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27 Budget-Friendly Experiences to do on Oregon’s Adventure Coast This Summer

27 Budget-Friendly Experiences to do on Oregon’s Adventure Coast This Summer

Summer officially kicked off last week, and that means it’s road trip season! Bearing the soaring gas prices in mind, we wanted to share some ideas and travel tips on how to help offset the cost of fuel. From free festivals and outdoor activities to free admission to local museums, there is a budget-friendly activity for everyone to enjoy on Oregon’s Adventure Coast. Here are some of our favorite budget-friendly ways to enjoy Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston for FREE (or really cheap).

**Please note: all scheduled events mentioned in this blog post are subject to change without notice. Please call ahead or visit our Events Page and Calendar for the full list**

#1 Celebrate Independence Day with FREE Admission to the following events:

  • July 3, 2022 - Watch the largest fireworks display on the Oregon Coast at The Mill Casino ! The waterfront fireworks display will be located in front of The Mill Casino, but can be seen from anywhere along the Bay! Tune in to K-DOCK radio 92.9 fm for the live remote and firework display broadcast!
  • July 4, 2022 - Stick around for many events throughout the day in Mingus Park, and cap it off with a 2nd night of fireworks with the City of Coos Bay’s fireworks display! The display can also be seen from most places along the Bay, from The Coos History Museum to Eastside!

#2 The Coos History Museum offers FREE Admission on the Second Saturday of each month! Join their new CHM Explorer’s Club with children’s activities in the Sprague Gallery from 10 am-12 noon. Regular museum admission ranges from just $3-$7, and it is always free to members, active-duty service, and children under five.

#3 Visit Cranberry Sweets , a candy manufacturer/retailer with stores in Bandon and Coos Bay. You can watch candy being made most weekdays, while also sampling your heart out!

#4 It’s FREE to browse the Coos Bay Farmers Market every Wednesday in Downtown Coos Bay from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. You’ll also find fresh, locally grown produce, eggs, honey, meat, baked goods, soaps, candles, homemade jams and jellies, and unique creations handcrafted by local artisans for a reasonable price.

#5 Experience the Coos Bay Downtown Wine Walk on the First Friday of every month (please note there will be no Wine Walk in July). For a $10 donation towards a local non-profit, you can taste wine and explore various downtown businesses beginning at 5:00 pm. Commemorative wine glasses and maps are available for a $10 donation at the Coos Bay Visitor Center, 50 Central Ave Coos Bay, OR 97420.

#6 Bowl for 1/2 price every Sunday from 8:30 PM - 10 PM at North Bend Lanes , a beloved institution on Oregon’s Adventure Coast since 1957!

#7 There is no charge to explore the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (South Slough NERR), a beautiful 5,000-acre natural area located in the Coos estuary on the south coast of Oregon. The center encompasses open water channels, tidal and freshwater wetlands, riparian areas, and forested uplands. The Interpretive Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 4:30 pm (closed on State holidays). Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk. Many of their educational and outdoor programs are free or offered at a low cost to cover materials. South Slough NERR is located 4 miles south of Charleston on Seven Devils Road.

#8 Visit the Coos Art Museum (CAM)! Visitors can explore current exhibits and a rare Steve Prefontaine collection for just $5 at CAM, the cornerstone of visual arts on Oregon’s Southern Coast. If you’re a student or senior, admission is just $2. Admission is always free to Members of CAM. FREE - Second Sunday Group tours are available on request.

#9 For just $5 per car, you can explore Shore Acres State Park , the crown jewel of the Oregon Coast. Enjoy a stroll through the gardens and amazing views of the ocean, and explore a “secret beach” and a secluded ocean cove on Simpson Beach, just below Shore Acres State Park.

#10 - Attend one of these FREE concerts happening with the 44th Annual Oregon Coast Music Festival (tickets to the other concerts are available now)

#11 Come to The Mill Casino Food Truck Off the weekend of August 5-7, 2022. For just $5 per person (FREE for kids 5 and under), you can experience great music and a feast of an event featuring up to 20 food trucks from the Pacific Northwest! All trucks will have at least one $3 sample item available for purchase, and will also serve from the entire regular menu. A portion of the entry fee will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon.

#12 Go window shopping in Downtown North Bend and Coos Bay. Our downtowns offer 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 never know what treasures you will find.

#13 Enjoy FREE admission to the Charleston Seafood Festival August 12-14, 2022! The festival features three days of music, seafood, and fun in the Charleston Marina Complex, Charleston, Oregon.

#14 Enjoy original works of art, crafts, music and FREE Admission at the Blackberry Arts Festival August 27 - August 28, 2022. This beloved art and craft festival features an impressive array of metalwork, jewelry, quilts, candles, hand-painted clothing, wine, carved wood, and much more available for purchase. The festival also includes food vendors.

#15 FREE admission to the Marshfield Sun Printing Museum , a unique printing museum located at the north end of Front Street on Coos Bay’s historic waterfront. Open Tuesday through Saturday 1pm-4pm Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

#16 Explore the mysterious history of our region on a FREE self-guided walking tour of Historic Coos Bay & North Bend.

