It seems the further you move south in Oregon, the less popular some of the cities become. While we don’t totally know why we definitely know it’s not because there’s a lack of beauty or things to do.
And if you’re south enough to visit Gold Beach and the surrounding area, you will be spoilt with adventures!
Fat biking on the beach, white water rafting down the Rogue, exploring the Redwoods, and tackling epic hikes are just a few of the things to do in Gold Beach.
Adventurous Things to Do Around Gold Beach
1. Samuel H. Boardman State Park
The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is seriously one of the most stunning spots on the Oregon coastline and a must when it comes to things to do in Gold Beach, Oregon. Because of how beautiful it is, it can turn into a pretty busy park, despite its southerly location.
The trails in the park are all pretty short, some are even under a mile long, but that gives you an excuse to tackle multiple in one day. The Lone Ranch Trail is a great one, starting at the southern tip of the area.
You’ll be on the beach for most of the hike, giving you unobstructed views of the Pacific and surrounding rock formations. The trail then takes you up some rocks and hills for even better views of the coast, so it is a good first hike when exploring the area.
The park hugs the coastline for 12 miles, so there is plenty to explore. As you drive along the highway, there is one turnoff after the other, each with something new and exciting to see, be it a picnic area, a viewpoint, or a trailhead.
A few highlights include Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint, which can be reached by a mile-long hike, House Rock Viewpoint, the impressive Natural Bridge, which comprises seven iconic arch rocks and blowholes, and Whaleshead Beach, a gorgeous oceanfront picnic area.
2. Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor
With both parking lots over 200 feet above sea level, it is hardly surprising that the views are breathtaking at Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor.
Looking north from the south parking viewpoint, it is possible to see for up to 43 miles on a clear day, with Humbug Mountain dominating most of the view. Looking south, you could see up to 50 miles towards California.
A forest made up of Sitka Spruce dominates most of the park, which is great to hike through. There is a 1.5-mile hiking trail that will take you to the lower parts of the cape, where the views can be just as impressive. Alternatively, you can take a nature walk down to the beach, where you can keep an eye out for whales out at sea or do a spot of fishing.
It is one of the highest, windiest, and most sheer-sided points in Southern Oregon. It is very accessible near Gold Beach, just off route 101, making it easy for a visit.
3. Fat Biking
The Banana Belt Loop is one of the best places to go fat biking in the state, and equally one of the best things to do near Gold Beach.
The area got its name as it is the place where you are likely to get warmer temperatures than the rest of the state during the winter months, making all-year riding a lot more appealing. It is also a lot less crowded than some of the northern beaches, so you could ride for miles and not come across another soul.
As the name suggests, fat biking is where you use a bike with extra-wide wheels, making it easier to ride directly on the beach. The loops showcase some of the best fat tire biking in Oregon, with caves, jagged rocks, and many other low tide treasures.
You should be aware that there is likely to be a strong wind while riding, which is great if you are riding with it but can make it pretty hard going if you are riding against it. Therefore, you should consider when planning your route and deciding when you want to be dealing with the winds.
Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor sits at the north end of the route, with Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint at the other end, with Lola Lake at the southernmost point.
Along the way, you can stop to explore the rocks and the tide pools and admire the birdlife. Lola Lake has a great single track on packed dirt and sand running around it, ideal if you want a different riding experience.
4. Rogue River Whitewater Rafting
The Rogue River is stunning and is ideal for all different abilities for whitewater rafting. There are all sorts of options when it comes to riding the river, from multiday adventures to a half-day, action-packed thrill ride.
Depending on what part of the river you are riding on, you should be up for a challenge, with some serious whitewater to tackle, such as the Class IV Nugget Falls. Some of the most popular rapids on the river include ‘Ol Slippery Rock,’ ‘The Surf Wave,’ and ‘Bitterman Falls,’ to name a few.
If you only have time for a half-day trip, the guided option will usually take you along a 7-mile stretch of the river, taking you around three hours, and the full-day option is double this.
Along the way, keep your eyes out for an assortment of wildlife, including osprey, beaver, otters, and sometimes even black bears.
5. Otter Point State Recreation Area
Just 3-miles north of Gold Beach, you’ll find the Otter Point State Recreation Site. Although only a small park, it has a lot to offer. The main feature is the stunningly carved sandstone point, but there are also beaches to enjoy and plenty of wildlife to view.
