Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Weekend in Bandon

A trip last fall up the southern Oregon coast introduced me to the wonderful town of Bandon.  I stayed overnight and fell in love with this quirky little place.  Having only a limited time to explore, I knew right away a return visit was in order.

Seagull in flight at Seal Rocks

The dark winter months are a good time to plan future adventures.  One February evening, I impulsively chose a weekend in late April, and made yurt reservations at Bandon's Bullards Beach State Park.  Months later when the date rolled around, it wasn't the best of timing.  I sucked it up and went anyway.

And you know what?  Turned out to be a great time to explore this lovely stretch of the Oregon coast.


I left Portland on a Friday, under gray clouds and heavy rain.  But a wonderful thing happened on the way south.  The precip dried up, and the dark skies began to lighten.  By the time I took a pit stop at Seal Rock State Park, the weather had vastly improved.  I made a quick ramble to the ocean overlook, and had fun capturing seagulls doing flybys.

Gorse was in full bloom

Timing my arrival at Bullards Beach State Park to coincide perfectly with 4 pm check-in, I was unloaded and on the beach by 5:00.

Boardwalk trail to the beach

The campground host, a gruff retired lady, warmed up a bit when she realized I was traveling alone and wasn't about to have wild parties or house a bunch of pets in my yurt.  She then proceeded to give me lots of great beta about the local trails.  She especially recommended taking the new boardwalk to the nearby beach.

Wild rhododendrons

The trail was a great way to stretch my legs after nearly five hours of driving.  I passed through a coastal forest brightened by colorful yellow gorse flowers.  And further ahead were a large bunch of pink wild rhododendrons. 

Coastline at Bullards Beach State Park

The beach was nothing too remarkable.  Lots of driftwood and crashing waves but not much else.  It was peaceful, though.

Old float that washed ashore

And I did find an old fishing float that had washed ashore.  Nothing I'd take home, but it sure made a good photo subject.

Sea cliffs in Bandon

Returning to my yurt, I downed a quick dinner, and then set out to explore the town of Bandon itself.  Bandon's city limits pushed right up to the ocean beaches where I'd heard there was a fabulous state park with lots of scenic seastacks.

Sea stacks from Face Rock Wayside

Boy did I choose the right time to visit!  The spring wildflowers were at their peak.  Huge swaths of golden gorse carpeted the beachside cliffs. 

Staircase at Coquille Point

And colorful flowers (I think they were sweet pea) lined parts of the grassy meadows above.

Beach near Coquille Point

I stopped at Face Rock Wayside and marveled at the fabulous ocean views from on high.

Crashing waves

Then, exploring some more, I drove over to Coquille Point wildlife refuge, and parked in their lot.  An extensive trail system meandered out onto a peninsula.  A sturdy wooden staircase accessed the beach below, complete with a covered observation platform.

Photographers at the Wizards Hat

I wandered down to the water's edge.  Some uniquely shaped seastacks anchored the beach's southern end, so I meandered that way to check them out.  One of the tall pointy seastacks was appropriately named the "Wizard's hat."

Golden sunset

I noticed a couple of photographers had tripods set up here.  One guy waded right into the surf, tripod and all, and attempted to get some up-close shots of the Wizard's Hat.  The other person lingered at the waterline.

Lovely evening light on the beach

Watching those photographers in action was great entertainment.  I couldn't believe the man in the water was risking getting his camera doused.  The tide was coming in, and some of those waves looked big.  It appeared he managed to keep it dry though.

Sundown by the Wizard's Hat

The sunset caught me totally off guard.  Thinking this would just be a short walk, I'd left my tripod in the car.  But noticing the sun's orange ball quickly dropping towards the horizon, I knew there wasn't time to fetch it now.  So I did what any lazy photographer would do - simply held my camera as still as I could, and fired away.

Setting sun reflections

As the sun sunk lower, a couple other photographers (with tripods) joined the two gathered at the rocks.  Standing there, cradling the camera in my hands, I felt like a real tinhorn.

Last light of day

It was a spectacular sunset.  I thought the clouds might mask the setting sun, but instead, they glowed in lovely shades of orange and pink.  I even captured the sun's sinking orange ball reflecting on the wet sand.  I was very glad I'd ventured out here!

Pink hues in the sky

Finally the vivid colors giving way to dark skies, I left the chilly beach for my cozy yurt.  The weekend off to a good start, I snuggled in my sleeping bag, looking forward to another day of exploring this charming part of the Oregon coast.

