Friday, December 1, 2023


Coos Bay, Oregon — ‘Beautiful bay, lush forests, mighty Pacific Ocean’ and ‘Pre’

Coos Bay Boardwalk, Oregon. (Julianne G Crane)

Coos Bay is the largest city on the Oregon Coast and celebrates its history in shipbuilding, lumber products, tradition as the regional hub and hometown to running legend Steve Prefontaine.  This scenic community is surrounded by “a beautiful bay, lush emerald forests and the mighty Pacific Ocean” and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Jimmy Smith and I were in the area for a Crab Rally organized by the Escapee RV Club’s Oregon Trails Chapter 9 out of Sutherlin, Ore. The Coos Bay offers outstanding crabbing, clamming and fishing.

Coos Bay Visitor Information Center (Julianne G Crane)

Start your tour of Coos Bay at the  
Visitor Information Center, 50 Central Ave. (Hwy.101); (541) 269-0215.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday – Sunday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Winter: no hours on Sunday. Parking lot. Public restrooms.

The Visitor Center is directly across the street from the Coos Bay Boardwalk and City Docks. The Boardwalk features “historical displays of the area’s maritime and wood products history.”

 Historic Walking Tour: There is a great little pamphlet that lists a number of attractions and buildings that are within about a five-block square area of the Visitor Center. Where I spent an hour or so is the Coos Art Museum.

Coos Art Museum. (Julianne G Crane)

Coos Art Museum:

235 Anderson Avenue

Coos Bay, OR 97420

(541) 267-3901
Admission: $5; $2 for students, seniors.
Tues – Fri: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Closed: Sun-Mon and all major holidays.

Oregon’s 3rd oldest Art Museum is housed in the historic art deco former-U.S. Post Office “built in 1934-35 as a WPA project … On 1/1/85 it reopened as the museum.” The CAM features a regular schedule of exhibits, art classes, lectures and community events. The Collection of Contemporary Art rotates on display throughout the year.

Steve Prefontaine (

Steve Prefontaine Gallery
On the second floor of the Coos Art Museum is a room “dedicated to the short life and brilliant running career of Coos Bay native” and international track star Steve Prefontaine.

This small gallery includes the shoes “Pre” wore while running the race in which he set his first American record. The 5,000-meter race took place on July 3, 1971. Pre’s time was 13:30.4. “Pre held eight long-distance running records. Runners from all over the
world know about Pre’s accomplishments,” states

“During his brief 24-year lifespan, Steve Prefontaine grew from hometown hero, to record-setting college phenomenon, to internationally acclaimed track star,” according to He ran in  the Olympic Games held in Munich, 1972, however, he died in an automobile crash in 1975, before he could race in the 1976 Olympics. “Pre has become the stuff of enduring legend.”

Major Coos Bay events:  

September: 10K Prefontaine Memorial Run. 

Oct. 9-Dec. 5, 2015 — Coos Art Museum
“JUXTAPOSED: Installation Art”
Renee Couture, Dani Dodge, Allison Hyde & Karin Richardson. The exhibit focuses on contemporary women artists, all with strong ties to Oregon. These artists have a history of producing challenging and thought-provoking works through installation and experimental media.
November: Santa arrives by tugboat. Friday after Thanksgiving.
December: Annual holiday lights display at nearby Shore Acres State Park.

– For up-to-date information on Coos Bay and the surround region, click on: Oregon’s Adventure Coast 

– For information on RV parking at The Mills Casino and RV Park, click here for an item posted on

Julianne G. Crane

Read more about the RV Lifestyle on
Coos Bay photos by Julianne G. Crane. Steve Prefontaine (

Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane writes about the RVing and camping lifestyles for print and online sites. She was been hooked on RVing from her first rig in the mid-1980s. Between 2000-2008, she was a writer for The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. One of her popular columns was Wheel Life about RVing in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Crane started publishing RV Wheel She and her husband, Jimmy Smith, keep a homebase in southern Oregon, while they continue to explore North America in their 21-foot 2021 Escape travel trailer. Over the years they have owned every type of RV except a big class A. “Our needs change and thankfully, there’s an RV out there that fits every lifestyle.”



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Lorane (@guest_60832)
8 years ago

Sad, no mention of the beautiful dunes just north of Coos Bay/North Bend or the wonderful campgrounds in the area. Just to the south is Bandon, fun coastal town. Well known golf courses. Coos Bay has a few interesting antique shops and a casino. Great local pizza place. And to the west is the beautiful Shore Acres state park–not to be missed if you are in the Coos Bay area.

Sharon Brandt (@guest_60830)
8 years ago

The author pretty much covers the town of Coos Bay, but misses mentioning much of interest in the Coos Bay area. To the west you will find the South Slough Estuarine Interpretive Center, Shore Acres Botanical Gardens, the community of Charleston and the Charleston Marina. A little out of downtown Coos Bay you will find Mingus Park which is very lovely. In addition there are many other places of interest to explore in North Bend. A drive around Coos Bay, there is a roadway around the Bay, gives you changing views of the bay and the surrounding area. There is so much more to Coos Bay than just what you see on Highway 101 through town.

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