Oregon’s coastline is unique and you won’t find anything like it anywhere else. It’s at the base of the Cascade mountain range, which is dotted with both dormant and extinct volcanoes that have literally formed the landscape.
Brookings’ Harris Beach overlook...
Brookings’ Harris Beach overlook is next to the state park campground and can be accessed by anyone for day use. A path leads down to the beach from the overlook.
It’s a geographically active place, where the Pacific and North American plates meet up. Here the Pacific plate attempts to pass beneath the North, in a process called subduction. This process of upheaval created the spectacular rugged coastline that is populated with numerous seamounts. Tidal pools filled with colorful sea life can be found all along the coastline while water from the high country crashes over numerous waterfalls as it slashes it way through the rivers that empty into the Pacific Ocean.
Oregon welcomes recreational vehicles, and you’ll find many highway signs with the RV-friendly symbol to let you know where there is adequate room to maneuver. A large number of RV parks are available to suit anyone’s tastes as everything from high-end resorts to basic campgrounds can be found throughout the area. In addition, Oregon’s State Park system is one of the best in the nation and many state parks are found in scenic locations along the coast so you’ll never have a shortage of places to park your RV.
U.S. Highway 101 is the coastal highway that travels the entire length of the Oregon coast passing through numerous seacoast towns along the way. It’s a good road that doesn’t contain any steep grades or other issues that would prevent an RV from traveling it. Each village is unique and interesting in its own right so be prepared to do some exploring within them. We’ll begin our tour at the southern end of US-101 where it begins, at the California border and follow it as it heads north along the coast.
Seamounts that cover the Oregon coast were created when molten volcanic rock flowed from fractures in the earth’s crust as the Pacific Plate was forced beneath the North American Plate in a process called subduction.
Start at the South
Brookings is the southern anchor point for our tour. US-101 passes by a visitor’s center at the northern end of town which is filled with tons of helpful information and contains a large RV-friendly parking area. Immediately across the highway is Harris Beach State Park. This park contains a nice campground with sites tucked in amongst the trees. It’s tight and not very big rig friendly though, so park any larger RV across the street if you’re over 32 feet with multiple slides. A parking area for day use overlooks the beach below while a walking path will take you down to the beach where tidal pools abound.
As you leave Harris Beach and proceed north you’ll pass a number of overlooks that are part of the Samuel H. Boardman series of parks. Each area has a unique view of the rocky coastline below and a number of hiking trails network throughout the area. Shortly after the Boardman parks have disappeared from your rear view mirrors you’ll arrive at Gold Beach where the Rogue River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The Rogue is a wild river and a jet boat tour can take you up the river through the scenic canyons and over the many rapids that make up this untamed beast. Be prepared to get wet! Beachside camping is available just north of Gold Beach if you are looking for that beautiful sunset over the ocean that you’ve always dreamed about.
The next stop is Bandon, which is about 90 miles north of Brookings. Bandon is an interesting town where the Coquille River meets the ocean. A visitor center provides plenty of information pertaining to the area and the city park allows public access to a large area of sandy beach. An overlook from the southern end of town offers a great view of the seamounts along the shore and a wooden staircase will take you down to where you can beach comb among the tidal pools.
Arch Rock, Samuel Boardman...
Arch Rock, Samuel Boardman State Park
During low tide it’s possible...
During low tide it’s possible to explore the many tidal pools in the area. Clams, sea urchins, anemones, star fish, and other mollusks can be found clinging to the rocks.
Jet boats leave Gold Beach...
Jet boats leave Gold Beach for daily tours up the Rogue River. Jet boats are required to navigate the rapids and shoals of the untamed Rogue River as it passes through scenic canyons that are unobtainable by any other means.