When describing the rugged beauty of the Oregon Coast,
comparisons are often tossed around: Big Sur in some places;
Ireland or Scotland in others. Still, with pounding surf, towering
cliffs and miles of sandy beach, the Oregon coast is in a class by
For much of the state’s history, tourism and traditional industries
lived side by side as fishing and port activity are part of
Oregon’s charm. Many towns along coastal Highway 101 still find the
traditions of the past to be an illuminating path to the future.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Bandon. Located about 250
miles south of Portland, Bandon’s mix of cozy town and spectacular
setting is hard to resist.
The area’s similarity to the British Isles was not lost on one
savvy entrepreneur. In the late 1990s, greeting card magnate Mike
Keiser bought 1,200 acres of land just north of Bandon and began
building the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. The goal was to create an
experience that beckoned the game’s Scottish origins, and in 1999,
the first of three courses opened to rave reviews.
Bandon Dunes has been likened to California’s Pebble Beach and St.
Andrews in Scotland, and just after opening, it became one
of Golf Magazine’s highest rated public courses. When the second
course, Pacific Dunes, debuted three
years later it ranked even higher. Just this past year the third
course, Bandon Trails, opened.
Finished With Fore
If all that great golfing proves tiring, fear not: The lodge
awaits. Have a massage ($90 hour), or enjoy a Scotch (naturally)
while staring out at the vast expanse of dramatic Pacific. There
are several places to dine, from McKee’s Pub, serving traditional
Scottish pub fare, to the Tufted Puffin Lounge where Oregon’s
highly ranked pinots complement a full menu. For other eats, Bandon
boasts a large cranberry industry, and clients can sample cheeses
made from the same recipes brought by Irish settlers in the 19th
For the intrepid explorer, miles of beach and trails await. Over 10
miles of trails along dunes and bluffs can be accessed from the
Bandon Dunes resort, or clients can take a road trip along the
popular Beach Route Drive that winds along the coast and past
stunning sea stacks like Face Rock, Table Rock and Elephant Rock.
Of course, the best way to see these incredible natural features is
by foot or horseback. Guided horseback rides are available through
Bandon Stables or for a more romantic experience, clients can try a
two-hour sunset ride.
If the Pacific blue makes you itch to be out on the water, sea
kayaks can be rented for paddle trips on the bay or up the wide and
placid Coquille River.
Seven miles south of town animal lovers have a unique chance to
view some of nature’s most majestic creatures up close at West
Coast Wildfire Safari. Here, large African cats, lemurs, bears,
snow leopards and other threatened species roam free and interact
Bandon’s spectacular setting on the Oregon Coast will draw clients
in with all the power of a Pacific undertow, and they’d be well
advised to just go with it.
Horizon/Alaska Air offers five flights a day to the airport in
North Bend/Coos Bay, which is a 25-minute shuttle to Bandon Dunes
(clients can also rent a car). Thanks to the popularity of Bandon
Dunes, future expansion plans include direct flights from San
Francisco and Seattle.
Bandon Cheese Factory
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Open year-round. Three-mile rides leave on the hour. $30-$40 per
Bandon Visitors Center
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except Christmas Day.
Typically held around Sept. 8-10, the festival celebrates the
upcoming harvest and includes food, crafts, music and plenty of
Coquille River Museum
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association
West Coast Game
Hours: Daily, March 1-Nov. 30. Opens at 9 a.m. Admission: