Let’s talk about food first! For a great start to your morning, head over to Espresso Mill and Bakery for some delicious coffee and bagel sandwiches to-go. Chuck's Seafood is the perfect spot for a snack, offering bay shrimp cocktails, smoked salmon, tuna, salmon sticks, and a variety of seafood to cook at home. Don't miss out on their highly recommended sourdough bread or try Miller's at the Cove. If you need an energy boost, grab a blizzard at Dairy Queen before embarking on your next adventure.
For a family-friendly beach experience, Sunset Bay is the perfect destination. The waves are gentle, and the water is shallow, making it ideal for surfing in the winter, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can also enjoy a picnic or explore the tidepools to discover small crabs, starfish, sea urchins, and other sea creatures. On the south side of the cove, you'll find ancient spruce tree roots buried in the sand, likely due to a geological event like an earthquake. If you like to hike, take the trail near the volleyball net and enjoy miles of rugged coastline. You can hike to Shore Acres Botanical Gardens State Park, which is a 2.2-mile round trip, or continue for an 8.5-mile round trip. If hiking isn't for you, drive up Cape Arago Highway and pay a $5 parking fee to visit the beautiful gardens and gift shop of Shore Acres. In the winter, the crashing waves against the rocks make for a spectacular sight. Don't forget to visit the Charleston Marine Life Center, a small building packed with local marine animals and exhibits of the Oregon Pacific Ocean.
Before you go, there are a few things to keep in mind. Bring layers as the beach can be foggy or windy, with changing weather. You can rent beach toys from Bahama Boards in Coos Bay. Wear good shoes to explore the tide pools, as the wet rocks can be slippery. There is no or poor cell service in this area.