Sunset Bay, Shore Acres and Cape Arago, Coos Bay Oregon

 South of Coos Bay there is a series of state parks that abut the rough Oregon coast.  Starting at Sunset Bay, and continuing to Cape Arago.  These places give you ready access to the coast and expansive coastal views.  Here are a few of those places.

From the Cape Arago Lighthouse Lookout you have a view of Sunset Bay and the Lighthouse. The Pacific Ocean breaks just outside of Sunset Bay making it relativity calm at the beach.

While the hike to the Lighthouse is enticing, it crosses private property and access is limited.

 


Next to visit is Shore Acres State Park.  From the pavilion on the cliffs above the ocean, you can see miles of the Pacific coast.  Though the primary draw here are the Botanical Gardens, a restored vestige of the previous owner.  Now a State Park, your visit costs only the daily parking fee.

Here you are free to wander the formal gardens including the Oriental Garden and Lilly Pond.






You can hear the next stop on the tour before you can see it.  The Simpson Reef is home to hundreds of  various sea-life.  Here you can see California and Steller Sea Lion.  Elephant and Harbor Seals.  Looking to the sky you can spot Osprey, and see Cormorant perched on sea rocks.  Binoculars are a must, but a good spotting scope and adapter let you get some close up snaps.





At the end of the road you arrive at Cape Arago.  Here you can listen to the seals barking in the distance.  If you are lucky, like we were, you can spot Gray Whale swimming on the near horizon.  You first spot the spout, and then become accustomed to catching the reflection off their backs as they break the surface.  Through the scope, we would often see flukes and fins as these giants dove to the bottom.  We stayed and watched for over an hour.  At times you could count up to six separate spouts at the same time.  The Gray’s here often spend most of the year just off the coast before heading south in December.


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