With over 300 miles of public coastline and 255 State Parks, many people would expect Oregon to be stretched a little thin or overrun by their 46 million annual visitors. However, there is more than enough land to explore and numerous places that guests will want to make sure they stop and visit on an RV trip. Bullards Beach State Park is just one of those important stops that RVers won't want to miss.
Located in Southern Oregon, the park has just under five miles of beach that stretch along the Coquille River to the south and three miles of ocean coastline to the west, providing visitors with plenty of opportunities to enter the water. In fact, there is a boat launch and public dock south of the park on the Coquille river which is well known for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead in season. Crab can be caught right off the end of the dock with simple drop-rings. Other things to do in Bullards Beach State Park include kayaking, beach biking, kite flying, and hiking, just to name a few. If it's an activity suitable for Oregon, it's happening here.
The park is extremely RV-friendly with three large campground loops that all have electrical and water hookups. The entire park and individual sites are level and paved, providing plenty of room for large groups and even the largest of rigs. The camp is set back enough from the beach to be protected from the strong winds, but not so far back that campers have to walk for a long time before hitting the shore.
Campers will want to be sure to take a day and visit the nearby town of Bandon that is just minutes away. There's a local brewery, a creamery, a huge bottle shop, candy, art galleries, and several popular restaurants open year-round. Bandon is also known for throwing quite the party for both the 4th of July and the Annual Cranberry Festival in the fall.
Highway 101 is a scenic, one-of-a-kind drive, but it is not somewhere that visitors will want to be in a rush. The road is narrow with room enough for only two lanes and includes many hills. Though on the plus side, the road is paved which makes for a much smoother journey. Once inside the park, visitors will want to continue to take things slowly and cautiously. The roads here are also paved, but they are even narrower and windier than the highway. Many trees often border and shade the roadways, so be aware and look out for low-hanging branches that might do damage to vehicles passing by. The campground can hold big rigs and trailers up to 63 feet in length. All sites are back in, but angled to help with the visibility. Once the RV is parked, it is best to travel through the park on foot or in a smaller vehicle that can more easily manage the tight turns.
The main campground of the park is a large area consisting of three different loops with a total of 185 sites that are available by reservation only. For those looking for all the amenities, 103 sites feature full hookups, while the remaining 83 sites have hookups for both water and electricity. The campground is open year-round.
Campground amenities include full restrooms with hot showers, a dump station, and a hiker/biker camp area with storage lockers. These lockers contain solar-powered charging ports where hikers and bikers can recharge their electronic devices. The sites are roomy, private, and offer a nice mix of sun and tall trees so visitors will not have to worry too much about branches overhead. Each site comes equipped with a fire pit and picnic table. Guests should be aware that all of the sites are back-in sites with the largest being able to accommodate a rig that is 63 feet long. A select few of the sites in the main campground are ADA-accessible. Pets are allowed in the campground but must be kept on a leash.
The Equestrian Campground is located just south of the main campground to provide equestrian campers close access to the beach trail. This campground offers eight horse sites that are specially designed for equestrian campers. The largest of these sites can fit a trailer up to 64 feet long. A few of the sites are pull-through so guests will want to be sure they select the site most suited to their parking capabilities. Each site comes equipped with a picnic table and fire ring. The Equestrian Campground also comes with vault toilets and four 12' by 12' corrals. Equestrian campers should be aware that tethering their horse anywhere other than the corral is prohibited.
In addition to the campground, Bullards Beach State Park also has 13 yurts which park visitors can reserve for overnight camping. The Yurts are located within the main campground and are spread out among the standard campsites. Yurts also are back-in only sites with paved pads for parking vehicles. A select number of yurts come with electrical hookups and only a few of them are pet-friendly, so guests will want to be extra careful when making reservations so that they choose the yurt most suited for their needs.
Bullards Beach State Park is a popular stretch of shoreline for biking and this is an awesome group activity. Nearby, the city of Bandon has shops that rent special fat-tire bicycles made especially for cruising down the beach. They even have guides to help guests determine the best places to go. For guests who are feeling more adventurous, it's possible to ride the whole coastline from Seven Devils State Recreation Site to Boice Cope Park in one full day.
There is nothing better than taking a scenic stroll or hike right on the beach, while you soak in jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean. Bullards Beach State Park has ten beach trails that range from easy to difficult. One of the easiest trails that is good for the whole family is the Paved Bikeway, which is suitable for strollers and young children; just make sure to watch out for cyclists. The longest and most difficult is the two-mile North Loop Trail, which will let you explore the farthest corners of the beach and see some marine wildlife. Eleven miles of trails are suitable for horseback riding too.
Guests who have never flown a kite on the Oregon Coast are in for a treat. Forget any ideas of leisurely standing on the beach with a string in hand. Kite flying on the coast is very exciting and it is actually such a workout that most modern kite designs require wrist harnesses just to hang on! For guests who forgot to bring their own kite, there are several shops that sell kites and accessories in Bandon. The steady breezes and wide-open shoreline at Bullards Beach practically guarantee that every day is a good day for flying.
Just off the shore of the park is a large rock that is affectionately known as "face rock," and it is an official scenic viewpoint of the state. This rock has a legend that Native Americans tell about a maiden whose voice can still be heard on the wind. At a distance, visitors can just make out the shape of a face on the rock. When tides are low, they can follow the path down to the beach to see the rock up close and explore the tidal pools that the ocean left behind.
Rated as one of the best places to Crab in the state, the Coquille River is the place to be, with or without a boat. Guests will be amazed at how easy it is to catch them right off the public dock. Crabbing is best during mid-summer and early winter. Any intending crabbers will want to check with the Oregon Department of Wildlife for regulations and limits. Gear is available in shops all around Bandon, and there are also charter boats that will take eager crabbers further out into the water.
Explorers of the Oregon coast will not want to miss visiting one of its 11 lighthouses. The historic Coquille River Lighthouse marks the entrance to Bandon Harbor. This coastline has quite the history of shipwrecks, and any visitor who has seen the Oregon Coast in winter understands just how important these lighthouses were in the days before electronic navigation. Though it is no longer in operation, it is still a must-see on any trip down the coast.