#17 Listen to live organ music at the Egyptian Theatre for FREE! This summer, visitors can hear spectacular music every Wednesday from 12pm - 1pm on The Mighty Wurlitzer! Located in the heart of downtown Coos Bay, this destination is fun for the whole family.

#18 Enjoy a fresh, hot cup of coffee and a delicious pastry at a local coffee shop, like So It Goes Coffeehouse , The Grounds Cafe (located inside the Books by the Bay Bookstore ) and more.

#19 Go tide pooling and discover a new species or natural treasure. Look, but don’t touch!

#20 Stroll through the Charleston Marina. It won’t cost a dime to explore the scenery, boats, unique merchants, fishing markets located in the Charleston Marina. The friendly residents and merchants in this distinctive fishing village will do everything possible to make your visit memorable and fun! Sometimes, you can even catch a few of our local resident sea lions relaxing on the docks or going for a morning swim.

#21 Visit the Charleston Marine Life Center, part of the OIMB - The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology , located in the marina, overlooking the water. Attractions include an aquarium highlighting different coastal ecosystems, a tide pool touch tank, whale and sea lion skeletons, and underwater video from deep reefs and undersea volcanoes. Admission is FREE for Children/Students, $5 for Adults, and $4 for Seniors/AAA.

#22 Spend the day exploring the beaches and state parks along the Cape Arago Highway. Watch the seals and sea lions on Simpson Reef and Shell Island , part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge . Download our Charleston to Bandon Scenic Tour Driving Map to help you on your route and choose your own experience. You may also download our PDF Guide for the Cape Arago Beach Loop. FREE (some parking fees may apply)

#23 Bring your bike and go on an adrenaline-pumping ride through miles of misty coastal forests, tranquil streams, and fern-covered floors on the Whiskey Run Mountain Bike Trails .

#24 Hunt for treasures in local antique shops. The towns of Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston have a rich and unique history, making this region a treasure trove for collectors.

#25 Hike through lush coastal forests to Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area , two magnificent waterfalls here on Oregon’s Adventure Coast.

#26 Fish on! With a little research and planning, you can find multiple fishing adventures the whole family can enjoy for a relatively low price any time of the year. We recommend checking with our local bait stores for tips on how to save $$ and come home with a big catch. Don’t forget to pick up a fishing and/or shell fishing license .

#27 Explore the many hidden “trails less traveled” on Oregon’s Adventure Coast, like Empire Lakes Trail , Millicoma Marsh, Mingus Park , North Spit Of Coos Bay Trail System and Simpson Park/Ferry Road Park. You can also find miles of spectacular trails from Sunset Bay to Cape Arago State Park that wind around the coastal bluffs, offering spectacular views of the rugged, cliff-lined Pacific Ocean. Click here for a trail map .

Tips to Save $$

  • Fill up before you go! These days, gas costs big bucks everywhere, but you’ll be more relaxed knowing you have a full tank and won’t have to stop at an unfamiliar gas station along the way.
  • Drive the speed limit! Speeding increases fuel consumption, as gas mileage/fuel efficiency usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 miles per hour (mph). Source: US Department of Energy
  • Look for restaurant specials. There are numerous local restaurants dishing out the freshest seafood and chowder you could hope for. Ask about discounts and specials!. Download our Local Restaurant Guide to carry with you, or visit Oregonsadventurecoast.com/dining to see all our local restaurants
  • Hotels often fill up in the summer months, so be sure to book your accommodations as far in advance as possible. If a hotel stay is not in your budget, consider a camping trip in one of our amazing camping destinations like Sunset Bay State Park Campground, Bluebill Campground, Bastendorff Beach County Park, Horsfall Beach OHV Campground, Box Car Hill Campground, Riley Ranch County Park, Spinreel Campground and many more. Click here to a list of all campgrounds, hotels and RV Parks.
  • Pack a lunch or snacks for the road trip to save you $$ while traveling. There are plenty of picnic destinations to visit along the way.
  • If applicable, bring current membership cards with AAA , AARP NARM , AAM or AASLH and don’t be afraid to show it! Some local businesses and museums may offer a discount to members.

There is an adventure for everyone on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston . Be sure to book your accommodations in Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston early by clicking here . Whether you are on the hunt for awe-inspiring landscapes, thrilling outdoor activities, shopping, fine dining, special events, or an evening of entertainment, you will find it here. For more information, please contact the Coos Bay – North Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau .

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE EVENTS COMING UP!

Sep 10 - Sep 11, 2022- Annual Mill-Luck Salmon Celebration

Sep 16 - Sep 17, 2022- Annual Cruz The Coos

Sep 17, 2022- Annual Prefontaine Memorial Run

Sep 17 - Sep 18, 2022- Annual Bay Area Fun Festival 2022

Nov 22 - Dec 31, 2022- Annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres

(541) 269-0215
50 Central Ave, Coos Bay, OR 97420

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