Check back for the next post - a recap of day two!


  1. Que maravilha de fotografias estão fantásticas, excelente trabalho.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

  2. Linda, thanks for taking me on another of your fabulous trips. The mood of the images is wonderful.

  3. Hello, Linda. what a gorgeous post on your visit to Bandon. The Oregon coastline is just gorgeous. Beautiful flowers! I like the Wizard's Hat and the seastacks. The sunset is just stunning. Great post and trip! Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  4. Wow!!! You never disappoint! So glad I made time to travel with you today...:) You are blessed with an adventurous life and we are blessed that you share it with us! Thanks!!!

  5. Nice! I hope you will share pictures of the yurt, too. I stayed in a couple when I was on hikes in Colorado. Love the Wizards Hat rock. :-)

  6. Ahhhhh, Bandon! We'll be back there in July and I can't wait! Hell, I cant wait to get to OR in general...we'll have 6 weeks along the southern OR coast...heaven!

    Spring looks wonderful there, lucky you!

  7. A truly gorgeous series, Linda! Wow! Thank you so much for taking me along on this lovely tour.

  8. I've been to Bandon, It's a lovely area for sure. Your photos were such a treat. I don't think I've seen the Wizards Hat, it's really cool looking. I so enjoyed your lovely photos of this area.

  9. We stopped at Bandon beach on our way back from CA last November. It truly is spectacular and your photos are gorgeous. There looked to be lots of territory to explore down there. Must go back.

  10. What a fabulous, rugged coastline you've shared. I so enjoy being able to "join in" your xtraordinary adventures (if only on line!). I was very saddened to hear of Bear's passing and hope the subsequent family trip to Mary's Peak and your sojourn to Bandon with the wonderful sunset provided some balm for the broken heart. Thank you for sharing your joys and sorrows.

  11. Definitely no 'tinhorn'! Wonderful shots.

  12. Linda I just love your amazing adventures. I am sure you were thrilled to go and have the weekend turn out to be a great one. i never let the weather change my plans... bad weather just gives you a different view of some spectacular scenery. Your coastline is unsurpassed in beauty! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures

  13. These are some amazing scenes! I love the water shots and the sunsets are awersome.

  14. What stunning scenery, but it does look very cold and windswept.

  15. Better a lazy photographer than one who doesn't try at all! What a fabulous way to spend time. Lovely place and stunning images!

  16. You're taking your Oregon shoreline for granted too much! That 'unremarkable' beach would be spectacular around here!

  17. Beautiful photos even without a tripod! You are not a tinhorn! :)

  18. Gorgeous coastline captures. Glad you took the chance and just went... we all should do more of the. (I never use a tripod!)

  19. Glorious photographs ending with this stunning sunset

  20. Spectacular coastline and great shots.It's surprising all the different aspects of photography... some folk are drawn into the technical side, expensive range of cameras,extra gear, filters, etc to the point where taking the actual photograph seems to be an afterthought and others will risk life and limb with not so high tech gear just to get that perfect shot. It does take over your life, but in a good way.

  21. Some of those shore shots are spectacular

  22. Wow! Fantastic scenery and photos. I think I will have to visit this place some time.

  23. Bandon is one of my favorite, places on the coast. We've been there a couple times. The sunset photos are so pretty with all the colors. It's nice when that happens. Yurts are a good way to keep the trip low cost vut still cozy. Looking forward to next episode. I've not been adventeeous lately. Too busy wih life right here. Happy weekend my friend.

  24. Hi from Norway.
    Beautiful photos.
    Oregon is my favorite state.
    I visited Oregon in 2011 - and I have been to Bandon - the beaches are beautiful.

  25. I love Bandon. I never reserve a yurt in time though, they go so fast. I guess you need to plan ahead. Sometimes you get great winter weather on the coast. Looks like you did.

  26. The Oregon coat is legendary for a good reason! To heck with a tripod---I'd rather keep moving and exploring than lug a tripod and sit and wait for a shot. Your sunset photos look fabulous!

  27. What a beautiful part of the coast this is! I love your sunset photos, especially the fabulous reflection shot. Nice work!

  28. Gorgeous captures of the sunset. I love the beach with the cliffs and the waves.

  29. Now you are in my neck of the woods...we do a lot of hiking here. If you head down to southern Oregon again give me a holler if you want a tour guide


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