We understand that for many travelers, budgets can be tight. But that does not mean you can’t take a fun trip to the coast any time of the year! Some of the best destinations and activities on Oregon’s Adventure Coast can be experienced for a small amount and in many cases, absolutely FREE. Take the mighty Pacific Ocean for example. One could spend hours gazing at it’s dramatic beauty without spending a dime.
Here are some more free (or nearly free) ways to explore Oregon’s South Coast.
1. Hike The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and it is like no place on earth. It’s also one of our favorite attractions on the Southern Oregon Coast because they give visitors plenty of opportunities to find relaxation and adventure. For maps go to: www.fs.fed.us.
2. Visit Mingus Park
Right in the middle of Coos Bay you will find Mingus Park, a beautiful spot for a peaceful walk along paved paths around a lily pond. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the lush Japanese garden with waterfalls, wooden boardwalks, an arch bridge, nature trails, and a playground for children. It’s the perfect way to spend a beautiful day!
3. Sample Goodies at Cranberry Sweets
Satisfy that sweet tooth with a trip to Cranberry Sweets, a candy manufacturer/retailer with stores in Bandon and Coos Bay, Oregon. It’s a favorite among locals and visitors. Visitors to their store are often rewarded with a variety of irresistible in-store samples.
4. Enjoy the Seasonal Blooms at Shore Acres State Park
For just small $5.00 parking fee, you can find your own piece of heaven in Shore Acres State Park, the crown jewel of Oregon’s South Coast. Take a scenic stroll along the breathtaking cliffs with majestic ocean views. Be sure to visit the Japanese-style gardens and Botanical gardens for a closer look at their stunning blooms. If you are visiting over the holidays, a trip to see their annual Holiday Lights display is a MUST.
5. Catch a Movie at The Egyptian Theatre
Frugal moviegoers can expect to pay anywhere from $2- $5 to enjoy a night out at the movies (a huge savings over regular movie theater tickets). The beautifully restored and historic Egyptian Theatre features classic movies and live entertainment throughout the year. Located in the heart of downtown Coos Bay, this destination is fun for the whole family. 229 S BROADWAY ST, Coos Bay, Oregon 97420.
6. Comedy Night at Warehouse 101 inside The Mill Casino every Wednesday
In the mood to LOL? Come to Warehouse 101, inside The Mill Casino * Hotel for Comedy Night every Wednesday! The Mill Casino features new comedians who are sure to make you laugh in addition to serving great food and drinks. Two FREE hilarious shows start at 6pm and 8pm every Wednesday evening. 21 and over only.
7. Spend the Day at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (South Slough NERR) is one of our greatest local treasures. The 5,000 acre natural area encompasses a mixture of open water channels, tidal and freshwater wetlands, riparian areas, and forested uplands. Many of their educational and outdoor programs are free or offered at a low cost to cover materials. The Interpretive Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 4:30 pm (Closed on State holidays). Trails are open from dawn to dusk everyday. South Slough NERR is located 4 miles south of Charleston on Seven Devils Road.
8. Coos Art Museum
Established in 1950, the Coos Art Museum is the third oldest art museum in Oregon. The museum features rotating exhibits and the Steve Prefontaine Memorial Gallery. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students, seniors, free to Members of CAM.
Tip: Check to see if they have an opening reception coming up. They are sometimes free and open to the public. You may also want to ask about other offers such as a senior special or kids offer.
9. Stroll through Downtown North Bend and Coos Bay
Downtown Coos Bay and Downtown North Bend are great places to find the perfect treasure. Shoppers will find a wide range of unique antique stores, retail shops, restaurants, art and so much more. Spend an afternoon getting to know our wonderful and friendly merchants while browsing through their shops. You just never know what wonderful treasures you will find here, which makes Coos Bay a top destination for shoppers.
