This is a bit longer of a review so I’ve done a “click for more” separation because we stayed two days in Bandon and I have a lot to say about what we did around there during those days.
Also, I’m separating the days out pretty strictly for these accounts. For instance, this covers the trip from Brookings to Bandon (day 2), and our next day, still in Bandon (day 3). I won’t cover the trip from Bandon to Yachats, as that’s part of day 4. It’s hard to separate the days out as we might have done something on day 3 specifically because of the drive between Bandon and Yachats (that we would not have done had we been driving from Brookings to Yachats, for instance), but I have to cut them up somehow…
- Stopped off throughout the Samuel Boardman State Corridor, Cape Blanco, and a couple of other places along the way
- Stayed at the Sunset Hotel in Bandon, in the Vern Brown Addition
- Food – see the rest of the post
Stuff I learned on my own:
The Sunset Motel really is worth the effort. And it’s all about the Vern Brown Addition, from which one can literally shoot the sunset from one’s balcony. The rooms are a bit dated (really just the TV’s, actually) but the views are stunning. Bandon is tiny as a town, and I’m not sure it’s a “Must Stop” as one guide mentioned. But the beach itself is really impressive, with some great stacks and smooth waves. It’s also a quick ride to several different places, so it’s a tremendous base of operations for the whole region. Yachats as the next location is a good idea since it’s sufficiently far enough away that one can explore the entire Bandon to Coos Bay area.
The trip up to Bandon from Brookings, on June 25th, was a short drive but with a lot to see. The key part of this drive is the Samuel Boardman Corridor, which is a big state park with multiple places to stop. At the same time, it’s hard to tell when that series of wonderful waypoints ends, and the other key places to visit along the way, such as Humbug Mountain State Park or Cape Blanco, with its great lighthouse, begins. It’s just a great stretch of road leading up to a tremendous beach at Bandon.
We started off around 8AM or so in Brookings, well before the town’s limited restaurants had opened up, it seemed. We ended up eating donuts and orange juice from Ray’s, which is a supermarket chain that runs from very northern California (well, we saw one in Crescent City, anyway) into Oregon). Along the way, we visited:
- Arch Rock
- Natural Bridge Cove
- Meyers Beach (Part of Pistol River State Park)
- Humbug Mountain State Park
- Cape Blanco
Of course, we also stopped at random places along the way. The funny thing about the first two places is that the viewpoints aren’t great. Arch Rock’s main, market vista point doesn’t give much of a view of the actual arch, and the supposed “secret” hiding place found in The Photographer’s Guide to the Oregon Coast, supposedly THE guide for those traveling up the coast, wasn’t to be found. I have some comments on that book coming up…
Meyers Beach is a really nice stretch of the Pistol River State Park. I wish I had a photo or two of this beach but because of ridiculous winds and harsh lighting at a bad time of day (we weren’t used to when the light would or would not be good), I don’t have any right now. The sand felt like it would cut skin from the wind. But the stacks are very accessible and have great shape to them. You can really get up close to them.
Humbug Mountain State Park is picturesque and lush, but the trail leading up is fairly steep, but consistently so. It can wear out one’s legs in a hurry. The Photographer’s Guide suggested that there is a great deal to photograph in the flat area before the trail starts heading up, but that’s maybe 1/4 of a mile at the most, so one has to be really creative. I’m not sure I was that creative, but some IR photography was fun there. But one really needs to head a lot farther up the trail and the mountain to get much of anything. We moved maybe a mile up the trail but there really isn’t much if one really wants to work at the beginning area.
By the time we got to Cape Blanco, we were a bit worn out from the wind, but had the energy to explore the area a bit. The key photographs were of the lighthouse, which is one of the few where one can walk right up to the light and the lens. The tour actually took up more time than I would have liked (I’d rather have been shooting) but it was nice to do something formal, I guess. The lighthouse itself is of course situated out at the end of the Cape, though it has a nice, flat area surrounding it from which one can photograph and on which
one can walk a bit. This is very different than a lot of lighthouses, which sit basically on a rocky outcropping with very little space. The Cape Blanco area is quite nice, with ferns, grass, and other foliage.
The end of the day brought us to the Sunset Motel. On the way, we drove along the Beach Loop drive, which runs along the long, wonderful Bandon Beach. One passes by several access points, notably Face Rock, the one at our motel, and Coquille Point. All along, there are wonderful stacks that are accessible at both high and low tide (so some interesting tide-pool-like action available), and the sand is soft and easy on which to walk.
We arrived at Bandon late enough that, after an unplanned nap (ie – we were dead tired) in our room, we faced the issue of dealing with getting dinner and a 9PM sunset running into each other. We lucked out in that the Wheelhouse, which is or is not a good restaurant depending on how one reads the reviews on TripAdvisor, is open until just after sunset. So back to the beach we went.
The sunset at Bandon Beach is just great. The stacks make for great foreground objects, for the light to hit, etc. Anyway you turn the camera is a great shot, it seemed. The photo in the main section of this post is from the first night. So with almost no preparation or scouting and little planning, I think I got a pretty good shot…
Dinner at the Wheelhouse was acceptable, to be honest. The Cioppino was solid but nothing special (though it was rich in seafood), and my wife’s steak was cooked just about perfectly but was nearly flavorless. Then again, we were the last people in the place and didn’t show up until 9:30 so I can’t complain too much, I guess.
Wheelhouse for dinner night 1
Lloyd’s Diner for brunch day 2
Fish & Chips along the harbor for dinner night 2