The Coquille River, its lighthouse, a few miles of Oregon coastline, and a Bandon Marsh viewpoint are all housed in Bullards Beach State Park. Perched on a lava rock point, the lighthouse is certainly a star attraction. You can approach close enough to witness the water lapping on the basalt at its feet.
Beach access is inhibited by either a fore dune, or a 15- to 20-foot stretch of drift logs depending on where you approach, but ocean views can be had from the lighthouse parking area. The destinations below allow navigation of easier terrain to a couple of the park’s many sights.
Check out the Oregon Coast Lighthouse Roundup.
Coquille River lighthouse
I was resting at a picnic table reading the sign to my left for the third time, but for some reason its message would not compute. It was not until my husband said something that the pieces came together, and then I have to say I felt a bit cheated. The sleek cream tower we were visiting…did not actually house a light! Instead, the metal contraption we had seen on the point that morning was performing safety duties for the Coquille River. Here we were in Bandon – a city so affluent its boardwalk is an art gallery – and yet their “lighthouse” was merely a picturesque building, albeit in a gorgeous setting.
There is, of course, much more that goes into choosing light beacons for the Oregon coastline than visitor enjoyment. And lit or not, the Coquille River Lighthouse absolutely warrants a stop if you’re in Bandon. Just go with the mindset that it is an historic building, and a former lighthouse, and you most certainly won’t be disappointed.
|Terrain: Flat pavement and then a few steps in sand to reach a picnic table. About 20 of the steps between the picnic table and the lighthouse are VERY steep. You can see the lighthouse from the picnic table if you are not comfortable with steep terrain.|
|Seating: Picnic table is reached in 75 steps. No seating at lighthouse.|
|Restrooms: Nearest are in lower parking area.|
|Directions: Follow the main road from the State Park entrance all the way to the end. Signs in the parking area point you to the lighthouse.|
Coquille River viewpoint
It would be easy to bypass the benches situated along the Coquille River. They are, after all, en route to the more notable attractions of beach and lighthouse. My husband and I drove past them several times on more than one stay at Bullards Beach State Park. But during our October visit we decided to stop.
We watched ripples from waterfowl as they dove, darted and paddled, and heard the occasional splashing from jumping fish during our seated sojourn near this tranquil section of river. In addition to wildlife viewing, the Coquille River Bridge is visible from this Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge viewpoint.
|Wheels: Terrain: Pavement and then uneven grass, all level.|
|Restrooms: Nearest are about 100 steps from the parking lot on sidewalk (the opposite direction from the river).|
|Directions: Follow the main road from the State Park entrance until you see the benches along the river and parking on the right. For the indicated bench, we parked at the West Picnic Shelter. Head out of the parking lot and cross the road to reach the bench.|