Visitors to Oregon’s Adventure Coast come for many reasons. Getting a chance to experience coastal life is one of the main reasons. And what could be more representative than the marriage of land and sea than Oregon’s lighthouses? Both romantic and mysterious, lighthouses have been the backdrop of songs, stories, and dreams. For millennia, these guideposts have helped sailors navigate rugged coastal terrain.
A whopping five of Oregon’s nine lighthouses are within one hour of the Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston area.
Cape Arago Lighthouse
12 miles southwest of Coos Bay/North Bend in Charleston
This 44-foot-high tower was first illuminated in 1934 with a unique fog horn. The original structures built on this site in 1866 and 1908 were damaged by the weather and waves. There is no public access but there are great views from Bastendorff Beach County Park, the Oregon Coast Trail and the viewpoint on Cape Arago Hwy. In Sept of 2008, the land was returned to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and the bridge that linked the lighthouse’s island to the shore was demolished. The Fresnel lens was removed in 2013 and is currently on display at the Coos History Museum .
Coquille River Lighthouse Interpretive Center
20 miles south of Coos Bay in Bandon.
Built in 1896, decommissioned in 1939, the Coquille River Lighthouse was restored as an interpretive center in 1979. It sits on Bullards Beach State Park in Bandon. Tours available Thu. - Mon. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tue. - Wed.) from mid-May through September. It’s staffed with volunteers who interpret the history of the area. The tower is closed to the public for safety concerns. Click here for more information or call 541-347-2209.
Umpqua River Lighthouse
19 miles north of North Bend off Hwy 101
The first lighthouse sited on the Oregon Coast and was illuminated in 1894. Its lens emits distinctive red and white flashes. Summer tours available, visit the Lighthouse Visitor Center next door.
Heceta Head Lighthouse:
59 miles north of Coos Bay and 12 miles north of Florence
First illuminated in 1894, its light can be seen 21 miles from land, making it the strongest light on the Oregon Coast. Join us for a staff-guided lighthouse program from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the summer and 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the winter, weather and staff permitting. Click here for more information or call 541-547-3416.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse:
48 miles south of Coos Bay, and 9 miles North of Port Orford off Hwy 101
The oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon Coast; commissioned in 1870. Its cliff top location is 245 feet above the ocean; its tower rises 59 feet. The road to the lighthouse is closed for public vehicle use. Visitors may walk a quarter mile from the gate to the lighthouse for tours and to visit the grounds. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, tours cost $2 for adults (free for youth 15 and younger) and will allow visitors into the workroom only. Tours: April-Oct. 31, Wednesday - Monday, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Last tour ticket sold at 3:15 p.m. (closed Tuesday). Cape Blanco Lighthouse Greeting Center and gift shop is open 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Wednesday - Monday (closed Tuesday).