Oregon’s Sunset Bay State Park with longtime friends, Sharon and Ron Vail

Jimmy Smith walking along Sunset Bay beach. (Julianne G. Crane)

One of the most scenic and easily accessible areas on the Oregon coast, Sunset Bay State Park features an amazing sandy beach protected by towering sea cliffs.

The extremely popular (an estimated 1.3 million people visit annually) day-use and picnic area along the bay  for family beachcombing, fishing, swimming, and surfing. ($5 day use parking fee.)

Campsite #32 with electricity. (Julianne G. Crane)

Jimmy and I stayed several days at the nearby Sunset Bay campground, only a short walk from the beach.

The year-round facility has approximately 65 sites for dry camping (water nearby) and 65 with utilities for RVs/tents. There are also eight “cozy and comfortable” yurts.

With more than 70,000 “overnight attendance” — it is highly recommended that campers make reservations online at: Reserve America. We camped in our Northern Lite truck camper at one of the electrical sites with water for $29/day.

Sharon and Ron Vail (Julianne G. Crane)

Our longtime friends, Sharon and Ron Vail of Powell Butte, Ore., stayed in a full-hookup site (electricity, water, sewer) for $31/day.

The Vails towed their 2014 22-foot Lance travel trailer (model 1985) with their 2015 Dodge Ram 2500, 4×4, diesel.

All campsites are within easy access/walking distance of rest rooms with flush toilets and free shower facilities.

Sunset Bay from hiking trail. (Julianne G. Crane)

One afternoon Jimmy and I hiked along parts of a trail system that meanders a couple of miles south through the coastal forest from Sunset Bay State Park to Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks.

After a bit over a hundred-foot gain from Sunset Bay beach, we followed trail off-shoots to viewpoints that give way to spectacular ocean and bay vistas. BTW, there were no signs to the overlook sights, just smaller trails through the brush.  Go slowly.

+SunsetBay_InfoCtr_JulianneGCraneSunset Bay State Park
Information: (541) 888-4902
Other amenities:

  • Interpretative center
  • Two group tent camping areas
  • Hiker/biker camp
  • Firewood for sale
  • Three campsites and three yurts are accessible to campers with disabilities.

12 miles southwest of Coos Bay; 3 miles south of Charleston on Cape Arago Highway.

Julianne G. Crane

Photos: (Top) RVer Jimmy Smith walking at low tide along Sunset Bay. (Second) Our camp site, #32. (Middle) Sharon and Ron Vail. (Next) Overlooking Sunset Bay from viewpoint along hiking trail. (Bottom) Information kiosk at Park Host site. (Julianne G. Crane)

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