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North Bend, Oregon (541) 756-3191
03 May 2019
Things to Do

Historic Attractions in Coos Bay & Oregon's Central Coast

Historic Attractions in Coos Bay & Oregon's Central Coast

Discover Historic Attractions in Coos Bay & Oregon's Central Coast
Once upon a time in 1852, a ship called Captain Lincoln wrecked along the Oregon Coast. The survivors dragged themselves ashore and established a small camp until they and their cargo could be rescued. They called it Camp Castaway - but you might know it by its modern name, Coos Bay. This region of the Oregon Coast boasts a rich history, starting with the many Native American tribes who fished, hunted, and gathered around the Coos Bay region: the Siuslaw, Coquille, Lower Umpqua, and Coos tribes. Settlers from the shipwreck in 1852 transformed the region, although the first European explorers arrived many centuries before. It's rumored that Sir Francis Drake sought shelter for his ship around Cape Arago in 1579. From frontiersmen to fishers to loggers and the railroad, the unique historic attractions in Coos Bay tell the stories of the many people who left their mark upon this land.


Play Engineer at the Oregon Coast Historical Railway
Climb into a real 1922 Baldwin steam locomotive, ring the whistle, and pull the bell. Wander through a sleeping car and two vintage cabooses. Explore authentic logging equipment, including roadbuilding machines. Ideal for families with young children and train enthusiasts, this indoor/outdoor museum is a fun stop in Coos Bay. See excellent old train photos and artifacts, and find fun souvenirs in the gift shop. The Oregon Coast Historical Railway museum is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays and offers a unique glimpse into what life was like in the region 100 years ago.


See Early Pioneer Graves at Gardiner Community Cemetery
Witness the struggles that pioneers faced on the rugged Oregon Coast at this pioneer graveyard, which was established in 1874. Located on an old stretch of Highway 101 (and visible from the modern highway), this terraced hillside cemetery contains the graves of some of the original European settlers of the region who arrived in the 1850s. Most of the headstones are very old, and many belong to children and other young people who died before their time - a testament to the harsh life faced by the pioneers on the Oregon frontier.


Coos History Museum: Discover the Stories of Oregon's South Coast
Opened in 2015 on the waterfront in Coos Bay, this small museum offers great insight into local culture and history of the South Coast of Oregon. Learn about Native American influences, forestry, fishing, ocean life, agricultural development, and the distinct geography of the Oregon Coast. Find hands-on exhibits indoors and outside of the beautiful building, which features a user-friendly layout and temporary exhibits that are always changing. See historic rowboats and a canoe, Native American artifacts, and unique local art. The Coos History Museum is a great place to start your stay in the region. It's located a two-minute walk from the galleries and boardwalk, and just three miles from our hotel.


Tour a Historic Victorian Farmhouse at Cape Blanco State Park
Situated about an hour south of Coos Bay at the westernmost point of Oregon, Cape Blanco was once the ranch of Patrick and Jane Hughes. It's home to the oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, Cape Blanco Lighthouse, which was built in 1870. There's also a 3,000-square-foot late-Victorian farmhouse mansion where the ranchers lived. Built in 1898 for $3,800, the home occupies a beautiful position on Cape Blanco's north side with views of the Pacific Ocean. From the elegant front parlor to the grand staircase and the massive fireplaces, the historic home feels like a moment frozen in time. Free tours are available from May 1 to October 31 on every day except for Tuesday.


Explore Oregon's Seafaring Heritage at Beautiful Lighthouses
Love lighthouses? In addition to Cape Blanco Lighthouse in Port Orchard, you'll find four more historic lighthouses within an easy drive from Coos Bay. Go storm-watching in the wintertime and pack a picnic during summer. And be sure to bring your camera!

  • Cape Arago Lighthouse in Charleston - This 1934 lighthouse features a unique fog horn and a breathtaking location on Chief's Island at Point Gregor. While you can't visit the privately-owned island, you can enjoy excellent views of this much-photographed lighthouse from the viewpoint on Cape Arago Highway, Bastendorff Beach County Park, and the Oregon Coast Trail.
  • Coquille River Lighthouse in Bandon - Located at Bullards Beach State Park, this lighthouse was first built in 1895. You can visit the fog and signal room in the summer and relax on the 4.5-mile sandy beach.
  • Umpqua River Lighthouse in Winchester Bay - Built in 1894, this is the first lighthouse you would see on the Oregon Coast when arriving by sail. Tours are available in the summer, and it's one of the few lighthouses that you can still climb to the top of.
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence - The light from this powerful lighthouse can be seen for 21 miles out to see. Tours are offered daily in the summer and by appointment year-round.


Embrace Oregon's Pioneer Spirit at Our Charming Coos Bay Hotel
From epic natural beauty to rich frontier history and Native American culture, the Oregon Coast is truly a fascinating vacation destination to explore. Immerse yourself in the magic of this coastal landscape and find the perfect home base at our Coos Bay hotel. We're situated close to top historic attractions in Coos Bay including the Cape Arago Lighthouse, Coos History Museum, and the Oregon Coast Historical Railway. Enjoy amazing outdoor adventures, incredible seafood, and share-worthy scenic views - and then return to your comfortable room and relax. With a picnic area, hot tub, and free breakfast every day, you'll have everything you need for an unforgettable Oregon Coast vacation.

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