Sunset Bay State Park
Guide

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Introduction

If you haven't been here yet, the Southern Oregon Coast should certainly be on your camping bucket list. With only a few access points from I-5, the coast HWY 101 can seem hard to get to, but when you find yourselves the only family on the beach for miles around - you'll know it was worth the trek.

Sunset Bay State Park, just south of the inlet to Coos Bay, OR, is part of a cluster of beaches, rocky jetties, cliffs, tide pools, a light house, and a stunning botanical garden. There are numerous campgrounds, picnic spots, hiking trails, and most importantly - abundant sandy beach access.

The horseshoe-shaped cove at Sunset Bay Park provides unique calm and shelter amidst the mostly open and wind-beaten Oregon coast. In summer you will find a busy campground, sunbathers, brave swimmers (the water is still very chilly this far north), kayaks, and windsurfers. In winter you will still find a community of RVers happily hiking and beach combing between storms and enjoying the holiday lights at Shore Acres State Park to the south.

Opportunities for fishing, clamming, and crabbing are everywhere. With or without a boat, visitors will have a chance to catch their limit. Even if you lack the time or equipment to catch your own, Chuck's Seafood in the nearby Charleston Marina has been selling fresh-off-the-boat seafood since 1953. Their smoked oysters and salmon are sold in the top grocery stores in the country and and you'll have a hard time leaving empty handed.

The Cape Arago lighthouse is visible from many places in the park and Cape Arago, to the south, is one of the top destinations on the Oregon Coast for whale watching all year round

Sunset Bay State Park is a perfect base-camp for a variety of adventures all year round.

RV Rentals in Sunset Bay State Park

Transportation in Sunset Bay State Park

Driving

With recently imposed restrictions on trailer length on HWY 199 into Crescent City, CA, it is advisable to head to HWY 101 via Route 38 or 126 a bit to the north of Coos Bay, OR. Oregon roads are slower and more winding than other western states, but the state maintains the roads well and you'll find a friendly and relaxed attitude on the roads which is very appreciated when you're pulling a big load.

Parking

The campgrounds have easy assess and many pull-through sites. They are level and overhead branches are well trimmed. When navigating up and down HWY 101 it is easy to pass attractions and want to turn around - this is not easy in a large motorhome. Plan your stops carefully or take a smaller vehicle for day trips.

Public Transport

Uber drivers will shuttle you around the area, and into Coos Bay as well. It's your best bet for transportation around the area if you don't have a passenger vehicle.

Campgrounds and parking in Sunset Bay State Park

Campsites in Sunset Bay State Park

Reservations camping

Oceanside RV Resort

If the campground at Sunset Bay State Park is full, or you need room for an extra long class-A with a trailer or tow vehicle - Oceanside is for you. This all-ages campground is situated right against Bastendorff Beach and provides easy access to Cape Arago and Sunset Cove. There are some extra perks like a camp store, cable and wifi, not provided at the State Park, and the cost reflects their array of services. They have 65 full-hook up RV sites.

Sunset Bay State Park

There are 139 total sites with sixty-three accommodating trailers and RVs. There are twenty-nine full hook-up sites and thirty-four with just power and water. The Oregon State Parks system is famously clean, affordable, and convenient to reserve online. There are even photos of each site to give a good estimation of room for awnings and slide-outs and also tree cover. After you use their reservation system once your information will be saved, which makes future bookings a breeze. The campground has showers and flush toilets. Camping at Sunset Bay State Park includes access to nearby Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Sunset Bay State Park

In-Season

Crabbing

Coos Bay is one of the best crabbing locations in Oregon. Dungeness and Red Rock Crabs thrive in the shallow saltwater habitat which dominates the area north of the park. Visitors report crabs anywhere you can toss a ring, but if you want to assure success, head to Charleston Bay Marina, a few minutes north of Sunset Bay State Park. Year-round shellfish permits are reasonably priced, even if you're not an Oregon resident, and the Charleston Marina is a favorite spot to crab right from the docks. If you come up empty, there's always Chucks.

Guided Tidepool Walks

The park's interpretive center is open May through September with a variety of guided walks with State Park Rangers. There are great opportunities to learn about history, geology, wildlife, and the marine ecosystem nestled into the vast tide pools at the rocky mouth of Sunset Bay. The rangers are also great at spotting grey whales which feed past the cape all year. The rocks are very sharp, so bring good shoes!

Off-Season

Storm Watching

This section of Oregon is so perfect for viewing monster winter storm waves that there's a designated viewing shelter at Shore Acres State Park. There are many fantastic spots between Cape Arago and Bastendorff Beach to get close enough to 100ft+ waves that you'll have salt spray on your raincoat. Often large sets of waves will appear on dry and calm days from large storms hundreds of miles offshore, so you don't necessarily have to get wet to enjoy. If you're here for the pictures, make sure your camera can handle the rain and saltwater. Always watch out for eroding ledges and never turn your back to the ocean.

Shore Acres Holiday Lights

Your entrance to Sunset Bay State Park also provides you with access to the truly unique Shore Acres State Park, which is directly to the south. Shore Acres is more than five acres of carefully planned, planted, and cared for gardens which were once a private residence. There is a stunning ocean-side hiking trail which takes you to Shore Acres in about 3/4mi, or you can drive to the main entrance and gift shop south on the Cape Arago HWY. Volunteers have been lighting the gardens in December since 1987 and the expansive display attracts over 50,000 visitors each year from all over the world.

Surfing

Just a few minutes north, Bastendorff Beach County Park is the place to be with a surfboard. The big swells roll off from stormy winter weather, but even in the calm of mid-summer 6ft-12ft waves are common. Either way, the water is chilly and you'll need a full wet suit with gloves and booties to stay warm any time of year. Waves break all along the beach depending on the wind direction and the bottom is sandy away from the jetty. The parking area has had theft problems, so be thoughtful about your valuables. The local Coos Bay surf shop can meet you there with rental equipment and lessons. Just call and reserve a time.

Golfing Galore

You will be happy you brought your golf clubs. The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, only thirty minutes away, offers five different world-renowned links golf courses. Though the resort is open to the public, it is comparable in price to courses in Hawaii and Florida. For a much more casual and affordable experience, the nine-hole Sunset Bay Golf Course is within walking distance of the campground. All of the courses are year-round and reduced rates in the winter. The wet coastal weather creates a variety water features - bring extra balls.

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