Coos Bay, Oregon: Population = 16,292, elevation = 23 feet, Average January low temp = 40.2º, Average July high temp = 64.5º, Average precipitation = 64.91”
The road from Eugene to Florence wound through the deep, dark and mossy temperate rainforest. Giant trees formed a green tunnel filled with dappled sunlight that strobed across Gypsy’s windshield. We emerged from the tunnel to glimpse mountains and rivers, and then ducked back in around the next bend. Finally, the land flattened out and homes appeared: Florence. This is where we took a left turn onto Highway 101 and headed down the coast toward Coos Bay. At a little restaurant in Florence, we stepped out of the car and were hit by the cold wind. Eugene was a blistering 95º; Florence was a windy, overcast 65º with a tinge of salt in the air.
Coos Bay is a horseshoe shaped bay on the lower Oregon coast. The city of Coos Bay is on the land within the horseshoe, along with its neighbor, North Bend. Highway 101 runs along the edge of downtown Coos Bay, providing a never-ending stream of trucks and tourists. The trucks are moving product for lumber mills and seafood markets.
The tourists are admiring the spectacular Oregon coast. Every mile or two there is another scenic overlook or state park. From high sheer cliffs showing the grain of the Earth’s crust to wide, flat, sandy beaches, the Oregon coastline has it all.
Back in Coos Bay, there is plenty to do to keep a tourist (or resident) busy. There is a brewery and a distillery. There are many fine and homey restaurants. On Wednesdays there is a Farmers Market that stretches 4 blocks long that features a wonderful variety of vegetables and fruits, handcrafts, clothing, and some great food trucks.
On a rainy, foggy day there are nice indoor places to visit. We loved the Egyptian Theater, where we saw a show and listened to a Wurlitzer concert. Just down the street are history and art museums. And for a real treat, we visited the Cranberry Sweets Candy Factory.
Coos Bay is a nice little town with plenty to see and do. There are ocean tours and fishing boats. Go crabbing or clamming on the beach. There are many miles of hiking trails through deep forest and rocky shoreline. Rent an ATV and tear-ass around on the dunes. Or even check out the many little shops downtown. If you like your summers cool and salty, this is a great town.
Next up: Eureka, California