Oregon’s best kept secret in the winter is its southern coastline.
“People are surprised by how stunningly beautiful our beaches are,” says Katherine Hoppe, Tourism & Content Manager at the Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park in Coos Bay. “There are no hotels or restaurants on the beach, so you can have the majority of the beach to yourself.”
The Coos Bay/North Bend area, home to about 30,000 residents, is a big draw for visitors from around the U.S.
Storm-watching is at the top of the list of things to do for residents and visitors, especially during the winter. Hoppe notes that the position of the cliffs at Shore Acres State Park can turn a 20-foot swell into an epic 120-foot splash.
“When the storm is out to sea, it causes the huge swells,” Hoppe says. “You watch wave after wave come in, and it’s too mesmerizing to leave.”
And the weather doesn’t have to be bad on land. Just in case, Shore Acres State Park features a storm hut for when the rain comes too close to shore.
Cape Arago State Park, just a few miles from Shore Acres, is the site for another major draw to the southern coast: whale watching. Gray whales travel close to the shore as they migrate to Baja California, Mexico. The heaviest concentration of gray whales occurs at the end of December and March. Volunteers from the Whale Watching Spoken Here® program offer “assisted whale watching” during the week of Spring Break.
“If you’ve never gone whale-watching before, it’s good to have the volunteers help you spot them at first,” says Hoppe. “Then you can go out on your own.”
The Egyptian Theater is an ideal choice for historic cinema fans. Built in 1925, the theater is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Worried the winter weather could put a damper on your fun? You might be pleasantly surprised.
“We get great weather in the winter time. Our temperatures stay within the same 15 degree temperature range all year,” says Hoppe. “So if it’s raining a little bit … don’t worry, it’ll stop soon enough.”
The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park has the largest hotel in the Coos Bay/North Bend area, and its suites feature panoramic views of the entire bay. The hotel also has an onsite gym, pool and outdoor hot tubs. If you’ve been waiting to take your RV to the coast, the Mill RV Park is situated on the waterfront. It has 102 level suites with full hook-ups and cable television. A free shuttle transports guests to The Mill Casino Hotel.
The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park features several packages during the winter season. The Wine & Dine Package, for example, includes an overnight stay at the hotel or RV Park, $40 in dining credits at any of the hotel’s five dining venues and two bottles of Hinman Vineyard wines.