Bullards Beach, located along the southern Oregon coast, is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the seaside town of Bandon. With the Pacific to the west and forested hills to the other three directions, Bandon-by-the-Sea is a fitting home to one of the best Oregon beaches. Part of a state park, this pleasant beach is a fine place for stepping away from the ordinary and admiring nature’s splendor.
Both the state park and the town of Bandon are located about 90 miles from the California border and 25 miles south of the Coos Bay beaches. Like many Oregon beaches, Bullards Beach is a quick trip from Highway 101, the Oregon Coast Highway and one of the most famous north-south highways on the West Coast. Portland is about five hours away via Highway 101 and Interstate 5.
No matter where you start your trip, you’ll find a scenic wonderland once you arrive at Bullards Beach State Park. Like most of the day-use parks in the system, this state park is free to enjoy. Along with a spacious parking lot, the park is home to 4.5 miles of wide-open beach. The sand at the surf’s edge is hard-packed and well-suited for mountain biking, horseback riding, or long strolls. A hiking trail, a mile in length, runs from the campground to the beach and its dunes. In the summertime, park rangers lead kids’ programs at the beach and the park’s amphitheater.
At the northern end of the park stands the Coquille River Lighthouse, located at the northern end of Bullards Beach State Park. Standing watch at the jetty for more than a century, the lighthouse is located at a strategic location, where the river meets the sea. Because of its location, the lighthouse is one of few buildings in town that survived a devastating fire in 1936. A few years later, the Coast Guard deemed the light unnecessary. It stood idle for decades while the automated light guided ships to shore. When the state park was created in the 1960s, the lighthouse was included in the plans, giving it new life. Today, the lighthouse is a living history site. Between April and October, volunteers are on hand to lead tours and swap stories about the lighthouse’s long history. A small gift shop and history exhibits are located in the old fog room.
While many visitors explore Bullards Beach for a day, others turn their visit into a full-fledged vacation with some camping. Open year-round, the campground can accommodate both tent campers and RVs, and also has thirteen yurts available for rent. These heated domed structures are a step up from tents with beds and a dining room table, but still more sparse than a cabin. All the sites, and the yurts too, have fire pits and paved parking along with access to hot showers. A small horse camp, with primitive sites, is available at Bullards Beach State Park.
Just minutes from Bullards Beach State Park, across the river, you’ll find Bandon-by-the-Sea. This small town is big on charm and fun things to do. The town, which like the locals like to call the Cranberry Capital of the World, celebrates the rich, red harvest every fall with with a big festival in Early September. All times of the year, you’ll find great shopping and plenty of places to admire the scenery beyond Bullards Beach.