You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate the gorgeous, rugged courses of Bandon Dunes Golf Course, designed by David McLay Kidd.

Just when you think you know the Oregon Coast, you think again. Take the South Coast, for example. Less trafficked than the north, the rugged southern region has a charm all its own — friendly little towns, miles of remote beaches and activities to suit all comers. In the seaside town of Bandon (pop. 3,055), enjoy the charming Old Town district, outdoor recreation and delicious local food and drink.

Birded Beaches: Stroll for miles along Bandon’s sandy beaches studded with arresting sea stacks rising out of the surf. The most famous is at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and home to the common murre, tufted puffin, western gull and Brandt’s cormorant. Also popular with birders is nearby Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, coho salmon, bald eagles and California brown pelicans.

Eat and Drink: Enjoy fresh catch and lively atmosphere at Bandon Fish Market or Tony’s Crab Shack, where close quarters will have you rubbing elbows with the locals over fish and chips or a Dungeness crab sandwich. For romantic Italian dining, book a table at Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant, where handmade pastas complement local seafood and a worldly wine list.

Foodie Favs: For first-class handmade confections, don’t miss Coastal Mist Chocolates, winner of the 2011 Oregon Chocolate Festival’s “Best Chocolate Candy” award. (And the sipping chocolate and sipping caramel? Look out, Willie Wonka.) This summer will see the much-anticipated opening of Face Rock Creamery, which marks the return of a cheese-making tradition that started in the 19th century and has been absent for the last decade.

Tee Off: You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate the gorgeous, rugged courses of Bandon Dunes Golf Course, designed by David McLay Kidd. But the duffers in your group will know that it was named best golf resort by Golf Digest. Nearby Bandon Crossings Golf Course won high praise from Tripadvisor in 2012, and Old Bandon Golf Links, first opened in 1927, is under new management as Old Bandon Face Rock Golf Course.

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

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  1. Tom Brosman says…

    I used to work for the phone company in Coos Bay and Bandon. Such great cheese they make in Bandon. We used to go to the Bandon Boatworks for Mexican Food on Sunday night. Wow. Wonderful.
    Tom Brosman
    Olympia, Wa

    Written on May 1st, 2013 / Flag this Comment
  2. Linda Corey says…

    A secret hiking gem south of Bandon: New River Trail. We enjoy returning to this well-maintained flat trail system and hiking it in different seasons. We also have to stop at Misty Meadows Jams south of Bandon for BBQ sauces and delicious preserves. We like the dining choices in Bandon — Wheelhouse and Bandon Bill’s are faves for fresh seafood. Bandon definitely has an allure. It keeps calling us back.

    Written on May 1st, 2013 / Flag this Comment
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