Situated in one of the most scenic areas on the Oregon coast, Sunset Bay State Park features beautiful sandy beaches protected by towering sea cliffs. Only a short walk from the beach, the campground has sites for tent camping and RV's, as well as cozy and comfortable yurts. Day-use and picnic facilities are located along the bay to allow easy access for beachcombing, fishing, swimming, and boating.
A network of hiking trails connects Sunset Bay with nearby Shore Acres and Cape Arago state parks. Hiking these trails will give you a chance to experience pristine coastal forests, seasonal wildflowers and spectacular ocean vistas from atop the rugged cliffs and headlands. From points along the trail, you'll be treated to views of Gregory Point and the Cape Arago lighthouse.
A public golf course is located next to the park, and the nearby fishing village of Charleston provides opportunities for crabbing, clamming and fishing.
Two group tent camps are open May 15-Sept. 30.
Sunset Bay offers unique interpretive opportunities ranging from wildlife viewing to geology. Interpretive staff provide on-site services including guided tidepool and nature walks, living history walks, school group tours, and youth programs. For a schedule of programs, visit the Interpretive Center on site or call 541-888-0982 for more info on planning your visit.
The Holiday Light show features thousands of lights and displays in the formal garden 4:30-9 p.m. Last year, timed entry was required for the first time and the response from visitors was positive. We're continuing the system in 2023.
Visitors need to reserve their date, time and parking spot. Visitors will no longer have the option to purchase a parking permit onsite to park and attend. See our FAQ for more information or call our Park Information line at 800 551-6949. One of our information operators will help you. The line is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Commercial and recreational use of radio controlled aircraft, unmanned aircraft - "drones", quad-copters' and similar are prohibited at Sunset Bay, Norton Gulch, Shore Acres, and Cape Arago.
This is a safety effort to control hazards that could negatively affect other visitors or protected wildlife.
Well, it depends. Scientific studies designed to increase the understanding of ecological processes and resources on state park lands are a valuable source of information for park and resource managers.
OPRD intends to cooperate with organizations and institutions when their scientific research is compatible with the department’s mission of land stewardship through the protection of ecological processes and natural resources.
A scientific research permit is required for most scientific or educational activities that involve specimen collection, field work, or that may have the potential to disturb natural and cultural resources on OPRD owned or managed lands.
You can apply for a permit at https://oprdpermits.org.
Harbor seal pups are often found on the beach. Usually, they are not stranded and should not be disturbed. They are resting while their mothers are off looking for food.
The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OSMMSN), which responds to stranded and injured marine mammals, notes that "adult female seals are shy and a mother is unlikely to rejoin a pup if there is activity nearby. She may only return to suckle her pup at night when people are not around. It is very important not to interfere with this process, and especially not to move a pup from where it is receiving care from its mother. Within 3-4 weeks of birth, harbor seal pups are weaned from maternal care and are left to fend for themselves. While learning to find and catch its own food, a young seal may come ashore frequently to rest. This is often a very challenging stage of life, and not all pups survive. But while it may be tempting to 'take them in,' their best chance for survival is to be left alone on the beach."
If you are concerned about the welfare of a seal pup or any other marine mammal you encounter, report it to park staff, the park office (541-888-3778), or the 24-hour Oregon State Police hotline at 800-452-7888. Please describe the situation and location of the animal so the OMMSN can follow-up on your concerns.
Check out the OMMSN stranding "do's and don'ts".
Cape Arago is located at the end of Cape Arago Highway about 4 miles from Sunset Bay campground. The south cove trail leads down to a sandy beach and superior tidepools where you can visit intertidal plants and animals (but please enjoy them with your eyes only).
It depends. Call the Park Office at 541-888-3778 x221 to discuss your plans and possible permits, fees or insurance requirements. Events on the beach are first-come, first-served. Depending on the event, you may need a special use permit for non-tranditional activities. A non-traditional activity is an activity, gathering or use of park properties, ocean shore or other recreational area that is not defined in park area rules and regulations. Events with permits take precedence over non-permitted events.
Some examples of events that require a permit are:
In most cases the answer is yes. Please contact the park office at 541-888-3778 x 221 for assistance.
12-month and 24-month State Park passes are sold at the park office during regular business hours or online at the Park Store. Annual passes are also available at the Shore Acres Information & Gift Center located in the garden.
12-month and 5-day Coastal Passports are sold at the Sunset Bay park office during regular business hours.
Passports may also be purchase at all Forest Service and Oregon State Parks offices along the Oregon Coast.
The land for the park was obtained between 1948 and 1984. The original tract, including the bay front, was given to the state by Coos County in 1948. Ralph Barker gave a water supply location in 1954. Later tracts were acquired by a grant from the Bureau of Land Management, and by purchase, litigation and exchange with private owners.