Local Area Guide: Things to do / Activities / Attractions

Port Orford

The town’s main event is a 4th of July celebration and fireworks display.
In Port Orford, halfway between Bandon and Gold Beach, you’ll find everything you’re looking for. From spectacular seascapes and mountain hiking trails with panoramic vistas, to art galleries and an authentic Victorian mansion. With ocean, lake and river fishing, boating and kayaking, and absolutely perfect windsailing conditions. But here, there’s a difference. You don’t have to push your way through traffic jams or clogged sidewalks to enjoy it.

Small, friendly, quirky, with a relaxing energy in a naturally beautiful setting...Port Orford is filled with nice people, an unhurried atmosphere and no stop lights.

It is an artistic community, with eight art galleries owned and operated by working artists, including some genuinely world-class talents. Plus charming gift shops and a series of restaurants where you can enjoy creative cuisine, a New York-style Italian trattoria, great diner food, seafood, steaks and what locals believe is the best fish and chips and chowder on the coast.

The oldest platted townsite on the Oregon coast, the most westerly city in the continental U.S., and the northern gateway to the America's Wild Rivers Coast, Port Orford honors its rich history. Visit Battle Rock Historical Park, the site of a famous battle between Indians and the first whites trying to settle here – there’s a visitor information center at the park. Stop by the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum, which features a restored Coast Guard Station, shipwreck memorabilia, and many artifacts from the years when the Coast Guard Station was providing services to ships off one of America's most dangerous headlands.  And, just a few miles north of town is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the oldest and most westerly lighthouse in Oregon and, in the same park, the beautifully restored Victorian Hughes House Museum.

And don’t miss the port of Port Orford. It is the only natural, open water port for 600 miles and only one of six "dolly" ports in the world.  It’s an amazing site to see working fishing boats lifted into and out of the water every day.

Recreation

Kite flying, beachcombing, camping, fishing, ocean and windsurfing, crabbing, clamming, picnicking and visiting local shops and restaurants are popular local activities. There's also hiking at nearby Humbug Mountain and at Point Orford Heads State Park.

Attractions

 •  Cape Blanco Lighthouse
 •  Port of Port Orford Docks
 •  Battle Rock Historical Park
 •  Point Orford Heads State Park
 •  Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum
 •  Elk River Fish Hatchery
 •  Floras Lake
 •  Garrison Lake
 •  Hughes House Victorian Home
 •  Humbug Mountain Camping and Mountain Trail
 •  Roadside Cranberry Fields
 •  Prehistoric Gardens

Guided kayak, paddling & fishing tours - http://www.southcoasttours.net/ 

Annual Events

February - Annual E.S.A. Sorority Valentine's Traveling Bake Sale
March - Port Orford/Langlois School District Spring Break
March - Whale Watch Week at Battle Rock
April - Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Buffington Park
April - Spring Beach Clean-up
April - Opening of Historical Sites: Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Historic Hughes House and Port Orford Lifeboat Stations Museum
July - Annual Fourth of July Jubilee
October - Fall Beach Clean-Up
December - Bazaar Holiday with five unique bazaars
December -Annual Christmas Children's Weekend
December -Historic Hughes House Christmas Tours
December -Winter Whale Watch Week at Battle Rock

 

credit to the Port Orford Chamber of Commerce for the above content
Address: PO Box 637, Port Orford, Oregon 97465
Phone: 541-332-8055
Email:  chamber@DiscoverPortOrford.com
Website: http//www.discoverportorford.com

 

Whale Watching

A favorite and relaxing past time. Watching the whales migrate off the Oregon coast is exhilarating and epic. A few tips for whale watchers: Look for whale spouts with your naked eye; then focus more closely with binoculars. Viewing in the morning with the sun at your back is best. Days where the ocean is calm is better for viewing spouts since you wont have all the white caps. Charter boats are also excellent for whale watching. Charter services such as 5 Star Charters can help provide an excellent view of these massive creatures. The most prevalent whales to pass by are the California Gray Whale and the Orca also referred to as the Killer Whale. From late March to June the whales migrate North to Alaska and South from Alaska from mid-December through January. Though there are resident whales that stay here in the summer, the majority of approximately 18,000 travel by the Oregon Coast.
Location: Port Orford, Oregon
Phone: 541-247-0217
Toll Free: 888-301-6480

Ambergris

I never thought the day would come when Id tell the world to look for whale poop. Yes, I said it. In more polite verbiage, ambergris. Ambergris is occasionally expelled from the sperm whale. After floating around the ocean for a decade or so, it will find its way to the beach where a lucky beachcomber may stumble upon it. Why is he/she lucky to find this smelly substance? Its worth a small fortune. Ambergris looks like lumpy large potatoes-smooth and brown outside and yellow to pale grey inside. It can be the size of a marble to several hundred pounds. Ambergris has been used in expensive perfumes for centuries. Regardless of its elegant uses and fascinating history, when you pick it up, remember: Its still whale poop.
Location: Southern Oregon Coast

Gold Panning

Enjoying a day on the river or beach are a great way to spend the day, but walking away with a vile of gold is an additional bonus. The BLM campground up Sixes river is open to recreational gold mining. A few large nuggets have been found there. Beach panning seems to be an increasingly popular activity. The black sands are loaded with flour gold. While the kids play on the beach, you can keep filling your sluice box with this black sand and reap the rewards when youre done.

Oregon Coast Trail

(Oregon.gov) The majesty of Oregon's coastline unfolds around every bend along the 382-mile Coast Trail which goes from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border. Hikers cross sandy beaches, meander through forest-shaded corridors and traverse majestic headlands. The difficulty of the trail varies from easy to moderate. Most of the route is on the beach, although some segments wind through state parks or public lands. The Oregon Coast Trail is open year round though summer is the best time to hike. Compared to other long-distance trails, and scenic walks around the world, the Oregon Coast Trail offers its own unique places, history and culture. Coasttrails.org Beginning at the mouth of the Columbia River with an incredibly rich history and geology all it's own, one initially encounters everything from the remains of the 1906 Peter Iredale shipwreck to being able to walk in the footsteps of members of the 1804-06 Lewis & Clark Expedition! Next you encounter Tillamook Head and eventually Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, both remnants of the westernmost extent of ancient Columbia River Basalt lava flows from over 300 miles away! Besides seastacks and rocky headlands, your also sometimes hiking through the largest temperate rain forest ecoregion on the planet with rainfall amounts as high as 3 meters (10 feet) within a year! These forests are lush and green, with some of the tallest trees in the world growing along the Oregon Coast, such as Douglas Firs and Sitka Spruce.
Location: Oregon Coast