life’s a beach in charleston, oregon

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On the beach at the Oceanside RV Resort in Charleston, Oregon

On the beach at the Oceanside RV Resort in Charleston, Oregon

Camp on the beach on the Oregon coast? Yes, please! Let me tell you, a week at the Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort in Charleston was a treat.

Our campsite wasn’t actually on the beach, but it was just about a quick walk and we could hear the ocean from inside the camper. I love falling asleep to the sounds of the waves hitting the shore almost as much as I love walking on the beach. Getting to do both every day for a week was wonderful. If you’re wondering, those are my shoes and that’s my glass of wine, but that’s not us walking on the beach.

Sunset on the beach in Charleston

Sunset on the beach in Charleston

It’s a dog-friendly beach, so Jackson had his first taste of the ocean. Literally. He seemed convinced for most of the week that if he gave it one more try, it wouldn’t taste funny. That really never panned out for him, but I appreciate his dogged determination. Bazinga.

Charleston is a fishing village located near Coos Bay and North Bend. There are three state parks nearby — Sunset Bay, Bastendorff Beach and Shore Acres — that provide lots of choices for enjoying the beaches and trails.

We arrived just in time for the Blackberry Arts Festival in Coos Bay and spent an afternoon enjoying the music, the food and the street fair, complete with samples from local wineries. The 7 Devils Brewing Company was also there with samples, which compelled us to visit the brewery just a couple of blocks away. We liked it, and lots of other people must as well since they’re in the process of expanding.

Sharkbites in Coos Bay, Oregon

Sharkbites in Coos Bay, Oregon

Fresh seafood was high on my list of reasons for staying on the coast. We tried three area restaurants, each better than the last. The Seafood Market on the boardwalk at Coos Bay has a very limited menu, and everything on it was fried. It’s tiny, just a couple of tables, so a lot of people get orders to go to eat on the boardwalk.

Miller’s Cove in Charleston has great reviews on TripAdvisor, so we gave it a try. Much better. It’s a sports bar with a lively atmosphere and a varied menu. My crab melt and clam chowder were both delicious. We’d go back.

The third stop, Sharkbites in Coos Bay, was a winner-winner-fish-taco dinner. Okay, we went for lunch, but that doesn’t rhyme. It’s funky-beach-chic with a giant swordfish on the wall and a surf shop in the back. The spicy fish tacos were so good, I’m not sure I have an adequate adjective. Very, very good, as was the clam chowder. I’d like to go back right now. Plus, the name reminds me of Finding Nemo, so extra points for making me say “ooh, ah, ah” every time I mentioned it.

Three must have been our lucky number for this stay, because that’s also how many lighthouses we visited. Our campground, the Cape Arago Lighthouse and the state park are all on the Cape Arago Highway. The lighthouse is located on private property, so you can’t actually visit it, but you can see it from several vantage points along the highway. We could hear the fog horn from our camper.

Seal at Cape Arago

Say cheese!

We kept driving south on the Cape Arago Highway, also known as the Beach Loop, to catch glimpses of the lighthouse. At the end of the road, there’s a loop with a lot of parking. Stop there! You can hear the seals barking as soon as you open the door. There’s a trail that leads down to a vantage point where you can see the largest haul-out of seals and sea lions on the Oregon coast. Pack a lunch; there are picnic tables with beautiful ocean views.

We looped back and cut over to southbound Highway 101 to see the Coquille River Lighthouse. It’s at Bullard’s Beach State Park in Bandon. You can go inside this one, but have to wait for a tour to go up into to the top. The park, the beach and the town of Bandon are all very scenic. This would be a good place to stay awhile.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Our third stop was at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse in Port Orford, which is located in a state park with the same name. It is the oldest standing lighthouse in the state and is located at the most westerly point in the state. There’s a parking lot where you can get a good view and take photos. You have to pay for tour to get any closer. It was quite blustery when we were there, so we didn’t stay too long here.

The only negative part of the visit was that the fog settled in at our campground after two days and stayed put until the morning we left. The coastline is very pretty in the fog, and fortunately we found sunshine just a few minutes away, but I would have preferred to have more sun and less fog. I visited with one of the staff members who said that he’s seen 100-mile-an-hour winds in the campground in winter. That’s hard on the awnings! All in all, we loved our stay and definitely recommend it as a vacation spot.

You can read my campground review of the Oceanside RV Resort here. Stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest!

12 thoughts on “life’s a beach in charleston, oregon

  1. Wanna know an insider secret? My dad grew up in Brookings and they used to call Port Orford, Port Awful. LOL! I think cause it was tinier than their town.

    I love reading about your experience on the Oregon Coast, because it’s one of my favorite places on the planet.

    And I love the photo of the shoes and wine glass. I guess I’m not the only one who takes that photo. 🙂


    • Thanks, Heidi! I was hoping to get to Brookings to take a photo for you, but we just couldn’t fit everything in. We didn’t actually go to Port Orford, just the lighthouse, so I don’t know if it’s improved any since your dad was there. Oregon is one of our favorites, too.


    • We live in No. Cal. but spent a lot of time camping on the OR coast which was one of our favorite places,. Lots of good memories since, being in our 80’s we don’t camp anymore.


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