I think I found my favorite beach ever … or at least one of my favorites. I had high expectations for Bandon’s Beach after reading reviews and articles. I was looking forward to exploring the sea stacks, rock formations and tide pools. The beach did not disappoint. In my opinion it is not the kind of beach where I would lay down a towel and relax. It is perfect for exploring and that is the kind of beach I like.
Bandon was the first town where we stayed as we made our way up the Oregon Coast. Since we were in Bandon for a week, I was able to explore the beach on multiple occasions. The beach is vast in size – wide and long, so there is plenty to see and experience. There are two main access points – Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint and Coquille Point. Both of these areas have parking on the bluff and then a long set of stairs down to the beach.
Perhaps my favorite formation was Cathedral Rock with its sea cave and tunnels. It is not often I get to explore this kind of formation and I do love caves. The main room was quite high; I would guess about 15 feet and as large as a living room. From the main room were a few tunnels going to the other side of the cave, but I was cautious while exploring these as I didn’t want to get caught by a wave rushing in.
Below is a photo of a “window” which I really enjoyed finding.
These rock formations are under the protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is an important sanctuary for nesting seabirds like Tufted Puffins, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Auklets, several species of gulls and terns. Unfortunately we were there too late in the year to see the birds which would have been quite a sight.
With all the many rock formations, the beach has great tide pooling during low tide. I especially enjoyed seeing star fish and the anemones with their bright green color. I was told the starfish were dying so I did some research and read that 90 percent of the starfish died in 2014 on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico due to a wasting disease. They have recovered though and the population has rebounded along the Oregon Coast. I saw quite a few as I wandered and it was a happy sight.
Evening is a favorite time here for photographers. They gather with their tripods and camera equipment although I don’t use a tripod and wander around unprofessionally snapping photos. They were wearing rubber boots so they didn’t have to worry about “sneaker” waves getting their feet wet. After I saw some of them wearing their boots I decided to wear mine the next day. I had been on the beach for only five minutes in a channel between two rock formations when a sneaker wave rushed in and went over the top of my boots soaking my feet. I think I need something taller or better than my Walmart specials.
The “Elephant Rock” formation has an arch that was a great spot to catch the rays of the setting sun filtering through.
I thought the rock formation on the far left in photo below had the oddest shape. It reminded me of a long finger with pointy nail.
The most famous rock formation on the beach is called “Face Rock.” When I first read about the rock on sign boards at the parking area I scanned the beach to find the right formation and see if I saw the face. I didn’t have much success and then in the fun of exploring just forgot about the rock’s significance. When I was going through photos for this blog post the face all of a sudden jumped out at me. Some how when I was taking the photos I don’t remember seeing it. Can you see the face in the picture below? It is on the righthand side of the rock and is supposed to look like a young girl looking up at the sky.
If you ever make a trip to the Southern Oregon Coast, don’t miss a stop in Bandon to see this amazing beach. The town of Bandon has more to offer so stay tuned!