is illegal to climb on it. Bring binoculars so you can see the wildlife without disturbing them.
The boat basin and pier are east of the Bandon lighthouse. Boats are available to take you fishing or crabbing. From Weber’s Pier you can fish for smelt and perch or you can have a great time crabbing off the dock. Licenses, crab pots, fishing poles and bait are available for a reasonable rental fee.
Old Town Bandon is a collection of unique shops showcasing the work of local artists. These galleries and shops feature original paintings, stone and wood sculptures, jewelry, tribal art, and art glass. You may also find beautiful pieces made from Oregon Myrtlewood. Myrtlewood naturally grows in a wide range of colors, from blond to walnut, and patterns. It is considered one of the world’s most beautiful woods.
Less than a five minute drive north of town a resort area called Bandon Dunes began rising in 1990s. The first golf course built there was Bandon Dunes, an internationally acclaimed course reminiscent of St. Andrews in Scotland. Two years later, Pacific Dunes was added. Next came Bandon Trails. Old Macdonald, a par 3 course was added in 2010. They courses bring people from all over the world to the area.
Tourism, farming, fishing, and light manufacturing have admirably filled the place left by the timber industry. Beautiful Bandon by the Sea has evolved into a great vacation destination.
Article written by Mary Boyer
Additional resources for planning a trip to Bandon Oregon.