While it’s definitely not Cabo (you won’t see Santa relaxing under a palm tree), you might enjoy some milder temps during a winter trip to Oregon’s South Coast, aka Oregon’s banana belt. We can’t predict the weather, but we can guarantee plenty of seasonal fun.
Downtown Bandon usually boasts a towering Christmas tree, but you can also get into the holiday spirit at Shore Acres State Park, with its seasonal illuminations from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve. The grounds of this historic estate twinkle with 300,000 holiday lights sculpted into all sorts of coastal critters: pelicans, puffins, jellyfish and sea lions. Even a life-sized orca and spouting gray whale make an appearance alongside leaping frogs, hummingbirds, koi and more. Warm up and enjoy holiday treats in the Gardener’s Cottage.
If you are lucky enough to experience that mild weather during your visit, explore the South Coast’s beautiful shoreline. Sunset Bay State Park near North Bend is safe for winter walks, and Bandon’s Seven Devils Wayside is a great spot for agate hunting. Storm and whale watchers will enjoy Shore Acres State Park during the daytime hours, as the observation building offers fantastic views of thundering waves and migrating California gray whales. The headland at Coos Bay’s Cape Arago State Park is another great vantage point to spy whales and seabirds or to watch fishing boats navigate the bay.
Duck out of the weather at the Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay. This fabulously restored 1925 venue was built in the Egyptian revival style fueled by fascination with the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the early 1920s. The theater hosts family-friendly films and live music in an unforgettable setting decorated with towering bronze pharaoh statues, snake heads, scarabs, hieroglyphics and animal-headed deities.
Throughout December, children and the young at heart will delight in Charleston’s miniature train display in the Old Charleston School House. This community tradition features a miniature village depicting the towns of Coos County, with 200 illuminated structures and a holiday train that chugs through the snow-covered wonderland. Admission is free and cookies and hot cider are served.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Bandon’s Coastal Mist, an award-winning artisanal chocolate shop creating delectable chocolates and desserts. Spiked with local fruits, nuts and wines, their small-batch chocolates are as beautiful as they are delicious. Grab a mug of thick drinking chocolate (or drinking caramel) for the perfect winter warmer after a walk on the beach.
At Face Rock Creamery in Bandon, pick up some award-winning cheese for a holiday cheese board. Their Cranberry-Honey Frommage Blanc features locally grown cranberries.
Or what about some fresh Dungeness crab for a holiday feast? Winter is prime time for dock crabbing and rental crab rings can be had at RV parks, lodging facilities, or tackle and marine supply stores. All you need is some bait, a shellfish license, and you’re good to go!