A Trip Up the Southern Oregon Coast to Brookings and Gold Beach


June 1, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Things to Do in Southern Oregon



The Oregon coast offers an exciting excursion opportunity for seniors and youthful individuals alike. From Southern Oregon, if you are planning for a one or two day trip to the coast, then a trek to Gold Beach is about as far as you want to attempt. We prefer a more leisurely two day adventure in order to get the most out of the trip.

The route from southern Oregon (Medford/Ashland area) is a rather zigzagging experience. You first need to travel north on I-5 to Grants Pass, then south along Hwy 199, then north again towards Gold Beach. This may seem a rather roundabout path,s but there is no other way to get to the coast from southern Oregon without going through some remote back-country, dangerous dirt road terrain.

Highway 199 (The Redwood Highway) is a two lane twisting and turning road in many parts. It is not for the faint at heart.

REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK

On the southern end of this famed Redwood Highway you’ll get to experience the majestic California Redwood trees. These trees are thousands of years old and some of the tallest and most massive girthed trees in the world. Some can grow as tall as 375 feet and with enough width to drive a car through.

These impressive wonders of nature are well preserved by both our federal and California state governments. They federally controlled park is called Redwood National Park. There are three California state parks in the area. These include California’s Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. The national park dates back to 1968 but the state parks predate that as they were first established in California in the 1920s.

Here you’ll be treated to an enchanted preserve totaling 133,000 acres. If you’d like to touch and experience a living entity that was standing in the same spot when Christ walked the earth, then the Redwood National Forest is a necessity stop along this route.

CRESCENT CITY AND BATTERY POINT LIGHTHOUSE

From the redwoods, you can then head south for nice lunch in Crescent City at the southern end of Hwy 199 where the highway meets the coast route Hwy 101. By the time you reach the southern end of 199, you’ll be ready for a rest.
After lunch you can visit one of the first lighthouses on the California coast, known as Battery Point Lighthouse. Built preceding the Civil War and first lit in the year 1856, this fascinating and very important illumination station that was one of the first lighthouses that helped ships keep from colliding with land areas of the treacherous northern California/southern Oregon coast. The lighthouse museum includes the lighthouse keeper’s quarters, which features furniture and artifacts from the 1850s. You’ll also find displays of maritime artifacts, photos and historical documents on the tour. If you are in good enough shape, the lighthouse tour includes a rather challenging climb to the light tower at the top of the structure.

This lighthouse is built on a tiny islet that is only accessible during low tide via a land bridge that disappears rather quickly during high tide. Strangely enough, if you visit, be prepared to plan your trip carefully as the lighthouse is only accessible when low tide allows visitor to access the building. It is best to do your research of local tide timing patterns prior to visiting. Del Norte Historical Society operates the Battery Point Lighthouse and Museum. Tours run daily from April through September with tours available between 10 AM and 4 PM during the peak season. If you are making your trip from the more limited late fall and winter months of October through March, the lighthouse is only open for tours on weekends, from 10 AM to 4 PM.

After lunch head north to the lovely town of Brookings and Gold Beach along Hwy 101 for some fantastic vistas of waves crashing against ocean cliffs and incredible rock formations alone the shoreline.

BROOKINGS

Brookings is a lovely little coastal community with a wonderful little harbor with the only beachfront motel in Brookings called the Best Western Beachfront Inn. Located at the mouth of the Chetco River, this harbor is considered one of the safest entry points to the Pacific Ocean on the west coast. The harbor has motels, shops and restaurants for tourists and visitors. It also caters to sport fishermen, sailor’s, pleasure boaters and has an active commercial fishing fleet that goes after Dungeness crab, tuna, snapper and shrimp. There is also an RV Park that is an integral part of the Port of Brookings Harbor. There is a beach called Sporthaven Beach front of the RV Park that is popular with surfers.

While in Brookings, don’t miss Chetco Point Park viewpoint. Tucked away in a Brookings neighborhood behind a sanitation plant, of all things. Don’t let that discourage you though, as it offers one of best views of the Pacific on the southern Oregon coastal area. You’ll find panoramic 180 degree views with picnic tables and two trails leading down to the beach. One leads to a hidden beach and the other is a bit dangerous, so if you have children with you be very careful.
As far as eating in Brookings, we like O’Holleran’s Restaurant and Lounge for great steaks and dinner fare. Opening from 5pm to 9pm, this is for dinner only. If spending the night in Brookings, it is our favorite.

Proceeding north on 101, enjoy the views at many state parks and vista points along the way.

GOLD BEACH

When you get to Gold Beach you will find quite the quaint and laidback town set in the midst of fresh salt air, wide open spaces, uncrowded beaches, vast forests, incredible hiking trails, and rugged mountains. At Gold Beach you are invited to explore and relax while taking in all the wonders nature has to offer. Located at the mouth of the legendary Rogue River, the town offers fantastic coffee shops, restaurants and lodging motels. Some motels include unforgettable views of the ocean and direct access to the beach.

Known as one of the best restaurant locations on the Oregon Coast, Gold Beach will not disappoint. A must-stop restaurant when making a trip to Gold Beach is Spinners Steak and Chop House. This is a dinner only restaurant. We had one of the finest and largest steaks we have ever enjoyed at this historic restaurant by the Pacific.

For bookworms and even those who are not, stopping at Gold Beach Books is an experience beyond academia. It is the largest bookstore on the Oregon Coast with over 75,000 new and used books on the shelves. In addition to books, there is a coffee shop with great espresso and homemade pastries and treats.

For adventurous seniors, there are Jerry’s Rogue Jetboat excursions up the Rogue River where you can experience wildlife and the wilderness while on jetting up river on a speedboat. Gold Beach and the Rogue River offers some of the best salmon and steelhead fishing in the area. Well trained and knowledgeable licensed guides are available. Ocean charters for fishing and sightseeing are also available in this do everything town.

HEADING BACK AND CONCLUSION

Heading back to the Rouge Valley and Southern Oregon you will follow the same route. Don’t forget to revisit or visit for the first time some of the view spots along the coast you may have missed. Remember to take deep therapeutic breaths of fresh salt air while on your mini coastal vacation.

The Oregon Coast offers some of the most beautiful and breathtaking views our country has to offer. It is yet another reason to retire in Southern Oregon.