10. Spend the Day on the Beach
It won’t cost you a dime to enjoy the best part of our region – our beaches. Whether you want to fly a kite, swim, walk, surf, paddle board or just sit & watch the tide, Oregon’s Adventure Coast is the most versatile coastal destination on the Oregon Coast! Visitors come to watch the seals and hope to catch a glimpse of migrating whales! Check out our many beaches and choose your own experience!
11. Fishing, Fishing, Fishing!
Fishing, crabbing and clamming on Oregon’s Adventure Coast may very well be the world’s most affordable therapy! Before you head out on your fishing adventure, contact our local bait and tackle shops and ask for tips! It could save you time and money! Click here for more info.
12. Downtown Coos Bay Farmer’s Market
The Coos Bay Farmers’ Market is a joy for thousands of tourists who visit downtown Coos Bay every year,and it just gets better each year. There is no cost to get in and you can enjoy entertainment, sample fresh food, purchase local produce, and browse through unique treasures and plants. The Coos Bay Farmers’ Market is located in the heart of the Marshfield District, on Central Avenue between Highway 101 South and 4th Avenue, and runs every Wednesday from 9 AM to 2 PM May through October.
13. Throw a Strike at North Bend Lanes
You can’t go wrong with bowling, it’s America’s #1 Participation Activity with over 70 million people bowling each year! With a choice of paying by the hour ($15.00 per hour for a 6 person lane) or per game ($3.00 per game during the day M-F/$3.75 per game nights & weekends) you can find the price that’s best for you at North Bend Lanes. We recommend you reserve a lane ahead of time to guarantee a spot! When you’re done bowling, head over to the Back Alley Pub and Grill for a quick bite and a drink. During mild summer evenings, North Bend Lanes’ Back Patio features live music, specialty foods and beverages.
14. Stroll the Coos Bay Boardwalk
A walk down the Coos Bay Boardwalk will take you past docked ships, stunning views, and delicious cafes. Grab some fish & chips and enjoy a Coos Bay institution! There’s something for everybody out here whether you’re walking your dog, fishing, seeking great photo ops, running, or just taking a break.
15. Go Camping
Depending on your setup, happy campers can find plenty of affordable and comfortable camping options at State Parks like Sunset Bay State Park. If spending the day at the beach is more to your liking then you’ll be happy to know that Sunset Bay State Park offers easy beach access. The park has 29 full hookup, 34 electrical, 66 individual tent sites and two group tent areas, as well as 8 rustic yurts.
16. Unwind at the Liberty Pub
In the mood for a beer and some tunes in a laid back atmosphere? That’s what Liberty Pub offers. This North Bend favorite is an ideal spot to relax after playing all day, enjoy some live music, or watch the game.
17. First Friday Wine Walk in Downtown Coos Bay
The fun keeps going! Visit various downtown businesses from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm to wine taste and shop on the First Friday of every month. Commemorative wine glasses and maps are available for just $10 each at the Coos Bay Visitor Center, 50 Central Ave Coos Bay, OR 97420. Proceeds benefit a selected charity each month and the Rotary Club. For more information, contact 541-844-9494
18. Learn Something New At The Coos History Museum
See their beautiful new facility! For $7.00 for an adult, $6.00 for AAA or AARP adults, and $3.00 for students, you have access to the Coos History Museum and Maritime Collection with more than 50,000 objects and 250,000 images. See artifacts and archival material from Coos regional history and learn more about our fascinating region.
19. Experience the Charleston Marine Life Center
The 6,000-square-foot Charleston Marine Life Center is one of the newest destinations on Oregon’s Adventure Coast. The museum features five different exhibits that include a tide pool touch tank, an aquarium gallery filled with aquatic life from the surrounding area, an open-air deck where visitors can see fishing vessels coming and going from the harbor, interactive display panels and a Marine Mammal Gallery featuring skeletons of a 23 foot long orca and a 35 foot long California grey whale, as well as skulls and bones of smaller whales, sea otters, and seals. Admission is just $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and free for children and students with ID.
If you’d like some more suggestions then please visit our Activities page.