Western Traveler

Winchester Bay, Oregon

The state of Oregon is a thousand contradictions.  First you can easily believe that you’re in the high desert of Utah when you visit the eastern part of the state; filled with Rabbit Brush, amazing geology and countless vistas.  Then in the interior you’ll find massive forests going as far as the eye can see, all magnified by the never-ending tree harvesting industry.

Then there’s the coast; a whole new world to explore and enjoy.  My first trip to Oregon focused on this fantastic region with sights and smells totally alien to someone from the Bluegrass State.  On this adventure I saw things that I’d only experienced through books, magazines, films and TV.  Needless to say, it didn’t even come close to the real experience.

You cannot begin to imagine the sheer force of this place.  Even on a cool and foggy morning you could not escape the sound of the ocean.  You could hear the roar of the waves, smell the salt and fish in the air and get drawn into the mood of the place.  I can see why people gravitate to it.

One area that we took some time to explore was Winchester Bay.   This area is considered, and rightfully so a vacationer’s paradise with an assortment of fun things to do.  We of course focused much of our attention on the Umpqua Lighthouse as I’d never been close to one of this scale.  But, in addition to that you can: crab, fish, hike nature trails, search for clams, ride ATVs on the sand dunes, picnic and of course enjoy an indescribable sunset over the Ocean.


Don’t forget that because you’re on the coast you have access to some of the most delicious seafood to be found anywhere in the US.  We of course availed ourselves of this opportunity before leaving.  They have a multitude of interesting shops to spend your money at, including but not limited to the Crafter’s Mall where you can find locally-produced treasures.


For the naturalist in you, make sure to head over to the overlook platform at the lighthouse and check the waters for whales, which frequent the area. Between May and November you have chance to see gray whales in their annual migration from the Arctic to Baja, California and back.  For your best chance to catch these giants of the sea, try your whale watching in the early morning hours or on overcast days. Winchester Bay is also the perfect place for storm watching where you can see the force of Nature at work as the coast is hammered with waves and wind.


If you decide to try your hand at catching some seafood fresh, and if you’re successful you can take your catch to the Sportsman’s Cannery where they will either pack it in ice, or process it for you.


This is a wonderful place to get a feel for the Pacific Northwest’s ocean experience.  They pretty much “have it all” just waiting for you.  For more information you can check out their website.  This is certainly a place that’s worth your trouble.


Last modified on: November 14th 2016.
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