There are all sorts of levels of trails to explore on Otter Point itself, making it a scrambler’s dream. Just take care when walking close to the edge. If you visit on a clear day, the views stretch for miles; however, this part of the coast can quite often be quite foggy.
There are few different trails you can take from the small parking lot that lead you down onto the park’s two beaches. You could easily spend the whole day exploring the 121-acre park, but even just spending an afternoon walking the trails and admiring the view is worth it.
Like many of the parks at this part of the coast, it is seldom visited, so if you are looking for natural beauty that you can have all to yourself, Otter Point is a good bet.
There is very little signage showing you it is there when driving down US 101, which helps keep it a true hidden gem and makes it a good destination for seasoned Oregon Coast travelers looking for a new thing to do near Gold Beach, Oregon.
6. Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint
Tucked between the Pacific Ocean and Pistol River is Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint, a beautiful coastline of grassy dunes and incredible rock formations. Today, the area is a hot spot for many recreational activities such as windsurfing, wildlife watching, and beachcombing.
Windsurfing is the biggest draw for many, with the area being one of the best places in southern Oregon to enjoy the sport. From May to September, the wind blows on an almost daily basis, causing some great wave action.
Every June, the area plays host to the Pistol River Wave Bash, a national windsurfing tournament that is always widely attended. Visiting the Bash is one of the most fun things to do near Gold Beach, so check the dates before you set off.
Starting from the mouth of Pistol River, there is a good hike that runs for 4-miles north along the rocky shoreline, all the way to Cape Sebastian.
7. The Rogue River Trail
The Rogue River Trail is a long one, running for 40 miles alongside the impressive Rogue River. If you’re planning on doing the whole hike, chances are you’re not going to be able to complete it all in one day. Three lodges are operating on the trail, the Black Bar Lodge, Paradise Lodge, and Martial Lodge.
For the route, you’ll be traversing the north side of the river through the lush and remote Rogue Valley, with plenty of wildflowers and wildlife to spot along the way. With different seasons come different views, so you may well want to do this hike more than once.
Spring and fall are the best times to tackle this multi-day hike, as it can get boiling in the summer months, while in winter, prepare for washouts, downed trees, and plenty of mud.
The trail undulates with the river, so there is a fair amount of ups and downs. But you’ll forget about the steep sections as you gaze in wonder at the mountains that encase the valley in 1000 foot walls.
8. Best Beaches Around Gold Beach
There are beautiful beaches around Gold Beach, many of which offer great conditions for surfing and other water-based sports. The beaches and long and clean, yet despite their beauty, are interestingly not crowded.
South Beach is just to the west of Gold Beach. At 7-miles long, it spans the distance between the Rogue River and Cape Sebastian.
Bailey Beach is north of Gold Beach and is 3-miles long. The most notable thing about this beach is that you can drive vehicles on it. Nearby, the Rogue Reef offers some breathtaking views. With clean sands and a gentle slope, it is the perfect beach to spend the day.
Nesika Beach is located to the north of Gold Beach and continues north for around 10-miles, making it a pretty large beach. The sand comes right up to the parking lot for easy access.
In season, you should be able to spot whales, watch surfers trying to catch a wave, or go on a hunt for beach treasures.
9. Sisters Rock State Park
Three isolated rocks make up the majestic Sisters Rock State Park. One of these towering peaks is an island, while the other two are joined to the mainland. Surrounded by smaller rocks and stretches of gray beaches, it is quite an impressive sight.
For some unknown reason, the state park is seldom visited, despite being one of the best things to do near Gold Beach, yet it is quite spectacular even when it is shrouded in fog. It is one of the newest state parks in the system, formed in 2005.
From the small parking lot, it is just a short stroll down a washed-out road to the rocks. The biggest of the rocks has a huge sea cave carved out of it. If you look through the collapsed opening at the base, you should be able to see the crashing ocean beyond.
The two rocks that are connected to the shore are climbable, but it is a very steep climb. The beaches stretch out either side of the peninsula, both of which are great for walks and to get a few different viewpoints of the sisters.
When visiting the park, be aware that it is largely unmarked from the highway, and is still largely undeveloped. The lack of visitors helps it to remain a wild and beautiful place, leaving it to the crashing ocean.
