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Sunset Bay State Park

Park History

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.

Acreage: 405.49

Annual overnight attendance: 75,729

Annual day-use attendance: 1,387,544

Sunset Bay State Park FAQ

What's Allowed

Are Drones allowed in Sunset Bay State Park and nearby Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks?

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.


What should I do about the seal pup on the beach?

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".

When and where can I go tidepooling?

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).

Check out our Oregon Tidepools website for information about tidepooling, including more answers to this question.

Day use/Special Events

Do we need a Special Use Permit to hold our wedding or event?

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:

  • organized group gatherings of 50 or more such as weddings, company picnics, tournaments, and contests;
  • an activity that requires a structure and/or decorations such as stage, event tents, archways, tables/chairs;
  • sales of goods and services by vendors, concessionaires and other businesses;
  • commercial filming;
  • activities that restrict public access.
I am bringing a group of 50 or more people to the park. Do I need a Special Use Permit?

In most cases the answer is yes. Please contact the park office at 541-888-3778 x 221 for assistance.

Where can I buy an Oregon State Parks pass?

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.

Where can I buy the Oregon Coast Passport?

12-month and 5-day Coastal Passports are sold at the park office during regular business hours.

Statewide FAQ

Available via this link