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Oregonians love the coast. It seems to be everyone’s favorite place to vacation. Winchester Bay has a lot to offer those who find it.

Winchester Bay was the ancestral home of what are now called the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua (Kuitsh), and Siuslaw Indians. Other Native Americans from along the Coast as well as those who lived inland came here to pick berries and hunt for elk. Later the locals traded with ships that stopped in the bay.

Winchester Bay is located at the mouth of the Umpqua River. It is home to less than 400 full-time residents. This seems unbelievable since it is such a hub of activity. The community has live music every Friday night during the summer. They also host some type of event almost every summer weekend.

Winchester Bay is the home of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area headquarters. The Park is 40 miles long and two and one half miles wide, and has the tallest dunes in the U.S, some that are 500 feet above sea level. What a perfect place for DuneFest 2012! DuneFest is happening now through August 5th. There are numerous events that include music, drag races, OEM demo rides, kids’ events, great food and lots more. If you are interested, you can check out the DuneFest website or Winchester Bay Events to check on events through Labor Day weekend.

The Oregon sand dunes also offer many other recreational activities. You could go for a dune buggy ride, go hiking, take pictures, or horseback riding, and even camp. You could also do a few things that might surprise you like feed the ducks, go sailing, canoeing, water-skiing, swimming, or scuba diving in many of the 30 lakes and ponds within Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

On the beach in Winchester Bay, if you have a license, you can go crabbing or how about clamming? It is fun to gather the mussels, soft-shell, bay, butter, littleneck, cockie, and gaper clams found here and it makes a tasty meal.

Of course you can charter a boat and head for the ocean for whale watching or to fish for sturgeon, salmon, or whatever fish is in season. If your fishing trip is successful, you can take your catch to Sportsmen’s Cannery to be canned or packed in ice.

The Umpqua River Lighthouse is a great place to watch winter storms. The lighthouse was first lit in 1894. It used a clockwork mechanism to rotate the Fresnel lens. When the mechanism failed 89 years later the Coast Guard wanted to replace it with a modern one. The public was not amused. The mechanism was restored, due to public demand, and returned to its place. You can visit the lighthouse from May through September each year.

The number of activities in and around Winchester Bay is astonishing, given its tiny size. Travel down and see what the south Coast has to offer.
Article written by Mary Boyer

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