10. Around the Town of Gold Beach
The shipwreck of the Mary D. Hume boat can be found in the town’s harbor, back where it was built back in 1881. Altogether it spent 97 years in active service, which is the longest for any commercial vessel on the Pacific Coast.
if you’re heading to Gold Beach from the south, you’ll immediately spot the iconic Kissing Rock jutting out of the sand. This impressive rock formation is a great place to stop and admire when heading in or out of town, and is equally as impressive from afar is it close up.
You will also likely spot the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge, a beautiful piece of engineering over the Rogue River, that looks as beautiful by night as it does by day thanks to the small LED lights that were added back in 2015.
When it town, don’t leave without paying a visit to Arch Rock Brewing. This small craft brewing company is located on the outskirts of Gold Beach and brews delicious beers. Other notable eateries and drinking venues include the Barnacle Bistro, which focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, and Spinner, self-proclaimed seafood, steak, and chophouse.
Things To Do Near Gold Beach
11. Brookings Oregon
Nestled in the southern corner of the coast, Brookings is a city that is often overlooked. However, it is vibrant and full of life, with plenty to do and see. You’ll find sprawling dunes and golden sand beaches and plenty of places to grab some food and drink. Due to its more remote location, it is far less busy than similar cities like Portland, and for many, this is its biggest draw.
Azalea Park is a well-maintained city park and is certainly deserving of an afternoon stroll. It is a hotspot for all sorts of seasonal activities. If it’s a more wild park you’re looking for, Chetco Point Park, offering some of the best views on the Pacific.
Combining dramatic cliffs with sweeping beaches, trails, and picnic spots, it is a real city highlight. Brookings Harbor is also a good place for a stroll.
12. Harris Beach State Park
Harris Beach State Park is one of the more popular state parks on the Oregon Coast. It has some great camping opportunities and a huge range of recreational activities. It’s full of nature, therefore offers hiking, biking, climbing and so much more.
Tide pools that dot the coast are simply teeming with life, and hoards of seals and sea lions crowd on the rocks. Bird Island sits just off of the coast, a National Wildlife Sanctuary, whose main occupants are the flocks of tufted puffins.
From the day-use area, you can enjoy picnics with views of the sea stacks, and explore some of the rocky outcroppings. There are 65 full hookup sites, 25 electrical sites, 59 tent sites as well as 6 yurts so campers really do have the best of all options.
13. Port Orford
The small fishing town of Port Orford is well worth a visit if you are in the area, often described as where the forests and the mountains meet the ocean. It is also the most westerly city in the continental US. It is about halfway between Gold Beach and Bandon, so it is very accessible, especially if you’re traveling between the two towns.
There are plenty of hiking trails leading from the town, complete with panoramic vistas, or alternatively, you can stay within the town and enjoy the art galleries and quaint eateries.
With both ocean and forests to enjoy, you can really make the most of the great outdoors without having to make your way through crowds of people to do so.
14. Humbug Mountain
Nearby you’ll find Humbug Mountain State Park. With one of the coast’s highest headlands, it is hardly surprising that the views from the peak are pretty breathtaking.
The park features a nice campground, surrounded by forest and on the banks of a flowing creek. From the campground, you can take one of the scenic walks to the beach. If you’re up for a bit more of a climb, try the 5.5-mile hike to the 1765 foot summit of the mountain. You could also pick up the Oregon Coast trail from here, as it runs through the park.
The area enjoys some of the warmest weather on the Oregon Coast, as the surrounding mountains offer a little protection from the strong ocean winds.
RELATED: 17 Breathtaking Oregon Coast Hikes
15. Redwoods Trails
There are two redwood trails in Oregon, both of which give you an incredible opportunity to see these magnificent trees up close. The Redwood Natural Trail is located near Alfred Loeb State Park and is a 1.1-mile loop.
This incredible trail will not only take you through a forest of towering trees, but you’ll also pass some gorgeous waterfalls along the way as well. There are lots of ups and downs as you traverse through the trees, with lush ferns and plenty to see along the way.
The Oregon Redwoods Trail is the other trail, this time a slightly longer loop at 1.6 miles. This trail is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it is well worth it when you see the magic of the trees towering overhead.
The redwoods in Oregon are one of the most impressive feats of nature you’ll see in the state, but the size and beauty of them are really something that has to be seen to be believed.